Could podcasts be the next PR goldmine?
Fifteen years ago, above a Californian pizza shop, history was made. YouTube took its first steps into the world. From a small acorn, it has grown into the world’s largest online video search engine, with an audience of some 2 billion-plus monthly users.
And those users are posting content about literally everything from instruction videos to the classic ‘why my cat is crazy’ videos we are all guilty of watching.
But there is a new contender to YouTube’s throne. Podcasting.
What is a podcast?
In short, a podcast is like a show on talk radio. The difference is the audience subscribes to a show via a smartphone or tablet 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 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 Sachs1, have all taken to the podcast arena throughout the years, as well as public figures such as ex-England footballer Peter Crouch and comedian Russell Brand.
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 a month, 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.
Listen to some of the important figures about podcasting and why I, personally, find it one of the most engaging, dynamic tools in a PR toolkit, below.
By Daniel Burton
PR Account Manager