It’s Time for Podcasting

At this point in time, it seems that there is about a 50 percent chance that a person is familiar with the term “podcasting.” According to a study from Edison Research, even though podcast consumption has tripled since 2006, awareness of the term has remained flat, meaning that podcasting hasn’t quite reached the mainstream public. This might sound negative, but it is actually good news for marketers and advertisers. If you have ever considered creating a branded podcast or advertising in one, now is the perfect time because the market has not yet been flooded with competition.

As the podcasting trend steadily grows, you can grow with it, and podcast consumers are a great demographic to reach. According to the same Edison Research, they exhibit strong social and brand-following behavior. They are more likely to visit social networking sites several times a day, where 58 percent follow companies or brands. They are also more likely to listen to online radio and take digital content into their vehicles, mainly via smartphones.

Podcasting is a bit of an overlooked marketing and advertising mode. If you could see your brand having an impact on this audio-driven community, start planning now. While podcasting may seem fun, producing effective audio on a consistent basis is a big task—which may be why many podcasts fail after the first six months.

Getting Started

Serial, a true-crime podcast from the creators of This American Life, exploded onto the podcasting scene in 2014. After just nine episodes, it had been downloaded more than 5 million times from the iTunes store. Serial started out with one advertiser—email marketing service, MailChimp—and, now in season two, the podcast is up to four advertisers, including cloud storage service Dropbox and Universal Pictures.

While not every podcast will be a smash hit like Serial, branded podcasts are proving to attract loyal audience. General Electric’s sci-fi podcast, The Message, reached the No. 1 spot on iTunes six weeks after it launched, beating out Serial and This American Life, at least for a while. Other branded podcasts are successfully engaging and retaining loyal audiences. Here’s how they do it:

  • Planning ahead. A single podcast episode can take weeks or months to produce. Sticking to a development schedule is a must.
  • Creating a discussion. Podcasting is more than flipping on a microphone and hoping employees or interviewees will talk. You need to have a wealth of knowledge and information to draw from.

For brands that prefer to advertise in existing podcasts:

  • Repetition is key. Book recurring spots in a podcast within your budget. A listener survey showed that 92 percent of Serial listeners recalled MailChimp as a sponsor, and 95 percent correctly identified the services it offers.
  • Track ROI. Using direct response tactics—such as coupon codes or unique tracking URLS—or just tracking brand lift can help you see if listeners are responding to your ads.