Podcasts as branded content are big business. Not only media partners are interested in long-form audio, but many companies have started podcast production departments within their own businesses, hoping to attract new and old audiences. This is not surprising. Data indicates that over half of Americans listen to podcasts. The 25% who listen to podcasts weekly listen to an average of six and a half hours of programming. Marketers find it almost impossible to resist the chance to talk about your brand and product one-on-one with such a large audience for extended periods of time.
Should your company invest in the launch of a podcast?
Before you launch your own podcast, you have to consider several factors.
1. Does your audience listen to podcasts?
Look at your target and existing demographics. If they are highly engaged in the audio sector, it might be worth exploring. Take American Express for example. Sixty percent of their small business owners target audience listes to podcasts. Thirty percent are listening explictly to business podcasts. That's their answer to the most important questions: Who and where are my customers that I can reach?
2. How to intgrate a podcast into your content strategy?
It makes absolute sense not to start with a podcast right away. Instead, build upon your existing audience and introduce them to your podcast. Again, American Express is a good example here. Their team started with a newsletter and built an Instagram following. This led to an educational web platform called Business Class and to their Podcast. We a IKANGAI are actually right in this phase of the content strategy: we're building up our linked.in audience and produce content on our blog.
3. What will your podcast do for your audience?
Although podcasts can convert and recruit large audiences, the best programming is not focused on selling. Instead give your listeners something they can value. This is typical something like tipps and tricks, what is often referred as evergreen content. You can integrate one advertisement, that's something your listeners won't mind about.
4. Does your podcast align with your brand's mission, goals, and values?
We at IKANGAI are an SME with the typical challenges SMEs face. One of our goals is to build an identity around our brand so that potential customers understand our mission. However, most of the content that we produce isn’t quantifiable as specific IKANGAI-content per se. It falls under the category "important and interesting to us", but it's always related to our mssion of providing our customers tools and services to engage their customers.
5. Are you a podcast creator with an idea?
Ask yourself what you would like to podcast about. A good starting point to take a look at the content you produce for your newsletter or you blog. Initially, you can podcast could be the audio version of the blog or newsletter content you produce. This will make for short podcasts and you can test if the topics are interesting for your audience.
6. Podcast production can be costly
A good way to start is to do our podcast in house. This keeps costs down and you are flexible, since it's a matter of learning by doing in the early phases. If you manage to establish a growing subscriber base, you can start working on boosting you podcast quality with interviews and so on. But that's not always necessary: it's enough to start with a singature like "Hello, this is Martin from IKANGAI. In this week's podcast I'm going to talk about podcasts and the value for your business".
7. A podcast is a product
It doesn't matter how casual your approach to podcasting is. Publishing a podcast is hard work. Getting listeners and distributing each episode requires strategy and a marketing plan in order to have success. Put simply: a podcast is a product you offer.
Keep in mind that podcasts are less about selling products and more about telling great stories, interesting interviews, or providing valuable insight. However, the return on investment can be worth it. If you can deliver the message to someone, they will listen for a long time and then they will listen again and again.
If you are in it for the long-term, podcasts can be a great way for you to establish lasting relationships with your audience. Podcasts should be done for the love of the story, not to sell products. It must be nuanced and thoughtful. It is a very intimate experience to be in someone's ears like that. This is not something that every brand can do.
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