Everything brands need to know about podcasts

The past year has seen a phenomenal rise in podcasting. The format has truly come of age as consumers increasingly turn to all forms of on-demand content for their source of entertainment and information. Last week, Golin invited three hugely passionate speakers give us the low down on the rising popularity of podcasting, best practices and how brands can ride this audio wave.

Golin’s very own podcast-o-phile Patrick Smyth led the discussion with Natalie Campbell, entrepreneur and podcast co-host for Badass Women’s Hour and host of Virgin Future Visions, Jason Phipps, Guardian Head of Audio, responsible for 50 hours of podcasts every week and Alex Feldman, CEO of podcast studio Pixiu, which produces podcasts for brands including Fisher Price, Oracle and NatWest.

Here’s eight podcasting insights we uncovered.

1. The boom is just beginning
Podcasting certainly isn’t new, but if you start podcasting now you’re ahead of the curve. The audience is hungry yet there is a knowledge and understanding lag of how brands can engage with the medium. Now is the time to experiment, as it won’t be long before brands have to get themselves into this space.

2. Screened out
We’ve reached peak screen time. Instead of scrolling on the commute, people are turning to another type of engagement and podcasts offer entertainment or intellectual stimulation without the need to look at a screen.

3. Quality over quantity
People who download and listen are investing 30-40 minutes of their time in your podcast, to engage this audience you need to provide quality, purposeful content whether that’s entertainment, advice or knowledge.

4. Not just for consumers
It isn’t all about the iTunes Top 10. The right B2B podcast is a great vehicle for thought leadership and can reach an incredibly targeted and engaged audience. One B2B podcast drove a 500% increase in visits to its website with only 5000 listeners of the podcast.

5. A growing audience
The youngest demographic is the fastest growing podcast audience. This audience is intelligent, selective and haven’t grown up with radio. Their expectations are different, they see podcasts as part of their on-demand world.

6. Hyper intimacy
Podcasting creates an intimate relationship with your audience which is unlike any other medium. People listen when they’re running, commuting …there’s a depth of cognitive engagement that’s very powerful for brands. While it can develop a close connection with your audience, you need to be respectful that you’re being let into people’s downtime and make sure your content is of a consistently high quality.

7. Authenticity
Casting is key. It’s more important to have genuinely passionate experts taking part that the audience will warm to than a well-known name or voice. If it’s not authentic you’ll find your listeners dwindling.

8. Value
Treating podcasts as just another platform to push messaging will leave brands disappointed. The true value of the podcast as a medium is you can (and should) create conversations that can’t take place on any other channel. As with any content, brands should do their homework before steaming in. Investing in getting to know whether their audience is listening to podcasts, the type of content they are consuming, and what their listening habits are will help define what the brand can add to the mix and the value they can bring to their audience. Keeping the value proposition front-of-mind during the creative process will ensure content stays relevant.

If you’re interested in making a podcast for your brand, or want to find out more about how to make the most of this increasingly powerful channel get in touch with Laura Weston lweston@golin.com

Recommended podcasts from our panellists

Virgin Future Visions
NatWest Women in Business

Happy Mum, Happy Baby, with Giovanni Fletcher presented by Fisher Price
Travel Folktales for Kids, commissioned by AirBnB

Golin presents: Inspiration Weekly
Guardian Long Reads
The Cinemile
My Dad Wrote a Porno
Badass Women’s Hour