Rising Trends in Podcast Marketing

If you have been paying attention to the digital trends, then it’s already clear that podcasting is a new media force to be reckoned with. Coming up faster than Twitter and more steadily, there is a consistent rise in listenership with every month as everyone from pre-teens to industry professionals tunes in to their favorite audio shows.

There is a place in our lives for audio media that most people don’t even realize is empty until they find a good podcast. Modern live broadcast radio is abrasive and riddled irritants like shouting commercials and unpleasant ‘radio personalities’. People who would prefer to listen to a combination of music and pleasant news or stories all day while driving, working, and doing chores will turn a radio off rather than put up with all the noise.

Podcasts, on the other hand, recognize everything wrong with modern radio and seek to fix it. One of the most unique things about podcasting as a media form and a community is the focus on creating enjoyable listening experiences instead of just packing as much commercializable content in as possible. This results in 15 to 120 minute episodes of pleasant content in whatever flavor you prefer. But what does this have to do with digital marketing in 2018, you may be wondering.

Marketing for the Podcasting Audience

Getting your advertising method into a popular podcast is different from working with any other media. The most important thing to understand is that you cannot just have your marketing team pre-record something and have it played at the right moment in a podcast. Podcast commercials almost universally must be integrated. This means that they are usually delivered by the host or a guest in the recording room and must flow naturally with the rest of the episode’s content.

To market in a podcast, you will need to work directly with the host to design an integrated message that will blend well with the episode’s content. You can ask the host to say a few things for you, review a product on the air, or hold a small interview with a company representative to talk about the services you offer. The important part is that it be smooth, make sense with rest of the episode content, and come together as part of the enjoyable listening experience.

As we go deeper into 2018, we are going to see a continual rise in podcasting popularity and marketing techniques. If your company wants to be on the cutting-edge of this new easy-listening media, it’s time to gear up and put together your podcasting plan. See how podcasting can fit into 10 steps to Building an Online Community here.

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1) Real Advertisements in Fictional Podcasts

Advertisements in almost all podcasts are incredibly contextual. Ideally, the promotional piece fits into the natural flow of conversation and flows just as naturally into the next topic in the show. This opens up an interesting door. What about wildly popular fictional podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale or Homecoming?

The truth is that you can market in this kind of podcast as well, you just have be creative about it. This year, we are likely to see more companies figuring out how to work clever product placement into the lives and environments of fictional characters in these audio serial stories. Those who can do so in a way that delights the audience will be remembered positively as not only getting into the podcasting business but being ‘hip’ enough to do it in a smooth and amusing fasion.

When integrating a real product or brand promotion into a fictional story, your best bet will be comedy podcasts or just a touch of humor when writing the integration. You want people to laugh when they hear what amounts to product placement because that laugh will be memorable. They’ll like that you can be a little bit humble in order to gain a great deal of awareness and respect for your brand among the younger and more fiction-driven crowds.

2) Marketing through Podcast Interviews

In the age of digital marketing, most marketing teams are getting very used to the idea of working almost entirely in the background through computers, analysis, automation, and a little bit of social media management. It’s hard to imagine physically going to someone’s podcasting studio in order to promote the brand but’s what many companies with a successful podcast marketing strategy are doing. To be fair, many podcast hosts are also fine with a phone or VOIP call as well, just as long as your voice comes through clearly without any audio delay or background noise.

While it may seem unusual at the moment, marketers shouldn’t be surprised by the expectation that they take the center stage and do a few interviews. Popular feeling has been moving toward transparency and real human connections for at least five years now and the appeal of very personable and natural podcast hosting is the culmination of that. By sitting down and chatting with a host about your business, product, services, or even just your feelings on industry news, you can raise both awareness and respect for your company.

3) Guest Hosting in Industry Podcasts

It is a common misconception to think that podcasting is just for the trendy and young. In fact, a great deal of its success is based on the hundreds of serious industry-related podcasts and listeners who are professionals, technicians, and managers in these industries. This means that B2B companies and business aimed at working professionals have an unusually high chance of reaching their audience rather than the alternative which is reaching through the chatter of social media.

Being a guest for interviews in industry podcasts is a great way to get started but in 2018, we’re going to see an increase in guest hosting, in which podcast hosts will hand over the reigns to one industry guest speaker who will take the majority of the podcast time to share their insights into the industry.

4) Long-Term Podcast Sponsorship

Currently, most podcast marketing efforts are looking at each ‘appearance’ as a one-time advertisement. This is reasonable when you’re just getting your toes in the water to see what works and what doesn’t but as podcast marketing becomes more predominant and businesses start to hone their idea of good podcast representation, we’re going to see a lot of businesses deciding to be long-term sponsors for one or several podcasts.

Long-term sponsorship can allow you to show up on the same podcast multiple times without seeming repetitive or overly promotional. Instead, you can turn your brand or even a specific representative into something more of a recurring character in your sponsored podcasts, allowing the audience to become familiar with you and even look forward to your segments because they contain interesting content. The key is to ensure that every appearance is just as valuable, informative, and smooth as the rest of the show.

5) Partnering with Podcasts for Shared Marketing Value

One of the elements that is essential to podcasting is sharing fame. Podcasters often have interviews with other podcasters and micro-influencers in order to share and spread the publicity they manage to generate. This is a great way to build audience awareness from the ground up using pooled resources for the greatest possible reach. There’s no reason why businesses getting into podcasting can’t do the same.

The entire reason you want to market through podcasting is to reach the podcaster’s audience. As it turns out, many podcast producers and hosts are equally interested in building their publicity by associating with successful brands. While this is a mostly unexplored issue here at the beginning of 2018, we’re sure to see more brands and podcasts partnering up to share marketing results in the next 12 months.

6) Detailed Listening Analytics

Because the entire internet is hooked up to handle the typed word, the overwhelming popularity of audio content took the SEO software developers a little by surprise. Initially, there was no easy way to get transcripts or much analytical data from podcast listening but as usual in this fast-paced society, it only took a few months to catch up.

With Apple naturally leading the way (they’re called ‘pod’-casts for reason), we are now seeing much more detailed podcast listenership analytics now and are bound to see even greater detail combined with useful dashboards and a variety of semi-cloned options in the near future.

You can now see which podcasts are listened to all the way through, where users tend to pause, what they skip over, and how frequently they re-play the same podcasts or share with friends. This kind of information can help you refine your podcast marketing techniques until almost everyone listens to your segments all the way through and shares with a friend.

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7) Inbound Marketing with Podcasting

Of course, as most businesses have discovered with other inbound marketing techniques, being a guest on someone else’s show isn’t your only option. If you find that you and your team have a lot to say about the industry, start recording your own industry podcast and have fun inviting hosts you marketed with previously to come guest on your show to cross audiences once again. Several big brands and TV shows are already building their own podcasts and even more people are jumping on board since several podcasts went the other direction and were picked up as TV shows.

This year, we’re going to see a massive increase in businesses starting their own podcasts, marketing on each other’s podcasts, and inventing new ways to use the medium that we haven’t even imagined yet. Whether you’re a startup with a $50 microphone and a dream or a large enterprise looking to stay on the cutting-edge of digital marketing, podcasting is on the rise with no sign of stopping in 2018. For more digital marketing tips and trends, contact us today

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