By now you’ve heard the hype related to the podcasting renaissance. At least 35 million people have listened to Serial, the podcast from NPR released in late 2014 that was so popular it garnered its own skit on SNL (pictured right).
Podcasting is now mainstream.
Articles in places like Forbes, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Washington Post have started covering why you should be podcasting rather than trying to explain what podcasting is.
But Just How Can You Best Leverage This Exploding Medium?
- Do you need your own podcast? Not necessarily.
- Should you be advertising on a podcast? Not necessarily.
- Should you be doing at least one of these things? Definitely!
5 Reasons You Should Produce or Sponsor a Podcast
1. A golden hour a day.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes . And people cannot (and should not) read books, jump on social media, or watch videos while driving.
That’s about an hour a day of alone time people have to fill without Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, 50 Shades of Grey, or SnapChat. Whatever will they do?
Well, millions of them are turning to podcasts. And products like Apple CarPlay are making that easier than ever.
2. Podcast listeners are valuable.
Affluent, educated, engaged young professionals make up a bulk of the podcast audience.
- Listeners of podcasts tend to have jobs, good ones. 40% of them earn more than $75,000.
- Podcast listeners tend to be educated and, not surprisingly, they skew young .
- 65% of business and IT professionals say they listen to podcasts both for personal and professional reasons .
If your company wants access to a 30-year-old degreed professional with a job that likely affords some influence over buying decisions, a podcast might just do it.
3. Podcast commercials are effective.
Commercial messages on podcasts are far more effective than traditional radio and television ads. To illustrate, compare these two stats:
- 6% of consumers don’t really mind commercials when they are watching TV or listening to the radio.
- 67%, more than ten times as many listeners, don’t mind the commercials they hear during their favorite podcasts.
And that’s not all.
Not only do 67% of podcast listeners actually enjoy the commercials from sponsors, 90% of them report taking action because of the sponsored messages.
A full 40% of podcast listeners say they have purchased something as a direct result of the sponsors of their favorite podcasts .
4. Corporate validation from the likes of General Electric and Amazon.
National Public Radio (NPR) has had a resurgence thanks to its commitment to podcasting. Serial, the most popular podcast of all time, is an NPR production with more than 75 million downloads and a cult following of lawyers, true crime aficionados, and a few conspiracy theorists thrown in for good measure .
In late 2015, General Electric re-launched GE Theater but this time, they weren’t looking to sell televisions. The Message is a GE-sponsored podcast that tells a story while secretly making the audience aware of the power of audio technology – something GE happens to sell for things like 4D ultrasound.
GE has opted to create content that attracts an audience. Audible, an Amazon company, has been a heavy advertiser on podcasts across the spectrum of topics. Amazon realizes a great benefit by accessing the dedicated audiences of top podcasters and tries to leverage the fact that they are already listening to audio on demand so therefore might enjoy audio books. Interestingly, sales of audio books recently outpaced traditional books. 
5. Producing a show makes you an expert.
Well, your knowledge about a topic and relevant experience makes you an expert, but having a podcast can make you look like an expert. Perception is reality.
For every 2,000 people out there blogging on a certain topic, only 1 is podcasting about it (that stat sores to 7500:1 for women). 
Vocalization makes someone believable. You can hear the honesty and authority in a voice when someone is speaking passionately about a topic. Podcasts increase credibility and they make you stand out.
6. Podcasts are an efficient way to drive a content marketing strategy.
Think about it. Would you rather write 750 words about a topic or have a ten minute conversation with someone about the topic?
Instead of bugging people to turn in articles for the company blog, start recording conversations between employees, customers or potential customers, and transcribing those discussions.
From there, share the conversation with the rest of the organization to act as training for employees and/or brand engagement with your customers, edit the conversation into a blog post or two, and grab a few tweets and Facebook updates that will link to your blog post.
In a fraction of the time, you’ve had an authentic conversation with someone and it’s powered your content marketing engine for the next two weeks.