Benefits of Having A Brand Podcast – Episode 64

TUNE IN: Apple Podcasts l Spotify

Should your brand have a podcast?  Is the podcast audio space oversaturated?  Sarah shares recent podcast growth and user stats + the opportunity your brand has to engage your customers 20+ minutes every week.

THIS EPISODE AT-A-GLANCE

  • The industry is growing but not oversaturated yet
  • Listeners are younger and more affluent
  • Ads aren’t as skipped as they are other places
  • Things to consider when starting your own brand podcast
  • Things to look for when podcasting

Full Podcast Transcription

Sarah Panus:
If you’re thinking “We should have a podcast”, the number one thing I would tell you being a brand storytelling strategist myself, is that your podcast cannot be all about your company. It cannot be all about your company because people will tune out and stop listening if it sounds like an ad.

Sarah Panus:
Hi, my name is Sarah Panus. I have spent the last two decades driving digital content for billion dollar brands. Now I help content marketers build winning brand storytelling strategies and reduce feelings of overwhelm and confusion. Join me as we discuss strategy, creativity, confidence, and building a better connection with your audience. Think of this as a creative content marketing jam session mixed with chicken soup for the soul. This is the Marketing with Empathy podcast. 

Sarah Panus:
Hey, hey, Kindred Speakers. Welcome back! Today, we’re gonna talk about podcast and specifically brand podcast. And should your company, should your brand, have a podcast? Maybe you’re thinking about it. Maybe you already have one. This episode is definitely geared towards giving you some facts around the podcast industry, the incredible growth that it is seeing. And I think brand podcasts ultimately, are an amazing opportunity for brands because what other platform do you have where you’re communicating with your consumers – where they’re gonna sit and involve listen for 20 minutes or more. I mean, really? They’re gonna get to listen and hear more about topics that your brand cares about.

Sarah Panus:
They’re gonna get to really identify and say – yeah I’m a raving fan, I identify with this brand, I love what they’re supporting, I love what they’re giving me, and the value they’re giving me. So I think podcasts are definitely where it’s at. If you can create a podcast that will follow the right format. Um, we’re gonna talk a little bit more about that today. So should you have a brand podcast? You know, this Marketing With Empathy podcast I created and before I created my own podcast, I was researching podcasts for a large retailer that I was working with previously. And what we were looking at was definitely wanting to increase customer engagement.

Sarah Panus:
And we wanted to think about how do we share more of our stories in a different way. And we didn’t have any audio elements, we had a lot of video and social and you static posts and things. But we didn’t have any audio only assets as part of the marketing plan. And when you look at the incredible data and stats behind the podcast industry, it, if you have a great story to tell, a story, not a commercial, but if you have a great worry to tell there really is a lot of opportunity. So on this podcast episode, I’m gonna be sharing a lot of different statistics. I will link to all of the sources for the stats I’m sharing in the show notes. So if you’re curious on any of them, just click through the description of this episode and you’ll see the link for the show notes and you can go and see all of the sources.

Industry is growing but not oversaturated yet

Sarah Panus:
But I think one of the things I hear, a question I’ve heard is, isn’t the podcast industry, it’s growing – but it’s like too many. There’s too many podcasts. Now there are a lot of podcast, yes, and the industry is growing but is definitely not oversaturated yet. When you compare it to the vast volume of blogs that are out there and social channels and accounts and things. I mean, YouTube videos as an example, right? Their podcasts thing is still very small comparatively. And also there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of audiences and eyeballs that are, ear-balls I guess in this instance, that are interested in various different topics.

podcast listeners spend an average of six hours and 37 minutes listening to podcast every week. And until two years ago, consumers spent only five hours a week.

Convince and Convert

Sarah Panus:
So within the last couple of years, it’s gone up to six and a half hours a week. That’s a pretty big jump. And in one year in 2018 that jumped, listenership jumped 32%. So you’re seeing these like double digit jumps happening in terms of listenership and adoption of people listening to podcasts, which is great, right? So six and a half hours listening to different podcasts. And the podcast sector is set to reach 1 billion dollars in 2021, it was their forecast and their predictions. With like a third of Americans listening to podcasts at least once a month. So right? You have varying levels of adoption, less, very active, every single day, every single week and then you have some that’ll tune in monthly.

