What is the Importance of Podcasts in Digital Marketing?
Podcasts are one of the fastest-growing forms of media in Australia, with downloads hitting 49 million in 2021. That’s a 13% increase year-on-year!
On-demand audio is rapidly outpacing radio, as it allows listeners to find exactly what they’re looking for at a time that suits them. We have already seen this revolution take place with video through YouTube, and podcasts are next up!
Brands are increasingly understanding the importance of podcasts in digital marketing and choosing to develop a podcast marketing strategy to reach new audiences.
As it’s a newer form, podcast listeners are disproportionately technically literate, high-income and well qualified – so this could be the digital marketing channel where you achieve cut-through with this target audience.
Check out our guide for our top tips for podcasts, and why a solid podcast marketing strategy should be a no-brainer for your 2022 digital marketing plans.
Getting Started: Nice and Easy
A podcast is one of the easiest media vehicles to get started with. There are no formal criteria to qualify for the largest distributors, Spotify and Apple Podcasts, so you can go from idea to publication in a matter of days.
Some of the most successful podcasts out there were started with just a phone – it’s possible to record, edit and publish your first few episodes without any extra equipment. While the production value is important, the most crucial element of podcasting is always the ideas and insight.
To pick up your first few hundred podcast listeners, you’ll want to niche down to make sure you’re providing highly specialised value for your target audience. Your podcast marketing strategy should focus on what makes you different, to separate yourself from what’s already out there.
Once you’re in the swing of things, you may want to upgrade your recording equipment to give a more professional feel, and maybe outsource your editing so you can turn around content more quickly. Compared to other forms of digital marketing, this is still a tiny investment!
Turn Free Time into You and Me Time
Podcasts are revolutionary in the sense that they are a hands-free form that does not require your visual attention. This opens up hours of dead time per day that you can now leverage to communicate with your audience that you should be taking advantage of!
People are learning languages on their commute to work, enjoying a comedy show while they tidy the house or listening to social media marketing podcasts while they work out (guilty as charged). Across the board, people have an extra two to three hours a day to broaden their horizons and leverage their “free time” – so help them take advantage of it by sharing your expertise in a podcast!
As the way we engage with media as a society changes, your digital marketing needs to adapt too. Podcast listeners generally use smartphones to consume their content – doesn’t that make more sense than expecting them to zoom in on your blog post on their five-inch screen?
You’ve Already Got the Content
A great bonus of starting a podcast is that you’re probably already sitting on a tonne of content from other digital marketing efforts. If you’re already running a blog or producing long-form social media posts, you have a catalogue of ideas that can be repurposed into meaningful podcasts without having to reinvent the wheel.
A good place to start would be by analysing what your top-performing content is, and begin producing episodes discussing those core ideas. Your audience is already telling you what they respond to best – and you should listen! This removes so much of the guesswork and increases the chances of your episodes gaining traction.
On the flip side, the podcast content you produce can also be repurposed across other digital marketing channels. For example, you could add a particularly interesting clip from an episode to your Facebook page, inviting your followers to download the remainder of the episode. This gives your followers the chance to easily share your podcast, generating organic reach for the show that will translate into new subscribers.
One of my top tips for podcasts in terms of producing content is to document rather than create. Podcast listeners love to see behind the scenes and find out the inner workings of companies, so if you’re struggling for ideas, just talk about what you’re up to and the results you’re getting.
Keep Them on the Hook
The average podcast episode lasts half an hour and is equivalent to roughly 4,500 words. This would equate to around six blog posts, which is a big ask for both you to produce and your audience to consume.
On average, 80% of podcast listeners consume most or all of an episode once they start it, so if you can hook them with some juicy value off the bat, they’re yours.
If a podcast listener enjoys your content and decides to subscribe, they’ll receive a notification when your next episode comes out. This is a great form of hand-off digital marketing that will help you build a long term audience.
According to the Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, we naturally retain twice as much information when listening to audio than reading text.
So it’s a win-win. You’re able to get more across to your podcast listeners, and they’re twice as likely to remember what you said!
Free Digital Marketing? Yes, Please
Other digital marketing strategies require you to spend thousands on ad campaigns, continually testing as you build up an ideal audience profile that converts. Even once you’ve cracked that, you’re still essentially at the whim of companies like Facebook and Google, who could suddenly increase the CPC of particular keywords without warning.
