Vinayak Agrawal, Co-Founder, myHQ sheds light on the relevance & growth of Podcasts as a medium and ways to leverage the platform especially during the lockdown.
The last decade has witnessed a digital explosion and the growth of podcasts has significantly added to the surge. In a world where we have an abundance of information but not enough time to consume it, the growth of podcasts is no less than a boon.
In this article we’ll be navigating through the details of the growth of podcasts and how can marketers leverage it especially during this time.
What is a Podcast?
Podcasts are typically audio files that are available on the internet for you to consume as-is. They’re available to you in the form of episodes and series and are other times independent of any prequel/sequel.
To understand it simply – podcasts can be a single person (host) speaking to you about a particular topic that can range from entrepreneurship to fitness to self-improvement. The host can literally be talking to you about anything under the sun. Then there can also be a host (interviewer) and a guest (usually an expert) in which the guest expresses his opinion and engages in discussion on any topic/current event.
There’s a reason why content marketing is second to none when it comes to building a loyal customer base. Your product/service alone cannot keep your business up and running for long. Your audience now needs to know why you do what you do, what are your business values and ethics, what causes you care about, and how you aim to add value to this world.
Thus podcasts can prove to be a blessing because they help you capture the audience’s attention with value-adding content for hours on end. Podcasts help them connect with your brand like never before.
According to the latest report by Neilsen, 55% of people in developed countries have listened to podcasts at least once and about 37% consume podcasts at least once a month. A similar trend has been observed in India and it will only increase.
Growth of podcast
India has nearly 500 million internet users. And out of them, approximately 40 million listen to podcasts. And that’s a huge figure. The number is growing rapidly than ever before.
- Timing: We live in a time where production and consumption of content are happening at a rapid rate. That answers why content creators have risen dramatically in the last 5 years and why we spend most of our time-consuming content on Youtube/Instagram. Now the reason for the growth of podcasts is the same.
- Accessibility: Podcasts top the charts when it comes to accessibility. You can access podcasts through websites, iPhone, or Android. There are a variety of apps for the same. You’re just a tap away from all the infotainment waves.
- Multitasking: You do not have to adjust your schedule to make space for podcasts. You can listen to it while commuting, doing house chores, or even working out.
- Easy to make: The resources that go into making podcasts do not even count. They are usually available in audio formats so you do not need a dedicated space and lights and camera to make one. You can literally start making podcasts from your living rooms.
- Versatility: Podcasts are so versatile in nature that there’s a podcast for everyone. So it doesn’t matter what genre your brand belongs to, you can start talking around it.
Benefits of Podcast for listeners
- Multitasking: Podcasts can catalyze your growth immensely and do not even require all the attention in the world. You can listen to them while commuting, working out, or cooking – they help you multitask effortlessly. Can content/value consumption be made any easier?
- Cost: Most of the podcasts you listen to don’t even require a subscription fee. So you can just explore the internet, find what you need to learn about, and go in-depth of the topic without having to shell anything out of your pockets.
- Personal and professional growth: What you listen to in those podcasts are often experts talking about how they did what they did and giving you remarkable insights into a particular topic. And that is one gem of valuable information that you’re receiving on your smartphones.
Benefits of Podcast for brands
The fact that Indians use Youtube (the world’s largest video-streaming platform) for audio content speaks volumes about why podcasts must be a significant part of your marketing strategy.
- An opportunity like never before: Think about it. As a brand what do you want the most? Isn’t it getting your story or message out to your potential customers, employees, and investors? Is there anything you would want more than an engaged audience waiting to consume what you’ve to say? With so many applications fighting for screen time, you have the opportunity to connect with your customers while they’re not actively looking into their phones.
- An incredible marketing tool: Podcasting is that platform where your message will be clearly conveyed to your audience without any distraction. They can be doing anything they want and will still be listening intently to what you have to say. It is the convenience of consumption that makes podcasting an effective marketing tool.
- Accurate analytics: You can know:
- Number of listens for your podcasting episode
- The average length of listening for each episode
- Episodes that perform the best
- Subscribers count
- Updated ratings and reviews
- Platform/devices your listeners use
- Geographical location – country/region of your listeners
- On-demand: Think about it – what great customer will an audience make who is willingly tapping on your podcast. Also, it’s only you who’s doing the talking and there’s no other vendor dropping in and advertising their products/services as is the case with Youtube.
- Flexibility: Another reason why podcasts can prove to be highly beneficial is that you don’t have to stick to a single strategy. You can tailor your message any number of times for it to appeal to your target consumers.
- Brand-customer relationship: During mainstream or digital ads you have your audience’s (often forced) attention for 15 to 60 seconds. But on podcasts, you can take an average of 60 minutes to build your story and convince your customers that you are solving a problem and why you’re doing it the best way.
- Behind the scenes: Podcasting allows you to introduce your brand’s seniors (Founder, President, CEO, CMO) to your audience. This is you sending out your message directly to the audience. There’s no third party as is seen in ads where someone else sends your message to the customers. You can bring the people who have literally build your brand and make them interact with the audience.
- Cost-effective: Podcasting is cost-effective by most standards. Marketing is expensive and you can put your best foot forward and hope it works. But with podcasting, you get a chance to be with your audience by spending a little on equipment, promotional strategies, and hosting fees.
- Profitability: Here’s what the stats say:
- 62% of your listeners will consider your product/service.
- 63% of your listeners will buy something you promote.
- 71% of your listeners will visit your website.
- 88% of your subscribers will listen to every episode you put out.
Podcasts in the time of the lockdown
The lives of people all over the country have slowed down and there’s only so much one can do to pass time inside their homes. This can be a great opportunity for marketers – if used wisely.
No brand can afford to suffer – out of sight, out of mind- loss.
But without spending big bucks, marketers can send out their message and engage the audience. Especially now when the audience has all the time in the world. People are literally looking to reshape their lives and be well aware and informed in the lockdown. And marketers have the power to give them what they are looking for. Thus podcasts can be an excellent option for businesses right now.
Here are a few themes that can be explored for creating a podcast and staying relevant:
- Remote working & work from home productivity
- Ensuring mental and physical wellbeing
- Upskilling and Personal Development
- Inviting influencers and experts for a session relevant to your business and target audience
Marketers who win at engaging their audience during this period will reap long term benefits. Why? Because even after the lockdown is over, people are going to remember the brands that helped them navigate through the crisis with information and entertainment. And right now you won’t have to fight for the audience’s time because unlike in the past all we have is time.
This article is authored by Vinayak Agrawal, Co-Founder, myHQ.