Video didn’t kill the radio star

12th September 2019 by Natasha Cobby

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, you will likely have noticed that podcasts have exploded in popularity. There is a podcast for nearly every interest and demographic, on the apple store alone there are almost 20 million podcast episodes available, and more than half a million shows to subscribe to. From true crime to sports, history to technology, cinema to food, you name it – someone has started a podcast about it.

Even though it seems like podcasts have just recently taken off, it has been a gradual build since the mid 2000’s, largely due to the popularity of public radio. While the US leads the way in podcast curation and exporting, the UK is catching up. BBC sounds have gone out guns blazing with a myriad of new podcasts, with publications The Times and Sunday Times following closely behind.

Podcasts are a form of entertainment, and just like the other masses of entertainment content we consume, advertisers are catching on to their promotional value. Unlike other forms of media, podcasting has a uniquely high engagement and consumption rate. The level of authenticity that podcasts offer and the personal connection they make with listeners means advertising can be far more effective – NPR says it’s found that 75% of listeners took action on a sponsored message.

Beyond advertising on podcasts, brands are also getting into the podcast game themselves, with the likes of  Tinder, Slack, GE, and Sephora all starting their own podcasts. This year, podcast network Gimlet Media was acquired by Spotify, a sign of the increasing power of podcasting, recognised now by established media giants as well as the general public. Where once podcast ads were limited to niche market disruptors, now television networks, movie companies, and big name brands are incorporating podcasts into their communications and advertising strategy.

So what does this mean for brands and PR? Well, last month we launched our Commanding Conversations event series with two events on podcasting, one for the B2B sphere and one for the Travel + Leisure sphere. We invited a panel of experts to share their insights on what podcasting means for brands and how they can best be utilised, whether it’s starting their own podcast, or appearing as a guest on an existing one. We have compiled some of those insights into a handy visual that you can view or download HERE. We hope it inspires you to make podcasting part of your communications strategy, or at the very least, start listening to some!

Stay tuned for more events and content pieces in our Commanding Conversations series.

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