The Rise of Branded Podcasts

A good marketer should always look for ways to reach people where they are. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Americans collectively spent 70 billion hours behind the wheel this past year. A new study says 50% of them are listening to podcasts

“The medium of podcasting and the personal nature of it, the relationship you build with your listeners and the relationship they have with you—they could be just sitting there, chuckling and listening…there’s nothing like that.”

That’s Marc Maron, the host of weekly podcast and radio show WTF with Marc Maron, offering his thoughts on the fast-growing phenomenon that is podcasting.

Statistics show that over half of the nation agrees: podcasts are “in.” This new medium, however, is not just for journalists with a lengthy crime to share. Branded podcasting has landed in the marketing world, and your company should consider jumping on board. 

 

Podcasts: Mainstream in 2019

Back in March, Edison Research and Triton Digital published the results of The Infinite Dial 2019. The Infinite Dial, published annually since 1998, is a survey focused on digital media consumer behavior in America. The survey focuses on mobile behaviors, internet audio, podcasting, social media, smart speakers and more. 

The main takeaway from this year’s Infinite Dial: Among the U.S. population ages 12 and older, the total number of people who have ever listened to a podcast passes 50% for the first time.

Tom Webster, Senior Vice President of Edison Research, remarked: “This is a watershed moment for podcasting–a true milestone. With over half of Americans 12+ saying that they have ever listened to a podcast, the medium has firmly crossed into the mainstream.”

 

Are Brands Really Using Podcasts for Marketing?

It’s true that the most popular podcasts to date were created by radio stations and are hosted by political or news-focused networks. In addition, others are led by journalists and have a central theatrical element–probably based on true, mind-blowing crime.

These might be the podcasts of the hour, but have you heard of Inside Trader Joe’s? How about Slack’s Slack Variety Pack, a podcast focused on telling stories about successful businesses and teams? Microsoft (.future), Johnson & Johnson (Innovation), eBay (Open For Business), Sephora (#LIPSTORIES)–the list goes on and on. Branded podcasts are popping up everywhere, each with a unique theme, tagline, and format.

In marketing, as we all know, brands are consistently pushed to think outside the box. Branded podcasting is a perfect example. How else could you market to an audience through a six-part, 18-hour advertisement they’ve been engrossed in for two consecutive weeks?

 

Why Should Companies Start Branded Podcasts?

 

They’re Simple

I’ll start with the obvious…creating a podcast takes minimal time and resources. Video is a valuable tool, sure, but shooting an impressive, professional promotional video is anything but simple. A podcast requires little more than a microphone and creatively informative stories and voices. 

 

They Build Brand Recognition

Firstly, a branded podcast can reach a variety of specific pockets within your field. In addition, it can build significant brand recognition and instill trust and credibility between you and your consumers. Podcasts are conversation starters–be the company that starts one. 

 

They’re Relationship-Building

Recently, video marketing became a vital step towards consumers connecting with brands. Today, Podcasting is bringing something new. As Marc Maron said in my opening quote: podcasts are personal. Something about spending an hour in the car with the CEO of Sephora or the Trader Joe’s wine experts feels very intimate. Listeners may suddenly see these companies in a whole new light. Don’t you want your clients and customers to have this same connection with your team?

 

They Improve Oral Communication Skills

Public speaking is a vital component of most jobs, and podcasting is a great way for you and your team to sharpen skills in this area. 

 

Starting your own branded podcast may also increase online engagement rate and allow you to reach a wider, more diverse audience. The list goes on and on.

 

Convinced?

If so, keep these three things in mind as you begin your podcast planning: invest in quality equipment (you don’t have to get the best gear out there, but a new mic and an interface wouldn’t hurt), create consistent and relevant content (if your podcast is “weekly,” you better not miss a week), and do your research (figure out when your podcast should go out and, based on your audience, which platforms should host it).  

Let Lex Friedman, CEO of Midroll, sum this up: 

“No one wants to listen to a 10-episode podcast about how great ZipRecruiter is at finding a job or helping hire the right applicant. But, if we can create a show with someone like entrepreneur and author Seth Godin about what it means to be successful and being the most productive person around, that’s going to appeal to exactly the kind of people that ZipRecruiter wants to reach.”

Go reach your people. You know where they are.