If you have been thinking about podcasts lately, you’re not alone. The latest Edison Research survey shows that 44 percent of American adults—124 million people—have listened to a podcast; 73 million in the past month.
Some prime examples of the white-hot podcast market:
- There are currently over half a million podcasts, comprising 18 million episodes in more than 100 languages on iTunes alone.
- Two large public radio networks, Public Radio International and Public Radio Exchange, recently merged partly to focus on podcast creation and production.
- Westwood One radio network has been sponsoring “Pitch Pods” at conferences this year, encouraging hopeful podcasters to audition for sponsored slots on their massive distribution network.
There are a number of ways to tap into this expanding opportunity. The challenge is finding a podcast with an editorial theme that aligns with your brand. It’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. The top podcasts tend to be either newsmagazine format or in-depth storytelling. Though they have wide audiences, their content has a broader, mass-market appeal that makes brand alignment highly unlikely.
Smaller podcasts have a much tighter focus on specific markets or subjects. While it may take some time to find just the right one, those podcasts’ audience will more likely be your target market as well. When evaluating a podcast, keep the following in mind:
- Is the host dry and formal, or relaxed and funny?
- Are prior guests reputable industry experts?
- What topics have they covered recently? How could you further the conversation?
- How would being a guest align with your brand and business objectives?
Another way of jumping on the podcast bandwagon that may have larger long term ROI is to start your own. Producing your own podcast gives you another content channel to amplify your message, with total control.
Getting started with podcasting is easier than you might think. When producing your own, consider the following:
- Treat podcasting as a content channel like a corporate blog or social media presence, with a schedule of topics.
- Who are your internal spokespeople? What is their availability for keeping a regular production schedule?
- Not all topics need to be original or exclusive to the podcast: repurposing a white paper or a recent customer survey can be prime fodder for an episode.
- You could also dive deeper into a subject over subsequent episodes, exploring different perspectives with various guests.
- How will the podcast be distributed and promoted?
With such growth in the podcasting universe and a low barrier to entry, the question is not if you should get into it, but rather, when?
– Matthew Kraft
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