With 7.1 million weekly UK listeners – an increase of 24% in the last year according to Ofcom figures – the popularity of podcasts has exploded in recent years.
Meanwhile, marketing teams have been quick to catch onto this as a golden opportunity to reach new audiences through creative means. In fact, Forbes measured that, in the five years between 2015 and 2020, the number of marketers that said they would likely advertise in a podcast over the next six months nearly quadrupled – rising from 10% to 37%.
From this, it’s clear that podcasts have changed how many advertisers approach online marketing strategies. So, using their current boom as an example, read on to explore the lessons podcasts can you teach you about staying innovative.
Utilising your core audience can be the first step
All types of media products have devoted fans and core audiences that keep coming back for more. Podcasts are no different in the fact that they generate a set of supremely dedicated consumers, known as “super listeners”.
In a Forbes article, surveys from Eddison Research, Podcast One, and Ad Results Media define super listeners as “a group that listens to an average of five hours or more podcasts each week”. Despite this, the average listening time among this group was more than double at 10.5 hours.
Of greater importance to marketers, the research found that this group of avid consumers is more receptive to advertisements than standard audience members. In the same survey, 54% of super listeners responded that hearing a podcast advertisement (compared to others) makes them more likely to purchase a product.
Interestingly, super listeners also pay more attention to a host reading ad copy than any other type.
But what can super listeners teach about broader lessons of marketing?
The notion of a super listener, combined with their responsiveness to advertisements, is an important one for brands to understand – you have a devoted, core audience that consistently consumes more content than others.
At the same time, their reception to advertisements delivered by the host proves how this group values the information you personally share with them.
Learning from the effects of this type of intimacy shared between the creator and the consumer, it could be worth producing a stream or subsection of slightly less formal content that may help to generate a closer relationship between your brand and your audience.
This ability of podcasts to create intimacy between the listener and the host is something that can be seen to boost the efficacy of advertisements through a sense of shared trust. It could be worth emulating this by opening a channel of casual discourse that can be done through less formal content or interactive types of media surrounding topics close to your audience.
At the end of the day, your most receptive audience members are your most valuable. So, it makes sense to prioritise content they enjoy consuming.
Prioritising your content before your reach could surprise you with its results
Reinforcing the importance of understanding what is dear to your audience, another leaf to take from the rise of podcasts is to focus on the quality of your content before worrying about its potential reach.
According to Babbel, the most successful podcasts are those in the “Edutainment” genre – one that mixes education and entertainment.
Because of the long run-time of podcasts, viewers are clearly interested in the information proffered as they wouldn’t otherwise take the time to listen.
This is similar to written content – you should feel safe to pursue higher quality, informative content at the sacrifice of shock or thrill. While this doesn’t mean it’s wise to drone on about minutiae, it does mean that your returning audience appreciates the value offered in your teachings.
Using Babbel’s conclusion, it’s easy to see how modes of longer-form content benefit from providing value through a blend of information rather than pure entertainment.
You could think of it this way: the most productive audience members that consistently interact with your brand will often have “priced-in” the time it takes to consume the content against the value they receive in return.
Either way, when reputation is at stake, reaching the right audience is often more important than reaching the biggest one.
As the founder of Harappa Education, Shreyasi Singh, elegantly states in Entrepreneur, “[a podcast] is an effective tool for marketing because it is not treated like one”.
Standing out in a saturated market
As a result of the low bar of entry required to start a podcast, the industry has become somewhat saturated by a range of aspiring broadcasters.
With so many different options for consumers, first impressions count more than ever when trying to expand your audience.
Nowadays, podcasts are filmed as well as recorded, with the added visual aspect offering even more marketing avenues to be explored. One way in which podcasts use the visual nature to benefit their brand is through their mise en scene. Among other features, this includes the use of:
- Set design
All of these visual features could be manipulated in order to customise the appearance and representation of the podcast to its audience. This allows broadcasters to use implicit visual signposts to inform viewers of their target demographic while also communicating its brand identity.
As a simple example, hardware and DIY podcasts – yes, they exist – may indicate a male target through traditional features of male marketing, such as the selection of darker colours or simplistic, block-based fonts. On the other hand, a podcast dedicated to young parents or families may adopt a brighter, more cursive approach to its appearance.
The same approach can be applied directly to your website’s landing page or its overall design: your website could benefit from being updated or customised to create a more effective brand identity.
They say “you eat with your eyes” when it comes to food and the exact same approach should be taken with your visual branding. A landing page or website could be the first interaction a prospective client has with your brand. Because of this, you should make sure your brand’s appearance maximises the effects it has on your target audience.
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