LISTENERS ARE YOUNGER AND MORE AFFLUENT

Sarah Panus:
But definitely listenership is growing, it is continuing to grow both domestically here in the United States, but also globally around the entire world. And listeners are younger and more affluent. There’s some great statistics showing that, on average around 45% of podcast listeners have an annual household income of more than $250,000 (Music Oomph). And 68% of podcast listeners have a postgraduate degree. So they’re educated, highly educated, and they’re making good incomes (Edison Research, Music Oomph). They’re fairly 50/50 split between male and female from the data that I’ve seen (Buzzsprout). But slightly more male. So, I’ve seen a few different stats, one from a couple of different sources talked about,

67% of podcast audiences are made up of people between 18 and 44 year olds.

ExpandedRamblings, Music Oomph

Sarah Panus:
So, three quarters are between 18 and 44. And like I mentioned, about 50/50, slightly more are male. But women are definitely that podcast listeners are increasing more and more. And they like to listen to podcasts wherever they are. Right? And so that is such a benefit of podcast audio, is that you can listen to it wherever you want. It can be a second screen while you’re doing something else. You can just listen to it. The vast majority, 90% of listeners prefer to listen to their podcasts at home, but other popular locations among Americans include listening to it in their car or truck. So that’s 64% of people like to listen to it while they’re driving. When they’re at the gym or working out, 43% of people are listening to podcasts. While they’re listening to it at work, 37% and 49% also say they like to listen while they’re walking (Statista, 2019). 

Sarah Panus:
So, you know, obviously these stats, they overlay. So some might like to walk and do their car so that that’s kind of the crossover of those numbers there. But, those are the most popular places in general that people are listening. Whether watching, um, doing their dishes, doing a chore, reading, cooking. I know for me personally, I love listening to podcasts right away in the morning. Uh, when I’m having my breakfast after I get the kids off school. I come back home, since I work from home and I’ll make my breakfast and then I’ll listen to a podcast while I’m eating my breakfast. It’s a way that I start my day or I’ll listen to podcast while I’m doing my hair in the morning. I will listen while I’m cooking. Definitely while I’m outgoing for a walk. Um, when the weather gets nice and warm here, I’m looking forward to getting back outside to doing more walking. And definitely a 100% in the car. 

Sarah Panus:
So I like kind of check all of those boxes. And the interesting thing, so they’re, they’re spending a lot of time, right? They’re slightly younger, more affluent, but I am seeing stats that show that older population is growing as well. So, you know, it really, I would look at it as like all ages. All ages are listening to podcast. Um, but definitely their strongest subset is in that 18 to 44 year old. And so if your brand is trying to target that audience, and if that matches anything, matches your demographics. It’s a great place to think about being right. So if you think about being, and you have your own show, I wanted to look into, I was curious about like ads on podcasts and how those relate. Cause you know, some companies choose not to have their own voice through a podcast, but they’ll run ads on other people’s podcasts to create interest in the brand. So I wanted to look into that.

According to Business Insider, more than half of U.s. podcast listeners pay attention to the ads.

Business Insider

Ads aren’t as skipped as they are other places

Sarah Panus:
So that’s great news for us as brands, right? Listeners are more likely to listen to ads on podcasts than any other medium. So Business Insider went on to say that, 55% of podcast listeners pay attention to podcast ads which is 10% more than those who pay attention to ads on the radio. So, most podcast listeners do not skip ads mostly because they’re just really seamlessly graded into the program and usually read by the host. So it’s just such a fluid part of this show. And what’s interesting too, with ads, so we know they’re not more than half are not skipping, so that’s great news. And then Edison Research looked at kind of the influence of the ads and their research shows that 54% of consumers are more likely to consider companies that they hear advertised during podcast. Um, you know, if your ad really resonates to what the story and the topic is, there’s such a great tie in to that audience, making a brand decision to sponsor a story based podcast.

Sarah Panus:
Which could lead to, you know, those higher profits increased brand recognition. And just in generally people say a podcast, almost 78% don’t mind hearing ads. I think, which I think is huge in this realm of ad blockers in every other digital communication. So it’s still like this world where we can have ads that make sense as part of the show. 62% are saying they consider buying a product after they heard an ad. And 67% are reciting that they remember the ads that they hear. So it’s definitely, I would say podcasts advertising is definitely, um, growing. I would say as people are turning away from like other places where they’re doing ad blocking or, you know, TV ads where they’re doing more streaming and they’re skipping those ads. So just another great reason to think about how podcasts can help you target that specific audience with more precise content that you want to reach them versus some of your other marketing channels.

