Podcasts Gain Momentum as a Media Tool to Connect with Potential Customers

Marketing with Podcasts

Background: Many of my long time readers know that I’ve always had my eye on Podcasting.  My first Podcamp was in 2008 in Columbus, just a few years after I started this blog. I remember listening to Dave Jackson, from the School of Podcasting, who provided a podcasting 101 session that made it sound oh-so-simple. I was delighted that he was located outside of Akron in NE Ohio just like me.

Although I think I’ve only had about 10 audio files included in Branding & Marketing, I continued to learn more about podcasting. At the beginning of 2018, I started a separate community with a co-host (Jill McCauslin) that includes a website and podcast. It’s been an experience in putting together an editorial calendar, finding guests, recording, editing, developing the art, distributing the podcast and then promoting it. We’ve got 23 episodes recorded so far.

Chris with podcast co-host Jill McCauslin at the Pair Networks / Libsyn headquarters in Pittsburgh in early November.

Types of Podcasts: There are a full range of categories of podcasting. People listen to them in the car, when they are exercising or while doing something else. In the US, where iPhones are so popular, most listeners download their podcasts on their phones from the Apple Podcasts directory (formerly known as  iTunes.) Recent reports show Apple Podcasts has a directory of 550,000 different podcasts with over 18 million episodes.  In general, the number of podcasts has grown exponentially and the listen base has grown accordingly. Still, there are many people who don’t listen to podcasts yet because they aren’t sure how to listen or subscribe. Many other people listen on Spotify or a wide range of other apps, such as Stitcher, Player FM, Tune In, Castbox and so on.

Yesterday a recent announcement from Pandora (who will be partnering with Libsyn among others) about additional distribution will ensure that podcast listening will continue to grow in 2019.  Pandora’s  71 million active users will definitely add serious numbers to the distribution of podcasts.  The majority of the US has not been listening to podcasts because, “they just don’t know where to start.” With Pandora getting into podcast distribution, that’s about to change.

Marketing professionals on the leading edge are already into it as podcasts gain momentum. It’s not a new thing. Podcasting has been around since 2005 or even earlier. In fact, it was a thing about the time “everyone” started blogging. But as the world has gotten faster with shorter and shorter messaging, podcasting provides a wonderful way to provide long content, full explanations and a deep dive into content.

Libsyn staff outlines the Libsyn WordPress integration session (from left) Krystal OConnor, Rob Welch, Dave Jackson and Elsie Escobar.

At a recent meeting of podcasters that was held in Pittsburgh at Pair Networks (part of Liberated Syndication’s company), I was able to meet a variety of content developers, customer support people, and other podcasters. It’s so interesting to hear about the different types of shows and content being developed. I liked learning about new developments like the Pandora announcement too.

Hosting Server room set up at Pair Networks - Libsyn in Pittsburgh.

Just like with websites, the podcasting world has its own lingo and requirements that you’ll need to become familiar with in order to promote your company, products, services and establish yourself as a thought leader by using this medium. Marketing with podcasts isn’t rocket science but there is plenty you’ll need to learn.

If you’re considering launching a podcast, one of the first rules is don’t host audio files for your podcast on your website. They are huge files and website hosting is just not the right place. You want a podcast hosting company that will provide hosting, distribution and statistics among other things. I recommend using Libsyn (the largest podcast hosting) but there are others too like Blubrry and PodBean. (Skip Anchor and SoundCloud.) You definitely want to host with a server that is set up to handle your audio files when you are marketing with podcasts.

There’s too much for me to include about starting your podcast, so let me just refer you to the best place to become familiar with it, which is Dave’s School of Podcasting.

If you decide you want to add podcasting to your 2019 marketing plan and want to talk about it, I’ll be glad to discuss it from a marketing standpoint… However Dave (who is a 2018 inductee in the Podcasters’ Hall of Fame) eats, sleeps and lives podcasting.

Meanwhile, if you’re not listening to podcasts yet, it’s time to find out more about this. It’s a way to build a powerful audience. Those who have “building awareness” as a goal for 2019 will not want to ignore this media opportunity.

Perhaps your company spokesperson will put “become a podcast guest expert” in their to do list for 2019. Or add “develop a set of 10 questions a podcasting host will ask us to learn more about ____” to their actionable items. Maybe you have had marketing with podcasts on your list for a while.

Here is one of my favorite podcasts: Finding Mastery. He regularly interviews exceptional CEO’s who are searching for mastery of their craft. Besides this one, I regularly listen to about 20 to 25 different podcasts.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, let me know which ones. If you have a podcast, let me know. Or if you are interested in learning more about using podcasts as a way to connect with your customers, let me know. You can leave a message in the comments field below or send me an email.