A Nod to Podcasts: Sleeping Giant of Content

September 11, 2020 | Posted in: Strategy, Tactics
Packed with information and sprinkled with a bit of entertainment and lighthearted banter, podcasts are incredibly engaging, and a useful medium for businesses and listeners.

In fact, Search Engine Journal (SEJ) hails podcasts “the sleeping giant of content types”. The SEO and search marketing news site describes the content marketplace as extremely competitive, and report successful digital marketers scoring big wins podcasting, which currently has high engagement and low competition compared to other content types.

SEJ explains that while there are some 80 million Facebook business pages, there are about 800,000 podcasts airing (2019), and this number continues to shrink when you search by topic.

Rising in Popularity
2020 podcast statistics from Edison Research and Triton Digital find that 75 percent of Americans are familiar with podcasting (that’s about 212 million people, up 10 million from the previous year). And, 55 percent of Americans, roughly three-quarters of the people who are familiar with podcasts, have actually listened to one — up from 51 percent in 2019, a number that has grown 37.5 percent in three years.

Nearly half of Americans, aged 12 to 34, listen to podcasts monthly, up from 42 percent in 2019. From 2019 to 2020, the percentage of Americans ages 55+ who listen to podcasts monthly increased by 29 percent. Currently, one-quarter of all 55+ consumers in the U.S. are listening to podcasts monthly.

Research finds that 24% of Americans (68 million) are weekly podcast listeners — on average six podcasts per week, over six hours weekly tuning-in. Statista data expects this audience to grow to 115 million weekly podcast listeners by 2021 (up from 48 million it cites in 2018).

While some 22 percent of people listen to podcasts in the car, nearly half do so at home, cites Podcast Insights, a podcasting resource firm. Edison Research finds a correlation of rising podcast listening, to the 76 million Americans who have “smart speakers” in the household (up from 17 percent in 2019 to 21 percent in 2020), giving consumers more options to listen to podcasts at home.

Podcasts require little effort to engage with as listeners, the perfect content type for multi-tasking, which is what most of us do, and is a mobile-friendly medium. SEJ reports that 69 percent of podcast listeners are on their mobile devices.

From an advertising perspective: A Nielsen study for podcast advertising company MidRoll (November 2019) showed that podcast ads are 4.4 times more effective than display ads. Exposure to ads in podcasts leads to an average 10 percent bump in purchase intent; 61 percent of podcast listeners said they were likely to buy compared with 56 percent of listeners who did not hear an ad.

Thought Leadership
Among the top reasons businesses develop content is to establish credibility and a reputation as a thought leader in the market, cites SEJ. This is why informative articles, case studies, guides, and other types of well-researched content assets are valuable. They showcase to audiences that you provide helpful information and solutions to their questions and problems. Podcasts can be very impactful for business owners and marketers passionate and invested in what they do.

The Plumb Club has experienced great success in its B2B podcast series, with episodes 15 to 25 minutes in length, geared to help jewelers grow their business. Since March, the group has featured industry experts including Severine Ferrari, editor and founder of Engagement 101 talking about the newest trends in the engagement ring market; Pam Levine, president of Levine Luxury Branding, sharing visual merchandising tips that excite; and author, retail consultant and sales-trainer Kate Peterson, providing insights on how retailers can innovate to stay relevant with the evolution of consumer behavior drastically accelerated.

With the success of The Plumb Club podcast series, the group is tapping into the wealth of knowledge, experience and insights, contained in its membership and key member personnel, with the jewelry industry at large. “The brain trust contained within our membership is astounding”, describes Michael O’Connor Marketing Director for The Plumb Club. “Our members are some of the most intelligent, respected and well-known people in the industry. Therefore, we decided to highlight their immense knowledge and insight to help retailers.”

Members of The Plumb Club, explains O’Connor, were asked to develop topics of interest and relevance to jewelry retailers today, based upon their unique skill sets and expertise. In August, Mark Hanna, CMO of The Richline Group showcases how companies who demonstrate responsible practices have a competitive advantage, specifically with Gen Z and Millennial consumers. And, Kristie Nicolosi, CEO of The Kingswood Company, discusses how profitable conversations about jewelry care and cleaning can be.

Be on the look out for podcasts from Chatham on lab-grown gemstones and KGS Jewels on diamond trends in September; Renaissance Jewelry New York on digital marketing and SDC Designs on digital transformation in October; and Mastoloni on pearl care and Frederick Goldman on alternative and contemporary metals in November.

Pod Production
SEJ describes creation costs for podcasts as scalable. Like photo and video content, the cost to create is dependent on quality. Smartphones shoot exceptional videos and photos, but if you want to raise that content to the next level, you need to invest in better equipment. The same is true for podcasts. You can capture good audio with relatively inexpensive equipment, but as you develop your audience you may decide to invest in better equipment.

Like an online radio show, podcasts are engaging and foster loyal audiences because they’re interactive. Hosts can create audience polls, answer questions, take calls, and conduct interviews. The podcast format offers endless variety and deeper dives into topics. The top five podcast-categories for 2020: society and culture, business, comedy, health, and news and politics.

Among the leading podcast service providers are Podbean, BuzzSprout, Blubrry, Transistor, Libsyn, and SoundCloud.

SEJ reports keyword searches related to podcasts, from both creators and consumers, are on the rise, a trend it describes as “strong and unmistakable”.