21 Mar Are You The Next Podcast Marketing Superstar?
The PR Council, a public relations trade association based in New York, recently announced the launch of its podcast: “Agencies of the Future.” It is the latest among a host of public relations podcasts covering everything from cultural or regional public relations to PR improv comedy (a fitting combination).
Are Podcasts Really Gaining Traction as a Communication Trend?
Since our work is dependent on reaching clients, consumers and businesses, PR has to adapt to new trends and modes of communication. And podcasting, with an estimated 660,000 shows and over 28 million episodes, has certainly taken hold. Over half the population listens to podcasts – on average, 7 different shows each week!
These shows make up our entertainment, news, education, professional development and background noise; they fill our ears while doing housework, commuting, working out, hanging out, meditating … or simply listening. A hundred years ago, families gathered around an evening radio show; we have podcasts.
Can You Use Podcasts to Reach Your Audiences?
Our team debates whether podcasts are the right way to reach our public. Who actually listens to podcasts? Are they a Millennial thing? Do people care about this topic enough to tune in on a weekly basis? Like any communication tool, podcasts might not be for everyone – and the results depend on a strong strategy and proper investment of resources.
Evaluating any new marketing tool must start with the same questions:
- What does success look like? What outcomes do you hope to achieve?
- Who is your audience? What do they want from you? Do they use this medium?
We guide our clients through this process with a detailed discovery – no piece of the puzzle can work in isolation, and no decision is arbitrary. Our strategies always anchor in a core question: What value do you provide your customers or clients?
Different Ways to Use Podcasts in Marketing
Ready to take the leap into the podcast arena? Hosting your own show isn’t the only option; the best strategy and mix depends on what you are trying to achieve, who you want to reach and the resources you want to invest.
Host your own podcast. This may be a good option for organizations that can provide a season’s worth of unique insight or particular value to their audiences, and are committed to investing resources in something new. Find out if your audiences listen to podcasts, and if you have personalities they would follow. Think about the format: Will you interview employees? Partners? Customers or clients? Will you have regular hosts discuss current events or topics central to your industry?
Remember, while recording a podcast does not necessarily require specific technical equipment, you will need a good quality mic and a quiet space to record. There are many more decisions to make here, including how scripted you want your show to be, who needs to review the content and edited shows, how and where you want to publish …
You will also have to market your podcast – you can’t just publish it and wait for people to come. A podcast could be a great piece to incorporate in a holistic marketing campaign: a regular touchpoint offering bite-sized value over time, building deeper relationships with current or potential clients.
Collaborate, guest host or interview on an established podcast. If you have value to share but you aren’t ready to invest in a full podcast series of your own, identify other podcasts that reach your audience with related or complementary subject matter. What podcasts do your audiences follow? What are the top-performing podcasts in your industry? Start listening to what’s out there and identify how you can enrich their content. And then make contact! Build a relationship and you may find an opportunity to co-host or interview on their show.
Advertise on podcasts relevant to your audiences. Podcast advertising is also growing in popularity, − it’s an extraordinarily effective tool for building brand recognition. Midroll reports that 80% of surveyed listeners were able to name at least one brand advertised within a podcast episode, without being prompted. Podcast listeners trust their favorite hosts, and hosts take that relationship seriously – some personally select the products and services that sponsor their shows. If you go this route, it should (always!) be part of a holistic PR campaign, and you should request specific metrics to measure the return on your investment.
And by the way: you can mix and match these strategies. For example, start your own podcast and do a crossover episode with someone more established, or advertise your series on another podcast.
Wherever you fall in podcast fandom, it is a medium to watch. With 660,000 shows and counting, there is bound to be a podcast that will tickle your fancy – and you might even be the next voice on the air.
Let us know what you think in the comments: Do you listen to podcasts? Is this medium a worthwhile marketing investment for businesses?
GillespieHall VP of Operations ◆ Consumer Behaviorist ◆ Digital PR & Marketing Strategist