In the not so distant past, the Skout team were visited by an agency which specialised in different methods of broadcast, and this got our cogs turning.
Over the past few years, the popularity of the podcast has grown tremendously. Apple alone reported an increase of over 200,000 podcasts since June last year; and now impressively hosts over 750,000 active shows, equating to 30 million episodes of downloadable audio. This trend has also been seen across the UK, with around seven million people now tuning into a podcast each week – a figure that has doubled in the past five years (OFCOM). Its success can be attributed to the new ways that people consume media. Gone are the days of turning on your radio at a specific time to listen to your favourite programme. Instead, we can stream content on the go using our mobile phones; or, we can even ask Alexa to play “The Gemma Collins podcast” (if you like that sort of thing). It’s safe to say that podcasts are changing the ways that people listen to content, and small businesses should get on board and ‘surf the wave’ to engage with their audience on a more interactive level.
In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his university dormitory, Britney Spears released the music single Toxic, and everyone’s favourite chick flick, Mean Girls, hit the screens – feeling old yet? However, this was also the year former MTV video jockey, Adam Currey, and software developer, Dave Winer, invented the podcast. Originally called the ipodder, Currey wrote a programme that could automatically download internet radio on his iPod; this was then improved by numerous software developers to create the podcast that we now know today.
Why should SMEs use a podcast?
With celebrities such as Russell Brand, Amy Schumer and Ricky Gervais, all hopping on the podcast train; there’s plenty of reason for your business to also enjoy the ride. According to OFCOM, around 53% of UK listeners regularly tune into podcasts based on talk shows and discussion, proving the demand for more informative content. This is good news for companies which are looking to improve audience engagement levels and increase their brand awareness. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few more reasons to use a podcast:
- Its free! All you need is a fast WIFI connection, a good microphone and editing software.
- You can produce long term content, which digs deeper into issues – and you don’t need to think about word counts.
- It can help you build effective relationships with your audience, encouraging them to engage with your brand.
- By inviting guest experts and industry partners on your show, you can help them grow their reach; and likewise, they can help you improve yours by telling their audience about their appearance.
- Similar to a newsletter, a podcast provides another touch point for your audience.
- The subscription service allows you to monitor how many active listeners your podcast has, providing additional metrics to your marketing analysis.
A powerful marketing tool for your business
New technologies are changing the playing field, and businesses are altering their marketing strategies in order to adapt. Think about your own marketing and the sorts of media you use to speak to your customers. Podcasts also can be integrated within your current campaigns to further enhance your marketing approach. For instance, the Omaha Media Group believe that this powerful marketing tool should be part of every businesses toolkit, highlighting four key factors why podcasting can be extremely effective for your SME:
- They do not have an expiration date meaning listeners can download the same content over and over again, increasing customer engagement.
- It helps by boosting your organic link building as many podcasts are transcribed and often include links, directing your visitors back to your website.
- If your podcast has a good reputation it will often appear within key word searches, increasing your business’ visibility.
- If your podcast attracts core influencers it can add an additional layer of credibility to your brand, which in turn, attracts more customers.
For some successful examples of how businesses have integrated podcasts within their marketing campaigns, read this great article by Backtracks, which shines the spotlight on big brands such as McDonalds, eBay and Sephora: https://backtracks.fm/blog/10-successful-branded-podcasts/