Tuning in to a podcast strategy: exploring how podcasts can boost your business – part one
If knowledge speaks and wisdom listens – where does that leave us in the era of podcasting?
Research shows that as of March 2021, there are almost two million active podcasts on Apple Store, with over 47 million episodes. In the UK, there are 6.5 million adults who listen to a podcast every week, for an average of 3.7 hours.
Podcasts can track their lineage back to the early audioblogs of the 80s and 90s. As people became more digitally literate, and internet access became more widespread, audioblogs slowly grew in popularity – but were still firmly in the shadow of the written blog.
That was until the iPod emerged in 2004. This new portable playback technology, combined with RSS feeds that could quickly update user libraries and search for the latest content, meant people were empowered to listen and absorb content on the go. And the rest is history.
Supercharged by the omnipresence of smartphones, podcasting is now a global phenomenon.
For brands and agencies, podcasts offer an engaging way to build fame and grow relationships with audiences and there are many examples of podcasts created by brands – branded content if you will. But what do you need to think about when considering creating a podcast for your brand and what’s the real value?
Why do it?
Podcasting is a medium with unique qualities for cutting-through with audiences. And, as with many digital media, you can go wide or narrow with audience targeting. This is good news for B2B businesses looking to enter the podcasting arena, as it allows you to own niche subject areas and answer sector-specific questions for your target audience.
“A podcast gives you an arena to show your expertise and passion for your niche. Your enthusiasm and speaking prowess also adds an authoritative air to the topic, something that the written word cannot express. And coming out with regular podcasts that have sound information and good ideas helps establish you and your brand as market leaders.”
Jeanne Hopkins, CMO of Lola.com
In the UK market, podcasting is immensely popular, but still has spacious room for growth. Currently only 18% of the UK regularly listen to a podcast – which is a comparatively low penetration compared to markets such as Spain or South Korea.
“People are really listening and want to consume all of the content that is there and available. There’s a level of dedication that comes from podcast listeners that you don’t otherwise find. And now the numbers prove it. Podcasts aren’t a bubble, they’re a boom — and that boom is only getting louder.”
Miranda Katz, Wired
Growing your network
Podcasts are an incredible tool for growing your network.
As you get your podcast rolling, you will have the opportunity to invite people (and crucially, prospects!) onto your pod to share their views and experiences. This can deepen relationships and establish your brand’s credibility in its sector.
If you can bring a well-known personality from your sector or beyond onto the show there is the opportunity to tap into their social reach and accessing their network through your podcast. It’s a great way to attract more listeners and impress prospects and clients, but also draw in other influential guests you may not have been able to connect with otherwise.
At Propeller Group, we produce our own Dog ‘n’ Bone podcast and have secured guests such as Financial Times CEO John Ridding, controversial marketing consultant and columnist Mark Ritson and BBC Tech Correspondent Rory Cellan Jones.
Building a personal relationship
Podcasts offer you a vehicle to share your unique perspective on the world. For businesses, this means looking at the challenges and niches of your sector, and considering what issues are affecting your audience.
“Your podcast content should not be about you, but about solving your prospects’ problems.”
Steve Lubetkin, Journalist, Podcast Producer, and Author
When you share insightful information, you can gradually build your authority in your niche, and more and more people come to recognise you as an expert on the subject. But content is only half the job – the other half is consistency.
Consistency will mean different things to different businesses with different goals. But whether you are publishing weekly or monthly or quarterly, your audience will want to know when they can expect a new episode.
If you can offer reliable, informative and entertaining content to your audience, you grow a much more meaningful relationship than one sparked by colder forms of outreach.
Engaging a loyal audience
Consistency and quality in production will create loyalty in reception.
“Every company can find authentic stories related to their brands, whether those stories are revealed through interviews, investigations, or real-life demonstrations. With some serious thought about what kind of stories your brand can tell and a commitment to honesty, you have what you need to begin making an engaging podcast, no matter what industry you’re in.”
Nicole D’Angelo, Associate Editor with Skyword
Offering consistency will help set you apart from other podcasts in your sector. Research shows that over 44% of podcasts on the Apple Store have fewer than three episodes – meaning that much of the competition is inactive.
It’s also important to remember you want a loyal, engaged audience, more than a broad church. Podcasting is long-form content. It’s unhelpful to compare podcast download numbers with things like YouTube plays, or social media follower counts. The average podcast gets just over 100 listens – and if you get over 26 downloads for a new episode in the first week of its release, you’re doing pretty well.
Be specific and targeted – have a mental image of your audience in mind when in production. Focus on the content that your listeners care about, and your audience will naturally grow.
“Because we thought no one was listening, we weren’t afraid to take stupid risks or make absurd choices. Turns out it resonated with people. You won’t figure out what your podcast is until you get it underway, even as much as you plan and plan. So go for it.”
Matt Gourley, Earwolf Podcast Network
Read part two here.
At Propeller Group we produce two podcasts of our own, the Dog ‘n’ Bone and Views on the News, as well as a series of podcasts for our clients. To learn more about the world of B2B podcasting, and to assess if a podcast is the right vehicle for your business, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.