Podcasts are hotter than a hot potato. Fact.
75 million people tune in every month – these numbers have tripled over the past five years, rising from around 25 million. Since it’s inception in 2004 podcasting is now providing a legitimate challenge to the radio industry and is a hugely powerful medium for building an audience of engaged listeners around your brand. So there has never been a better time to launch a pod for your biz – if you’ve been on the fence and have been putting off production then read on for why your business needs a podcast now.
On episode 009 of The Famous Business Podcast, hosted by Class:PR’s very own Alistair Clay, we were joined by Josh Nielson, the founder of Zencastr – a platform that takes all the stress out of podcasting and makes it easy for budding broadcasters to get in on the story without needing to be a techie. Josh and Alistair sit down and chat about all things podcasting, especially why podcasts are such an effective comms channel for businesses.
Josh Nielsen, Zencastr
Here are some of the highlights from the conversation:
Alistair: You’re making it so much more possible for people like me to make podcasts so easily and to use them as a marketing tool or a PR tool. You’ve got 15,000 users already, why do you think that is, what’s so great about podcasts?
Josh: I think we’re seeing people take back ownership of their time and what they’re consuming. And what I mean by that is just like what’s happening with cable TV how everybody is cutting the cords with the cable boxes.
Cable TV decides you want to watch, but you can now go on Netflix and you can watch what you want when you want. And because you don’t have to, you’re not in a situation where like a TV channel has to play something that’s going to cater to the interests of the most people.
You can dive in deep into whatever niche you want. If all you want to watch is alien documentaries on Netflix you can do that for days.
The same thing’s happening with podcasting, you know, especially with commuters I think that is where the biggest growth area is. They’re turning off the radio. They’re deciding, you know, my time is valuable. And I’m going to fill it with exactly what I want to fill it with.
And that’s what podcasting is giving people. And that’s a big value proposition for the listeners. And it’s a big opportunity for the creators because there’s a huge demand now. And if you talk to most people who are like big time podcast listeners, who there’s more and more of, one of their biggest problems is that they’ve gone through the entire catalogues of all the podcasts that they love and they don’t have anything, they can’t find anything to listen to next.
They’re looking for that next great show to listen to. And so, there’s a huge amount of demand out there.
Alistair: Absolutely. Why do you think then that startups especially, maybe tech startups or startups, in general, why is a podcast a good PR channel for them, a good marketing channel for them? Why does it help connect them with their audiences do you think?
Josh: Well, it’s such a different relationship. If you think of it as a marketing tool it’s such a different kind of relationship you build with someone in creating a podcast and having them become a listener than, you know, even in blogging and far more than if they come across like an AdWords ad or something else like that.
I think it is partially because people are maybe a bit. What’s the right word? Voyeuristic. I don’t know. That has kind of negative connotations. But people want to get to know, they want to see inside them. They want to see behind the scenes. They want to see what’s, you know.
They want to see the lives and the personalities of the people that they’re interacting with and apparently who they’re getting their news and information and whatever else from, too. Like if you, I don’t know if you’ve listened to the Gimlet Media Here Startup podcast.
Alistair: I have indeed.
Josh: Okay. So, you know, they found that they needed to involve his wife more in the show because the episodes where they had kind of the intimate conversations at home with his wife were the ones that everybody was raving about.
And it’s funny. It’s kind of like the same reason why reality TV is so successful. People just have a thirst for that. And people want to connect on a deeper level with. And podcasting gives them a way to do that because not only is it very revealing for the host and the people on the show, they share a lot but you have an interaction, you know.
People can, you know, write in or leave comments and a lot of podcasts kind of will have guests, you know, some of their listeners will come on the show.
It’s a bit more of an intimate experience. And I think that people like that. And with that, along with that comes this amazing ability to advertise basically without advertising. And what I mean by that is people are kind of bristling towards advertisements. They’re putting ad blockers on their browsers.
They’re cutting the cord on cable so they don’t have to watch all these ads while they watch TV. So, people are very sensitive to this idea of being advertised to.
But with podcasts, if you’ve got this relationship that you’ve already built with your users. You’ve already provided them value, a lot of value, and you’ve welcomed them into your life in a way. Then, you know, the way that most, you know, kind of typical of podcasting is they do the kind of personalized endorsement rather than let’s take a break and hear from our sponsors.
And people react completely differently to that instead because, if you’re doing it right you’re only endorsing things that are kind of highly targeted towards your market or towards your listeners anyway.
Alistair: As the man who’s kind of responsible for up to 15,000 podcasts or whatever where do you see podcasting going next, then? As we peer into 2017, 2018 what’s, what do you think’s coming next? Will the format change? Will there just be more of it? Well, I don’t know. Will it be monetized more? What do you see coming?
Josh: Man I have no idea (laughs). I’m the first one to admit that I’m like just flying blind in all this. I think some things that are interesting that are happening is A, services like Zencastr and others are popping up to kind of help people create podcasts. And so, and I think that’s good. I think removing as much friction as possible from the creation process enables more people to engage with it. I don’t see the listenership falling off. I see that continuing to grow.
I think just like, you know, Netflix and those things are continuing to grow. People like controlling their time and being able to dig into the deep niches that they can with podcasts. And I think that’s going to continue to accelerate.
I think it’s going to become a bit of a necessity for businesses to get involved in podcasting. I think more and more of them are going to realise that this isn’t just something that you can do. It’s something that you should do and need to do just like you’ve got to be on social media.
Want to hear more advice from Josh? Listen to the rest of the podcast here or check us out on iTunes and all good podcasting platforms.
Find out more about Zencastr here