MTV beamed the first music video in 1981: “Video Killed the Radio Star,” warbled the Buggles, declaring war on radio, which had previously ruled the airwaves. Today almost 40 years later, Radio 2.0 is striking back. In Germany, more audio than video was consumed on the Internet for the first time in 2017 – and in the U.S. one in four adults have listened to at least one podcast in the past month. Those numbers should make every online marketer sit up and take notice!
There’s no question that podcasts have been feeling the limits of their niche for a long time now, and that they’re heading inexorably into the mainstream. The target group is growing by the day, bringing joy to the hearts of amateur producers, most of whom are very ambitious – but it’s also attracting increasing numbers of professional content creators and online marketers… or at least it should be.
Are podcasts a suitable marketing instrument for me?
Whether a podcast fits your online marketing mix depends on many factors: Can you use a podcast to generate leads – or at least strengthen your own brand? Will there be measurable benefits? Will the expense pay off? We offer ten good reasons for answering all of these questions with a resounding YES.
1. Podcasts reach new target groups
The online myth that YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google has been around for a while now. There’s no need to discuss here whether that’s precisely accurate or not, but the fact is that anyone who wants to be found online has nothing to lose by appearing on a video platform. The same naturally applies to iTunes as a representative of – and often a data source for – all the podcast directories. People use it to actively search for content to consume while driving or taking a bath, or in any one of the countless other situations where video or text aren’t appropriate. Demand of this kind can be fulfilled only by specific audio products. And, as mentioned above, this target group is growing.
2. Podcasts are authentic
Simply put, the greater the distance between the transmitter of a message and its recipient, the more the authenticity of the message will suffer. That’s especially true when the distance is social or intellectual rather than geographic. And it’s why testimonials and product placements in videos about makeup are such good marketing measures. The message isn’t being sent “down from above” and instead is passing “between equals,” which means that the target group then finds it easy to identify with the transmitter. The same applies to podcasts: Even if there are many exceptions, the world of podcasts makes its living from its credibility. The best productions are those in which people speak sincerely and enthusiastically about something close to their heart. In other words, if you succeed in speaking passionately about your products and services while avoiding memorized empty phrases, you will be well on your way to a successful podcast. This is entirely possible, even in a business environment that deals with complex problems. And company messages and authenticity aren’t mutually exclusive, as shown by charming examples like The Geek and the Sales Guy podcast
from Paessler AG
3. Podcasts aren’t yet a stereotype
Digital natives, along with many from earlier generations, long ago learned to ignore advertising on the Web. Even if they don’t use ad blockers while browsing, they’re no longer susceptible to advertising banners, popups, newsletters, Facebook ads, Google ads, and advertising clips on YouTube. Forbes magazine observed back in 2015 that millennials don’t respond to ads
, and nothing has changed since then. This doesn’t apply to podcasts, because they aren’t crammed down users’ throats. On the contrary, people who are interested decide to actively seek them out. And that brings us to item 4 …
4. People find podcasts more trustworthy
Anyone who deliberately decides to consume audio content is already in receiving mode. Simply clicking on Download or Play creates a relationship between the transmitter and the receiver that’s not achievable in any other marketing format. Audio reception is often a focused activity: The listener isn’t doing anything else. Simply letting audio rain down on you also works. Even then, consumers usually pay at least some attention to content, selectively listening to segments that don’t require much physical or mental effort.
5. Podcasts bring me extremely close to my target group
We’ve already gone over all the arguments in favor of podcasts, but let us provide another lovely image for your consideration. Imagine your listeners hearing your podcast through ear buds. Your content goes directly INTO THE RECIPIENT – unfiltered, directly into their head. Do you know any other medium that takes you that close to your target group?
6. Podcasts are (still) a cut above
Facebook? Everyone uses it. A blog? Everyone has one these days. YouTube? Too much competition. But not that many companies have blogs in 2017. And if you think you don’t have anything to say, take a look at Simon Dückert’s list of podcast format suggestions for companies (in German, sorry!)
. We’d be surprised if it doesn’t inspire you to come up with some good ideas.
7. Podcasting in 2018 is easier than ever
Podcasters used to have to master complicated audio technology along with Web hosting, cobbling together XML feeds all the voodoo that comes with MP3tag – but today many tools and service providers have lowered the bar for podcasting to the extremely simple end of the tech spectrum. A bit of interest in adapters and microphones wouldn’t be amiss, but it has become very simple to distribute complete audio online. Talk to us, we’d be glad to help you out.
8. Podcast listeners are an extremely interesting target group
As mentioned in an earlier blog posting
, podcast listeners aren’t just better off and better looking than other people, they’re also better educated. OK, never mind “better looking,” but the rest is true. Really! According to an annual survey by the podcast opinion researchers at Midroll
, more than half of podcast listeners questioned in 2017 had a university degree, and 22 percent had a household income of more than $100,000. An impressive 61 percent had bought something they heard about on a podcast. Another fascinating fact from the same study: Podcast listeners are extremely loyal, with 88 percent of respondents stating that they always listen to at least two if not every episode of a podcast they’ve discovered.
9. Podcast marketing works
It does? Where? In the United States, for example, but people there are usually far ahead of the rest of the world where such things are concerned. In other countries, it’s primarily media companies and magazine publishers that have discovered that podcasts are an exciting way to support their key products. And many different consultants, trainers, and personality developers have had great success using podcasts to increase their online visibility and create confidence in what they have to offer in a fiercely competitive market. It’s obvious that anyone selling knowledge, experience, and interpersonal soft skills as a service can take advantage of podcasts to reassure potential customers who are worried about hidden landmines. But podcasts are an ideal marketing tool in many other areas. If necessary, you can cover an extremely broad range of subjects – from statements in support of your products to brand development to human resources marketing – in a single run.
10. Outside podcasts also offer advertising space
The nine reasons listed above are primarily aimed at podcasts used for online marketing purposes by the people who made them. But podcast marketing can work in other ways, including sponsoring, audio advertorials, or other advertising formats that easily convey content to an exciting target group. Companies like Blue Apron
recognized the benefits of advertising in this niche some time ago. Many industries and regions are still looking at relatively green pastures for podcasting. But whether you want to distribute your messages over your own channel or someone else’s, remember that almost everything that we’ve said about podcasts and their listeners also applies when buying conventional audio ads on someone else’s podcast.
We’re betting that you mentally nodded more than once as you read through our ten reasons, right? If you’re not yet fully convinced that podcasts could be a useful addition to your online marketing activities, leave us a comment or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. In any event, at Podigee you’ll find everything you need to successfully launch your podcast, all fairly priced and individually scalable.