Do you listen to podcasts regularly? If the answer is no, you are part of a shrinking minority. Most Americans (and listeners in developed countries around the world) listen to podcasts at least occasionally, and many listeners tune in to their favorite shows every day.
The sheer popularity of podcasting has led millions of marketers to try to tap into the channel for marketing opportunities. Sometimes they start a podcast on behalf of their company, interviewing people related to the industry and talking about new products. Other times, they use it as a content marketing channel to promote and popularize their brand’s content archive.
Either way, the income potential is impressive, to say the least. Plus, with a sizeable podcast audience, you could get millions of additional visitors to your site and new followers for your brand.
But here’s the thing: podcasting is an environment that’s already saturated with hosts and content creators. And there is no guarantee that podcasting will continue to grow as it has for the past decade.
So is it too late to start podcasting as a marketing strategy for your startup?
Why podcasting? What makes this strategy so unique and desirable in the first place?
- Ease of entry. The simplest podcasts are simply casual conversations between two people who know each other. Even the most complex setups are not particularly demanding. With any computer, a decent microphone, and a bit of free time at your fingertips, you can create and upload your own podcast. This keeps the cost low and the barrier to entry practically non-existent. Because the upside is so significant, this makes the potential return on investment (ROI) of a podcast ridiculously good.
- Potential audience size. There are hundreds of millions of people who listen to podcasts regularly. If you can tap into even a small portion of that audience, you will have a solid audience that you can market your business to.
- Flexibility and thematic possibilities. There are really no rules about what you can and cannot do in a podcast. Likewise, you are not limited by any regulations or platform requirements (for the most part). That means you can talk and trade however you want.
- Potential scale. If you have a successful podcast and a loyal audience, you can quickly scale your efforts without spending more money. You have the potential to grow your audience from very small to very large without fundamentally changing your core operations, which means you can keep making more money indefinitely without spending more.
- Advantages of content diversification. Podcasting is an excellent tool for content diversification. Content marketing strategies often focus on written content; This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you want to see better results and reach more people, incorporating media like video marketing, image development, and audio streaming like podcasting is essential.
- Interviews and podcast networks. Podcasts are also advantageous because they make it easy to connect with other podcasters. If your show starts to gain attention, you may have the option of doing interviews with other well-known podcasters in your niche; the potential of cross marketing is almost limitless.
- Connection to other channels. Most people don’t podcast in a vacuum either. As a marketing channel, podcasting can connect to just about any other marketing or advertising channel you can think of; has great synergy with written content, email marketing, social media marketing, and more.
Why “too late” is a concern
So why are people concerned that it’s “too late” to get into the podcast game? Are these advantages going to disappear?
Not exactly, but there are some serious threats:
- Podcasts as a fad. Podcasts have seen a meteoric rise in popularity, going from relatively obscure to a staple of modern existence. But will this growth continue? Will it remain constant from now on? Or was this explosive growth just a fad? If the latter case is true, podcasts could be reserved for declining popularity in the short-term future.
- The early risers. Some podcasts benefited from being on the cutting edge. Many of today’s most popular shows are those that started before podcasts were a popular forum. Without the benefit of harnessing that initial wave of popularity, it could be more difficult to build a sufficient audience.
- Established competition. There are millions of successful podcasts and millions more failed and struggling. So if you want to earn customer trust and new business, you have a lot of work to do for you. Plus, you’ll be competing with people from around the world, many of whom will have more experience and larger existing audiences. From this point of view, the world of podcasting is too saturated to be a reasonable marketing opportunity.
- Marketing and consumer fatigue. Using podcasts for marketing and advertising could also be problematic. Because marketing is so common on podcasts, many listeners are getting fatigued with dense and transparent promotional activity. Pushing your product or business too much could turn people off actively.
Unique definition of your podcast
You can get around some of the biggest problems in getting into podcasting now by uniquely defining your podcast, creating something truly original that sets you apart from your competitors.
These are just a few of the ways you can do it:
- Novelty of the topic. Choose to cover a topic that no one has covered before, or a topic that has been neglected by the most popular authorities in the space. It’s challenging to find something that hasn’t been done to death yet, but if you can find something, you’ll have an easy way to stand out.
- Niche demographic segmentation. You can also cover a topic for a niche demographic, one that is not being reached by today’s podcasters. For example, you could specialize in targeting teens or retirees, rather than middle-aged adults.
- Entertainment value. Using a unique tone of voice or adopting a sarcastic style could help make your podcast as entertaining as it is informative. If there is a unique character on the show or something entertaining that is truly original, you will be in a much better position to attract new listeners.
- Gender innovation. You can also try experimenting with podcasting as a genre. Many people go into podcasting with interviews, monologues, or dramatic readings. But maybe you could try something completely different and tap into a market that has so far been undiscovered.
Is it really too late?
So what is the bottom line here? Is it really too late to start a podcast?
If you haven’t launched into podcasting yet, you’ve missed the initial surge in popularity for the medium. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it. But it’s not too late to take advantage of podcasting as a marketing channel, as long as:
- Know what you are getting into. Make sure you know what you are about to face. Who are the biggest competitors in this niche? Who are your target demographics and what is most important to them? How much will it cost to keep your podcast up and running and will you be able to make enough money to cover those costs?
- Find a way to be different. Making your podcast valuable and unique can be tricky, especially when you’re up against literally millions of competitors. So you have to find a way to be different, either in the topics you are covering or in the way you are covering the topics; if you want to be successful, change it.
- Minimize your expenses and your dependency. Since you can create simple remote settings for voice recording, it shouldn’t be difficult to minimize your expenses in the early days of your podcast development. It’s also a good idea to diversify your marketing approaches, so you’re never overly reliant on one channel or approach.
Podcasting continues to be one of the most accessible and profitable content marketing strategies out there. As long as you have a solid plan and a flexible mindset, you should be able to make it work for your brand.
Image credit: george milton; pexels; Thank you!