Decades after “video killed the radio star,” it’s almost unbelievable that the audio-only format would make a massive comeback. But it did, in a brand new medium – podcasts.
Podcast consumption has been rising steadily, with an estimated 90 million monthly listeners in the US alone. As brands flock to wherever their audiences are hanging out, we’ve been witnessing the rise of this medium as a powerful content marketing tool. Many businesses, however, still aren’t sold on the idea of podcasts as a marketing powerhouse.
That’s why we’re going to look into why podcast marketing should be a part of your content strategy and try to learn from some successful examples.
1. It’s incredibly convenient for audiences
We’ve mentioned podcasts in reference to traditional radio shows, but one significant difference is that the audience no longer has to tune in to listen at a specific time. It’s content on-demand, corresponding ideally with how people want to consume media nowadays. Convenience is one of the key factors behind the podcast’s rising popularity – and it’s a convenient medium in more than one way.
Unlike blog posts or video content, podcasts allow the audience a lot more room for multitasking. People listen to them while exercising, commuting, eating, and even while working if the task (and podcast) at hand allow for that kind of divided attention.
In an era somewhat obsessed with multitasking, and where the daily commute takes an entire chapter of life, this form of content is a godsend. If your target demographic is comprised of parents, college students, busy professionals, or anyone trying to squeeze out every last bit of their time, chances are that podcasts are already their preferred medium.
A recent report from Edison research gives us more insight into the demographics of the podcast audience:
- 39% of monthly podcast consumers are between the ages of 18 to 34, while 35% are between 35 and 54 years of age
- 51% of monthly podcast consumers above 18 years of age are employed full-time, while 17% are employed part-time and 10% are students
2. Podcasts are made for easy streaming and downloading
Unsurprisingly, the Podcast Consumer Report also shows that audiences primarily use their smartphones or other portable devices to tune in. Another factor behind the podcast’s expansion is that audio files are significantly lighter than video, which makes them easier to stream or download in any situation. And that makes up a considerable chunk of its low-effort, commute-friendly appeal. Podcasting will enable you to serve your audience engaging content-on-the-go regardless of their data plans or connection quality.
3. Build a bond with your audience
Just like you won’t be using social media for constant self-promotion, you won’t create a branded podcast just to talk about your business and advertise your products. Nobody wants to hear that stuff episode after episode. Podcasting is about telling stories and providing your audience with something that’s true of value.
Like social media, it’s about establishing your brand identity and building a stronger relationship with your target customers. The fact that they’re hearing a human voice certainly helps build that bond – it’s much more personal, approachable, and relatable than a blog post. Best of all, a podcast will give you an opportunity to branch out and perhaps choose to represent a different side to your business.
It’s a lot less demanding medium than video, yet it gives you plenty of stage light to express your personality and brand voice. And when it’s time to talk about your products/services openly, people will actually want to hear because it won’t feel like an advertisement – although it essentially is.
4. Boost audience engagement and spread your influence
Podcasts can also be gloriously interactive, falling back on that good old radio talk-show quality. You can “take calls,” poll your audience and steer their involvement in the show beyond passive listening. You can encourage dialogue and gather valuable insights from listeners that you can even use as ideas for creating content later on. Podcasting will not only help you build that consumer-brand bond, but it can actually help you build an entire community of loyal followers.
Listeners are loyal to their favorite shows, and their sentiments overlap with the brand/persona behind the show. That’s another major point of this medium’s marketing appeal – it fosters the kind of loyalty that easily expands to social media and other marketing channels.
5. Stay top-of-mind
On the loyalty note, it’s so much easier to stay top-of-mind with podcasting than with any other content marketing strategy.
Sure, you’ll want to schedule your social media posts, blog posts, and any other content piece. But rarely anybody will take notice of your blog posting schedule and tune in religiously. None of the other media have that culture of anticipation like podcasting, where listeners keep track of episode releases as they do for their favorite Netflix shows. That’s why podcasts are a magnificent tool for raising brand awareness.
6. Branch out and maintain consistency
Another vital benefit of podcasting is that it gives you more options to publish consistently without intense effort. An episode can also be transcribed into a blog post, filmed for your YouTube channel, or used as material for your monthly newsletter. This means that you’ll be able to offer a wider variety of media to your audience. In other words, you’ll be better equipped to answer to audience behavior and cater to how they prefer to consume content.
For example, a good place to start with podcasting is by converting your evergreen content into interesting episodes or using the topics you’ve written about as material for interviews.
7. Position yourself as an industry authority
This is a key goal throughout all of your content marketing efforts, especially in the B2B sector. It’s why we put so much effort into developing informative, actionable articles, e-books, video tutorials, and all manner of value-driven content pieces. And right now, podcasting is one of the most powerful strategies out there to help you reach this goal.
