August 14, 2015
PODCASTS ARE BACK
Podcasts are becoming big business, now attracting audiences in the millions. As recently reported in The Grocer, podcasts are a powerful tool to engage with your audience – so listen up.
Last year public interest in podcasts reached new highs in response to the SERIAL podcast from radio show This American Life, which has amassed nearly 80 million downloads to date. The media have regarded this juncture as the ‘podcast renaissance’; and whilst no other podcast has yet come close to SERIAL in terms of audience figures there is certainly a new-found appetite for audio output from established media-owners, brands and amateurs alike.
Short, chapterised podcast episodes are proving to be popular sources of news and entertainment for today’s time-pushed consumers, who are now very accustomed to accessing content on-demand. Rather than flicking through the paper, podcasts are becoming the perfect commuter fix; for example the FT’s ‘Listen to Lucy’ podcast wittily celebrates the ups and downs of office life in digestible six minute bursts.
Easier to access than ever, podcasts can be streamed or downloaded straight to your smartphone via various podcast apps. And the trend is set to continue with both Spotify and Deezer adding podcasts to their service offerings soon.
Should you be factoring in podcasts in your broadcast target media lists? Well, news outlets are reporting fantastic audience numbers, often on par with high-reaching blogs. For example, Share Radio’s morning show with the Mail Online’s This is Money attracts a cool 300,000 podcast listens per week. Similarly to radio programming, producers have time to fill and so are usually happy to be approached by PRs with spokesperson or story suggestions.
Often media owners will use their podcast to explore news features in more detail which is good news for PRs as it extends your coverage airtime. For example, we recently supported the launch of the Civil Aviation Authority’s ‘Dronecode’ campaign which was discussed on the Wired podcast after being featured on their site and magazine.
Without the restrictions of everyday radio programming schedules, podcasts can be more experimental, allowing producers to hone in on specific topics at length – in a sense enabling a ‘narrowcast’. Certainly, from comedy to health to music to travel, there are a variety of niche podcasts catering to many audiences which can aid PRs in reaching target markets. And not only that, the audiences are loyal with 95% of people listening to every episode of the shows they follow.
A further consideration for brands and organisations is of course to invest in a long-term relationship with listeners. Organisations such as The National Theatre, ASOS, Royal Horticultural Society and the NHS have already seen successes in the podcast charts and audience engagement.
The podcast format allows organisations to deliver key messaging in an editorial (yet controlled) environment. However you choose to present it; a panel discussion, an interview or a single point-of-view, the podcast has the potential to be a key asset in your communications toolbox – providing long-lasting content that drives conversation.
And it’s not difficult to do. In fact, developing compelling audio content is simpler to produce and more cost efficient than video if working to a smaller budget. To get the best results, you should use a professional studio and sound engineer who can edit the audio content. To raise production standards further and provide the programming with greater ‘brand identity’ you should also consider adding bespoke stings or audio triggers to add memorability. The podcast can be embedded on any website but can also create a hub or microsite to house all your content.
For more information about podcast production and development and tapping into the podcast market on behalf of your organisation or clients please contact us on 020 7253 8888 or email