Thankfully, if you can stay consistent with podcasting, you avoid paying rent in perpetuity on advertising space.
Once you have a reasonable subscriber base (around 1,000), the podcast platform algorithms will start to take over and put your show in front of people who have enjoyed shows that are similar to yours.
Rather than spending thousands on third party digital marketing, Apple and Spotify will start actively marketing on your behalf to exactly the sort of listeners you want to reach – does it get much better than that?
Get In on (Nearly) the Ground Floor
Despite their widespread popularity, podcasts are still a comparatively new form of media consumption. As such, you’ll have fewer publishers rivalling you for listeners, meaning that if you niche down you’re still likely to be one of the only voices speaking on that topic.
The field is still unsaturated, with Australian podcast listeners up 12% from last year, from 25% to 37%. It’s a great time to get involved while it’s still a form with more demand than supply.
For example, there are over 37 million YouTube channels and over 1 BILLION blogs. In terms of podcasts, there are still only 3 million worldwide.
If that number still seems daunting, keep in mind that 90% of podcasts don’t reach 10 episodes, meaning that if you can stick with podcasting you’re competing with a relatively thin field of people producing high-quality content at a reasonable frequency.
If you can prove your consistency to both your podcast listeners and the distribution platforms, there are still plenty of opportunities to benefit from some tremendous organic growth compared to more established forms of digital marketing.
You’re the Expert
By giving your company a legitimate media outlet, you can position your brand as a leading authority in your niche. If you consistently share free value with your listeners, you’ll build trust that you are the knowledgeable and active expert you claim to be. Part of the importance of podcasts is that you can show your expertise, rather than just telling people about it.
Podcasts are a great way for your listeners to understand exactly what you can do for them, and get the sense that you’re the brand for the job in a way that doesn’t feel like generic digital marketing.
Think about it: If you require a product or service, who are you more likely to go to? The supplier making all the claims under the sun with no evidence to back it up, or the provider who has a transparent back-catalogue of their successes and struggles available online for all to see?
Plus, everybody who comes across your podcast is a warm lead because they’ve actively searched out the sort of content you’re providing. Your prospects are qualifying themselves!
The Gold Is in the Guest Spots
By inviting guests onto your show, you get the opportunity to pick the brains of experts you might not otherwise have access to. It’s a great way to bounce ideas off someone with valuable experience, and it will likely provide you with a lot of value beyond simply churning out another episode for your subscribers.
You may find yourself booking guests that might feel a little “out-of-your-league”, simply because it doesn’t take much effort for someone to jump on a 30-minute Zoom call and chat about something they’re passionate about in exchange for the free exposure you’re offering. If you can land some high-profile guests, it will cement your position as an authority in your industry by association.
Your guests can form a core part of your podcast marketing strategy if they have an audience themselves; you can encourage them to cross-promote your episode to their followers. This can be a great way of turbo-boosting your podcasts growth because there’s a great chance some of their podcast listeners will become loyal subscribers of your show too.
Plus, if they’ve got a successful show themselves, you might be able to pick up some valuable tips for podcasts that you can use for your show.
So with the right guest spots, you’re able to borrow an expert’s authority, audience and experience for your digital marketing. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
As if that wasn’t enough, you might find that some of the guests take a shine to you and become customers themselves, or offer up opportunities for you to work together in some other way. Never underestimate the importance of podcasts as a valuable networking tool!
Let’s Get Personal
Every day we’re bombarded with emails and social media posts that feel like they could have been written by anyone.
Podcasting allows you to separate yourself from the pack through the use of voice. Your podcast listeners suddenly feel like they are part of a conversation, rather than simply the subject of yet another company’s digital marketing.
The fact that podcasts can be long-form, and still easy to digest, means they are suited to exploring ideas in more depth than written forms – the same ideas written in text would just result in serious reader fatigue. You can dig deeper into more complex ideas and showcase your expertise without the limitations of character counts.
The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, so you should always be on the lookout for new ways your business can participate. The importance of podcasts is currently underrated, but it won’t stay that way for long.
By producing podcasts, you can make sure your business stays ahead of the curve and can position itself as a thought leader, as brands continue to “humanise” their digital marketing activities. Hopefully, you’ve been able to pick up some valuable tips for podcasts.
For our top tips on how to increase your downloads, click here, and feel free to reach out to our team with any questions you might have about your podcast marketing strategy!