Communication essential: podcasts

What are you listening to, trapped in your house and living at work? Your cats? Your kids’ virtual classroom? The coffee pot? Oh, I know—the landscapers!

All noises I’m sure you’re hearing a lot more over the past year. But that’s … not what I mean. I mean what are you listening to? As in over your speakers or in your ears. One in 3 of you will probably answer … podcasts!

So, podcasts. Are they here to stay or not? Should you be investing in them? Making them part of your communications strategy? We’ll get to that in a second. But first—are more people listening to them? You bet.

In this article detailing just how much podcasts have grown over the past year, Morning Consult says 1 in 3 Americans are now listening to podcasts regularly. And 22% are listening on a weekly basis. You can count me in that number as I was already listening to podcasts before the pandemic but have listened to a lot more recently.

But are they “hear” (get it?) to stay? And more importantly, are they essential to your communications program?

Let’s start with the first question. Short answer—yes. They are here to stay. However, as the world slowly returns to normal, it’s safe to assume there will be a bit of a regression. Which is expected—and necessary—as we determine where the true value of podcasts will be found.

This brings us to the second question—are they essential? Well, I would argue that yes, they are—only because today it’s important to factor in every potential communication channel as our options and methods have never been higher. Consider:

Internal communications. Trying to push out culture-building content in a work-from-anywhere environment? You may want to mic up your senior team to build consistency. And it’s another option for employees who may not be in front of a computer all the time (or who don’t want to be all the time).

Sales disruption. Build credibility and support your thought leadership program by creating a value-based series featuring subject matter experts discussing, debating and solving common (and uncommon) pain points facing your customer base.

Content strategy. The only thing better than your own experts is featuring and leveraging third-party experts. Introduce a series that gives industry standouts a forum on your channel to bring value and build equity on your behalf.

These are just a few examples that companies could consider for their podcast strategy. But the only way to learn what works is to first try. Experiment with limited series or three-part programs, just to gauge listenership and interest. Why not plug it into your content calendar as a way to measure if the method and the message are resonating? Point is, there are very few reasons not to see for yourself, once and for all, if podcasts make sense for your business.

And if nothing else—they’re a lot of fun to do! (And don’t we deserve a little fun in 2021?)