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Why you need to include podcasts in your content marketing strategy

Content Marketing
Content Strategy/Creation

It's been hard to miss the boom in popularity that podcasts, formerly a bit of a niche form of online media, have been enjoying. Since Serial in 2014, podcasting has most definitely been on the rise. 

In 2018, the BBC declared it the 'Year of the Podcast Boom' but, whilst independent content creators and media companies have been jumping on the bandwagon, brands and marketers have been slower on the uptake, with many preferring to put their energy into video content. 

Whilst, given Google's prediction that 82% of Internet traffic will be video by 2022, it may seem counterintuitive to move towards audio media, ignoring the rise of podcasts means content marketers are missing a trick. 

A captive audience

The under 35 market is notoriously difficult to get to pay attention to your content, due to the sheer volume of content they're consuming compared to other markets - but the number of podcast listeners almost doubled in the last five years to 6.1 million, with half in that elusive under-35 bracket. Although this number may seem low compared to, for example, YouTube viewers or Instagram users, they are a valuable audience to have - with 85% listening to most, if not all, of the episodes they download. 

For a generation usually characterised by a short attention span, more used to flicking through Instagram Stories at speed or scrolling endlessly through Facebook posts and never stopping for more than a few seconds on anything, a podcast offers a real opportunity to spend time with your potential customers. For many podcast listeners, podcasts make up the background noise of their lives - they listen whilst walking the dog, driving to work or making dinner - which means you can engage them at a time when they can't be distracted by other forms of content. 

An untapped market

Despite the 'boom', there are still a relatively small number of podcasts when compared to the other forms of media that would traditionally form a content marketing strategy. At the time of writing, there are an estimated 200,000 active podcast series available - compared to an exhausting 400 hours of YouTube videos uploaded every minute - which means there's a lot of listeners looking for new material and a lot less noise to cut through to get your brand story heard. Of course, as with all content marketing, it's not a guaranteed hit - but it's easier to become a big fish in the small pond of podcasting than it is to try and conquer the world of YouTube from scratch. 

A chance to show off

With podcast fans listening to multiple episodes of their favourite shows, launching your own podcast means that you have the opportunity to capture their attention for hours at a time - giving you a real chance to show off your story or your expertise. Of course, a hard sell isn't going to win you any fans, but there are plenty of ways to get across your message and build brand advocacy without going in for the sales pitch. 

Consider using your expertise or business focus as the subject matter of your podcast, like Tinder’s ‘DTR’ (Define the Relationship) podcast about dating or Blue Apron’s ‘Why We Eat What We Eat’ podcast, which perfectly compliments their recipe box business. Alternatively, your brand values may provide some inspiration for a podcast, like Starbucks’ podcast ‘Upstanders’ all about ordinary people doing extraordinary things; if you’re struggling to communicate exactly what you stand for, audio could be the perfect way to get your message across.

If you really feel like getting creative, there may be a story you could tell that’s tangentially connected to your business which, if successful, could put your brand’s name in front of thousands of potential customers. For example, General Electric released a sci fi thriller podcast, ‘LifeAfter’ about a man who spends his days chatting online with his wife… who died eight months ago, reflecting on the company’s work in science and technology. McDonald’s even made a short series podcast about the how their revival of the cult classic Szechuan Sauce went awry - taking customer communication to a new level and potentially subverting a PR disaster in a fun way by partnering with The Onion for the show.

If you're not quite ready to commit to a full podcast series as a brand but have expertise in your subject matter, you could search out interview podcasts in your niche who might be interested in chatting about your work, too. As with all content marketing, being useful and/or entertaining to your target audience is a surefire way to get them interested in your brand and keep them coming back for more. 

With so many opportunities and the podcast boom showing no sign of slowing, now’s the time to jump on board and include podcasts in your content marketing strategy.

Amy Richards is the Marketing Operations Manager at Engage