Back in July, we reported on the spectacular rise of the podcast among listening audiences. And as we now look ahead to a New Year, we’re discovering why this unique audio format is set to gain yet more popularity and branding power in 2018.
Despite first coming into existence in 2006, 2017 was the year podcasts really came of age – becoming the perfect mode of entertainment for the world we live in. First and foremost, the technology we now have available to us makes consumption of audio content like this second nature. Hardware and apps have united, allowing us to listen at the gym, on the commute and in our moments of relaxation. Hand-in-hand with this is habit. The TV-on-demand generation is trained in the art of stocking and saving content to watch when we like, and this practice is easily applied to listening too. Just like Netflix produces top-quality shows once confined to TV, audio producers have upped their game – with the likes of the BBC and big name broadcasters creating shows especially for the format. And finally, it’s the escapist nature of the podcast that’s really captured the imagination of audience. Truly immersive, it takes listeners away from the relentless nature of the news and the world around us, allowing a period of pure indulgence in a topic we care about.
Clearly, podcasts have made their mark as a form of entertainment. But in 2018, they’re on course to become a key method of marketing too. Unlike any other channel, they give businesses the rare chance to showcase themselves to a customer over a long period of time – presenting the opportunity to put forward engaging, entertaining content in a way that ties back to a brand or product. Ebay has been an early proponent of this, developing the ‘Open for Business’ podcast, telling the stories of companies that have built themselves from the ground up. This practice establishes thought leadership, marking them out as an influencer and a name to be trusted in the business world. And with the affluence of the average podcast listener, it’s not just an innovative opportunity, but a lucrative one too. All this and more makes podcasting a valuable addition to any content marketing strategy.
The benefits offered to brands by podcasting are multiple – but perhaps the most important is their captive nature. When an individual hits play, they’re really listening. So any promotional message can’t fail to get through to the potential customer. In this respect, they’re more than akin to an audio branding production. When a caller is placed on hold, they’re a captive listener too, ready to absorb any message presented to them. But where a podcast may put forth a subtle branded link over an extended listen, an On-Hold Marketing production has just the average hold time of 33 seconds to make its mark – meaning the message must be direct, powerful and straight to the point.
The continual rise of podcast consumption means one thing – customers everywhere are primed to listen. Therefore, audio must be a key part of any content strategy for 2018.