Why your organization needs podcasting

As podcast popularity explodes, a new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research shows that 65% of podcast listeners are likely to buy a product after hearing an ad within a podcast. However, if we also start our own podcasts, as organizational leaders, we can have an even larger footprint within our respective markets. On this episode, we're sitting down with the Co-Founder of Podchaser, a company dedicated to centralizing podcast content from around the globe, who is helping us unpack how we can leverage the podcast medium to our advantage.

Show Notes:

MATT:

How we ingest media is ever changing. Just as CDs and DVDs are becoming over-shadowed by streaming content, radio stations fight the same war with podcasts. As consumers, we long for content we can enjoy, but we want to enjoy it on OUR time. With podcast popularity skyrocketing, how can our organizations get ahead of the curve and use them to our advantage? Let’s get to the podcast…

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MATT:

Welcome to another episode of the ROI Podcast presented by the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. I’m your host Matt Martella alongside Associate Dean, Phil Powell. If this is your first time tuning in, we just want to say thanks for checking us out. We work hard to put out a weekly show that helps organizations make better business decisions. If you have a topic you would like for us to discuss, questions we could answer, or a guest you want to hear from – send us an email to ROI-pod, that’s roipod@iupui.edu.

PHIL:

Did you know, according to Apple, there are currently over 550,000 active podcasts around the globe? These shows have produced over 18.5 million episodes. So for you that have subscribed, we are so honored you chose us. And according to a study done by both Nielson and Edison Research, 64% of Americans, 180 million people, are familiar with the term “podcast” and 44% of the U-S population, or about 124 million people, have ever listened to a podcast at least once. What was once seen as an underground radio scene has evolved into a major industry. Yet, there is still so much room for growth in this medium.

MATT:

So in honor of International Podcast Day, we sat down with Co-Founder of Podchaser, Cole Raven, a company dedicated to centralizing the podcast content from around the globe. Cole’s helping us unpack why every organization should embrace podcasting – whether it’s buying ad time on a show or creating our own podcast as a company. It all starts with seeing the shift from following a radio network to following an industry leader.

Cole Raven: Something that has been a bit of a craze recently has been the ketogenic diet. There are, for example, entire podcasts built around just that with hundreds of episodes. If you really want to dig that deep into something like that and regarding radio shows, there are still the same radio shows that have now transitioned over to podcasting, which are still providing the same general format. But what I'm seeing is that you find professors at schools, or you find industry experts on a specific topic talk about things like diet and weightless or fashion or anything. And instead of following a radio network, you're following an influencer or industry leader. You're seeing the same shift with people on Instagram and YouTube - they're supplementing their brand with podcasting on a very specific niche topic, which is why you can find a podcast about anything. So once you understand that and see the shift then I think that you can think of new ways to leverage the medium.

PHIL:

And what better way to leverage this medium than thinking about how listeners take in podcast content. This is a very intimate space. Think about it. Those who listen either wear headphones or plug into their car stereo system. Audiences are engaged – they listen with purpose and intention. As Cole said, because shows are extremely niche, audience members come excited about an episode. So how can we leverage this? It starts with advertisements – like radio we want to buy commercial time. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research, 65% of listeners are likely to buy a product after hearing an ad in a podcast.

MATT:

So the first thing our organizations can do in order to take advantage of the podcast medium is get in early on advertisements.

Cole Raven: I think the first step would be to understand how far podcasting has come over the last four, even three years. Just the awareness for the term podcasting or the number of people who have listened to a podcast in the last month has grown by double-digit percentages in the last few years. It's gone from in the teens to now nearly 30% of people listen to podcasts, or say they listen to podcasts on a regular basis. So once you understand that and see the shift then I think that you can think of new ways to leverage the medium. But I think that as industry leaders become more aware of the impact podcasting is having and how they can reach niche audiences because through Podchaser or through other means if you search for a very specific topic on something you want to learn about, you can find something on it. Somebody in the world of podcasting has talked about what you want to learn about. And you'll be able to find it in podcast form. I think awareness of the growth and also awareness for just the depth of knowledge that podcasting has to offer.

MATT:

I’m not one for buying into commercials – in fact, commercials almost turn me away from products because they’re almost too good to be true. I like knowing data, I like hearing why a product works, or I want to make a connection with a brand. For me, recently, the only times I’ve bought a product through ads were those on podcasts. In fact, I recently bought a leadership book because I heard the author speak as a guest on a leadership podcast that I follow. Not only was I engaged with the conversation, I was moved to buy the book. So as part of the 65% likely to buy a product from podcast ads, this is huge for businesses.

PHIL:

But this has to be done in the right ways. Your example is great – here is a show that you listen to for personal growth, you gained knowledge you were seeking, and they offered a product to go to the next level, which you bought. So as organizational leaders, we have to be strategic in how we market in this medium. It’s all about finding the right niche audience to cater to. We have to find the shows who have an audience that fit our demographic clients. However, if we offer a product for everyone, then trying to get ad time on the major podcast networks may be a better option. And if you jump on early enough, you may be the lead sponsor for a show. For example, the incredibly popular show Serial is sponsored by MailChimp, who’s 19-second ads have become as recognizable as the show itself. With so many diverse and growing shows, there’s a great demand for advertisement – which helps get your product out at a much lower price.

