COVID-19 gave us many lessons and challenged our views and beliefs on many levels. The pandemic has successfully proved that digital reality is almost a perfect and practical substitute for many spheres in our lives. We saw many industries normally operating in their online/home offices. We saw how video calls replaced real-life meetings and how the entertainment industry moved to social media. No matter what the challenges are, humans always stay social figures, and they strive for communication with people and brands.
We will discuss why the “new normal” affected podcasting platforms and how podcasts became a new PR tool.
COVID-19 and podcast statistics
A year before the coronavirus pandemic, Spotify invested millions of dollars in the podcasting business. At first, it became a burden on the company, causing a loss of more than $200 million.
In 2020, the pandemic hits, and the whole podcasting image changes. With the change of daily lifestyles, human preferences and needs change as well.
In the case of Spotify, audiences started massively subscribing to wellness and meditation podcast channels. As Anya Grundmann, senior vice president of NPR programming, told CNN Business, people were spending more and more time listening to podcasts to pursue leisure, education, and companionship.
In March 2020, only more than 150,000 new podcasts were created on Spotify. Podcasting technology, more specifically popular podcasting microphones, started getting out of stock in June and July.
According to Morning Consult, 18% of adult Americans stated that they started listening to more podcasts while performing domestic activities during the pandemic. Gen Z experienced a more dramatic increase in podcast listening. Their podcast usage increased by 31% since they started social isolation.
Podcasting and PR: Opportunities and Challenges
What do all podcasting trends and statistics indicate for PR professionals?
If podcasting is not already a component of your media and public relations campaign, it is a time to update your strategies and agendas.
First thing first, podcasts provide a ground to interview company executives. They can introduce company views and values, share leadership and professional skills, and convey other messages as needed. Podcasts also empower brands to connect with their customers in a more meaningful way, enhancing relations.
Secondly, podcasts seem to replace blogs. Traditional blogs are actively turning to audio blogs. So, PR professionals need to master podcast creation, development, and management at a level that they are acing written media and blog content. Podcasts also dominate blogs by the brand awareness growth potential. When you invite a guest to a podcast interview, they will definitely share it on their social media accounts and drive new listeners to your show. As a result, your listener base will grow organically.
Aside from all new business opportunities, the possible downward of podcasting affects executives. Executives have to put extra effort and do their homework. Although teams can support and help with podcast productions, executives must maintain ongoing commitment. Organizational leaders have to show up and feel comfortable about sharing ideas and discussing specific topics publicly.
Things to consider before podcasting
Podcasting is a strong storytelling tool that is also technically simple to create and publish. Those audio shows can quickly be promoted and shared with a large audience. All those opportunities sound extremely exciting, but before jumping into a podcast creation, let’s cover several tips and things to consider.
First of all, define the theme for your podcast. Do you want to use a platform to discuss industry-related topics, brand products and services, or current events? PR managers and executives should do the research and choose the most strategically wise areas of discussion.
Secondly, continuously work on content development. You need to have enough resources stored to be able to launch episodes regularly. To do this, you might need more human capital.
Third, make sure to set the right tone for your shows. Make your podcasts in a light storytelling format while keeping them informative, valuable, and transparent. Pay attention to stay in line with your marketing strategies and company values. And most importantly, be careful not to turn your podcasts into 50-minute advertising sessions.
Fourth, ensure sound quality. Poor technical quality can drive away your audience and negatively impact your brand image. Invest in recording equipment and editing technology. Smaller businesses can save on furnishing recording studios by investing in editing software. There are many budget-friendly software options available. For example, Podcastle provides easy editing tools that can be used for creating high-quality content for only $23.99 per month.
Last but not least, dedicate some of your marketing resources to podcast promotions and advertisements.
What does the future hold for podcasting?
PR pros can create and guide podcasts in different ways. Whether they choose to introduce and promote their products or dive into pitching for enhancing connections with their clients, one thing is sure: those little and seemingly unpopular media of audio shows are not unpopular or little anymore.
With the rising competition of this growing medium, PR professionals should hurry up researching and investing in podcasts to manage to achieve a higher place on that rising graph.
Digital platforms will not be underestimated. Rapid development and constant changes will challenge businesses to stick to traditional beliefs and benefit those enthusiastic about going through transformations. One of those recent changes was the growing interest in podcasts. R professionals should hurry up establishing podcast shows for business benefits.