Learn how podcasts can boost your personal brand and get you noticed.
It’s true. Everybody and their cat are listening to podcasts in 2020. And it’s not surprising, since we’ve all been stuck at home with not much to do. With people around the world shut away in their homes due to pandemic lockdowns, podcast listenership is on the rise. According to Edison Research, the number of people who have ever listened to a podcast in the USA passed 50% for the first time in 2020. In 2019, 70% of the population were familiar with podcasts.Before we get into the nitty-gritty of podcast tips and how to start a podcast business, let’s take a look at what the data tells us.With over 1 million podcasts producing more than 30 million episodes in 100 plus languages, there’s an unprecedented choice. Popular podcast topics in 2020 include technology, society (including culture and history), comedy, true crime, sports and health, and fiction (including gaming and entertainment). And the coronavirus, obvs. And these broad areas are becoming evermore divergent as time goes on. In all this noise, how do you stand out from the crowd? Read on for tips for starting a podcast that are guaranteed to work.Podcasters are able to fulfill all these needs because their medium is so easily available. You’ll find podcast services on almost every platform. All you need is a pair of headphones and a smartphone and you can listen to your favorite shows on the bus, at school, at work, or while working out at the gym. Podcasts have even taken over TV–they’re available through streaming devices like AppleTV and Chromecast.Educational content? Check. Consistent visual language? Yup. Topics relevant to the target audience? Of course!
Podcasting Killed the Radio StarIn 2020, podcasts are filling a media niche that was once inhabited by radio. Why? Podcasts have fewer ads, offer a wide variety of topics, and can be listened to anywhere you can take a phone. As a 2019 Statista survey undertaken among North American listeners notes: “41% of respondents stated that they listen to less AM/FM radio because there are more audio options in a car than just the radio. And 37% cited the issue of commercials as a reason for reduced radio consumption.”
Podcasts Are Popular Because They’re Easy to ConsumePodcasts are popular because of their simple-to-access format–for creators and listeners. You can access information on everything from when to plant your spring garden to how to sell your pottery on Etsy. From how to swim faster to the best mountains to hike in Southeast Asia. Interviews, how-to tips, university lectures… you name it and there’s bound to be a podcast about it. To understand why podcasts are so popular, you need to delve into why people tune in. As outlined in a 2019 study by the Reuters Institute, people listen to podcasts:
- To fill empty time (often when working or participating in a hobby)
- As a change from music (mostly young listeners)
- Be entertained (fiction and true crime podcasts)
- To learn something new (they’re looking to upskill)
- To keep updated (on a topic they’re interested in)
Impart the Personality of Your Brand in Your PodcastsIt’s clear. In 2020, podcasting is going mainstream. Everyone from Will Ferrel’s character Ron Burgundy to Barack and Michelle Obama is channeling their personal brand into a podcast. So what is personal branding? We love this straightforward explanation by brand identity guru David Brier: “Personal branding is all about discovering what makes you special, and then communicating it to the right people, through multiple channels.” People consume podcasts in a personal environment. Their connection to your content is more intimate than with other mediums. Your listeners feel like you’re talking to them. This makes the podcast a perfect vehicle for cultivating an authentic personality. As long as you’re creating quality content–content that solves problems or educates–then you will develop the level of trust necessary to communicate your personal brand to your audience. And be sure to make sure your brand voice and visual style are consistent across all your platforms.
Create a Deeper Connection With Your AudienceThe old adage “know your audience” applies here. “If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about,” marketing technology guru Nate Elliot once said. Statistics say that men under the age of 54 are the heaviest consumers of podcasts. They’re most likely to be college-educated and employed in jobs that earn them above-average salaries. So you might think that targeting this market is the way to go. But that’s what everyone else is already doing. As a result, competition in this sector is fierce. Don’t be afraid to tap into a niche. Vegan zero waste RV enthusiasts. Punk rock roller derby girls. Sci-fi 8-bit music makers. [Insert your niche here.] This is where the real value lies. You’ll be able to stand out in a crowded marketplace. You’ll also be able to speak with authority on the subject you’re most passionate about. And that means you’re more likely to stick with it.
Get Creative With Podcast DistributionYou’ve created your first episode. It’s amazing! But how do you get people to listen to it? It’s all about choosing the right channel. Traditionally, podcasts are accessed through online directories. According to Neiman Lab, 70% of all podcast listening happens through Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes). So to be discoverable, you need to get your podcast on the Apple Podcast charts. Once you’re on there, spend some time learning about what it takes to rank well in an Apple Podcast search. Other nice-to-be-on podcast hosting platforms include Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and TuneIn Radio. Of course, you should be sharing each and every episode of your podcast via your social media accounts. Other creative ways to promote your podcast include:
- sharing it in your Google profile (available across all Google products)
- adding show notes to Pinterest or a recording of your podcast to YouTube
- interviewing people in your niche and asking them to share the episode with their followers
- pitching your expertise on podcasting to other influencers and ask them to profile you