Cole Raven: If you look at podcasting as a whole compared to radio as a whole - the cost to reach people through podcasting is right now, a tenth of the price of radio. Mostly just because a lack of awareness. It's such a new thing and especially the big organizations are less likely to adopt it until they see evidence that it works. But you see major brands advertising on podcasts - basically taking it over. You hear the same ads on every single podcast. They wouldn't have been doing that for the last 3 years if it hadn't worked really well.

MATT:

This is just one, and the most obvious way, to take advantage of the podcast medium. The second way, and the way we’re going to really unpack, is to create your own show as an organization. We’re going to explore three take-a-ways on why your organization needs to start podcasting. The first reason why your company needs to start podcasting is to help your market learn more about your company and gain a deeper understanding of your industry.

Cole Raven: You can use podcasts for more than just an advertising platform. If you want to get into podcasting, you don't have to pay $15-$20 CPM to advertise on one of the major podcasts. You can start your own and it's not that expensive. All you need is a microphone and some editing software and maybe pay somebody to outsource that. There are plenty of services out there that do that and as long as you have a clear goal and a vision for what you want to get out of it, that's absolutely essential. Don't just make a podcast for the sake of making a podcast. There are too many of those out there. But if you have a clear goal and a vision for what you want to get out of it then there's really no downside. It's just a supplement to all the other marketing and media that you're putting out there because people want to consume content in different ways. Now we've started to see major brands like eBay has their own podcast, McAfee has their own podcast. All these big brands have their own podcasts because they see it as a way to reach their audience in a more organic way because the stories they're telling on their podcasts aren't just selling the eBay brand, necessarily. It's telling the story how a mom and pop shop owner has transitioned from a brick and mortar business to an eBay business. It's telling real stories of real people instead of just advertising at people. So I would say, if you get into podcasting, it shouldn't, at all, be about you or your brand. It should be 100% about the guests that you have on or about some very valuable piece of content that you can deliver, for free, to your audience that they're really going to enjoy and engage with. And that's something that you can share that's going to get like, it's going to get shares, it's going to get in front of your audience simply because it's valuable and not just another billboard.

PHIL:

(Talks about our purpose of podcasting – our why)

MATT:

The second reason why your organization should start a podcast is to have a reason to connect with other major leaders within your industry.

Cole Raven: So when you say, I have a podcast do you want to be on it, people know what that means. People didn't know what that meant 5 or 10 years ago. They thought, oh boy, I'm going to interview in this guy's garage. But now, it's a serious thing if you're going to be on somebodies' podcast. That's almost an honor now. If you work for a business or an organization and you're a part of the marketing department or PR, whatever, I think it's a great decision to make a podcast because you can connect with people outside of your organization. If you want to use it as a new sales channel or sales funnel you can, as the VP of Sales for a company, use that as an opportunity to reach out to another organization and say, hey, do you want to be on my podcast and talk about SEO or talk about new ways that you're team has been effective in cold calling - you know just different things. Not only is that creating really good content that is going to help people find you online, it's now you've built a relationship with that person you just interviewed. Maybe you had no other reason to reach out to them before, but now you have a great reason. Now you have a reason to talk to them and it's more than just a cold outreach. It's offering them an opportunity to do something to help them too instead of just helping yourself.

PHIL:

This is one of our bread and butters to podcasting. We love our guests that we host, who do offer incredible insight into their industry. And we love the access we’re able to have – so leverage this time wisely. (TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU TO HAVE THIS ACCESS)

MATT:

The third reason why every organization should start a podcast is to engage your employees.

Cole Raven: I think it's a great decision to make a podcast because you can… connect with people within your organization in a new way. Where these companies like Sales Force, they've got thousands and thousands of employees. It gives, maybe the marketing or PR management a way to engage their employees in a different way. Like, having a podcast about the culture of the company. They could bring them in their office and talk about that.

PHIL:

This becomes an easy way to speak about your company culture in the same verbiage and allows your employees to have a connection with your organization’s leadership, on their time. It also creates actionable talking points for managers with their team members – keeping the company, especially as they grow, on the same track.

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MATT:

So let’s recap. Podcasting has exploded in popularity over the past few years – giving organizations an opportunity to grow as well. The most obvious way is to pay for advertisement space on popular shows. With 65% of listeners likely to buy a product from a podcast, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research, this seems like a no brainer. However, your organization can also gain more benefits by starting your own podcast. Many major companies like eBay and McAfee use these mediums to create organic connections with their market by telling personal stories, not overly promoting their brand with success. First, this allows your market access to education about your organization or industry. With a microphone and editing software, the cost for podcasting is next to none. Just remember, your episodes need to be all about your guest or a valuable piece of information people can walk away with – not a platform for your brand promotion. Second, podcasts allow us access to high level guests, industry leaders, or government officials we would not be able to get otherwise. This gives them a way to get their message out while giving us an opportunity have their attention and build a relationship. Finally, this can also be a great way to engage our own employees. Whether it’s building our culture, educating them on our vision, or keeping everyone up to speed, podcasts are on demand – so we don’t have the headache of trying to schedule everyone into a meeting at the same time. It also allows our managers to have talking points with their team – increasing their influence and leadership within the organization.

If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, let us know! Be sure to leave us a review on your favorite app. If you would like to get a hold of us, send us an email at ROI-POD, that’s roipod@iupui.edu. This has been another episode of the ROI Podcast presented by the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. I’m your host, Matt Martella alongside Associate Dean, Phil Powell where we work hard to put out a weekly episode that helps organizations make better business decisions. We’ll see you next week.

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