If you're looking for a new marketing strategy, podcasts are a great answer.
Podcasts are versatile, powerful, and informative. Plus, with multiple hosting platforms available, you can expand your brand awareness many times over.
With so much potential in one marketing medium, it's a wonder that every marketer doesn't have their own podcast.
In the meantime, this is why you should start yours!
Let's start with the popularity of podcasts over the past five years.
Podcast popularity is gauged most often by American surveys and metrics. In this case, our gauge is the percentage of Americans 12 years old or older who listen to one podcast per month.
In 2012, about 14% of that population listened to a podcast. But after a mild dip in 2013, that population is now 21%.
That's tens of millions of people who listen to at least one podcast every month, giving you a huge potential audience of occasional listeners.
But podcast listenership isn't lying stagnant. And that's partly thanks to the rise in podcast hosting platforms.
Just like videos and images, podcasts need to be hosted somewhere to be distributed.
Some podcast networks pull from iTunes listings, and others require podcasters to set up their own profiles directly on their network. Regardless, iTunes is the crowned king of podcasts.
In fact, iTunes now has more than 1 billion subscribers worldwide.
Other networks include Podcast & Radio Addict, which has 10 million app downloads on Android.
Castbox and Podcast Republic are the next largest with 5 million app downloads, and Podbean has about 1 million total subscribers.
These are just five podcast distribution networks with diverse users and a huge potential for audiences.
In fact, making a podcast comes with some significant advantages to your marketing strategy.
When you create and post your first podcast, you open the door to six major marketing advantages.
First, you have the potential to drive more website traffic for your business. That's because podcasting naturally spreads brand awareness, and you can add links back to your site on every distribution network you use.
On top of that, you also get greater brand visibility since your company name is now in more places online.
Third, you have the opportunity for search saturation, which can help with digital marketing strategies from SEO to reputation management. (We've discussed this more in a separate blog post about podcasting.)
Next, you diversify your content marketing strategy by adding an audio product you can showcase throughout the Internet.
Fifth, your users can passively consume your podcast. That's because audio content doesn't require someone to focus directly on it, so listeners can enjoy your podcast while driving, working, and more.
Finally, you can earn a loyal following with your podcasts by creating regular, episodic content. This is similar to the concept behind a blog where you release new posts regularly so people know when to expect new content from you.
So let's say you're a marketer and you're thinking about podcasting. What can you do?
At the time of publication, marketing podcasts are in their infancy.
Currently, the best ways to gauge the success of a marketing podcast are consistent subscribers and individual downloads.
In both cases, more is better.
But we should explore more than just metrics for marketing podcasts.
More importantly, we should explore opportunity.
Today, only 3% of all marketers make podcasts.
That includes marketers who are experts on marketing itself, companies that market to consumers, and all other marketing niches.
In addition, only 240 podcasts on iTunes fall in the Management & Marketing category. That's only 0.096% of all iTunes podcasts.
In general, that's not a lot of production — but remember, the podcast audience includes tens of millions of people.
That means there's a ton of opportunity in this marketing genre. There's a growing audience of millions asking for audio content.