A new way to reach audiences

August 3, 2015 5:16 pm Published by

How podcasts are becoming an increasingly viable new communication channel 

After the colossal success of real-crime podcast Serial last year, podcasts have finally arrived as a commercially respected medium. With numbers of monthly users tripling to 75 million over the last five years, podcast fever is catching like wild fire.

So with this increasing popularity, what are the benefits of reaching out to podcasts – as a new and exciting channel – to publicise businesses?

For starters, the world of podcasts has an incredibly dedicated fan base (real enthusiasts listen to them more than anything else, even music). If you associate yourself with a good podcast their audience becomes your audience. And subscribers know that supporting your company supports the podcast they love.

This association would, most likely, take the form of a recommendation from the podcast’s host – the ultimate third party endorsement.

This is of particular value as audiences often feel they know podcast hosts personally and trust them implicitly. For them, it would be unthinkable that a podcaster would endorse an unworthy company just “for the money”.

Whilst this is partially true, podcasters do need money. The majority of podcasts are completely free, meaning, without support, money is lost. So podcasts are on the lookout for up-and-coming companies they can promote on air. However, this does mean there’s little chance of free publicity here.

But the promotion rarely takes the form of a commercial break. Interestingly, podcast ‘adverts’ resemble advertorials, with the host speaking to the audience directly about their sponsor. This is particularly memorable because it comes from the mouth of the respected presenter.

It’s also less disruptive to the listener’s enjoyment of the podcast than an ad break, something a fan might avoid by fast-forwarding. Also, if an episode is replayed your recommendation will still be there, even years later.

However, this all depends on finding a popular, suitable podcast. Podcast listenerships can vary dramatically: some may reach thousands of downloads but more have much smaller figures. Finding a podcast with enough subscribers to make an investment worthwhile would take research.

Podcasting as an industry in the UK is still developing and is following in the footsteps of America’s more established model. Like in all forms of online media, creators are still working out the finer details of monetising free to view content.

For businesses that take the plunge and create partnerships with podcasts, it could be an exciting opportunity – not only to gain exposure – but to also shape the future of online broadcasting and advertising.

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This post was written by Ella Thomas