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To podcast, or not to podcast

June 28 2016

Sara Frey

If you want to reach millennials, there’s a pretty compelling argument that podcasts are a place you want your brand to be. Thirty-five percent of millennials listen to at least one podcast a week,1 and 63 percent have bought something they heard advertised on a podcast.2 With these kind of stats, the question shouldn’t be whether or not you want to get involved with podcasts, but what kind of impression you want to make while you’re there.

Do you want to be a 30-second clip, or a content leader?

If you haven’t asked yourself if your company should have a podcast, it’s time you do. In a recent article, we extolled the benefits of podcast advertising, but today we challenge you to explore the platform a little further – and consider starting your own podcast.

Podcasts offer brands a number of benefits, chief among them the strength of the relationship between an audience and its host. If your company were to assume the position of podcast host, it would also assume a level of influence rarely afforded to brand advertisers. Consequently, your newfound role as a content creator would reinforce your position as a thought leader in your industry.

If you’re already creating content, it may be an easy pivot to make. That’s why we see brands like Forbes, Slate, and America’s Test Kitchen in the podcast space. Perhaps unsurprisingly, tech companies including Slack and Shopify are wading into these waters as well. But what about companies outside of the publishing and tech industries?

If there is an opportunity to be a voice in your industry, take it.

While you may not be a media company, I would expect that you’re either currently creating content for another medium or have a bounty of expertise to share. Not the case? It may be a better fit for your brand to bring your values to life like GE has done with their podcast The Message. Of the sci-fi series, Andy Goldberg, chief creative officer at GE, said, “I don’t consider it advertising. It’s a podcast show that just happens to be produced by a brand instead of a network… It’s a science fiction story to connect listeners with what the GE brand is about, without selling the GE brand.”3 Goldberg makes an interesting point in that The Message is never interrupted for sponsored messaging.

At a time when millennials trust content creators over advertisers and 32 percent dislike advertising in general4, producing your own podcast is the next step. So how can your brand make use of the medium?

Some ideas to get you started:

Let’s say you are in charge of marketing an airline. Your team is travelling around the world more than anyone ­– which makes you subject-matter experts. Create a podcast featuring interesting destinations along your routes. If you have an in-flight magazine from which you can pull existing content, you’re ahead of the game. If you don’t, highlight your in-flight team’s must-dos in every port of call.

Work in the dining industry? Shows like Chef’s Table and Cooked that take viewers behind the scenes are killing it on Netflix. A podcast could be your chance to get in on the action. Share how your chefs create new recipes, showcase your teams’ favorite menu hacks, or highlight your suppliers. Anything that breaks down the barriers between you and your audience could appeal to this new generation of foodies.

Maybe you’re involved with concert venues or a ticketing company. Take a cue from interview-style shows like WTF with Marc Maron, Fresh Air, and Alison Rosen is your New Best Friend. These hugely popular shows make excellent use of the medium, but few focus on the same genre from episode to episode. This is where you come in. Have a big tour coming up? Arrange an interview with the artist if you can. Too hard to book? Call on music experts to discuss the artist’s work, or share insights on the influences, backgrounds, and song lyrics. All of these options will help drum up excitement for the event and make fans more invested in a purchase.

Run a sports team? For your biggest fans, game day doesn’t come often enough. Give them something to look forward to with a recurring series that allows super fans to go super deep. Who says the networks should have all the fun? You are in a position to offer a one-of-a-kind perspective. Use it to connect fans with the sport, the players, and one another. Whether that means analyzing past games, providing exclusive access to players, or telling the stories of fans, sports teams have an opportunity to present a side of sports not often seen.

Should your company have a podcast?

Depending on the goals and strategies you have in place, there are a variety of ways to broaden your base and deepen existing connections through podcasting. If you’re in a position to share a compelling story, the short answer is this: Yes Virginia, You should have a podcast. Not sure what it should be about? Let’s take a ride and make a driveway moment together.