Does Your Brand Have An Audio Strategy?

As a podcast company we think it’s important to have an audio strategy.

Your organization likely spends a lot of time honing your blog, influencer, video or social media strategies. But you likely haven’t thought of what your audio strategy should be.

More and more organizations are considering their audio strategy right now due to the rise of podcasts.

Podcasts are changing the way brands tell stories, and how consumers are interacting with brands.

Ever since 15 years ago, when Apple first introduced podcasts to the iTunes store, podcast listenership and revenue has grown steadily, and consistently eaten away at terrestrial radio’s share of ear. (Edison Research).

We can confidently say that we’re out of the “experimental” phase of podcasting as many companies are marketing with podcasts – just watch the world’s top media entities, who are each investing heavily in podcasting.

Media brands who have produced podcasts.

Media brands who have produced podcasts.

Just like other successful mediums (the most recent being “streaming video”) brands are embracing what media publishers deem successful and are marketing with podcasts themselves.

Brands who have produced podcasts.

Brands who have produced podcasts.

More and more we are seeing an audio-centric internet. As a result, brands are thinking harder about their audio strategies— starting with podcasts as a great way to establish what their “sound” should be, and how it can be executed for smart speakers.

Here are some of the top reasons why brands are marketing with podcasts and embracing an audio strategy:

  • Podcasts are an intimate medium. It’s literally like someone is whispering the audio in your ear.

  • Audio is a mobile medium (podcasts, in particular, can be enjoyed while you are washing the dishes, going for a job, or walking your dog).

  • Podcasts are, for the most part, enjoyed solo. Most people use podcasts to learn something, take a break and get some “me time” in.

  • People are becoming more and more comfortable using their voice to navigate the internet. Whether that’s through dictating to their phone while driving, or using a smart speaker as they go about their day.

Google has made the shift to prioritize podcasts in search. And major streaming platforms like Spotify are investing heavily in podcasts.

Producing a podcast but afraid nobody will listen? 

Consumers are listening to podcasts in greater numbers. According to the latest Edison Research report, 55% of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to podcasts. On top of this, 37% have listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 32% in 2019 and just 26% in 2018. Podcasting is now a mainstream media channel. Monthly podcast consumers grew by 16% year-over-year, cresting 100 million Americans for the first time. (Edison Research)

Podcasts are a “pull” medium. Most listeners actively subscribe to shows, meaning they are wanting more content when it is released and they listen to a lot of the episode. In fact, JAR Audio’s podcasts see an average listen-through rate of 95%. We truly believe that podcasts are one of the best mediums for engaging with an audience.

Why should your brand start a podcast now?

As of April 2020, there are over 1,000,000 live podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes. That’s a lot, for sure.

To highlight the growth, Apple confirmed there were over 550,000 podcasts at WWDC 2018 in early June. And in an article published April 25, 2018, by FastCompany stated there were “over 525,000 active shows and over 18.5 million episodes”. (Podcast Insights)

To put this into perspective, there are over 31 million YouTube channels. (Tubics)

Why is video growth faster than podcasting? According to listener data, consumers can lose interest in a podcast after some time. That’s why production is so important and why JAR is proud to see average listen-lengths of 95% for our podcasts. High listen-length = high engagement levels for the JAR Audio-produced podcasts.

There’s never been more demand for podcasts, along with other serialized, long-form content. People are clamouring for entertainment that will engage them over long periods of time. And this bodes well for marketers.

Because marketers have a problem.

As we covered in a previous blog post, marketers have very little problem getting an audience’s attention and intro the marketing funnel. Holding people in the funnel is the hard part.

We lose people because:

  • They get distracted by a competing brand

  • They lose interest in your product or service

  • They can’t find the information they need

  • Their needs might not be understood

  • They get frustrated by the sales experience

  • Etc.

There’s a hole in the marketing funnel, which makes it much more expensive and time consuming to obtain new customers.

Enter the podcast.

When done well, using a podcast in marketing shoves a cork in that hole by retaining the customer’s attention.

Listeners are “binge listening” more and more, just like we all do with our favourite Netflix series.

In fact, the very best podcasts are becoming streaming series. Take for example, the famed music podcast Song Exploder which has now become a Netflix series. Many studios are optioning popular audio shows for the big screen, and home screen/devices.

Brands are looking at the podcast charts for one of the most economical ways to reach a massive podcast audience. Think of the charts like a Top 40 list. With a tiny fraction of the budget, it’s possible to command the kind of focused attention and devotion that some of the largest music producers and film/TV studios can only dream about.

Producing a podcast but afraid nobody will listen?

So what do you need to get started?

You can pick up a microphone off of Amazon and start recording audio, for sure. But if you want to create a truly engaging podcast that is going to capture an audience’s attention, and keep them there (plugging the funnel) for as long as possible you need to invest in the technical and editorial skills that only an experienced team like JAR Audio can provide.

Additionally, you need to:

1. Be laser focused on delivering value to the listener

  • What can you teach the listener?

  • How can you help the listener?

  • How can you entertain the listener?

We like to ask our clients: “What does the world need  most that you are most qualified to talk about?”

2. As yourself whether your brand has enough creative bravery.

Listeners will simply turn off bad audio. So can you push your creative boundaries to ensure that won’t happen?

3. Consistently deliver high quality.

  • High production value

  • The right host

  • The right music

  • Multiple scenes

  • Well crafted storytelling

4. You must market it.

Gone are the days where you could put your podcast on iTunes (now Apple Podcasts), push publish and watch it go viral. You have to develop and execute on a multi-prong marketing program that’s more in line with how the studios market their films and shows.

Focusing on these will result in a better podcast, which will result in better audience engagement – and that’s a podcast which will consistently perform.

Podcasts are here to stay, and brands are embracing them more and more. So ask yourself: do you want to stand by as your competitors start their own show (or shows), snatching up the opportunity, speaking to your audience and building intellectual property? Since Covid-19, audiences are turning to podcasts in greater numbers than ever before. There’s every reason why your brand can and should produce a quality show and stake its claim in the podcasting world.

So that just leaves one more question: what is your audio strategy going to be?

Roger Nairn is the Co-Founder and CEO of JAR Audio.