There are a growing number of distribution platforms: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Podbean, and Spotify. Buzzsprout is a platform for managing the hosting and then distributing it to the other platforms through an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. For $12 a month, you can host two hours a month of audio, and you can increase the amount of storage by paying a little more. It is remarkably good value by anybody’s terms if you’re going to distribute content to those who aren’t subscribed to the listing.
Stitcher alone has over 100,000 independent podcasts listed on their platform, and in 2019, they published 6.8 million episodes. Interestingly enough, the top seventeen shows in 2010 are still in the top 100, possibly even the top 20. This shows that longevity is one of the keys to doing anything in podcasting if that were to become one of your plans. A separate report shows that episodes are getting shorter. On average, episodes are going down by approximately two and a half minutes, which suggests a trend towards either extremely short or extremely long-form content. The listeners, depending on whom you are working to promote to, appear to be in the eighteen to thirty-four age bracket, which represents the largest number of listeners. However, it’s the age group of thirty-five to fifty-five-year-olds that are more dedicated in terms of the number of listening hours as well as the number of shows added to their favourites. Generation X likely acts more as browsers while leaning towards other mediums, and then there are those who see podcasts as an alternative to radio.
Podcasting is becoming a narrowcast for specific interest areas. Stitcher CEO Eric Diehn said that the data found in their report shows that the unique appeal of podcasts makes its fans the most loyal and passionate of any medium, and it enables people to create intimacy as well as an understanding, which public relations is all about. It helps people’s perceptions be aligned with one’s view of himself or himself. Public relations is about getting depth out of a story, which is why we like to try to have interviews, and having long-form articles published gives texture of what the company is doing – this makes podcasting a fantastic medium to be using. Stitcher reported that Monday through Thursday is the prime time for people to be listening, which mirrors the idea that most people are listening when commuting between work, home, the gym, or other places. According to a statistical report, South Korea leads consumption with 55% of survey respondents saying they listen to podcasts, followed by Spain at 40%, Sweden, Australia, and the USA at 33%, and Italy, Canada, France, Japan, and Germany at 18%. In a recent press release, the Office of Communications in the UK has said that nearly 6 million adults are tuning in to podcasts each week. What is undeniable is that as a medium, podcasts are here to stay, because it’s a low cost, easy way to produce content.
Case studies of podcasts
The Umpqua Bank created a podcast in 2017 called Open Account to discuss America’s cultural taboo: money. They had frank chats about losing and living with money, but a quick check shows that they only got to 21 episodes. The Distance, from the people who created Rework, which is the software company Basecamp, had a strategy to interview companies that have been around for at least25 years. These episodes were diverse, 15 minutes long, and they achieved 258 episodes before stopping. The podcast is now Rework, which is the same name as their book which discusses how they built Basecamp as a culture and a product for people to work remotely. Sephora launched a podcast in 2017 called Lip Stories, but they only managed to get to fifteen episodes. The team behind Zip Recruiter also launched a podcast called Rise and Grind with a man called Daymond John. They worked from Daymond John from the Shark Tank to create a series focused on the hustle and pursuit of success in business and achieved nineteen episodes.
SPEAK|pr is proof of what podcasts can do for a business
If you’re looking to start a podcast, first contemplate if you can follow through or take the approach that General Electric did. The cheapest, easiest, and least-commitment route into podcasting could be sponsoring, participating, or being interviewed by an established podcast that has the audience you wish to target. This would be a good place to start, as podcasting takes more time than you think. But at the same time, it can be very rewarding as it is part of an integrated strategy, it serves as a holistic approach to communicating what the business does, and it can be a fabulous way to learn and share information. To echo what the Stitcher CEO said, there’s a belief in the unique and intimate appeal of podcasting, which makes people loyal and passionate, which is what anyone would want from employees, partners, and customers. With luck, SPEAK|pr provides you with engagement and sparks ideas as to what you can do with your business and public relations activities to get noticed.
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.