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In the last year, we’ve seen podcasts go from a fringe trend to a global phenomenon. Some people were taken by surprise by these online “radio-show” productions, while others have been quick to use podcasts as a new way of tuning in or communicating with their audience. 

And with the rise of platforms like Spotify or dedicated libraries like Google Podcast or Apple Podcasts, it’s no wonder that podcast makers are finally getting the worldwide recognition they deserve. But what are podcasts, why are they so popular and how can you, as a business owner, leverage their power? 

What are podcasts?

A podcast can be defined as a series of digital audio or video episodes, all based on a specific concept, produced by a person or a team of people. Most of them are free, so users can listen to a podcast anywhere: in the car while stuck in traffic, at home or while practicing sports. 

The production process can vary from homemade to professional, while the concepts may include anything from news recaps, education, interviews to fiction or nonfiction storytelling.

Nothing is off limits here, since one big advantage is that you can create audio podcasts without ever showing your face. This might be one of the reasons podcasts have become such a big trend. Other advantages might include: 

  • Not needing a studio (you can record from your bedroom if you feel like it), 
  • Having to do little post-processing to the content before you distribute it (some live shows distribute their content without any edits) 
  • Requiring minimal recording equipment (one pc, a microphone and some recording software like Audacity or Squadcast).

Why are podcasts so popular now?

Podcasts have been around since the early 2000s, but they only started to become mainstream last year. This is in part due to more and more businesses investing in advertising in this medium. According to WARC’s 2019 Global Ad Trends report, podcast ad spendings are currently worth $855m globally, and set to rise to $1.6bn by 2022 (4.5% of global audio advertising spendings).

Another reason might be that big names in certain industries are choosing to create or participate in podcasts. Famous publications editors, celebrated writers or actors, all are attracted by the ease of the format and the more laid back approach of the medium.

There are even awards dedicated to podcasts and podcasters, such as People’s Choice Podcast Awards  or Listeners’ Choice Award — British Podcast Awards. And a lot of conferences too.

In Bucharest, we will have our first podcast dedicated conference – Podfest Romania, on the 8th of July 2020. It will cover all the steps necessary to develop a podcast: creation, production, marketing, monetization, promotion and distribution. The participation is free, all you have to do is register here>.

How can business owners use podcasts to their advantage?

Depending on the size and type of business you own, you might find podcasts are a good resource to add in your advertising toolbox. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Large marketing budgets can help you sponsor one or more podcasts, based on them having your target audience as listeners. Statistics gathered by Podcast Insights say that as of January 2020, there are 850,000 active podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes, so I’m sure you can find something fitting your demographic.
  • Medium sized marketing budgets may help you make your own podcast. Since podcasts are a cheaper alternative to creating your own video channel, they represent a good start. But, remember, once you’ve started, you have to be consistent. It also helps to have an invested marketing team.
  • If your budget is low but you have knowledge to share – find a way to get invited to already existing podcasts that could reach your target audience. Interviews, startup presentations and even failure stories could be catchy subjects of any listener.

As you can see, podcasts are clearly on the rise and will continue to be so for the next few years. So it is definitely a medium worth considering if you want to give an extra boost to your business or reach new audiences. Do you already have a podcast or are following some interesting ones? Feel free to share them in the comment section below. 

Photo by Daniel Fontenele

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