The PR Benefits of Podcasting for Business
Let’s look at podcasting for business.
Podcasting has come a long way since its inception in the early 2000s. What started as a niche medium for tech-savvy loudmouths has now become a mainstream form of media that captures the attention of 460 million+ listeners around the world.
In the UK alone, over 19 million of us are partial to a podcast. And that figure is set to rise to 28 million by 2026. The numbers say it all. The podcast industry is booming. And it’s rich with marketing and PR opportunities for brands.
Put simply, if you’re not podcasting, you’re missing out.
In this post, we’re going to delve into the benefits of podcasting for business to find out why. But first, a definition.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a digital audio show. Usually spread across a series of episodes, they can be downloaded from the internet and listened to on a laptop, smartphone, or MP3 player. The ultimate mix of convenience and on-demand entertainment, people can listen to podcasts wherever they want, whenever they want, for free.
Why are podcasts so popular?
Podcasts clearly have a vast audience, but what makes the format so popular? There are several reasons.
Something for everyone
There are more than 5 million podcasts floating around in cyberspace. Covering everything from gardening and crime to marketing and public relations, there’s quite literally something for everyone.
Podcasts require little effort to engage with. Unlike blog content, that has to be read, or videos that require audiences to sit and watch, all a podcast listener has to do is hit play and listen.
It’s the perfect content type for multitasking, which most of us do on a daily basis. Thanks to smartphones, we can listen to podcasts anywhere and everywhere – on the commute, in the gym, or while catching up with housework.
We can save episodes up for a long journey or listen to them the moment they’re released. If we have to stop a podcast halfway through, we can pick it up again where we left off or start it again. If we don’t want to listen to a particular episode, we can move on to the next. And we can do it all at the click of a button.
Podcast benefits for business
Those are some of the benefits for listeners. But what about the podcasting benefits for business? Here are a few for starters.
Competition is low
The content marketplace is competitive. To give you an idea, there are 60 million active Facebook business pages, and 600 million blogs vying for attention. But there are just 5 million active podcasts.
The key to finding big wins with your content is finding a content type with high engagement and low competition. And that’s exactly what podcasting provides.
It’s much easier to be heard in a less saturated market.
Engagement is high
Podcasts tend to be consumed solo through headphones, offering listeners a unique, one-on-one experience with the host.
The intimacy of the format creates a level of engagement that’s unmatched by any other medium.
The evidence? Research by HubSpot revealed that 43% of people skim blog posts, reading an average of 3.5% of the words on the page. While a Buzzsprout survey found that 80% of listeners listen to all or most of every podcast episode they start.
This made podcasts easier for listeners to find. It also provided businesses with a new way to increase their search engine visibility and ranking.
Why does ranking matter? Because 75% of people only look at the first page of search results.
Savvy brands are podcasting for SEO and reaping the rewards in terms of visibility and website traffic.
It’s easier than you think
Podcasting isn’t as complicated as you might think. To get started, all you need is a USB microphone, some recording software, and a topic to discuss.
However, you’ll need to invest in professional grade equipment as your podcast grows.
If that’s too daunting, a podcast production service like Trisonic can support you through every aspect of the process, from planning your episodes, to recording and editing. Or, if you don’t want to go down the full-service route, a podcast hosting platform such as Podbean can take care of the technical stuff at a fraction of the cost.
Why are podcasts important?
Given the popularity of the format and the benefits podcasting offers, it’s no surprise that a growing number of brands are joining the podcasting revolution.
And it’s paying dividends for them in terms of PR.
Podcasting for business: The PR payoff
PR is all about relationship building and managing your reputation. Podcasting is a unique way to do both, by:
Sharing your expertise
There’s one sure-fire way to build brand credibility, earn customer’s trust, and stand out in your industry: showcase your expertise. To do this, you need to shift your focus from selling, to creating original, thought provoking content that educates, inspires, and adds value.
Sure, you can do this with white papers, research journals, and blogs, but attention spans are shorter than ever. If you want people to sit up and take notice, you need to frame your knowledge in a way that’s engaging and easily digestible. A podcast is an effective way to showcase your passion and expertise in bite-sized chunks.
Five minute coach
Author, coach and lifestyle blogger Joanne Mallon takes this approach with her 5 Minutes to Change Your Life podcast. The show focuses on quick, easy, and effective ways to change your life for the better. Each episode lasts around 5 minutes and contains one thing you can do, write, or think about to help move your life in a more positive direction.
Of course, you don’t have to demonstrate thought leadership in five minutes. For some brands, the allure of podcasting is it provides them with the time and space for deep conversation and complex thought.
Take Diary of a CEO. The wildly successful podcast sees entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star, Steven Bartlett, sit down with some of the world’s most successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, athletes, and celebrities, to uncover the secrets behind their business success.