This strategy is very in among the crème de la crème of industry influencers, thought leaders, and brands with an enviable reputation. It’s like anyone who has anything worthwhile to say is hopping on the bandwagon and spreading the good word through podcasts.
If you’re genuinely invested in what you do and believe you have some wisdom to extend, having your audience hear it from your own mouth is an impactful way to establish thought leadership. By embracing this content trend before it has hit its peak, you’ll undoubtedly present yourself as a forward-thinking brand.
You don’t necessarily have to create a branded podcast to do this. As a marketer or company founder, you can run a niche podcast to share your industry expertise and develop your personal brand, which will be closely associated with your business.
8. Open the doors to fruitful collaborations
If you want to work with someone prominent in their niche, you’ll have a much easier time getting them to be a guest on your podcast than getting them to write a post for you or do a written interview. It’s easier and more fun for them, and the conversational format actually gives you a shot at forming a bond with the interviewee – talk-show style.
You don’t even have to be in the same room to do these kinds of episodes, but either way, this type of medium gives you space for tossing around ideas with your guests. Your own podcast is a platform from which new ideas and collaborations could stem.
Plus, when you manage to feature someone influential, you’ll be able to lean on their expertise and gain a lot more traction than you would by featuring a lengthy post from them on your blog. Once again, it’s that sensational talk-show quality that keeps audiences hooked.
Learning from other podcast marketing examples
Okay, so you’ve got the idea of why podcasting is a smart and sustainable content marketing strategy – but how do you make it work for your business? One of the biggest stumbling blocks is the notion that your product/service simply isn’t interesting enough to create a branded podcast around, and it can be challenging to see how your industry or business will fit with this medium. But no matter the industry, you can actually create a branded podcast that will work well even with a casual audience.
Let’s look into some examples of successfully branded podcasts and see what we can learn from them.
Rise and Grind: B2B podcasting done right
Created by ZipRecruiter, Rise and Grind is an excellent example of a B2B brand finding its voice in the podcast realm. The podcast targets aspiring entrepreneurs, and it embraces the interview format to teach valuable entrepreneurship lessons.
Now, what makes this such a great example? Rise and Grind is a branded podcast, but it doesn’t create episodes around ZipRecruiter’s services or the topic of job search. It takes another theme – the entrepreneurial grind, the search for success – which is inexhaustible and abundant with ideas/advice. It talks about stuff people can be invested in episode after episode, and it invites interesting guest entrepreneurs to spread their insights.
But they don’t fail to mention ZipRecruiter and feature a brief interview with a ZipRecruiter executive in each episode. They’re not afraid to talk about their brand overtly – but they first create an entire set which makes this kind of branding seamlessly fit with the show.
Why We Eat What We Eat: Storytelling and authenticity
The meal delivery service Blue Apron has realized the potential of podcasting quite early on and pounced on it. They’ve been circulating the podcast realm through sponsoring ads for a while, but their own show, Why we eat what we eat, is a whole other story. It’s an enticing podcast about our eating habits, food culture, and valuable insights on all manner of trends and phenomena that relates to food throughout history.
Hosted by food writer and blogger Cathy Erway, the show relies on her influence to some extent, but it’s essentially an honest and authentic exploration of topics that can interest anyone (we all eat, don’t we). And it doesn’t talk about Blue Apron beyond the credits.
It’s an example of building a brand voice and raising awareness just by providing value and getting the audience invested in the topics that ultimately relate to the brand. It’s all about the audience and inviting them to celebrate food together – which undoubtedly brings them closer to the brand and more interested in what it has to offer.
Slack Variety Pack: In line with the brand
Slack’s podcast is a great example of using this medium to educate target audiences, build authority, and raise brand awareness. The podcast tells stories about successful businesses and the teams that made it happen, and in doing so, it shows that Slack is not just a team collaboration software. It’s a community of people with valuable insights on work culture, building great teams, innovation, and business growth. The podcast sticks to the topics that are tightly intertwined with Slack and its values, ultimately giving the brand a voice and personality.
If you’re not sure how your business may fit with podcasting, take to Slack’s example – stick with what you know best, and find a narrative that makes it interesting.
Pay attention to podcasts – they’re ragingly popular among audiences and brands alike, but that popularity is bound to decline at some point or other. The trend will continue growing for the time ahead, so embracing it now, while it’s still hot and there’s less competition, might be the marketing strategy that will spur incredible growth.
Lastly, another great thing about podcasting as a content marketing strategy is that it’s scalable. You don’t have to cash out on the most expensive audio equipment right away – simpler equipment will still be able to capture good audio, and you can invest more once you go past the initial stages. You might be ready to get started sooner than you think.
Natasha is lady of a keyboard with a rich history of working in the digital marketing field. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about growth hacking and the latest online marketing trends. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter.