The year 2020 left brands and marketers scrambling to re-assess their strategies, turfing ideas that might have been great just a few months before, and putting every ounce of imagination into making innovative, meaningful connections with prospects and customers. Live events went away and virtual conferences rose to take their place. In-store activations were cancelled and all efforts shifted to focus on online services. Despite catastrophic effects on many forms of media, especially print, it was still a monumental year for podcasting — and this upward trend is showing no signs of slowing down. But you need a podcast in your marketing strategy in 2021?
Podcasts are here to stay
With more listeners and advertisers than ever before, podcasting will continue to rise as a mainstream content medium in 2021. Filling the void left by the loss of in-person events, podcasting has given brand marketers the power to captivate their audience through engaging, high-quality content in the form of conversations. In turn, these conversations can drive an entire content marketing strategy, spilling over into blog posts, e-books, social media posts, sales emails, and more.
People are longing for connection, understanding and discussion, and for refreshingly ‘slow’ content compared to frenetic feeds.
Yes, it’s an important opportunity for marketers. But it needs to be done right, by first making sure that what you want to say adds value. Assessing your audience’s interests and needs will also play a critical role in providing the type of podcast content they expect. It’s worth looking at both the upsides and downsides of podcasts to decide whether they are right for your marketing strategy.
Do podcasts suit your strategy or not? What to consider:
Valuable content is everything
There’s so much content to choose from right now. Can you really cut through the noise and add value? The people won’t come unless you give them something in exchange for their time: A constant stream of vibrant, insightful and engaging content. Listeners won’t be fooled by a veiled sales pitch. They want to learn something new and have their thinking challenged.
If you’re confident that your content ticks all the boxes, and you’ve already been generating and sharing this content via blogs, social media posts, mailers and videos, then podcasting is an easy win. You can repurpose that content and present it in a completely different way, even enriching it using guests with expertise and experience.
Successful podcasts make the content about the listeners — to be helpful to them, to inspire new ways of thinking, or to present solutions to their problems.
Building a listener-worthy programme takes time, budget, resources, discipline and connections. Is this the best use of those elements to get the most benefit, value and return for your need? Could it be done better using a different tactic?
Compared to advertising, broadcasting, video and animations, podcasts are relatively cheap and easy to set up. They do require some amount of planning and preparation but don’t require that many people to produce. You will, however, need more than Zoom and a webcam to produce a polished and credible show; for instance, you’ll require a good-quality microphone, a stable conference platform and a comfortable set-up.
Dedication is a must… You have to make the time for this project. Podcasts need to be produced on a regular basis in order to be successful.
Presenters and guests
Interesting content is one thing, but podcasts also require engaging, experienced presenters to deliver this content to your audience. Relatable presenters with charisma, a sense of humour and most importantly, a true grip on your brand and desired outcomes, are crucial to making podcasts work.
Not all podcasts have guests, but those that do automatically multiply their audience size. You have both your community and your guests’ communities interested in what you’re saying. Use the same rules for choosing guests as you would for populating an in-person panel discussion. Your vendors, in-house experts and successful customers are also excellent candidates.
Brand awareness, affinity and loyalty
A well-executed podcast or podcast series as part of a marketing strategy in 2021 helps grow your audience, getting more people to discover your business and even start purchasing your products or services. Suddenly, you have access to major publishing platforms with millions of users, like iTunes or Spotify, for example — giving you a much larger audience than you’d have if you stuck to videos and articles alone.
Connecting with your audience via podcasts helps build loyalty and dedication amongst your existing customers, too, lending credibility, trust and affinity to your offering.
Knowledgeable and authentic voices make people want to listen and know more, driving them to also follow you on social media, visit your website, watch your videos, read your articles, and just generally engage with you.
Podcasting suits the work-from-home lifestyle of today
More time at home means more time to enjoy podcasts. Many industries have plans to extend the remote or flexible work environment long-term, and brands are well-positioned to take advantage of this stay-at-home lifestyle with podcasting.
Podcast content has the luxury of being the only type of content that doesn’t require any visual investment from your audience. People can listen and stay connected to your brand whenever is most convenient for them.
Ready to press “record?”
If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and are confident you can deliver a special listening experience, then now is the time to update your marketing strategy to include this effective tactic in 2021 — a year that’s set to become another milestone year in podcast history.