Joe Rogan, Shaquille O’Neal, Alec Baldwin, Snoop Dogg, Macaulay Culkin. Yes, this is a random list of celebrities that have been in the public eye for over 20 years. What do they all have in common? They have all reinvented their brands by starting a podcast. Unless you have been digital detoxing for 3 years, or live isolated from the outside world, it’s been impossible to ignore the place that podcasts have in our world. While social media allowed stars to control their own narrative, nothing gives stars (and individuals like yourself) the ability to communicate with an audience better than podcasting. The acceptance of the medium doesn’t stop with celebrities, as mainstream media and major publications have all adopted podcasting into their 2019 content strategies.
So just how big have podcasts become?
Edison Research recently reported that there are currently over 660,000 registered podcasts, over 51% of the US population has listened to a podcast, and 80% of those people say that they listen to all or most of each podcast episode.
Why are podcasts so popular?
Podcasts fit into our busy lives
Podcasts, unlike any other medium, allow us to fit our addiction to content into our busy lives. We can’t (or shouldn’t) drive to work and watch a YouTube video, scroll through Instagram or read a blog. However, we can plug into a podcast and continue doing our everyday tasks like walking the dog, brewing our morning coffee, driving to the office, going to the gym and more. Podcasts don’t prevent us from living our lives but fill the silences throughout our day with engaging and entertaining content.
There is a podcast for everyone
No matter what your interests are, there is a podcast for everyone. Yes, I mean everyone. Whether your interests are comedy, business, news, sports, storytelling or anything you can imagine, there is a podcast for you. There is literally a podcast where a guy speaks in a monotone voice about nothing, in particular, to help people fall asleep. Podcasts allow you to find your tribe and because the content is all “opt-in” format, you only listen to the podcasts you choose to listen to.
Podcasts are free and up to date
Many people enjoy listening to audiobooks, yet hate paying $20 to listen to a book one time. We have also become accustomed to getting current information, quickly and in most cases, free. Podcasting addresses all of those things, allowing users a simplified, free way to gain access to daily news, information, and insights from our favorite hosts. Also, because of the competition and broad access to information, it creates a sense of urgency from hosts and brands to put out that information quickly and share their best insights along the way.
Podcasts create community
As humans, we strive for connection and community. The second you subscribe to a podcast, you are joining a community of similar minded people interested in a particular topic. Almost like joining an exclusive club, podcasts hosts are getting great at rewarding listeners with insights and discussions that listeners can’t find elsewhere. The Serial podcast might not have been the first community, but they were certainly the biggest. At its height, you couldn’t bring up the word podcast without someone asking if you had listened to the Serial podcast. It was exciting, engaging and viral because of the storytelling and laid the groundwork for many storytelling podcasts today. Similar to what Netflix has done with their binge-worthy shows, podcasts and their hosts aim to create their own version of “can’t miss content” that keeps listeners coming back for more.
Why should companies invest in podcasting?
We have established the value of podcasts within the marketplace, but many companies and advertisers have yet to adapt their marketing budgets to take advantage of the millions of daily listeners. There are many podcast hosts that receive thousands of dollars for a 1-minute live read within their show and those advertisers are excited to pay their asking price. So what makes podcasts valuable to advertisers?
Podcasts are opt-in content, meaning that anyone choosing to subscribe to a podcast, is likely interested in the content, the host, or both. Podcast subscribers become personally invested and trust the opinions of that host, unlike any other medium. Podcast listeners are an advertisers dream: loyal, supportive and responsive. Live reads also generate permanent endorsements for that product or brand. If a podcast host recommends a product (even if it’s a paid ad), that recommendation holds permanent value as a testimonial for their brand.
Podcasts allow advertisers to speak directly to the niche or demographic they are trying to reach. If your niche is selling vintage Star Wars lunch boxes, you can bet that advertiser would jump at the opportunity to reach the 10,000+ listeners that consistently listen to Star Wars Minute, a very popular Star Wars podcast. Podcast audiences create their own niche around the show’s topic, allowing advertisers to easily identify the types of potential customers that are listening.
Call to Action:
Consumers like being told what to buy and they love when somebody they trust, tells them to buy it. There are so many options these days and trust is more important than ever. The influencer marketing boom was made famous on Instagram, but podcasters are perfecting it. Brands are aligning with reputable hosts that present their product (in their own words) to their thousands of listeners and attach a promo code/offer to purchase that product. These ads sound less like ads, and more like personal recommendations, which make them very effective marketing messages for advertisers.
Higher income community:
41% of all podcast listeners record an income of $75K or higher and over 21% of listeners make over $100K. This means that podcast listeners have buying power. If you align with a reputable host, coach them on your product and they can connect the offer to their audience, that audience has the means to purchase your product. Hosts will typically include their promo code and a link to the product website within the show notes, giving customers an easy way to purchase that product.
Multiple platform exposure:
While podcasts are typically only listened to, the content is spread across many other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. They also create blogs and send internal email blasts to their subscribers when new episodes launch. If advertisers negotiate the right way, they can position their product in links/video content across all of the host’s platforms, generating more levels of exposure for their product or brand.
The podcasting boom over the last 3 years has shown that the medium will only continue to gain traction. Hollywood stars, media companies, and the biggest publishers in the world have all accepted the importance of podcasting, but it may eventually be the advertisers that stand the most to gain. The brands that best take advantage of the synergy between podcast, host, and audience, will ultimately create distance from their competitors over the next 3 years.