The latest craze in content these days is podcasting. Popular podcasts like NPR's Invisibilia, Jordan Harbinger's Art of Charm, Lewis Howes' School of Greatness, or even The Tim Ferriss Show can pull in millions of listeners per episode.

However, you don't need to have over a million subscribers or a global presence to create a phenomenal podcast that elevates your industry status and career success. Here are four reasons you should get into it, whether you feel ready or not:

1. It's a prime time to be a podcaster.

It's a fast-growing medium, but not saturated with competition. That means you can create content for any audience, whether you are a marketing, agriculture expert, or just somebody trying to take your career to the next level and meet the right people.

You don't need huge numbers to do it, either. If your industry has only 10,000 people and you get just 1,000 to listen, it's enough to create a name for yourself.

2. You can create a more meaningful connection with your audience.

A podcast is an inexpensive and highly regarded marketing tool to develop an audience and promote your brand. Here are some stats from Edison Research's Podcast Consumer 2017 report that show how effective it can be and how engaged podcast listeners are:

  • 24 percent of Americans listen monthly to podcasts, up from 21 percent last year.

  • On average, podcast listeners listen to five different podcasts shows per week.

  • Podcast consumers listen to most or all of the episodes they download.

I recently asked CEO, podcasting expert, and cofounder of Brandcasters, Inc., Tom Hazzard why podcasting is such a powerful medium. To explain, he recalled this interview with Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen Colbert from the Late Show:

While on the circuit promoting his podcast Revisionist History, Gladwell was asked: "You're an author. You're a New York Times bestseller. Why are you wasting your time with a podcast?" His response was: "People think with their eyes, but feel with their ears."

Podcasts allow you to connect on a different level with your audience. Speaking directly to them in a conversational tone breaks down barriers. With each episode, they not only get to know you more but become more comfortable and trusting.

When you recommend a product or service through a podcast, people pay attention. According to a ComScore study, people prefer to listen to ads on podcasts over any other medium.

Furthermore, over two-thirds of listeners purchase or research a product or service after hearing about it on a podcast. Through Brandcasters' own research, they found that podcasts with a call-to-action generate an average of 37 percent conversions.

3. It's never been cheaper and easier to create one.

Podcasting is the fastest way to generate original content,  and the organic reach that comes from those efforts is incredible. You also don't need a huge upfront investment to launch and manage a show.

From my own experience, trying to produce The Influencers podcast on my own, I learned it can get very complex and expensive. For anyone getting started, I'd recommend working with an agency that specializes in podcasting rather that doing it yourself.

There are tons of options out there like Brandcasters, Predictive ROI, and MarketDomination. In full disclosure, I use Brandcasters. They're super accommodating and a fraction of the price of competitors (as low as $100 per episode). The one you work with ultimately should depend on your goals and budget.

4. You get to build relationships and have fun doing it.

Community building is essential to your career. Hosting a podcast gives you an excuse to invite high-profile people from your industry and gives you one-on-one time to connect and build relationships with them.

You get to meet impressive guests and discuss things that interest you while gaining industry status doing it. If you hope to sell a product, launch a business or promote a book, you've already built a loyal audience through your podcast channel.

One of the best ways to elevate your career, build relationships with industry influencers, and grow an online audience is podcasting. Remember to host and link your podcast to a main website. Attract people to your domain to listen. Use social media to spread the word, and make sure every link comes back to your site.