Marketing to Your Target Audiences With Podcasts
If you’re accustomed to thinking of podcasts as the niche territory of individual viewpoints and cultural observations, think again. Podcasting offers unique opportunities to reach your company’s audiences, delivering messages that resonate with their needs – and their need to know. Alternatively, advertising on or sponsoring someone else’s podcast also can offer your business the benefits of targeted visibility.
Technology propels podcast listenership
Thank smartphones for part of the popularity of podcasts. The Pew Research Center’s research found that of the 95 percent of U.S. adults who owned cellphones as of 2018, 77 percent owned smartphones.
With podcast-capable listening devices constantly on hand, consumers can and do tune in. In 2018, Edison Research and Triton Digital found that 44 percent of Americans at and above the age of 12 have listened to a podcast, with 26 percent doing so in the previous month. On average, weekly listeners tune in to seven podcasts per week for a total of 6 hours and 37 minutes. Their income exceeds the national average, with 51 percent earning between $75K and $150K, compared to 38 percent of the overall population. Of monthly podcast consumers, 87 percent listen to all or most of the content when they tune in.
Do your own thing: Creating a podcast
The numbers don’t lie. Affluent adults devote a noticeable amount of time to podcast listenership. What gets their attention? Anything you can name, which makes podcasts a great way to attract your specific target audiences.
Creating and hosting a podcast can be a big endeavor, however. High-quality recordings require at least a modest budget for microphones, editing software, and other technology. Along with the time and costs associated with selecting and attracting your guests, recording your show and publicizing it, you face the additional task of targeting the show itself and building an audience for it. Of course, if your company already plays an active role on social media, you can use your existing online presence to help launch and promote your podcast. Add in e-mail marketing and other efforts to keep your podcast visible.
Using a hosting site will help your listeners find you. In exchange for maintaining your podcast files online and providing playback, these services charge as little as nothing on up to close to $100 each month, although you’re likelier to spend $20 for a good set of features to manage your broadcasts and provide audience analytics that help you monitor and understand who’s listening. Once your podcast is online, you can get it picked up by syndicators, including iTunes, Spotify and Google Play Music.
Advertising and sponsorship benefits
If the prospective listenership entices you but the required amount of effort seems daunting, consider sponsoring or advertising on someone else’s podcast instead of creating your own.
Podcast advertising is a booming business. Whereas total U.S. podcast advertising dollars came in at a modest $58 million in 2012, by 2017, they reached $207 million, and by 2020, they’re expected to double that figure, with $395 million in estimated ad spending.
Some podcasts refuse to accept advertising, preferring to retain their full independence. Other podcasters welcome advertisers whose products and services, market positioning or image make a statement that suits their philosophy or matches their fundamental focus. Look for options that you’ll be proud to help support, and whose audiences show a substantial overlap with your own.
You’ll want to do a substantial amount of research before you choose one or more advertising options. Plan on listening to many episodes to assure that the ongoing tone and tenor of the messaging remains consistent with your mission, mindset or outlook.
Follow the money
It goes without saying that you need an advertising budget segment for this new portion of your marketing plan, and that you’ll need to balance what you spend against what you hope to accomplish. How prominently will the podcaster mention your company and products or services? Will you become an interview subject? Will the podcaster air the equivalent of a radio commercial for your business, pre-produced or as a script that the host reads aloud? Will you receive mention on the podcast’s website and in the podcaster’s marketing efforts? Examine what you hope to get in light of what the podcast charges its advertisers.
Once you take the plunge into podcasting, either as a creator or as an advertiser/sponsor, track the results to evaluate the benefits of your involvement. Don’t expect your own podcast to become an overnight hit. Plan to build an audience and grow a following. As an advertiser, you may see more-immediate results if you’re supporting a popular, established podcast as an advertiser than if you take the plunge yourself.
While you’re evaluating your options and how they fit into your overall marketing plan, don’t underestimate the value of expert advice. We have lots of experience in choosing, using and evaluating online media to help our clients plan for and reach their marketing goals. Get in touch and let’s talk!