If your introduction to the world of podcasts was the gentle ribbing it took from the first season of Only Murders in the Building, then you have a bit of catching up to do. There are approximately five million podcasts worldwide. Global podcast listener numbers are expected to reach 500 million before the end of 2023, with more than 21 million Brits regularly listening to a wide variety of podcasts, ranging from schoolboys in their bedrooms to former cabinet ministers and international football legends. Podcasts are most popular with people aged between 12 and 34, but older generations get in on the act too: 22% of people over the age of 56 are regular podcast listeners. It is estimated that by 2030 the podcasting market will be worth in excess of $130 billion.
Many may have mocked podcasting in the past, but the serious money involved in this fast-growing sector has resulted in a rapid reassessment.
Producing profits directly from creating a podcast requires a particular set of skills (not the Liam Neeson kind), but businesses of all shapes and sizes, from many different sectors are benefitting from becoming involved.
Podcasting content needs to be interesting and engaging, and technology and production skills need to be sufficiently high. And that’s just for audio. Although podcasts started as primarily audio content, many now combine audio and video content.
But acquiring or hiring the necessary knowledge and experience is worth doing because podcasting provides the potential to put a business in front of hundreds of thousands of potential customers. While entertainment is an important part of the podcasting arena, roughly half of all podcast listeners tune in to learn and develop their understanding of a subject, so podcasting can be an effective way of demonstrating industry knowledge and positioning yourself as an expert.
One of podcasting’s greatest attributes is that it is borderless. By publishing on Spotify or Apple Music, global audiences can be achieved. Finding the appropriate tribe is the tricky bit. But if you can do that, podcasting can be an impressive and powerful form of marketing.
One way of getting noticed is to demonstrate commitment. By releasing five episodes at once (learning lessons from streaming services such as Netflix), your podcast is much more likely to be featured in the ‘New and Interesting’ sections of Spotify and Apple Music.
To gain traction fast, consider advertising. Create some short clips and trailers for your podcast and funnel some money into advertising on YouTube, Spotify and/or Apple Music.
Podcasts are among the most interactive forms of content, with subject matter being pretty much unlimited and unrestricted; be it broad and generic or incredibly niche, there will be an audience interested in listening and learning more. These people will also have opinions, presenting opportunities for real interactions with potential customers. These interactions tend to occur in one of three ways: instant interaction via livestream commenting; asynchronous interaction via comments; or real-time interaction via call-ins.
Finding ways to include interaction within a podcast allows you to create audience engagement that far outstrips the impact of many well-worn marketing tools such as leaflets. Would you prefer to put money into printing your message, hoping for more than casual glances, or would you rather have potential customers choosing to hear what you want to say?
Bang for your buck
Podcast content can easily be edited and transformed into shorter-form content to service a variety of different formats for different channels. A long-form podcast can be clipped for YouTube, for social media platforms, for advertising, or even turned into blog posts. AI powered software such as Descript—which quickly transcribes audio—allows blogs, articles and text for websites to be created easily.
This multi-purpose aspect makes podcasts really cost-effective. A single 30-minute episode can provide dozens of pieces of content for blogs, social media clips and soundbites.
Guests are a brilliant way to boost a podcast, especially if a guest has their own podcast. Their profile draws more listeners and there is also the benefit of cross-promotion – you get to piggyback on your guests’ existing audience. Featuring guests also heightens perceptions of you as a thought leader.
Making contacts via content creation also opens up business networking opportunities.
As a marketing tool for businesses, podcasts can be amazingly successful, but they do take a lot of planning to get right. Between production, content, marketing, hosting, guests, and editing, there are many pieces that need to align. Production quality really does matter.
Although once upon a time (not so long ago) they were reserved for niche interests and gamers, podcasts have flourished into a global phenomenon. The prime reason to consider creating a podcast for a business is the simple fact that many people like listening to them. Cutting through the noise can be a challenge though.
About the Author
Michael Olatunji is co-founder of Outset Studio, a full-service podcast and video production studio in London & Manchester. Outset specialises in pod- and vlog- casts, live streams and live shopping. The team works collaboratively with the client to make high-quality content that attracts an audience and increases engagement. Recording can be done at their studios in London, Manchester or on location. Whether a client simply wants studio space or would prefer someone to manage the full production, Outset’s experienced teams have it covered.
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