Interviewees have included ex-politician Matt Hancock, Deliveroo founder Will Shu, Gymshark CEO Ben Francis and the intrepid Bear Grylls – to name a few. And the show covers a wide range of topics, from personal development and leadership to marketing and branding.
Bartlett launched the pod in 2017 to reveal the more vulnerable side of entrepreneurship. And that’s exactly what listeners get. The conversations are raw, emotional, and frank. With his gentle probing questions, Bartlett encourages his guests to be vulnerable and open about their business and personal lives.
The potent combination of unfiltered candour and invaluable business advice is a winning formula. The series consistently ranks among the top 10 podcasts in the UK.
And the podcast’s success doesn’t stop at audio. Its video episodes on YouTube attract an average of 100,000+ views, with the most popular reaching five million. This multi-platform approach has led to a growth of over two million subscribers.
Showcasing your brand personality
As consumers, we often have strong and personal gut reactions to brands, in the same way we do to certain people. We see ads, social media posts or news articles and think, ‘I have a good feeling about them’, or ‘there’s something about them I just don’t like.’
How people perceive your brand is important, as emotional connections have a direct impact on sales.
To quote American motivational speaker Bob Burg, ‘people buy from people that they know, like and trust’. In other words, having a great product or service isn’t enough. To build an emotional connection, you need a great brand personality to match.
Of course, your personality should be consistently reinforced across all your customer touchpoints. But a podcast can bring it to life.
Take Red Bull, for example. The energy drinks brand is all about excitement, adventure and pushing boundaries. Remember the Red Bull Stratos project, where skydiver Felix Baumgartner made a record-breaking jump from a helium balloon 39km above the Earth? This adventurous, spirited personality carries through every customer touchpoint, including their podcasts. Take their aptly named ‘How to Be Superhuman’ podcast. The host, Rob Pope, is a record-breaking ultra runner. Each week, he speaks to athletes who have undertaken superhuman feats of endurance, from Mark Beaumont, who cycled 18,000 miles around the world in 73 days, to ultra-runner Jasmin Paris, who shaved 12 hours off the men’s record at the 268-mile Spine Race.
The conversations are exciting, powerful and inspiring, and an accurate reflection of Red Bull’s brand personality. The podcast content clicks with their target audience of young adventure-seekers and athletes, and it’s helped cement Red Bull as the go-to brand for people who crave excitement and live an active lifestyle.
Connecting with influencers and thought leaders
Interviewing other professionals in your industry gives you a great opportunity to network, collaborate and share ideas. It’s a win-win for you and them: they get to connect with your audience and you with theirs.
French beauty brand Sephora uses this tactic to great effect with #LIPSTORIES.
The podcast features interviews with influential female founders, creators and thought leaders, who share their most intimate beauty memories and thoughts on self-image, self-expression, and confidence. The guest line-up includes Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies, an accessories brand focused on sustainably-made shoes and handbags; model and fashion influencer Marwa Biltagi, and Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO of boutique indoor cycling company Flywheel Sports.
The ingredients of a killer podcast
Those are just a few of the ways you can elevate your brand with podcasting. But what does it take to create a killer podcast? Here are a few tips.
Be original, be bold, be interesting
The late advertising guru David Ogilvy once said, ‘you can’t bore people into buying’. You can’t bore people into listening either.
To attract and retain listeners, your podcast needs to stand out from the rest. It needs to offer listeners something that other shows don’t. A unique premise will help you stand out in the sea of noise.
Whether your aim is to educate, inform, or entertain, be sure to offer listeners value. What do you want them to take away from your show? What are they coming to you in search of?
The better you can satisfy their needs, the more likely you are to win them over. Good podcasts signpost fans towards free tools, real-world examples, and other sources of insightful information.
Involve the audience
Interacting with your listeners is key to engagement.
- Read out emails/voice notes
- Invite them to leave reviews
- Post polls and surveys on your social media channels
- Run competitions
- Engage with them on social media
- Answer their questions on air.
Be a guest on other podcasts
If you’re not in a position to launch your own podcast, you can still benefit from featuring as a guest on other podcasts.
Research podcasts in your niche. If you find one you can add value to, look for opportunities to build a relationship with the host.Got some content you think they’ll find interesting? Share it with them so they can see the value you could offer as a guest. Before approaching them, however, listen to a bunch of their podcasts. Referencing a memorable episode in your pitch will go a long way to securing a guest spot. After all, podcasters, like listeners, need to be wooed.
Ready to go?
Podcasting is a growing medium, so now is the time to get your voice heard. It can help you create a genuine connection with your audience and secure you a load of fabulous PR to boot.