Podcasting: If You’re Not in ‘It,’ You’ll Miss the Mark

Photo by  Matt Botsford  on  Unsplash

I’ll be honest, I haven’t read one article on the ‘top things learned at Podcast Movement.’ Personally, I’m still digesting the sessions, the conversations, and what applies to our business.

Overall, It was encouraging to attend this conference. It is a real community. And that community welcomes you with one rule: don’t ruin it. So what does that mean for B2B marketers who want to get into this space? It means a couple of things.

It’s Easy to Miss the Mark

Creating a podcast isn’t as simple as Googling the best software to use. It’s not like creating a webinar or developing a white paper. Trust me, it’s not something you’ve done before.

What I would recommend is to look at the greats outside of the brand space and learn from them. Why is true crime such a big hit? What are the stories only you can tell yet no one would expect?

One of the best books I’ve read on audio storytelling is ‘Out on the Wire’ by Jessica Able. Her story chronicles the creators of This American Life, Planet Money and many more. These are not ‘brand’ shows yet the lessons shared in her graphic novel depict how to think about audio storytelling.

We saw the outpouring of creators opposing Luminary. It wasn’t that their ‘idea’ was bad, its that they didn’t know the space and tried to shove something down our throats/ears. They’ve started to improve their reputation by bringing on key leaders from the industry and actually connecting with podcasters to uncover what they want.

Luminary’s CEO had stated, “We want to become synonymous with podcasting in the same way Netflix has become synonymous with streaming.” Okay cool, but podcasts are free. So while the idea is not inherently bad — it was positioned wrong.

My point is if you are entering the space, get to know the audience you’re going to serve with your show and take the time to understand the landscape before just jumping in to avoid pitfalls.

What Even is a podcast?

I’m so glad you asked.

The data around who is listening to podcasts is extremely interesting. And I’m not talking about downloads. I’m talking about the people who access podcasts.

Tom Webster with Edison Reseach shared some interesting statistics around veteran podcast listeners and newbies. A common thread was that many people still don’t even understand what a podcast is — and I don’t mean your grandparents. I mean people who actually create podcasts. It seems we all have definitions for what it is. So the argument stands to reason that a podcast is how the listener defines it.

Eric Nuzom shared his definition of what a podcast is: “On-demand, spoken-word audio that solves problems for listeners.”

I also heard, “Its distribution of content in an audio format on the internet.” That’s the most simple explanation of podcasts. Yet, even that definition causes issues. There are now platforms that don’t require you to listen to your podcast using wifi.

Some have said, “it’s audio blogging.” Okay, maybe that is the layman’s definition for podcasts, but I’ve got some issues with that one, too. Blogging is static and more confined.

So what’s our definition of a podcast? For us, we define a podcast as: “Permission-less audio content created to accomplish a specific outcome.”

It’s About Time

Many of our team members at Share Your Genius have pet podcast projects. We are hobbyists as well as brand strategists.We are personally biased around the power of this medium.

So how do brands showcase what they are passionate about? Why would a brand ever take the time to create a podcast? If you have a clear ‘why’ or a clear understanding of the impact your brand makes, then you have the beginnings of a podcast recipe.

The connection between a hobbyist and a brand is the same — the desire to tell amazing stories — the ‘thing’ they love. If this resonates with you, then time is on your side.

The time spent on developing a podcast equates to less time spent creating a video. And the audience time spent with the podcast greatly outweighs any effort taken to creating said podcast.

For example, If you have a six-episode season with each episode at 20 minutes, we see that data, and those six episodes are getting you hours of time in the ears of your audience. That brand impact is greater than anything else you’re spending your time on.

Your reach is exponential, the content evergreen, and your audience chooses you.

So my charge is this: if you’re a business looking to stand out, looking to disrupt, or simply have a very clear goal with your content marketing strategy, then you should consider developing a show. And note the word choice here: develop a show, not just a podcast.

Podcasts Have (Not) Hit Their Peak

I laugh when people say, “The podcast space is saturated,” or “It has hit its peak.” For one, the term is still not universally understood, so how could it have hit its peak? Additionally, many of you sent me this article written by the NYT. These women expected to create a show and have immediate success. How millennial of you.

And it’s okay. I’m a millennial, I can say these things.

As it relates to the issue of saturation, honestly, the internet is saturated with content. Your website, your social media channels, your blog, your videos…need I go on?

If you think you should have a blog strategy, a social media strategy, an email marketing strategy…then you should have a podcast strategy.

And while it may feel like the podcast space is saturated, it’s not. It’s only just beginning.

The opportunity for brands to come in and make waves is now. And don’t think you need to do ‘another interview show.’ Rather, do a show that surprises, delights, and ties to a clear business objective.