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Podcasting is one of the most intimate forms of storytelling available for brands.
Every piece of content we consume today generally falls into one of three common mediums; audio, literary or visual. While each of us may gravitate towards one specific medium depending on how we tend to best learn, audio podcasting offers the highest overall chance of success for brands and marketers.
Over the past decade, the realm of podcasting has evolved exponentially. According to research from Gartner, over 155 million Americans regularly listened to podcasts throughout 2020 (nearly double the numbers of 2018), with roughly 24% of those listening each week — statistics that are only projected to grow over the coming years. Today, virtually any brand, business, influencer or individual now has access to the tools they need to launch a podcast, disperse valuable content to an audience of listeners and grow their online presence.
Considering the low barriers to entry for an industry that has grown so rapidly since its inception, it’s no wonder that so many brands and entrepreneurs have found success through podcasting. To help unpack why this is, people need to understand what makes podcasting such an attractive medium for hosts and listeners alike.
Related: The 7-Step Process to Launching Your Podcast For Free
When we think about the messaging brands convey through their marketing initiatives, we don’t often consider email newsletters or social media posts as “intimate” forms of communication. This is part of what makes podcasting a prime avenue of communicating valuable information to listeners, especially by brands and marketers.
At its core, podcasting is simply a newer, digital avenue for storytelling. Humans are deeply interpersonal creatures. We rely on language to convey our feelings, needs, knowledge and so much more. Through effective storytelling, we can explore and learn more deeply about elements and topics that impact ourselves, those around us and our lives. Podcasting does this in a variety of ways, but almost all do so in a much more intimate way.
When we listen to podcasts, we become the audience for a virtual storyteller. Rather than sharing that setting with others, we alone become the audience. For brands, marketers or others running their own podcasts, this allows them to create a more personal and intimate experience for each listener in their audience. This notion of personal intimacy fosters far deeper feelings of engagement and loyalty amongst listeners than other mass-distributed forms of marketing like newsletters or heavily-edited videos might. In doing so, it grants podcasters an opportunity to grow their brand and its following in a more authentic way.
Related: 5 Reasons Why Brands Should Think About Creating a Podcast Series in 2022
Podcasts, like every other form of content, are produced with an underlying goal: adding value to consumers. When listeners tune in to podcasts, they do so with the expectation that the content they listen to will add value to their lives, be it through educational information, discussing difficult topics or merely wishing to be entertained for a brief period.
The more value listeners obtain from a specific podcast, the more likely they are to subscribe to it, regularly download episodes, listen to those episodes in their entirety and follow that podcast’s parent brand on other platforms. With 50% of US households and 16% of all listeners describing themselves as “fans” of some of the more than 500,000 podcasts available, this shows us that the more valuable and engaging a podcast’s content is, the greater chances for its brand to grow an online following into a community of loyal consumers.
To accomplish this for your brand, your podcast’s content must be valuable and engaging enough to listeners that they view you as an expert on the subject of your content’s messaging. For example, if your podcast focuses on entrepreneurship tips, you must showcase yourself as a credible, successful entrepreneur. If you can’t do this on your own, work to book and bring on guests who can lend their own credibility and success to that topic.
The more credible your content is for listeners, the more they will trust you and your brand as a reliable source of valuable information. The more they view you as such, the more likely they are to follow your brand on other platforms, leading to a creation of a multi-platform community of loyal followers contributing to your success.
Related: Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Podcast
If cash is the currency of our economy, consumers’ attention is the currency of our brands and businesses. Long gone are the days in which we kept up with current or evolving trends through newspapers or nightly news shows. Since 2019, nearly two-thirds of modern consumers have preferred to listen to podcasts over watching television. This tells us that the majority of consumers today are far more likely to consume engaging content through podcasts than other forms of media — so long as that content remains relevant to them.
Every brand, business and entrepreneur knows how crucial it is to remain relevant, especially in a realm as heavily saturated by competitors as podcasts. By producing content around current and upcoming trends in your sector, as well as including guest hosts or speakers on your podcast to offer their own expert insights in these matters, you can maintain an edge over the competition by bestowing your listeners with the most up-to-date and relevant information possible.
The more frequently you offer your listeners relevant information, the more credible you and your brand become. As previously mentioned, higher credibility for your brand will translate into a larger, more loyal audience of followers not just for your podcast, but across all platforms you and your brand are present on. No other content medium offers the same extent or degree of potential growth as podcasting, which is why podcasts are your brand’s best chance of becoming a successful leader in your industry.
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