If it is starting to feel like almost every organisation is launching their own podcast these days, it probably has something to do with the fact the market for them has been growing exponentially over the last two years. The Nielsen Scarborough Podcast Buying Power Report published in September 2021 estimates that the reach of podcasts grew by 21% globally between 2020 and 2021. If we look at Ireland specifically, Acast Ireland revealed at its Sounds Smart Ireland event in March 2021 that podcast listenership had grown by 36% in the previous twelve months. Acast estimates that on average, we listen to more than 7.5 million podcasts in this country every single month. These levels of growth reflect a global trend towards podcasting, and have resulted in major investments by streaming services to try and capitalise on this emerging market. Spotify, for example, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire exclusive rights to some of the world’s most popular podcasts. With these eye-popping numbers, it is only natural that organisations will look to the medium and ask whether or not it is something that they should be exploring. In researching the world of podcasting, you may find yourself wondering just how it could fit into your overall communications strategy and support business goals.
If you are thinking about adding the production of a podcast to your business’ weekly or monthly routine, it is first important to ensure that you are going to be talking about something that is linked to the industry in which you operate. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, discussing something that you are qualified to talk about lends credibility to your shows. Secondly, it provides you with an opportunity to appeal to potential customers who have an interest in the products or services that you are providing. If you are in the technology space for example, your podcast should focus on the impact of your specific type of technology on the wider world. Use it as an opportunity to delve deeper into your organisation’s offering, whilst also making it clear that your business is in a position to offer real insights or solutions within that industry. One of the most powerful tools in any organisation’s arsenal when it comes to building brand awareness is availing of thought leadership opportunities. Those who have a desire to achieve the position of an identifiable industry leader will always seek out opportunities to speak at conferences or webinars, or talk up interview slots on radio shows. Podcasting provides you with a medium through which to present members of your management team as thought leaders in your own industry, all whilst having the ability to hold full editorial oversight over the content.
Create Your Tribe
Podcasting provides your business with an opportunity to build lasting relationships with stakeholders. Once you have established your business as an expert on a particular subject matter, it is important to consider the needs and wants of your audience as you begin to map out future episodes. Work out what types of content will resonate with them, and always be open to engaging in a two-way dialogue with your listeners. Content will need to be consistent both in terms of the regularity it is released, but also with respect to its quality. If you establish your niche, deliver a consistently good product, and engage with your listeners regularly, you will start to see your audience grow. Once this starts to happen, you have an opportunity to create a tribe of brand advocates that will extoll the virtues of your podcast to their friends and family, all the while drawing more attention to your business and the services you provide. One of the best examples of an audience becoming a ‘tribe’ is with the That Peter Crouch Podcast. From the outset of the first series, the hosts of the show encourage listeners to “pass the pod” to their friends in a bid to grow listenership figures. As the audience became more enamoured with the show, the attempts made at “passing the pod” became more and more audacious, with listeners engaging in one-upmanship, with some fans going as far as sending a photo of Peter Crouch into space using a hydrogen-filled balloon! By providing your audience with consistently interesting or entertaining content and engaging with them on a regular basis, you can create a tribe of listeners that will share your podcast and business story far and wide. Though we can’t guarantee you’ll always achieve outer-space advertising!
If brand awareness and creating a group of dedicated advocates for your business are not compelling enough reasons to consider starting a podcast, then perhaps the commercial opportunities will be of interest. Earlier this year, the Interactive Advertising Bureau published a study claiming that the U.S. podcast industry was on track to reach $1bn in advertising revenue for 2021. Furthermore, the study projected that the figure will double to $2bn by the end of 2023. A report by Yahoo Finance claims that the global market for podcast advertising revenue will reach $94.88bn by 2028. This industry is forecasted to continue experiencing exponential growth over the course of the coming decade, so if you are keen for your business to enjoy a share of that advertising or sponsorship spend, it might be time to start considering how to make podcasting a regular feature in your communications mix. By creating content that can be listened to at any time, by any person, anywhere in the world, you are creating a potential revenue stream that could provide a significant ROI on both the time and money spent producing it.
So the next time you get the sense that all of your competitors are starting their podcast journeys, and you’re wondering if whether or not you should be following suit – ask yourself if you want more people to know about my business; if you want to create stronger ties to my existing and potential stakeholders; and if you want a shot at a share of $94.88bn in 2028? It might be time to start thinking about what subject matters you can start offering interesting and entertaining insights on!