Podcasts - what's all the fuss about?

Podcasts. You can’t turn around for hearing about them. It’s the word of the moment, on everyone’s lips (and in their ears!).

 Already 1 in 10 adults in the UK listens to podcasts each week. Listenership keeps building, and those listeners (and potential customers) are loyal and eager to learn.

 To take things back to basics, a podcast is a series of digital audio files downloadable onto your phone, tablet or laptop. To put it another way, it’s a form of radio show which needs no radio station, nor radio set to listen to it. Anyone can record them and publish them. Listeners can search for a topic they want to hear more about, download a podcast on that topic and listen to it. Wherever they want. Whenever they want. For free.

 Up to now, podcasts have been the domain of media companies and individuals with a story to tell. But with the help of experienced audio production companies, more and more businesses, large and small, are getting in on the act.

 There are three types of branded podcasts, as they‘re known. The first type shows off your area of expertise. So, for example, Tinder has its own dating show and Mumsnet shares baby stories with new parents. The second type is where content aligns to your company’s values. Starbucks has a podcast highlighting ordinary people making a difference in their communities. Meanwhile, eBay provides inspiration for people starting up their own business. The final type of branded podcast is perhaps the most philanthropic – where you lend your name and your money to the creativity of others. The best example of this is audio drama provider, The General Electric Theater – a throwback to the US company’s role as a TV drama sponsor in the 1950s.

 The beauty of podcasts is that anyone can start one, and with very little money. At its most basic level, you’ll need a hosting site like Spreaker (other sites available), your mobile phone with its headphones, and a free piece of editing software, like Audacity. As with anything, you can expand your kit with additional items, like microphones and recorders to suit your circumstances. We’ve put a small blog together to get you started.  The key is making sure you plan your content well in advance, have a store of content ready to release and that you put in a robust marketing campaign to back it up. This is why it should be part of your existing Marketing and Comms strategy. One word of caution. Try hard to avoid making this a sales tool. Podcast listeners love a good story, so make yours interesting every time.

By Steve Austins & Marina Lois - Co-founders of Bengo Media