Do you remember listening to your first podcast? It’s hard to believe that they have been around for nearly 20 years, so it’s likely you heard your first podcast through the first generation iPod, Zune or on your PC. There have been surges in popularity over the last few decades, as the format changes and shifts, but has now definitely entered the mainstream.
With more people staying at home during the pandemic, the number of podcast listeners grew globally. In 2021, the number of monthly US podcast listeners will increase by 10.1% year-over-year to 117.8 million. According to Statistica.com, “The growing interest in the medium is mirrored in the global number of podcast listeners, which has reached a new high in 2020 at 485 million consumers worldwide. While this is already showing the expansion of the podcast market, the number of listeners is estimated to increase further to [more than] 800 million users in 2025.”
Whether you love them or hate them, podcasts are here to stay. They are readily accessible, portable and a companion when viewing a screen isn’t an option, such as when driving, cooking or exercising. Smart speakers and artificial intelligence have been instrumental in growing podcast accessibility and popularity. As such, it is important to include podcasts as part of your communications strategy to tell your story to new audiences.
Tapping into the listenership of a podcast, especially if they’re your target audience, not only gives a value add to the podcaster because you are sharing your knowledge and expertise to their audience but allows you to raise your own credibility with those audiences. Podcasts range in subjects and can have small, dedicated audiences or millions of casual listeners, plus everything in between.
Education is the top reason listeners tune into podcasts, “Nearly three out of every four podcast consumers in the US say they enjoy tuning in to podcasts to learn new things and do so on a monthly basis.” This also means podcast listeners tend to have a more captive, active listening audience because they have opted-in to listen, compared to more passive listening with the radio.
Recently, I participated in the new The My True Talent Podcast created by communications coach Jez Kay who is sharing stories about people contributing to the business community around the world with their true talents. He describes his podcast as, “All about truly talented people working globally who understand the meaning of purpose and who are doing something about it.” We talked about crisis communications, communicating with a purpose and exciting projects that contributed to teams and businesses. You are welcome to listen to the podcast for free (click on the picture below)
As this medium continues to grow, it is important to include podcasts as a way to grow your brand. Some brands will create their own podcasts while sometimes it makes sense to tap into someone else’s existing audience – or maybe even both!
Podcasts, simply, should be part of your existing communications strategy. Your credibility increases and your messages can be shared in new, innovative ways. They are a great way to tell your and your brand’s story through longer, in-depth interviews with entertaining hosts. So start researching what value you could bring to your favourite podcast and get talking.