By Andrew Rogers
Unless you’ve been living under a rock – and even if you have been – you’ve no doubt been hearing the buzz about podcasts. In a matter of a few years, podcasts have gone from niche medium to mainstream phenomenon. Many podcasts now boast more listeners than radio shows. Increasingly too, the boundaries between podcasts and radio are becoming blurred. BBC Sounds, for example, mixes them all up into a single audio product.
1 in 5 young adults now listens to podcasts at least once a week. The biggest series have a huge reach, as well as an audience that generally skews towards more affluent and influential consumers (1 in 5 podcast listeners earn over £100k and 42% are business decision makers). The sheer variety of podcasts now available also means you can target consumers with specific interests or demographics.
It’s a no-brainer that any marketing professional should at least consider using podcasts as part of their 2019 plans. However, as with anything new, getting involved can be intimidating.
Never fear though – we’ve put together our very own podcast marketing quick-start guide. Here are the three main ways that your brand can get involved in the wonderful world of podcasts.
Be a guest on a podcast
Podcasts and traditional radio shows have plenty in common, and that includes the need for great guests. While some podcasts have the same hosts each week, many more will include guests to keep each episode fresh.
For brands, this means opportunities to secure guest slots for spokespeople or talent. For consumer entertainment brands, placing talent on podcasts is a great way to plug their upcoming projects. For B2B brands, placing a CEO on a key trade publication’s podcast can mean speaking directly to the decision makers in your target industry.
Importantly though, you need to do your homework and pick the right podcasts. Guest interviews work when they’re engaging and where there’s real chemistry and conversation. Pair the wrong spokesperson with the wrong show, and you’ll get a flat interview that may never see the light of day. Get the combination right and you’re in for an episode that’s entertaining while getting your key messages out there.
Sponsor a great podcast
Sometimes it’s best to go for the direct approach, particularly when you’re looking to drive sales or subscriptions. Sponsoring podcasts is effective, measurable, and easier than you might think. While you can go ‘door-to-door’ for some of the smaller podcasts to ask about advertising rates, most now work through bigger podcast platforms.
Take Acast, for example, which represents some of the most popular shows including The Football Ramble, My Dad Wrote A Porno and The Allusionist. By bringing so many popular podcasts in one place, brands can now advertise at scale. New technology also means that ads can be placed into podcast episodes for a limited time period, or for different geographies. You can now, for example, run ad campaigns that target just UK listeners, even for shows produced in the US.
Podcast advertising is highly effective, with 76% of listeners taking action after hearing a brand advertised. It’s also measurable by using a system of bespoke trackable discount codes. Most of the time, you can even get hosts to create the ads for you, making them more engaging and authentic.
Create your own series
Want to take things to the next level? If you have plenty to say and want to get a clear message out to the world, you might want to create your own podcast series. Podcasts make for great content and are a much more digestible way to get your thought leadership across, particularly for B2B brands. As we become increasingly time-poor, many of us prefer to listen to opinion through headphones than to read it on our screens.
This is, of course, the more time-intensive of the three routes. You will need good content, an engaging host, and guests that create enough conversation. Podcasts also need at least one series – a single episode won’t cut it.
The potential pay-offs though are huge. Podcasts take thought leadership to the next level or can create a series that entertains while sharing key brand messages. Take for example the Why We Eat What We Eat podcasts which were created by the meal-box delivery service Blue Apron. The show uses popular food author and historian Cathay Erway to look at a new interesting food story each week. The podcast delivers content that a foody audience will want to hear, and by building that audience creates the perfect space to share their brand messages and drive subscription sign-ups.
Have we whetted your appetite for podcasts? Our team can help you to get onto the right podcasts, or to start creating your own. Just get in touch with the team to find out more.
Or if you want to listen to more podcasts yourself, check out our list of the top 5 marketing and PR podcasts you should subscribe to right now.