If you’ve never envisioned using podcasts as a tool to be used for marketing, think again. Tina Nole, radio producer and on-air-radio-personality-turned-podcast-producer with a production company called Larj Media based in Seattle, recently illuminated GreenRubino’s monthly lunch and learn on the art of podcasting and its potential for brands of all sizes.
Podcasts first came front and center for consumers in 2014 with Serial, the groundbreaking series that was spun off from NPR’s This American Life. Serial, which saw an astonishing audience of 80 million, drastically increased the appetite for podcasts and the wider possibility that they offered — first as a way to articulate a compelling, long form story and more recently, as a vehicle for companies and brands to advance their marketing objectives to key stakeholders and connect to customers. According to Nole, one in four Americans aged 12 to 54 have listened to a podcast within the last month.
As part of a robust public relations campaign, podcasts can provide customers information on a product or service; educate them on the greater mission of a company or a brand; provide insights on a particular topic and articulate a company’s CEO’s thoughts about an issue or industry trend.
Many large brands are getting into the podcast game — In June, Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff launched the podcast Office Hours on the company’s website and on iTunes. In each episode, Rascoff is joined by a fellow CEO or prominent leader and have a conversation on leadership, building a strong company culture or guiding a company in the digital age. Scores of others are following suit including Expedia. InterContinental Hotels Group also recently launched a new podcast series, Fascination, which aims to harness the attention of listeners to inspire travel and immerse listeners in luxury travel experiences.
“We know podcasts are on the rise and are the most effective medium for driving purchase intent with our target consumer,” Jason Moskal, vice president of lifestyle brands at InterContinental Hotels Group Americas told Digiday.com. In addition to posting your podcast on a company’s website or blog, a podcast can also be submitted to the iTunes Stores or SoundCloud, where a brand can further market it and garner listeners.
What’s the footprint of the podcast audience look like? Nole said the pool of podcast spectators has migrated from being predominantly “early adopters” to closely resembling mainstream media consumers. They tend to be educated and affluent with a median annual income of $63,000. Furthermore, about 30 percent of podcast listeners have some level of graduate school education.
Monthly podcast listening grew 23 percent in the last year. Unlike a television segment or ad, a podcast can be listened to at the leisure of the audience member, at any time and virtually any mobile device.
As powerful as a podcast is, Nole noted the content of a podcast has to be engaging and interactive, and can’t just be a brand leader’s monologue. They have to conversational and thought provoking, not mere advertorials for a company’s products or services. Leveraging podcasts as part of a holistic public relations strategy is a mechanism to share your expertise with key audiences. Most of all, podcasts help position your company and thought leaders as authority on a given subject matter, which in turn, has the power to increase customer loyalty and overall brand awareness.s