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2021 is The Year of Audible Branding.
Podcast listenership is spreading as fast as COVID-19 these days, but without the bad symptoms.
Below are some key podcast statistics:
- 55% of Americans have listened to podcasts – up from 51% in 2019 (Infinite Dial 20)
- 68 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly – up from 22% in 2019 (Infinite Dial 20)
- 16 million Americans are “avid podcast fans” (Nielsen Q1 2018)
My sound advice to businesses: Start a podcast! Why? Oh, I dunno…keeping current customers loyal, attracting lots of prospective clients, being ahead of the competition—which all translates to more dough. It’s not hard to start one (trust me, I’m a podcast host!) and the payoff is well worth your effort.
1. No Need to Break the Bank
Let’s start with the basics: audio equipment, editing software, artwork, and—most important of all—great content is what it takes. You can start a podcast with a basic mic and free editing software (like Audacity). I use the Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic, which now goes for $69.32 on Amazon. The sound quality is decent and all you have to do is plug it into your computer and “Voilà!”
Your podcast will be hosted on a platform with free options, such as Anchor, Podbean, Spreaker, and Buzzsprout. You’ll know how you’re doing from the stats these platforms provide. It’s quite a thrill seeing those numbers go up!
The amount of editing is up to you. Lots of podcasts are recorded and stay in their raw form, especially if the format is interview style.
Speaking of interviews…You can get your feet wet by getting invited as an expert guest on a podcast episode that’s related to your business. You will just need to research podcasts in your niche. So, if you’re a burgeoning flower shop owner, find a flora-focused podcast and strut your flower power on their show.
If you can get an industry leader, (or even a noname with something interesting to say that’s of value to your target audience) on your podcast, you’ll generate a lot of interest. Aside from bringing in more business through your customer base, a podcast can become lucrative through sponsorships. Your podcast can generate revenue from sponsors looking to sell their product or increase brand awareness.
I want to stress that sponsorship is not the be-all-end-all for generating income from your podcast. The caveat to sponsorship is that it can water down your show a bit (although there is a trend that ads are becoming more organic to a show’s content, they’re still a bit of a hiccup.)
I won’t devote a lot of time to the ins and outs of sponsorship, but here are industry standards from EOfire:
- $18 per 1000 listens for about a 15-second preroll (talking about the brand before the fleshy part of your episode starts)
- $25 per 1000 listens for approx. a 1-min midroll (about halfway through, you talk about the brand)
- $10 per 1000 listens for a 15-30 second postroll (at the end of your episode you give a call to action for the product or service)
3. Listener Loyalty—the Podcast “Puppy Effect”
When someone decides to listen to a podcast, they’ll most often listen to the entire episode. Jason Cox, CTO at Data Intelligence Group and host of “Jason’s Show,” says listeners usually listen to 80-90% of an episode’s content, regardless of episode length. If they like it, they follow it and keep listening. They’re excited, eager, and loyal. It’s the Podcast Puppy Effect. Listeners are like that adorable puppy that follows you around with undivided attention.
Your podcast will keep your brand fresh because you now have a personality. You’re a relatable person with trusted information, an entertaining story, and actionable advice. You just need to know your audience and cater to their needs.
- Own a flower shop?Start a flora-loving podcast. (The Florist Tourist?)
- Have a cafe with unique bean offerings? You can “talk among yourselves” on your podcast with coffee connoisseurs. (Cawfee Klatch?)
- Financial district? You can help us all out of the pandemic-induced debt. (Making Cents of It All?)
People will have a sense of intimacy with your brand. A personable brand translates to greater sales and increased loyalty. The value of voice to the screen-weary cannot be underestimated.
Plus, your listeners can gobble up your content while on the move. They have you with them while riding the stationary bike, making dinner, doing the “warrior pose,” planting flowers, scrubbing the counters, and driving to Trader Joe’s. A warm voice they can take with them pretty much anywhere.
4. It’s Interesting and a Great Way to Network
I love sharing my knowledge and knowing that others find it engaging and worthwhile. It’s also great fun to meet people through interviews. Researching a topic and finding expert guests is enriching both professionally and personally.
You can reach out to people all over the world for your podcast in terms of guests and prospective clients. You can cultivate relationships, expand your network, all while gaining credibility with your audience.
You can also cross-promote by inviting other hosts to be on your podcast and having a guest from your company be on their podcast.
5. Marketing for the Masses
- 13 million households have devoted business podcast listeners. (Podcast Trends Report, 2018)
- 52 million American households listen to business podcasts from time to time. (Nielson’s Marketer’s Guide to Podcasting)
- From 2016 to 2019, branded content in podcast advertising has increased from 1.5% to 10.1% (IAB Podcast Ad Revenue Study for 2019)
Spencer Shaw, who started PodKick Media says business podcasts “may be one of your most effective education and marketing tools.”
Ken Greene, who turned to podcasting to market in the finance sector says that he’s getting new clients from all over the country from his podcast Engineer of Finance. He says it was “one of the best things he’s done marketing-wise.”
6. Podcast Fans ~ Social Influencers with Deeper Pockets
It feels a bit yucky to measure a listener’s worth by their income and Insta posts… but, it is relevant to know that, based on a study by Nielson:
- 45% of monthly podcast listeners have a household income over $75K (vs. 35% for the total population)
- 27% of US podcast listeners have a 4-year college degree (vs. 19% for the US population)
- 48% of listeners are 12-34
- 32% are 35-54
- 20% are 55+
- 94% of podcast listeners are active on at least one social media channel (vs. 81% for the entire population)
- ***Podcast fans are more liable to follow brands and companies on social media***
No surprise–millennials represent the largest age demographic for podcast listeners. If your product or service can be valuable to a youngster (yeah, showing my age), launching a podcast can be particularly beneficial.
Podcast listeners are generally millennials, affluent, and active on social media. Create a good podcast and your business will get discovered by people all over the world through podcasting libraries on iTunes, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, and dozens of others.
At the very least, if you haven’t checked out a podcast, do so. Maybe it’ll give you the inspiration you need to get started. Check out successful branded podcasts.
If you are looking for a step-by-step on starting a podcast, consider reading Podcast Launch: How to Create & Launch Your Podcast and Buzzsprout’s “How to Start a Podcast.”