COMMErcial Break

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Things to Consider When Starting Your Own Brand Podcast

Sarah Panus:
And so what are some things then to consider when you’re starting your own brand podcast? So this is going to be my own personal list of, of tips and recommendations. It is not meant to be exhaustive by any means, but just to kind of get your wheels turning as you’re thinking about it. So first, and foremost, if you’re thinking we should have a podcast. The number one thing I would tell you, being a brand storytelling strategist myself, is that your podcast cannot be all about your company. It cannot be all about your company because people will tune out and stop listening if it sounds like an ad. If this show, you would not be listening to this, you would tune out right away. If you felt like, oh, this is just an ad and Sarah was just hawking her clients in her business and all this stuff. 

Sarah Panus:
Every single time, you don’t wanna listen to it. You will do the ad block around me and you won’t wanna listen to it anymore. So that is really the biggest thing is you have to think about what is the conversation you can share on a podcast, in a storytelling way. It’s a conversation, right? There’s so many different formats of podcasts, but ultimately all of every single podcast you listen to is telling a story about something. Um, it’s talking about something, but it’s not literally like, this is about this one company and only them and everything. It’s related to the industry, it’s related to their cause what they care about their storytelling pillars. So make your podcast theme be about, um, how you can tie it back into one of your three storytelling pillars in some way that gives back.

Sarah Panus:
Make the hero of the conversation something related to, you know, your industry, the people you serve and then your brand is just supporting it. Your brand is there from like the voice of maybe your host. It’s there through, you can have some ad breaks that are sponsored by your company. It is there through like the lens of like – yeah, as a company, we really care about this topic so wanted to invite on this guest on to get a little deeper here, we’re curious on this and blah, blah, blah. So that’s how you get your audience to better and deeply connect with you. And be like, heck yeah, I like really resonate with this brand. I love like their point of view on these things.

Sarah Panus:
That’s how you get your raving fans, right? You get that deeper connection. You create that empathy filter with them to connect. So research your topics beforehand. How can the topic fit into one of your storytelling pillars, right? So that’s that tip. And then also when you’re researching what you want your topic to be, look at all the other existing podcasts that are already out there to see if there’s a gap in that space, in that topic that isn’t really being addressed yet. Cuz that could be a great opportunity for how you can slide in and offer a different point of view or a different advice, different education for your audience. Researching your names of course, to make sure you’re not infringing on any other podcasts that are out there or causing confusion when people are going to wherever they listen to their podcasts.

Sarah Panus:
And they see very similar names of a couple different podcasts and they don’t look at yours, they look at someone else’s, you don’t want name confusion. Of course. And I would say the other huge thing from the corporate side is that podcast growth is much slower than paid social or paid video campaigns are. So you need to set internal expectations. You are going to see thousands of downloads instead of millions of downloads your first year. You just are and you need to set that expectation. But you think about the quality of the listeners, they are opting in to spend a lot more time listening to you. That is really rich. It’s just like when you get a lead for a brand, would you rather have 50 crappy leads or would you rather have three really high quality leads? You want quality leads, right? So you want quality, they’re gonna ultimately convert down the road.

Sarah Panus:
So I think a podcast like that, where you’re getting the quality folks who are hyper engaged and interested in the topic that you wanna talk about. So just set those expectations internally to know that it’s just a different ball game but you set it up so that you’re creating this awareness through your topics, but then you’ll have the ad breaks, um, mentioning your show. You wanna think of some type of a lead funnel to get them to like “Hey, we have this free something, sign up for it here”. So you’re gonna find a way to like convert your podcast listeners, to join in to like your email database or another way that you can additionally communicate with that audience to then, you know, move them down the funnel eventually.

Sarah Panus:
Um, but it is a longer term play, right? Podcast is it’s an upper funnel tactic, um, from brand storytelling perspective. So just really important to understand that it is a longer term play. You’re not gonna be seeing millions and millions of engagements and views and things right away. So, just keep that in mind. Um, you can sponsor though, you can partner with, pardon me, you can partner with larger paid media companies to amplify your podcast. Definitely! So if you have big budget and you wanna collaborate with another, um, partner, there’s a lot of different media companies that offer the option to even help produce your podcast for you. So it’s a lot more expensive, of course, than you doing it yourself. But, I mean, depending on how big your budgets are are you could definitely go that path where they will help you create your podcast. They will help brand it. They can even help identify hosts for you.

