Podcasts have been around for a while now, but they seem to be experiencing a recent surge in popularity. Maybe it’s that people are coming around to their value (both makers and listeners), maybe it’s the increased spread of internet-connected mobile devices or the ability to connect them to car stereos, or maybe it’s a combination of both.
Whatever the case may be, we’re glad to see them on the up and up because, well, we just love podcasts!Back when they were first growing in popularity, two of our partners had a company called Qonverge (that eventually merged into Revel), and were pretty popular podcasters in the area (check out Muskegon in Focus if you want to hear Jason’s broadcasting chops). We’ve been toying around with the idea of re-launching our podcast, so we thought it would be nice to shed a little light on why and how a podcast can potentially help your marketing efforts.
A podcast has basically no filter whatsoever. The people who make it simply record what they want to say (or the conversation they have with their guest), do their editing, and then release it to the world.
There generally aren’t a lot of hands in the pot, so for the listener, it’s like a direct feed to the minds of their favorite podcasters. This is a level of engagement that’s hard to achieve in any medium, but podcasts have another advantage in this arena too – length.
Since many podcast listeners are tuning in during their commutes, while working on other things, or while their hands and eyes are otherwise occupied, podcasts can be a heck of a lot longer than your average YouTube video, blog, or even an in-person conversation. Podcasts can be a few hours long, and no one bats an eye!
So many other types of media require our eyes, but with a podcast, we can just listen and go about our business – and that seems to lend itself to a much longer attention span.
Because podcasts are these direct links between the creators and the listeners, super-specific content helps the creators find and build an audience of people who share their interests and who are avid supporters of their content. In terms of marketing or advertising, this is a truly niche audience who likely fit neatly into a demographic group.
For the listeners, podcasts are also a way to self-identify as part of the “in” crowd. Podcasting is pretty easy to do in terms of equipment and uploading, so there are a lot of them out there. Finding the “good ones” specific to their unique interests is, for some, a badge of honor, and that just makes them an even more enthusiastic fan.
Since initially appearing on the scene around the time of the very first iPod (way back in 2001 – yikes!), podcasts have had some ups and downs in popular appeal. It seems like they are experiencing something of a comeback nowadays with subscription numbers through the roof, more streams than ever before, and more and more podcasters actually generating some revenue from their work.
Between highly ubiquitous internet connectivity, more people walking around with earbuds in, and an increased interest in independently created content, podcasts are shaping up to be the logical replacement for talk radio, morning news, and the like for people’s spoken audio entertainment.
With the trend on the upswing, why not get into it?
This is only scratching the surface of what podcasts can be, there’s really no established requirement for format other than it has to be audio or video, and there really aren’t any rules. As a podcast maker, you can do basically whatever you want, as long as you’re appealing to the audience you set out to inform and entertain.
People might argue a little bit about their popularity, whether it has been on an increasing slope this whole time, or if we’re experiencing some kind of podcast renaissance, but they’ll all agree that it’s on the rise.
Honestly, that doesn’t matter a bit. The important thing to understand is how powerful podcasts can be and how pretty much anyone, a business or an individual, can connect with just the right niche of people simply by pressing record and sharing their voice with the world.
So now the question is, are you brave enough to try your hand at podcasting?