A few years ago, I would have told you not to bother with podcasting--that it seemed to be a dying trend that never really caught on.
My, how things have changed!
Podcast subscriptions on iTunes surpassed 1 billion last year. Clearly, people are tuning in. RawVoice, which tracks 20,000 shows, said the number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled to 75 million from 25 million five years ago.
People are podcasting in record numbers, but smart businesses are getting on board, as well. Here are five reasons you need to get podcasting, if you're not already
1. Podcast subscribers are engaged until they choose not to be anymore--and they're super engaged.
The vast majority of your plays/downloads (some 90%, according to podcast statistics brand Blubrry) come from subscribed applications such as iTunes, which automatically download your latest episode upon its release. Quite often, your podcast audience will subscribe to your podcast and download the episodes without ever vising your website.
You don't have to keep trying to get in front of them as you do on Facebook, Twitter, in email, with remarketing ads. They automatically receive your latest content on their favorite device. An Edison Research study on the audio habits of Americans found that podcast listeners are actually "super listeners," consuming more than one hour and 45 minutes of audio per day than the average American, and they spend more than 25 percent of their total audio time listening to podcasts.
2. Barriers to entry are extremely low.
People are podcasting about knitting, Yoda and the fight against manufactured music. People are podcasting from studios, but also from their home offices, garages, and in the streets. Some even podcast drunk (not recommended, guys).
Heck, Khloe Kardashian and her sister's husband made a podcast in the bathtub not long ago.
Podcasting software is inexpensive and barriers to entry are low. Literally anyone can do it. Don't worry if you don't have a super tight script, either--people seem to enjoy the conversational, less rigid podcasts. Just keep the mics out of the bubble bath.
3. Podcast ads are effective and can be very engaging.
Listeners don't seem to mind commercial breaks in podcasts and are influenced by the messaging they're hearing. A recent survey of 300,000 podcast listeners found that 63% of people bought something a host had promoted on their show. When asked if advertising within podcasts had affected their behavior, 71 percent said they'd visited a sponsor's website, while 62 percent said they'd considered that new product or service.
When it comes to commercials, podcast hosts have more creative license than radio show hosts, as well. Where radio stations are constrained by federal laws guiding what they can say in ads, podcast hosts have no such restrictions.
4. Podcasting is a great addition to your marketing mix.
Podcasting integrates well with other digital marketing efforts. You can discuss recent posts on your blog, promote your social channels and use them as a conversation tool with listeners, build your email list through podcasting and more.
Content marketing isn't just about blogging. It's about creating different types of content for your potential customers to engage with, wherever they are. Podcasts are the best format for mobile because it can be easily consumed while on the go.
5. Podcasting is Huge--and it's Growing
Podcasting has been around for about ten years, but it's really coming into its own now. Today, about 15% of Americans listen to podcast at least once a month, according to Edison Research.
This marks a pretty big leap over the amount of people tuning in monthly just a year before. You'll notice there seemed to be a dip in interest in 2013, but that's because they changed the definition of podcast listening to a more narrow scope in their research.
Yes, podcasting is an effective marketing tool, but it can also be a lot of fun! Have you tried podcasting for your business? Share your experience in the comments.