A podcast is a series of audio episodes that users can stream or download for future listening. The word podcast, a contraction of “iPod” and “broadcast,” was coined by British journalist Ben Hammersley in 2004. 

Podcasts can be enjoyed by everyone, some even by children, and at any time, for example, on the metro on the way to work. This type of communication is now attracting freelancers and companies to create their own content.  

How does a podcast work?

These free audio broadcasts are available on various podcast hosts, such as Spotify or Apple Podcast for the most well-known. The main advantage of this kind of digital communication is that there are no predefined criteria for style, length, or production. The podcasters (creators of podcasts), whether independent or acting for a brand, choose their release frequency: weekly or in “seasons,” for example. Many audio contents are 20 to 30 minutes long, but podcasts of one hour or more are also very popular.
Through RSS feeds, listeners are free to choose to subscribe to the shows and download the episodes they like so they can listen to them whenever they want.
In order to know your target audience and to keep listeners coming back, it is necessary to choose your format and topic carefully, which will be the editorial line of the podcast.

How to choose your communication format

Choosing your podcast format is key. Depending on the type of content you produce, certain types of communication are more relevant. There are large number of formats, some more traditional, others more innovative. However, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t create your own original format.

Testimonials and experience sharing   

Testimonials and experience sharing are similar types of communication. On the one hand, they allow companies, for example, to promote the brand by interviewing their customers. This way, brands get closer to their customers and establish a more intimate relationship with them. As Guerlain did with Olfaplay and their “Olfactory partitions” (Partitions olfactives in French) broadcast.

Experience sharing, for its part, alone or with others, enables you to talk about your personal experience or to invite others to exchange and chat about a common experience in which the listener will be able to identify.

The narrative podcast 

The narrative podcast allows a wide range of topics to be covered. This type of content is generally more immersive for the listener since it generally applies to many genres : 

  • The Investigative podcast: where one can follow the investigation of a journalist.
  • The Historical podcast: relating facts from history.
  • The Fictional podcast: generally audio books or stories. 

Thanks to this format, the listener can identify with the characters. 

The informative podcast

The informative podcast has an educational or informational aspect. It sometimes substitutes for television news or radio programs, as it allows the listener to reflect on current events and talk about cultural issues. In this format, great creativity is required to interest the audience.

The rise of this new media during the health crisis

Like the streaming platform Twitch, podcast listeners are looking for social contact and interaction in the face of isolation. Podcasts allow listeners to identify with others, dive into a specific topic, and escape the anxiety-inducing environment. It also allows podcasters to address issues in greater depth.

According to an Audion study, listening to audio content has increased by 20% since the beginning of the lockdown. 

A new marketing strategy for brands

With COVID-19, the podcast has become a fundamental marketing strategy for companies. Indeed, since the beginning of the health crisis, social networks have become the main form of communication.
As a low-cost medium, regular content will allow a company to develop its reputation by addressing a wider audience and increasing its sales.
By doing so, companies and brands are no longer pushing users to their content or their products as the users themselves turn to the content that appeals to them.
Nowadays, many brands sponsor an existing podcast. Sponsorship is an effective and popular way for brands to promote themselves on social networks, such as YouTube or Instagram. However, product placements should align with the values and theme of the podcast without being intrusive.

Why use it? 

  • It’s an easy way to expand your reach. Whether it’s a brand new one or you are partnering with a podcast producer, participating in one will allow your brand to reach new audiences because they are easily searchable by topics and easy to listen to. Whatever your product is, you can provide expertise on the subject without much effort and in return, your newly acquired audience will turn into potential customers. 
  • It helps you build your brand beyond just a business. Listeners will see you as a person, not a brand or company trying to sell their product. Hearing you talk about your brand, why and how it has been created, they get involved in the process and they feel a closer connection to your company, and therefore, increase their loyalty. 
  • It’s a lot cheaper and easier than video. In the 21st century, you can’t avoid digital marketing and content creation. Producing is easy, a few equipments are needed and technical know-how is not necessary. All you need is a good quality microphone and headphones, and a topic, then, boom, here’s your podcast (with eventually a little bit of editing).
  • And bonus, for improving your SEO! The platform it will be hosted on will link to your website, and create backlinks. You will have more keywords and podcasts appear as rich on SERPs. Finally, it’s easy to share on social media. 

Podcasts are indeed a very effective tool for your marketing strategy nowadays. It helps you leverage your business and is not saturated yet by brands promoting their products. Listeners will feel a deeper connection, and you can build a real community for your brand with it.

Learn more about digital marketing and new ways to promote your brand with these other articles on our blog: Live Streaming on Twitch.tv: a New Opportunity for Brands to Advertise Online and Best strategies for global Digital Marketing

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