By Ideas Collide
At a time when it feels like everyone has a podcast, one might think the window of opportunity has closed. After all, in 2018 there were 550,000 active podcasts on iTunes, and in January 2023 there were more than 2 million podcasts on Apple Podcasts. Sounds like a pretty saturated market, right?
Actually, that’s a misleading number: Only 449,041 of those were considered active (or having released a new episode in the last 90 days). Why the big gulf in those numbers? Like so many questions today, the answer is Covid. In 2020 there was a podcast boom as people sought ways to communicate with customers remotely, or as individuals struggled to just stay busy. As life returned to the “new normal,” many of those podcasts were abandoned.
While this means podcast creation has decreased since 2020, podcast listening has not.
In 2022, The Infinite Dial found 62% of Americans over 12 years old have listened to a podcast at least once, up from 57% in 2021. Monthly podcast listening also saw year-over-year growth among those ages 35-54 (43% in 2022 compared to 39% in 2021).
Fine, so everyone’s listening to podcasts right now, we hear you say. Is podcasting worth it? Why should I start a podcast? Simply put, it’s a shortcut to winning friends and influencing people — but if you’re looking for the detailed answer, read on.
We can’t deny one of the major reasons to start a podcast is because it’s fun. Exploring topics that you’re passionate about and finding others who share that passion can be a huge motivator for sitting down behind the microphone. That said, a business (unfortunately) can’t run on fun alone, and there need to be other, more tangible reasons to invest in this new form of marketing. Thankfully, there are plenty.
Podcasts are an affordable way of building a targeted audience. For relatively little investment, a podcast can reach thousands, even millions, of people who have an interest in what you have to say. Think of it as a blog for people’s ears. Particularly if you have a product or service to sell, podcasts can be an incredibly effective method for building up an audience that’s aware of your business. In addition to growing an audience of listeners, podcasts can help you grow and improve the value of your network.
Whether it’s a listener who becomes a business associate or someone you bring in for an interview who remains a close professional contact, everyone you meet, interact with, or reach through your podcast has the potential to bring immeasurable value to your business.
Podcasts can position you as an expert in your field. Traditionally, books and even blogs served as spaces where a person could develop their reputation as an authority on a specific topic or industry. Podcasts also have that power. By sharing with the world all you know about a particular subject, your notoriety as a thought leader in your industry will increase with your list of episodes. By gaining this positioning in your industry, you’ll likely also find yourself connecting with similar thought leaders in your field. This can bring about opportunities for learning and/or collaboration.
Podcasts present an alternative revenue stream. As noted above, podcasts serve as an incredible way to promote your products or services to a targeted, engaged audience. It’s proven to be effective, too.
In 2021, an NCSolutions Consumer Survey showed 68% of “Power Subscribers” (those who subscribe to six or more podcasts) purchased a product advertised in a podcast. Even with typical podcast listeners, 34% have purchased products two or more times and 17% have purchased products four or more times. And 29% have even used a promotional code heard during a podcast. It’s clear podcast listeners aren’t just giving creators their ears; they’re handing over their cash, too.
You can also profit off the products and services of others by incorporating sponsorships into your podcast. Once your audience is sizable, you can work with sponsorships or affiliate sales. For example, you can charge a company to be mentioned on your podcast or you can recommend a product and receive a percentage for each item sold using your affiliate link.
Alright, you’re convinced: Now is the time to get your podcast out into the world. But how does one do that, exactly?
First, decide what your niche or topic will be, then identify your listener. Knowing your ideal listener will help you tailor your content to be the most valuable for your preferred audience. It may also help you determine your format (solo/duo/panel? Monologue or interview format?) and your publishing schedule. Don’t forget to listen to the competition, too — particularly if your topic is already crowded with podcasts, you’ll need to find a way to stand apart.
Whether you start by using someone else’s space and equipment or purchasing your own, at minimum you’ll need a recording device and editing software. Sit down and bust out your first episode (or two). Some people use scripts. Others use outlines. And there are even those who just wing it. There’s no single right or wrong way — do what works for your format. When editing your episode, don’t be discouraged if there are sections you need to re-record or cut entirely. Ideally, you’ll find your ability to maintain a consistent and concise flow over time, but even the pros dedicate considerable time in the editing room.
When preparing an episode for publishing, keep SEO in mind. Clever titles and descriptions are fun, but accurate and compelling ones will do the heavy lifting for bringing in listeners. Others will find you through calculated promotion of your podcast. Use your company’s existing platforms (website, newsletters, social media profiles, printed publications) to get the word out, and don’t stop there. Submit your podcast to reputable directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts so listeners on those platforms can find you.
If you’re eager to create your own podcast and reap the benefits — but maybe aren’t ready to pull the trigger on equipment, a recording space, or an audio-visual team to help with all of the above — that’s where we come in.
At Ideas Collide, we have a Dream “Stream” Team. And that team is ready with full audio, video, and content creation capabilities to bring your podcast and video projects to life. We also have a space for recording in style: our IC Streaming Studio. We’ve turned a vintage 1956 Spartanette trailer into a sparkling studio designed for creativity, content, and connection. Parked on-site at the Pemberton PHX, this spot is an exciting extension of our office, and serves as a space where team members and clients can collaborate and contribute to Phoenix’s revitalization and re-imagination.
Join our exploration into the next wave of marketing and see how our team at Ideas Collide can help you dream it and stream it. To learn more, contact us today.