Podcasts are a great way to catch your audience’s ear

Podcasts are a great way to catch your audience’s ear

The spoken word is a great way to reach audiences, and that’s why more Canadian organizations are embracing podcasts.

“Podcast listenership is growing in Canada,” says Donna Papacosta of Trafalgar Communications and co-author of The Business of Podcasting. “Independent podcasters are producing more shows and organizations are doing it more.”

A podcast can be audio or video and is characterized by its serial nature and subscription options.

“So if you put a video on your website, or even a simple audio file on your website, that’s not a podcast really,” she says. “It’s just an audio file or a video file.”

In a recent blog, Papacosta cites highlights of the 2018 Edison Research report, The Infinite Dial, which shows podcast growth in Canada:

  • Monthly podcast listening is 28 per cent, with 61 per cent of Canadians 18 and older being familiar with the term.
  • Canadian podcast listeners consume an average of five podcasts per week (versus seven per week for Americans).
  • Nearly half of all Canadians (49 per cent) are weekly listeners to online audio, with Spotify leading in usage (16 per cent).
  • As in the U.S., radio dominates in-car media consumption, with 64 per cent of Canadians saying radio is the audio source they use most in their cars.

So, why should organizations consider adding podcasting to their digital tactics? The Canadian Podcast Listener – A Landscape Study report from the fall of 2017 states that podcasting is becoming an increasingly important part of the Canadian conversation.

podcasts Canada

Nearly 10 million Canadian adults have listened to a podcast in the past year; 24 per cent of adults listen monthly and 15 per cent weekly. More than seven-in-10 people have started listening in the past three years.

The report also found:

  • Podcasting attracts often hard-to-reach young, affluent, educated consumers.
  • Podcast listening peaks among 18- to 34-year-olds, among men, among those with a university education, and in households with more than $100,000 income.
  • Listeners show an appetite to hear more Canadian-produced podcasts.
  • Most podcast listening takes place at home. Even those who listen mainly on their mobile phones report that an average of 46 per cent of their listening time takes place at home.
  • The top three reasons for listening to podcasts are: to be entertained, for interesting stories and to learn something new.
  • The top three content genres are: arts and entertainment/culture/pop culture; opinion/commentary; and news/current events.

Papacosta says podcasts work nicely with other communications materials.

“When I have to define a podcast to someone who’s not familiar with it, I usually tell them it’s like an internet radio show,” she says. “The appeal is that you can have that show . . . on a topic that could be so narrow that it really might not be suitable for a regular radio program.

“And organizations are using podcasts for both internal and content meant for the public as well.”

For companies, podcasting enables them to reach a niche audience that wants portable and time-shifted content. In other words, they can consume it wherever and whenever they want.

“Multi-media grabs people,” says Papcosta. “So it can be a complement to other communications. You’re not going to replace your newsletter and your written communication with a podcast but it would complement it.”

Podcasts are also low cost, compared to alternatives.

She says podcasts can help businesses to demonstrate value, cultivate relationships and gain new clients. In the B2B world, a podcast can allow you to shorten the sales cycle, because your prospect already has a feel for who you are and what your company or product or service can do, she says.

“What I like about long-form content like a podcast is you just have more time to share the story. We’re so used to short written content. We’re writing things shorter and shorter but with a podcast you can give a little more breathing room to your stories.”

podcasts DIY

For those who want to try podcasting, Papacosta suggests having a clear purpose and measurable objectives. Decide on in-house production or hiring an expert. Plan the first six to 10 episodes in advance. Make sure your guests can speak well.

A limited-time pilot project will enable companies to see how podcasting can be done.

A good podcast relies on great content that really appeals to the target audience.

“If you really know your audience, you can develop content that they care about and you hope they’ll engage with it and tell their peers,” says Papacosta.

You should also make your production values as good as possible.

“They don’t need to be perfect, but the bar has been raised because so many people are listening to professionally produced podcasts.

“So if your podcast sounds like you’re using a tin can, people are going to get turned off by that. If they love you and your content, they’re willing to forgive a lot. But if it’s really hard to listen to, that could be very difficult.”

One Reply to “Podcasts are a great way to catch your audience’s ear”

  1. ted

    • Reply

    Great article, Mario. Podcasts are also good employee communication – employees can hear the unfiltered words of the exec team, knowing the words came from them, not written by a ghostwriting comms person.

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