Fifteen years ago, above a Californian pizza shop, history was made. YouTube took its first steps into the world. From small acorns, great oaks grow, and YouTube certainly fits that saying, with an audience now of some 2 billion-plus monthly users.
And those users are posting content about literally everything from ’how to build a…’ to the classic ‘why my cat is crazy’ videos we are all guilty of watching.
In fact, simply type in a ‘how do I fix a…’ question into Google and you’ll be confronted by a myriad of YouTube videos from suppliers looking to help you, and potentially gain your trust and custom.
But there is a new contender to the video throne. Podcasting.
What is a podcast?
In short, a podcast is like a show on talk radio. The difference being the audience subscribes to a show via a smartphone, PC or any smart device, so they can listen to current and previous episodes whenever they choose.
Podcasts tend to be about one specific topic, with episode lengths ranging from just a few minutes all the way up to an hour. Note the difference between a ‘podcast’ (the overall series of recordings) and a podcast ‘episode’.
Naturally, the most engaging, conversational podcasts tend to get the largest followings, and they don’t even need to be perfect either. One of the many charms a podcast has is that it is intimate and often recorded away from a stuffy radio studio. In fact, there are several podcasts out there set up simply by having a microphone, a computer, and maybe some audio editing software.
But don’t be fooled, podcasts can have an integral role within the PR and marketing mix.
The big names using podcasts
For brands, podcasts represent who they are and provide a way to speak (no pun intended) to their audiences. The likes of eBay, McDonald’s, even Goldman Sachs, have all taken to the podcast arena throughout the years, in addition to public figures such as ex-England footballer Peter Crouch and comedian Russell Brand.
According to Apple, the current top-ranked podcast is The Daily, from The New York Times, with more than 2 million daily users.
Podcasts work for brands because they speak the language of their target customers. And because this audience makes a conscious decision to subscribe, there is an instant sense of trust between the two.
Let’s press pause for a moment
There are plenty of statistics I could write on how many people listen to podcasts daily, weekly and monthly, what channel they use, and so on. However, given we’re discussing an audio platform, I thought I’d tell you properly, from the recording studio we use here for at Montpellier for our own podcast – Montcast.
Click the button and listen to some of the important figures about podcasting, including the potential audience you could be speaking to, the commercial benefits for businesses and how adverts fit into that equation, as well as why I, personally, find it one of the most engaging, dynamic tools in a PR toolkit.
By Daniel Burton
PR Account Manager