And why should I start one?
In short, a podcast is a digital audio file available to download or stream online.
Pretty simple, right?
But why should you consider creating one today?
For those of you without the time or energy to scroll through the entire blog, we've provided this cheatsheet infographic as an easily digestible alternative:
For the rest of you who have scrolled down to see our full blog, let's dive a little deeper into the whys and hows of podcasting:
The most personal marketing tool
Podcasts enable you to build up a more personal relationship with your audience. Hosts often use podcasts as an opportunity to be themselves and showcase their individuality, while also spreading their message - far more so than in other media streams. Being able to talk to your audience straight through their headphones is a very direct and engaging medium. When you listen to a podcast, there is a sense of intimacy, as if the host is talking directly to you. This personalisation promotes brand loyalty, as listeners feel a connection with your show and therefore continue listening.
The nature of podcasts as a medium is far more accessible and less restrictive than the typical way in which we consume audio content: radio.
There are no set air times, no limit on episode duration and, most importantly, complete flexibility when it comes to what you want to say and how you want to say it. This means your material can be as broad or niche as you like (don't worry, you don't have to convince any producers that your podcast is worthy of being heard!) - your message, your way.
This flexibility doesn't just make them a popular choice for those of us looking to tell our story, but also for potential listeners!
The way we consume media has changed. It is now almost entirely in our control. Think about it - Netflix, Spotify, Sky Plus - most media channels offer us the choice to consume our favourite films, music and shows as and when we want to, not at some predefined time decided upon by a studio. People want to access the content they like on their terms - when it suits them. Podcasts play perfectly into this new dynamic, which is why they are taking the world by storm as we speak.
Potential Revenue Stream
As well as a successful marketing tool, podcasts also offer their own potential revenue. Once you have built up a group of loyal subscribers, there will then be the opportunity for paid advertising. This will not deter your listeners, as it is accepted as a norm within the world of podcasts. However, there are ways to do it right. Firstly, try to always stick to paid promotions, rather than let advertisers use their own content and voices within your show. This maintains the flow of the episode and means you can add your own personality to the advert. And secondly, try to always promote things that you think your audience may be genuinely interested in.
The other point to consider is that podcasts are incredibly cheap to produce when compared to other forms of media. This is because you are only concentrating on one stream - audio - while still having the personal touch of hearing directly from a host. As the associated costs are so low, you can spend the money ensuring high quality production, music and recording. While podcast listeners are very loyal, they also have a tendency to be relatively discerning, so it is worthwhile making sure your content has the best possible chance of success by investing in production.
Podcast listeners are known for being brand loyal: if they subscribe to a certain show, then they will most likely listen to every episode released from then on. This is partly down to the nature of podcasts. Podcatchers (apps that allow listeners to subscribe and listen to their favourite shows) such as Apple Podcasts, Podcast Addict and Podbean, work in such a way that every time you release a new episode, it will appear on your subscribers' feeds, meaning the hard work is done for you!
The all important question still remains - what kind of listenership can you expect?
Podcasts have gone from a little known niche medium to one of the main sources of media in the last decade, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down.
In the UK, 21% of the population listen to podcasts - that's 14 million potential listeners. The more interesting stat is that 11% of the population (7.2 million people) listen to podcasts weekly, with a huge average listening time of 6.1 hours! If one person were to attempt to get through this much content, it would take almost 5025 years! And this doesn't even begin to tap into the US market, which is much, much larger...
With such a huge potential audience, you don't need to be overly concerned with pleasing the masses. Sometimes, it is better to find the precise subject you or your team are most knowledgable about or interested in, no matter how niche, because there will always be an audience out there for it. Not to mention; the more specialist your content, the less competition there is likely to be.
Podcasts are quickly becoming a worldwide phenomena, so with an incredibly dedicated international listenership and proven show loyalty, there is plenty of opportunity for you to find your target audience!
Happy podcasting! From the Green Barge Audio team.