Podcasting has had a growth spurt in popularity and is now proving to be an essential part of any content marketing strategy. In September 2018, OfCom reported that six million Britons were tuning in weekly to podcasts, with a five-year escalation of 3.2 million listeners in 2013 to 5.9m in 2018.
Growth has been driven by increasing numbers of young listeners (49 per cent are in the 15-24 age group according to OfCom) engaging with the format, but podcasts are not new. The term originally comes from combining iPod and broadcast, and as reported in City AM: “They predate Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, and the current RSS feed format was invented in 2003,” and hosts such as Liberated Syndication (libsyn) who pioneered the system to host and publish podcasts in 2004 now host over 50,000 shows with 92 million monthly audience members.
“We have been following the rise of podcasts for some time,” says Rob John, Senior Account Manager at the Content Marketing Association (CMA). “Last year we produced a report on podcasts and voice technology, which was sparked by Ofcom’s report. A growing number of our members also create podcasts for their clients or use them as a thought leadership and brand awareness tool for their agencies,” he adds.
And the growth is set to continue: “There’s already a growing battle for the podcast market with Spotify purchasing the Anchor platform and the Gimlet group of podcasts. It will be interesting to see how Google responds, especially as the company appears to be elevating podcasts higher up on its searches. The drive to launch a Netflix for podcasts is continuing too with heavily venture backed companies like Luminary and Breaker,” adds Rob John.
In addition to this, technology continues to develop in ways that suit podcasting. Cars with wifi and Alexa installed mean you’ll be able to listen on the go, and apps are being created for watches and phones that make syncing, downloading and listening to podcasts easier. Importantly big brands are leading the way as pointed out by Forbes, “Brands like Pepsi, Starbucks, Google, Microsoft and Tinder have jumped in and increased their use of the ad format, indicating they are seeing positive results.”
Topping the iTunes sports podcast chart is football with the Peter Crouch Podcast (from BBC 5 Live who host three of the top 10 spots). It seems the days of bedroom podcasters may be numbered with the mainstream professionals such as BBC 5 live, the Guardian, Eurosport and Talksport dominating the top ten. Rugby and Formula One make it to the top ten, and other ‘star’ names include Gary Lineker and Bradley Wiggins.
Big brands, and mainstream broadcasters are in on the act, but the opportunities remain for innovative brands to reach their customers with tailored content. Podcasts can be platforms for innovation and diversity and thought leaders such as Americanbased Skye Pilsbury (inside.com/ podcasting) predict more diversity as the medium matures, illustrated by shows such as the The Gay Footballer’s Podcast (https:// anchor.fm/tgfootballerspodcast) launched in February 2019.
So why all the excitement?
From the brand and marketing perspective it’s worth noting that research has found podcasters are high earners, and as mentioned above they’re younger. The website Why Podcasts clearly highlights the research which shows that 41 per cent of podcast listeners earn over $75K and a survey from Edison research found as well as being wellpaid, 61 per cent of US listeners were educated having completed at least four years of college.
As with any form of content marketing, one of the core challenges for podcasters and brands is retaining authenticity. “People love podcasts because of the close relationship between the podcaster and their audience and without this they will lose their wide appeal,” explains Rob John. The format works because it can engage a generation hungry for content but short on time, who can listen and work, or listen on the go. And podcasts are thriving in niche areas where passion is a focal point, a great example being sport. The engaging medium is grabbing attention in an economy that thrives on us being engaged, and the Edison research also found 85 per cent of people who listen to podcasts, listen to the end.
It’s perfect timing to create your podcast. Tap into your audience passions, interview them directly, tell their story. And watch for new Twitter-style podcasts, news and snippets that can be called up on demand from Alexa, Google or Siri in shows lasting less than five minutes all easily accessible on smart speakers.
An idiot’s guide to getting started with podcast
Kobi Omenaka (http://kobestarr.io ) Podcaster, Digital Marketing Consultant and Start-up Mentor has the following tips for getting your podcast live and online:
You can use an iphone to record interviews with a voice recorder app. Apple’s iphone has an inbuilt voice recorder, Voice Memo which is free and means you can start straight away. You can also pic up a mic for less than £100, and for something more sophisticated there’s a great selection of equipment from brands such as Zoom.
As well as using the right equipment, obviously it makes sense to minimize outside noise when recording a podcast – choose a meeting room not a coffee shop.
If you have an Apple Mac you can use the free Garage Band software to edit your podcast. Another excellent free resource is Reaper (https://www.reaper.fm/download.php). Don’t underestimate the time it will take to edit properly. An hour’s recording could take a day to edit.
4. Uploading and broadcasting
It’s worth noting that iTunes is not a host. You will need to upload your podcast to a host service such as Libsyn (https://www.libsyn.com) first. If you don’t have an Apple device don’t worry as you can use a feed from Apple or iTunes on Android. And if you use Libsyn, for a small monthly subscription publishing tools are included and they will send to the relevant channel, based on your data.
5. Launching a show
If you’re starting a new podcast make sure you have a bank of six episodes to upload – and launch first with three of these episodes. As with delivering any content it’s vital that you are consistent and plan your broadcasts.
With the rise of Instagram TV and Facebook Live, video should also be a key part of your content offering.
• By 2021, 82 per cent of consumer internet traffic will be video, according to a recent Cisco study.
• Studies have found that just by including a video on your landing page, you can increase your conversion rate by up to 80.
• 54 per cent of people want to see more video content from marketers.
• Adding a video to your email can increase your click-through rate by 200 to 300 per cent.
• According to research by Google a result of watching a branded video on their phone, 40 per cent went to the store, and 28 per cent made a purchase.