Sarah Panus:
And then as part of like your buy with them, they have paid amplification across their network, across their channels, um, to help amplify and get you bigger numbers faster, you know, to reach more people faster. So that’s stuff, definitely an option as well, but not one that you have to do. So if I say that and you’re like, oh crap, we’re never gonna get there. Don’t be like disheartened, cuz there’s this is what’s I think is really cool about the podcasting space still, is that you can totally DIY at yourself and do it really well. Um, or you can go all the way to Hollywood level. And there, if you think about the podcast, you listen to, just think about the variety probably of the different shows that you listen to or that people you know listen to. Right? Things resonate with different people and, and that’s, what’s so great about, it’s such a creative just field, I think of opportunity.

Sarah Panus:
And then, you know, what days are the best to post, uh, to, to publish your podcast live? It, I think it really just depends on your audience ultimately, but online statistics, podcast marketing specialists say that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays are the best days to, um, post your episodes (Income School). Those are the days that are most likely for people to download episodes with Saturday and Sunday, the weekends being the worst for downloads. So again, I say take that with a grain of salt, but Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays, the Marketing with Empathy podcast you’re listening to right now, we come out every Tuesday. Um, not because of the stat. I hadn’t read that before, but it just worked out the best for me with my schedule. And so that just worked out the best.

Things to look for when podcasting

Sarah Panus:
I felt like for, um, professionals who were working and I know Mondays are always such a beast for me. I always felt like it was always just busy after the weekend getting caught up on a lot of different things. So I didn’t wanna publish anything new on a Monday. Um, I wanted to give you guys a chance to just get started into your week first and get into your groove. And then, you know, so Tuesday felt like a nice day for that. So I think some things to watch or just to, to look for. As a content strategist, I like to look at themes and trends of stuff that I see happening. Um, so this is just from, this is from me, my analysis, not from anyone else’s, but definitely I’m seeing shorter episode formats popping up. I mean, I even literally see some podcasts that are, have like a seven minute episode and they’re doing daily episodes or like a five minute daily update. So there again is so much flexibility. You have daily, weekly, multiple times a week and then monthly shows.

Sarah Panus:
So you have whole seasons that will just launch, like season one has just launched and it’ll have eight episodes. And they’ll just launch all of that at once, allowing you to binge through it and then they’ll kind of assess the feedback, um, and then decide if they wanna do a season two or what season two is gonna be about. So I actually think seasons is kind of a cool approach for brands depending on the style of your show. But if you, um, why I think seasons is kind of cool for brands is that if you’re not exactly sure if you have like a couple different topics, you’re like, gosh, you know, we have this overarching theme. We’d like to talk about what a few different things, well maybe your season one goes down the path of talking about just one of those and then season two could go and bridge into the second. I think it just gives you some flexibility where you can change and you can change anytime you want. But I just, I think that’s interesting from an episodic perspective, so shorter episode formats. 

Sarah Panus:
I mean the average, um, podcast episode is still around like 40 some minutes. Um, but uh, definitely shorter is, is being popular. Um, I also am seeing a lot of great opportunity with podcast swaps between shows between guests to increase the audience reach between each other’s shows. So as one brand, you have any other brands that you partner with or collaborate with where you can kind of like swap and be on each other’s shows or maybe one of you guests hosts the other, um, for like one episode to draw awareness around your show. I think there’s a lot of creative things you can do to get more visibility around the fact that, Hey, we, as a brand, we have the show and this is what it’s about. And these are our hosts, you know, just get to know those personalities so that people can decide if they like it or not and if they wanna subscribe.

Sarah Panus:
I also think there is going to be more Hollywood involvement in the podcast space, but I don’t think that it’s gonna kill talk formats like this and people like me who are doing their own shows without big dollars behind them. So what I think is interesting though, from like the Hollywood world, and you’re seeing a lot of like directors and celebrities and things that are doing podcasts. And I was reading some quotes about it and the, um, former Huff Post and New York Times editor named Lydia Polgreen. She said, what you now is this incredible flowering of creativity. Um, she’s managing a Spotify owned studio now called Gimlet Media. And for Hollywood, the podcasting space has become like a farm team for intellectual property where storylines are tested out and then promising material gets scooped up relatively cheaply. 

