The Power of Podcasts in Branded Storytelling

While podcasts have existed as early as 2004, this powerful and engaging medium has flourished in the last couple of years.

If 2018 was its much-awaited breakout year, 2020 is definitely its growth phase, where we will see brands and audiences producing and consuming more audio content than ever before! Yes, the podcast industry is finally taking flight. And people are turning to big and small-time podcast shows to hear their favourite thought leaders dive into complex and interesting topics such as personal branding and self-compassion. 

“What is a podcast”, some of you may ask? Simply put, a podcast is a pre-recorded audio programme that features discussions on a wide variety of topics and current events.

An episodic series, with one or more recurring host, podcasts are an easy to consume format that can be leveraged by individuals and businesses alike. From learning how to declutter your home, to improving your public speaking skills, to more specific marketing related topics such as how to build SEO into your content, podcasts shine light on almost every topic imaginable.

Business, politics, sports, entertainment, medicine, wellness, and the arts… Can you add to this list? Those who are interested, may simply subscribe to their desired series from a smart phone, laptop or other suitable electronic device. 

Engage, Resonate, Impact

What makes podcasting so valuable is the fact that it caters to the on-the-go lifestyle, allowing companies to tell their stories anywhere and anytime. Referred to as “radio on demand”, podcasts give brands the opportunity to consistently communicate with their target audiences through fresh and engaging content, thereby establishing authority, credibility and trust over their offerings. Podcasts help shape the way consumers think, feel and behave towards brands, thus acting as their voice – literally and metaphorically.

Podcasts have found their own voice amidst the covid-19 pandemic. Through the varying stages of lockdown, Indians have been turning to podcasts to keep themselves entertained and informed. 

So, the question arises – as content marketers, what should we pay heed to? To help steer you in the right direction, Word Hatter has broken down some of the most important trends and considerations in the Indian podcasting industry, at present.

Audio on Demand – A Voice Driven Nation

While there are over a billion phone connections in our country, only 35% of them are smart. Which means, where video content has failed, audio content has the capability to reach mass markets. A study conducted in 2019, by PWC, estimated that the Indian podcast listener base was approximately 40 million by the end of 2018.

As of March 2020, the listener base had jumped by 18-22%, according to Aawaz.com. So, during a time when OTT platforms and video formats are buzzing, the popularity of the spoken audio word validates the hypothesis that grassroot reach can be established through audio content. Given the current climate of social distancing and remote working, content marketers should consider entering this lucrative space, for a slice of the pie! Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have already joined the fray. 

Evolving Content – Focus of The Hour

We don’t need extensive research to tell us that individuals are consuming more of Covid-19 related content. During this uncertain period, it’s natural for people to utilise all the media platforms at their disposal, to stay as informed as possible. While news updates are popular, individuals are also turning to humorous content in their free time. Comedic podcasts are a great way to build laughter and light-heartedness into one’s lifestyle.

Additionally, podcasts relating to healthcare, mental well-being, fitness and entrepreneurship have also gained traction. Again, content marketers should pay attention to these insights, and adapt their voices to cater to what the audiences want. They key is to churn out high-quality and well thought out content, so that it holds the attention of the listener. It is now, more important than ever, to remind consumers of their love for brands. 

Listener Experience – A Deeper Insight  

It’s paramount for producers in the podcast industry to leverage data driven insights, so that they may gain a deeper understanding of what their target audiences desire. Time and time again, it’s been proven that data gives marketers that extra edge or that golden touch in ensuring a seamless user experience.

Some of the most important aspects of enhancing a podcast listener’s experience includes – creating interesting content, being articulate in the communication, keeping it concise, and providing a key take away per episode. Furthermore, ensuring audio sound quality, editing out unnecessary chit chat, and making sure the podcast is easily accessible, are all extremely important aspects of creating a smooth user experience. As the world navigates a new normal, marketers need to reinforce their value propositions in a clear manner.

Omnichannel Experience – Going Beyond

In the age of omnichannel experiences, brands should no longer rely on only one or two marketing channels. Instead, they should strive to deliver a cohesive brand message across multiple channels, be it online or offline.

An omnichannel customer experience is made up of individual customer touch points, over a variety of channels that seamlessly connect with one another, allowing customers the luxury of picking up where they left off on one channel and continuing the experience onto another. By adding audio content or podcasting into the mix of integrated channels, brands will not only increase their visibility, but also make their customer experience sounder. During these times of immense hardship, when physical interaction has come to a halt, this rings especially true. 

With everything that has transpired in 2020, it will be interesting to see how companies and brands leverage this highly lucrative medium. Are podcasts going to change the way we consume content, or simply enhance our relationship with brands? We’d love to know your thoughts on the same!