July 16, 2015 | Jenna Redfield
Podcasts Are Growing in Popularity
“Have you checked out this podcast?” “I’m obsessed with this new podcast I’ve been listening to” “Why aren’t you listening to podcasts?”
Sound familiar? To a majority of people, podcasting is something they are increasingly hearing about, but many haven’t ventured into yet. For those in marketing, social media management and sales, it’s something they have been pressured into pursuing. The biggest questions seems to be: Is it really worth it?
Podcasting has been around for over 10 years and was always seen by the media as a small community of rabid fans without any real market value. However this has changed over the past 3 years, as podcasts have become both ubiquitous with the rise of smartphone apps as well as profitable, with the use of ads. But the real question is, can it help your business and add value to your overall content marketing plan?
“Podcast downloads passed 1 billion mark last year and monthly podcast listeners number 75 million per month”according to The Washington Post. These listeners are presumably either digital natives or those who work within the tech, media or digital space. Podcasts can range in topics from cooking, to TV and Movies, to fitness, crafting and internet marketing. The categories increase every single day. This increase has likely been due to expanded availability via smartphones. In the era before smartphones, podcast listeners would have to download the podcast on iTunes from their computer and then sync it to an iPod or other device. Now they can download it directly, which has rapidly increased listeners.
Due to the expanding popularity of podcasts, content marketers, small business owners and even advertisers are interested in coming up with their own version in order to drive traffic and eventually sales to their businesses.
If businesses have created multiple forms of content, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, etc.. many are starting to wonder if the effort put into starting and building a podcast is worth it. This article will be discussing and debating different forms of media and how podcasting compares.
Here are 5 reasons why you should look into adding podcasting to your content marketing strategy
- Positions the podcaster as a figure of authority. Discussing what the company or individual is known for creates a sense of expertise and trust.
- Initiates a personal connection to the audience. Creates a conversation between creator and listener and increases the “H2H” or Human To Human connection in an extremely inexpensive way.
- Brings Awareness: Visual and Audio Media content in general is more shareable and tweetable than blogging, which feeds into overall brand awareness.
- Provides a longer shelf life than other mediums. Unlike recent apps like SnapChat and Periscope that disappear, Podcast episodes can last for many years.
- Attracts a new audience and improves SEO. Adding a new form of content brings in new potential consumers that may not have found the business otherwise. In addition, the rise of advertising can add new streams of revenue.
Positions you as an Authority
The most significant impact of podcasting to a majority of businesses is the amount of authority it brings to their business. By having a podcast publish content about the genre of content a company is creating, it makes those talking about the content an expert in the listener’s mind. By creating a clout of authority, what you say, sell and share will be seen as fact and highly trustworthy to the listener. This increases interest as well and if you mention something in your blog, the listener may open up an app and search for that item in real time as they are listening. Creating calls to action (whether it’s a book to read, a guide to download or an email to sign up to) is an important aspect that can increase your profitability immensely.
Human To Human Connection
Marketing expert and Bestselling author Bryan Kramer has created the term #h2h (human to human) which is an addition to the standard concepts of “B2B” and “B2C”. Social media has increased the desire for human contact between businesses and potential consumers. Podcasting is a hugely intimate experience, as many people listen with headphones and literally have someone within their head. As businesses hire more millennials to work on improving their social channels, podcasts are a great way to connect with the world at large in an extremely familiar and safe way.
Podcasts are also a low budget and impactful medium: The nice part about podcasts is there is very little technical skills, money or time needed to set it up. Utilizing only laptops and inexpensive microphones, a business can arguably create more shareable content (with a transcript attached as well) that can lead to sales and brand awareness at a much lower cost. In comparison to YouTube, podcasting requires much less effort, time and money. YouTube has a similar time-frame to film as a podcast has to record. However, the equipment, including a camera, lights, microphones, editing software that are needed for YouTube come out to a much higher expense as well as more time spent creating the content.
Media is the future of content marketing
Audio and Visual Media has never been more popular. The increase of smartphones and their use by millennials are increasing the amount of time, ad money and effort companies are putting into adding more elaborate forms of content into their campaigns.
