Podcast listening is growing at a steady rate every year. 64% of people are now familiar with podcasts while 44% of them listen monthly. It’s also getting easier for people to listen as technology catches up. Many vehicles now have built in systems that allow you to listen on the go, just like traditional radio. Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are similarly making it easy at home.
With both of those advances still being in their fledgling years, we can expect the trend to continue.
So how can you tap into the power of podcasting as a marketer or business owner? Let’s look at four options and detail the strengths and weaknesses of each
The first way is to run ads programmatically. Just like traditional, terrestrial, radio, you can schedule audio ads to run during commercial breaks in a podcast. Called “spots” by the industry, the advantage of this strategy is that it can be done at scale. If you have the right budget and resources, you can reach a large, but targeted audience. It also gives you complete creative control over the messaging.
On the other hand, you miss out on part of the cool factor available with podcasts in that there’s no real brand integration. You are just one more commercial in between content. You’ll also find that you have little control over just which podcasts you are heard on. That may not concern you if your goal is to reach an audience by lifestyle or geography.
The second option is to sponsor a podcast. This is going to potentially reduce your scale dramatically, but you’ll reach niche audiences that may be a better fit for your brand. One of the benefits of going this route is brand integration. You’ll likely be able to get “live reads” done by the hosts of the show. This can go a long way towards earning their audience’s trust.
What’s even better is if you can have the host use your products or services and talk about it. Is it possible that they won’t say exactly what you want and how?
Yes. Count on it!
But, the tradeoff is authenticity. Besides, they know where their bread is buttered. Many sponsorships of this type will also include additional assets like banner ads on the show website, appearances and opportunities to engage their audience at events.
A third option is to partner with a production company to create your own. By doing this, you’ll be able to create a perfect brand fit. One word of caution, don’t create what you want to hear; instead, create what your audience wants to hear.
General Electric produced a beautiful podcast that not about light bulbs or washers and dryers or whatever it is that General Electric does. They created a science fiction podcast called “The Message” which is a huge hit bringing new audiences in front of their brand. According to GE’s global chief creative officer Andy Goldberg, “It’s branded GE Podcast Theater for a reason, but at the same time it’s not like there’s a GE ad interrupting the middle of the story.”
The main drawback here is going to be cost. Since none of the equipment or personnel are yours, you’ll have to pay for it. But unless you have those things in house, and the expertise to deploy them on this type of project, it could be a cost worth paying, especially if the partner knows how to distribute your content. You don’t want to be the beautiful tree falling in the woods with nobody able to hear it.
The obvious next option is to produce it yourself. If you don’t have the things we just went over in the previous item, skip this, it’s not for you. If you are lucky enough to own these assets, you probably don’t need me to tell you what to do with them. Maybe you’re thinking of building this all out. On the plus side, total creative freedom and control plus, you can get the sponsors and ads we’ve talked about to make it a nice revenue stream! On the downside, that’s a heavy investment in time, capital and talent. Then there’s the upkeep as things break and people leave. And as far as getting your podcast heard, you are on your lonesome.
Podcasting can be an effective marketing platform for any business. It can be fun, engaging and profitable. As with many of the parts of your marketing portfolio, above all, the content needs to take priority. Tell great stories and the audience will be there. It’s the audio Field of Dreams.
As always, connect with us to continue the discussion or to get our help!
By Joe Vinsik, Digital Sales Lead