Is Podcasting Coming Back?
By Rick Grant
Podcasting. You’ve heard of it, right? According to The Morning Brew Newsletter, if you’re not familiar, you’re not alone. The newsletter’s editors report that 45% of people don’t know the term. But over the last decade it’s been catching on, as ignorance of the art is down from 68% in 2006, that’s the year RGA won an award for Business Podcasting from the Society for New Communications Research. Since then, at least in our industry, interest in podcasting seemed to wane, but that me changing.
As content marketing continues to gain steam, many CMOs are seeking new ways to quickly generate interesting content they can feed into their automated marketing systems. Podcasting is excellent because it just involves visiting with your executives, recording what they say and then putting it online. Once the audio is up, it can be transcribed into more content.
Podcasting is not as time-consuming as video creation for YouTube. Plus, your audience can nab them and listen while doing things like working out at the gym, commuting, or flying. Besides, some of those activities should definitely not be paired with watching YouTube videos, especially if your listener happens to be the driver or pilot.
What’s the actual return?
Think podcasting isn’t worth the effort? What if I told you that 57 million Americans listen to podcasts every month, a jump of 23% over 2016. Not only that, but 85% of listeners listen to the “majority or entirety of an episode.” If you get really serious about it and go pro, you could get your share of around $200M in ad revenue spent on podcast sponsorship each year.
Currently, only five brands account for 35% of all ad revenue spent on podcasts and listening to podcasts accounts for only 2% of the average total audio consumption for Americans. Sure, there are some hurdles. You’ll probably have to deal with Apple if you want to reach that entire audience, as they serve up close to 60% of all podcasts downloaded monthly.
With the success of podcasts from giants like NPR, niche media outlets that serve geeks and gamers and a slew of comedy podcasts, podcasts are attracting a growing audience. On the brand building site, conventional wisdom suggests that if you’re not doing it and your competitors aren’t doing it, then one of you should be doing it. Putting your brand behind a popular podcast could give you just the boost you’re looking for.
While sponsoring the medium could be profitable, the companies that actively participate in the creation of podcasts will likely reap the most benefit. Podcasts are a great way to reach those potential customers or partners that you might otherwise not reach in a face-to-face encounter…if you figure out how to do podcasting right.
What are we really selling?
Podcasts, like the other tools in the content marketer’s toolbox, aren’t designed for the hard sell. Your audience already gets plenty of commercials in the media they consume. Podcasting is an opportunity to tell compelling stories that impact your target market and introduce them to you in a way that makes it easier for them to imagine doing business with you.
Sure, we’ll want to tag a call-to-action at the end, but before we get there we need to deliver some interesting entertainment. Just remember, what the Business-to-Business podcast listener finds “interesting” may be quite different than what you’ll find on the typical comedic or Dungeons & Dragons podcast. You can talk about business and you’ll keep them listening. Just don’t spend all your time talking about your business.
What we’re really selling in a B2B podcast is a solution to a business problem, or at least a new way to look at a problem your prospects are currently dealing with. If you an speak to an issue that your prospects are facing, you can introduce your company as an option for them in the future. To be successful, you need to accomplish three things in a business podcast.
- Convince the listener that you’re a real person, not a mouthpiece for some company’s marketing department, nor an automaton that can only parrot back what the Board of Directors have handed down. This means you must be authentic, honest and upfront in your views on the issue, using your own words.
- Convince the listener that you know what you’re talking about. You have to be an expert or listeners won’t trust you to understand their issue and know how to deal with it. This doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers, but you have to demonstrate that you have the experience to approach the problem intelligently.
- Convince the listener that you really want to help them. I said “help them” not “sell them.” There are lots of companies that want to sell things to the people who will listen to your podcast. Not as many really want to help them. Be one of them and reap the benefits. But beware: people have become very good at knowing from a person’s voice and what they say whether or not they can trust them.
Looking for some interesting podcasts, click over to the podcast category on this blog. If you’d like to appear on that show, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.