By Jessie Johnson, The Pollack Group Summer Intern
Podcasts have become a great resource across numerous industries to distribute creative, valuable, and relevant content to attract and retain consumer bases. If you aren’t producing them already, get ready to launch your first piece of audio, because they have become an innovative and boundless way to reach your target audience. No matter your niche, there is a podcast for it. Even big brand names like GE, eBay and Goldman Sachs, are getting in on the action.
While some say that the podcast market is becoming oversaturated, this is simply not the case. Everything depends on the topic of your show. Podcasts started as, and still remain, a niche marketing tool and a way to deliver your individual story. According to studies done by the Pew Research Center, podcast listeners have steadily been increasing since 2008. Today, 44 percent of Americans say they have listened to a podcast with 26 percent within just the last month, and 17 percent within the last week.
Podcasts are a great resource to grow your audience because of their convenience and ease of consumption. Consumers don’t have to take time away from what they’re doing because they don’t have to be attached to a screen. Whether they are walking, driving or exercising, you have an opportunity to increase your customer engagement. While the true professionals have high-end equipment and studios all you need, when just starting out, is a microphone and a program to edit your episodes.
Many brands are beginning to partner with audio production companies who are not only experts who understand the medium, but who also have an already established show and audience. This is an excellent way to cross-promote branded content and potentially generate new customers and revenue.
Gimlet Creative, a Brooklyn audio studio, aired its first branded podcast series for eBay called ‘Open for Business’. No one will download or subscribe to a 30-minute eBay commercial, so it was important they focused on a topic that resonated with its listeners. Other ideas for integrated podcasting can include talking about hot and newsworthy topics, giving advice to position your company as an industry expert, or interviewing other people to appeal to their audience as well.
As your podcast(s) begins to grow, look for ways to monetize it. Partner with sponsors that match your brand and further the purpose of your show. If your company has a podcast host, oftentimes they will come to you with potential for referral sponsorships. Many podcasts earn the majority of their money by name-dropping a sponsor and referring their audience to them. Using traditional sponsorships is also an option, and you can even hire companies to act as a liaison. These sponsorships work on a download basis, where the sponsoring company will offer a set rate per download or listener. You can also promote a membership site where people pay a small fee to access your content. Selling your product or services is another angle to monetize your podcast, because as you gain the trust of your listeners, they will be more susceptible to your invitations to try your services for themselves.
You can start engaging your audience and reaching new consumers in a few simple steps:
1. Create an email or outreach list to announce a new podcast series.
2. Have a few podcasts pre-recorded.
3. Make sure there is shareable content like quotes, images and clips.
4. Once you have launched, ask people to listen and give feedback.
5. Finally, keep publishing new content consistently.