Sarah Panus:
Um, and so with the movie business being dominated by all these remakes, right? Superhero franchises and other like temp like mega productions, the, the freedom that podcast team provides is really refreshing. And so CA (Creative Artists) Agency, um, founded this company QCode and Rob Herding was talking about how, you know, he was just getting really tired of the repurposing of old intellectual property and the movie side. And so he was yearning for like all these original stories and podcasting feels like such a great outlet for those, because it’s a place where you can just go be bold experiment and move quickly. And so they’re kind of like thinking through all these like storyline ideas and things and the podcasting side, and then if it’s interesting, then they’ll sell it. And then that could be something that could get turned into a future movie. 

Sarah Panus:
And then it’s fascinating. So it’s really interesting to like think of it. And so as a brand, you know, we could adopt that too, right? We think about, well, what do we wanna test out? What do we wanna try to talk about? What are we curious about, um, that we could create and see what our own audience engages with? I think that’s fascinating. And then the other thing too, with the podcasting space, just to kind of be aware of is the conversation podcaster normally started is all audio only. Um, and their is more video that is entering the space now. So with the growth in media or with the growth in video, part of me, many podcasts are changing their formats to add video elements to the show so people can watch it or listen to it. Um, I don’t see video dominating and like, like at least in the near future, I think the majority are still gonna stay audio, but you’re gonna, I think over time, continue to see more and more video playing in. 

Sarah Panus:
Um, right now for me, I don’t have any plans to change this podcast to video. I like having it be audio only. I personally really like the fact that you don’t have to see me in terms of what I’m wearing. I don’t have to do my hair makeup or feel like I have to be presentable and looking on the camera and I can just talk and have that conversation into my microphone that I visualize is just you guys, I’m just talking and having a conversation with you. So that works for my personality. Um, but definitely video’s gonna keep growing cuz video’s growing everywhere else. So, that is it, really in summary. So I would just say, I hope you consider if you have a great story or a great platform, some great storytelling pillars, maybe some great leaders internally, some great voices, some great partners. 

Sarah Panus:
Think about how you can expand that story to create an audio experience, to engage with your audience, to get them to like hang ands and say, yeah, I wanna listen for 20 minutes or more to you talk every week on this thing or whatever you, your, how often you publish. Um, it is an incredibly rich engagement opportunity. So that is it today. That’s why I think you should have a brand podcast. If any of those things make sense to you. If you would like to connect with me further on this, or you have any follow up questions on this for your brand, definitely connect with me online or shoot me an email, sarah@kindredspeak.com, I’m happy to chat it through with you. Um, I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn. You can follow me at Sarah Panus on LinkedIn. That’s it for today. So until next time, Kindred Speakers.

Closing Remarks

Sarah Panus:
Hi fives for finishing another episode. When faced with an obstacle, you’re the type of person who gets better instead of bitter. I hope you feel creatively inspired and invite you to check back often for more goodness from me and my guest. If you want more actionable advice and inspiration head over to kindredspeak.com for show notes, all discount codes from today’s episode, and to sign up for my newsletter. Subscribe now to the Marketing With Empathy podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and wherever else you get your podcast. And if you’d be so kind, will you please leave me a review. This helps my podcast get noticed by others. Keep smiling.

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ABOUT SARAH PANUS

Sarah Panus is a brand storytelling marketing strategist, Minnesota mom, and owner of Kindred Speak, LLC, a remote consultancy that helps corporations attract upper-funnel leads that drive bottom-funnel results through storytelling.  Her mission is to add value to the world by humanizing brand+consumer connections. Her online courses teach content professionals inside corporations think like Editorial Directors for their brand to drive stronger results while enjoying their jobs more.  She’s spent the last 20 years helping brands including Sleep Number, Starbucks, Nestle Waters, Christos Bridal, Game Crazy, Cone Inc, and others, speak a kindred language with their audiences, driving brand advocacy and millions in revenue and brand engagements. Learn more at www.kindredspeak.com. Follow Sarah on Instagram and LinkedIn.