Is it really a podcast if no one is listening?
What’s your favourite podcast? Maybe it’s that crime podcast that you can’t stop listening to, or maybe you dig learning new recipes from a cooking podcast. Whatever your jam is, we know one thing for sure – podcasts are here to stay. How do we know? The stats speak for themselves. According to Edison Research:
- Studies show that one in four Canadians is listening to on average five podcast episodes per week.
- Forty-six per cent of Canadians listen on a monthly basis.
- Up to 91 per cent of podcast content is actually absorbed by the listener whereas with traditional channels, like newsletters, people only skim the headline.
These stats are mind-blowing and show that podcasting is a powerful tool to connect with your target audience. Here are a few other reasons why we love podcasting:
- Podcasts are sticky, quick (the sweet spot is 20-40 minutes) easily consumable and shareable.
- They offer increased brand recognition and authority.
- Podcasts are an ideal platform for niche topics and issues.
- You can control the narrative and deliver ready content for earned media/journalists.
- Podcasts help boost SEO and web authority because they count as fresh content when added to your site.
However, there are other stats to keep in mind. While there are over four million podcasts in existence today, barely 400,000 have published new episodes in the last two months. Also, when you look at the fact that there are a mind-blowing 1.93 billion websites compared to only 400,000 active podcasts, you will see that the podcast market is actually under saturated. This means there is a huge opportunity to create a kick-butt podcast that people can’t stop listening to. Unfortunately, most podcasters give up after seven episodes (Edison Research).
Because most podcasters don’t understand the amount of time and work it takes to produce and promote a podcast that breaks through the noise and builds a captive audience (FACT: it takes approximately seven hours of work to publish a 30-minute podcast episode (Stories and Strategies).
Enter Doug Downs from Stories and Strategies, a podcast production and promotion agency. We’ve had the privilege of partnering with Stories and Strategies on a variety of podcast projects, including the highly successful ARC Energy Ideas podcast (check it out on Apple and Spotify). In the following case study, we share how we worked with Stories and Strategies to lighten ARC’s podcast workload, promote it and build upon their already huge and committed listener base.
When ARC Energy Research Institute’s Jackie Forrest and Peter Tertzakian decided to turn their weekly coffee chats into a podcast, they had no idea how successful it would be. Created to explore trends that influence the energy business, including financial, political, environmental, technological, social and economic forces, the ARC Energy Ideas podcast provided expert content that was recorded on a weekly basis. Jackie and Peter had started to gain an active audience following, however, they didn’t have the distribution and stats they needed to continue growing their audience base. They decided to engage Stories and Strategies and Communicatto to help them get a clear snapshot of how their podcast was performing and to promote the podcast.
The first thing we did was revamp how the podcast was distributed. Previously, it was distributed via a plain old WordPress RSS feed, but this didn’t provide Jackie and Peter with the analytics they needed. The solution? We set them up on Buzzsprout, a paid podcast host that lets you host, promote and track your podcast’s downloads from a central location. The team then listed the podcast in all of the top directories, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify (FYI – Apple and Spotify are the leading podcasting platforms globally), Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Alexa, Overcast, PocketCasts, Castro, Castbox, Podchaser, and dozens of others which allowed for greater podcast reach.
Next, we set up a process for regular social media promotion and content development by creating various content, visuals and multimedia assets. For example, a blog post with a link to the podcast was developed to tease each episode, and on social media, we created posts to promote the podcast that used the most relevant hashtags. On Buzzsprout, we enhanced each episode’s show notes, and created multimedia assets and visuals, such as podcast cards, videograms and audiograms, to support promotion. In addition, we began transcribing each episode and posting the transcriptions to the ARC website to strengthen SEO. Finally, we used a badge with a QR code so people could easily access the podcast on mobile. Together, these promotion and content strategies laid a solid framework for growth.
With a strongly co-hosted podcast where listeners felt like they were having a cup of coffee with Jackie and Peter, the ARC team had built a solid foundation for their podcast. Once we transitioned the podcast to proper hosting through Buzzsprout, enabled it to be found on all podcast directories and implemented promotion and content strategies, the ARC duo could see much more clearly the formula to even greater success.
Today, ARC Energy Ideas is in the top 0.5% of podcasts globally, with the eventual goal of progressing it into the top 0.1 per cent. Jackie and Peter also have a wealth of information at their fingertips – they can track downloads, audience listening habits, and see geographically where downloads are taking place. With ongoing promotion, they are gaining a steady stream of new listeners each month and actively sharing ARC Energy Ideas to the world.
Ready to take your podcast mainstream? Check out our other podcast blog posts and contact us now.