Although written blogs are still a dominating force and will be for awhile, many millennials would rather spend their time watching a video or listening to an audio podcast than reading a long blog post. If the 18-30 year old market is something your business is trying to capture, figuring out and mastering what is currently popular could increase both awareness and sales to your business. The right medium is key to getting your content delivered in the most effective way.
A great example of this is with Entrepreneur Rachel Roffe. She releases a weekly podcast with both interviews with interesting and successful people as well as tips and tricks for listeners to grow their audience, whether it’s ways to reuse content or increasing twitter followers. She provides a free service for her listeners as well as a fun and interesting podcast. She also talks about her own e-books that she has sold on Amazon, which she sells for between $.99 and $2.99. In a very “meta” method, also advises her listeners about how they too can write and publish their own ebooks.
She has curated the ultimate brand for herself. As an expert in social media, publishing ebooks and podcasts, she utilizes these mediums to write and talk about creating content in those exact same mediums in a highly shareable and low-budget way. Other great examples of people utilizing podcasts to grow their brand include Gary Vaynerchuk, Joe Pulizzi, Amy Porterfield, and Chalene Johnson.
Shelf life and engagement: How does podcasting compare to YouTube, Periscope and other media platforms?
If a business is using content marketing to sell their product or service, how does podcasting compare to rival platforms? Is it worth the time, or should one invest in other mediums, like livestreaming app “Periscope”, YouTube, Snapchat and many other newer forms of media.
Longer Shelf Life
While newer forms of technology have a small shelf life (both snapchat and periscope expire after 24 hours, which is frustrating to marketers who don’t want to invest time into making content only for it to disappear), podcasting is something that can be archived and listened to months and even years later. I personally have listened to podcasts that are over 2 years old and have still found them relevant. However, some topics become outdated quickly, something businesses would need to take into consideration.
YouTube videos may be clicked on more and have more viewers on a specific video, but podcast listeners tend to be more invested, as podcasts can range from 10-45 minutes while YouTube videos last between 1-10 minutes. It is way more likely that someone will watch a YouTube video and click off within the first 30 seconds then they will listening to a podcast, because usually they know that the core of the podcast won’t come within the first 5 minutes and as they have carved out time to listen, will have a stronger grasp on the listener. Another factor is that audio is easier to consume than video. In an increasingly busy world, listening to a podcast while biking, walking, running, working out, driving and many other examples of “dead space” when video cannot be viewed is a huge bonus. The fact that podcasts don’t always need wifi (many are downloaded to the device) is also a benefit to the medium. Quality of followers in this case is more important than overall quantity of views. Analytics options are also available for you to see total downloads.
Attracting new audiences and improving SEO. Advertising is also a future means of revenue.
“Podcasts shouldn’t drone on as long, drawn-out, audio versions of extensive blog posts. Instead, to maximize lead generating opportunities for B2B companies, podcasts should be quick, informative, and entertaining. This content should then be optimized to be found across major search engines, and the audience can listen and learn from any device with an Internet connection.” – Renee D., Online Content Management Professional (2/1/13)
Link Sharing is obviously a really important aspect of improving your organic reach. Adding a podcast to a blog post can encourage fellow bloggers to embed your podcast within their blogposts and link back to you. This will help new followers discover your business and download the podcast onto their phone or device. Adding the right keywords to your blogpost can attract new viewers who are searching for a particular subject and is an extremely easy way to create new customers who may have never found out about you in traditional social fields.
Advertising Opportunities are plentiful
This blog post has discussed mostly about how podcasts can add new forms of content marketing to your business. Advertisers are also now funding podcasts in addition to that, so that is something that in the future is something to be looked at, if you wanted to create a podcast that can make money itself and become a new revenue source. In addition, if you want to advertise your business, paying a popular podcast to advertise your product is another way to get your name out to many people
In conclusion: Is Podcasting worth it for your business?
Podcasting is a cost effective, time-saving way to create content that can be reused in future blog posts and other sources. It creates a sense of clout from a business as well as connects with a broader and increasingly younger audience.
ThinkSEM is looking into stepping into the podcasting world in the future and will keep you updated going forward.