Since its relatively unknown launch in 2003, podcasts seem to have been suddenly thrust into the limelight overnight although research shows that isn’t true. According to a report by Forbes, podcasts enjoyed a slow but consistent growth trajectory since 20003. And since the first podcast which was launched by Matt Schichter, the number of podcasts that are currently swarming the internet are in their thousands with people like Oprah Winfrey, Seth Godin, Marc Maron and a host of other public figures increasingly shifting from text-based social media platforms to the audio-based tool.

There is a good reason for why the numbers of podcasts seem to be growing exponentially. According to a report by Statista in 2015, over 17% of US citizens admitted to listening to at least a podcast within the last month. This shows a sharp increase of over 13% from the 2014 number.

Beyond podcasts popularity in the United States, they have also enjoyed a global reach thanks to millions of new users that sign up with distributors like Apple Music, Spotify, and the like.

And while all the numbers relaying the strength of podcasts is intriguing, knowing and understanding how podcasts work in order to unleash their full potential to increase awareness of their brand, product or services is a different thing entirely.

Here are a few ways a podcast can energize the content marketing strategy of your brand:

It provides a new channel of discussion between a brand and its consumers

For the millions of listeners who tune in to their favorite podcasts weekly, the chance to learn something new is a big add-on. After listening to a podcaster consistently for over a month, the chances are that the listener takes a more open stance in listening and accepting subsequent information presented to him by the host.

And for many podcasters, this is invaluable as it allows their business-run podcast to use their teeming audience as a sounding board for their new ideas and concepts. A clothing line that runs a podcast on fashion can decide to run their new products or services with their listeners by simply talking about it an episode of their podcast. The feedback received is often invaluable.

In addition to this, your podcast listeners can also be converted into listeners on your other channels.  For example, promoting your newsletter or social media channels on your podcast can result in a good number of your listeners following through on your call to action.

It provides you a new way to use old content

For most companies, the cost of creating new content whether it is video, text or image based is usually daunting, and often it ends up being a deal breaker.

With podcasts, it is possible to convert your written and visual content into audio content, which gives you access to a whole new circle of listeners.

It provides better visibility on search engines

Unlike other social media pages which call for a particular way of interaction between brand and customer, the way you engage your listeners through your podcast is completely up to you.

According to a report published by iTunes in 2013, they revealed that podcast subscriptions had reached a total of 1 billion. And this is caused mainly in part of the somewhat addictive nature of podcasts. Unlike tweets and posts, podcasts come in episodes and as such listeners treat them like their favorite shows.

Appropriately done, podcasts have the potential to grow far beyond all other marketing channels like newsletters and the social media pages.

And thanks to the rules of engagement for most of the platforms where these podcasts are hosted like Spotify, Apple Music and Stitcher, the key factor that could differentiate your podcast from that of the competition could come down to how engaging the cover art of your podcast is. Also, attention needs to be paid to the platform you are hosting your podcast on as well as the quality of your recording.

It helps with content creation

From time to time, even the most creative marketing departments are met with resistance when attempting to change or modify content plans or concepts to attain the right fit with the existing marketing strategy.

Podcasts, on the other hand, are usually less burdensome than its text-based counterparts. Most podcasts are not scripted as they usually take conversation form. At best, this entails a few bullet points that will eventually guide the entirety of the show.

When podcasts are placed early up on the content production chain, it is easy to convert old episodes into other forms of content. From transcribing the recording to using the synopsis of the episode as the topic for a blog post to designing an episode inspired infographic to converting the salient points raised within the episodes as images or even as shirts.

Podcasts can greatly transform your entire marketing strategy.

It helps with reaching out to important guests

In a world where everyone is looking to build their brand whether personal or otherwise, podcasts can assist you in nailing that guest feature you have been struggling with for a while.

A theme taken by a lot of podcasts today see a guest come on the show from time to time and most times, these guests reach out to the hosts of the shows. This is a stark difference from having guests co-author posts on a blog as the stress of speaking for about 30 minutes pales in comparison to properly articulating a few thousand words for a website.

And as your subscriber base increases, so do the caliber of guests your show will be able to attract.

Content marketing was and still isn’t a one-day journey. For companies with renowned campaigns and the likes, the effort that went into it greatly outweighs the visible rewards. The same goes for podcasts.

To get the aforementioned benefits, the first and most important step rests in identifying the scope of the podcast. Continuously growing and tweaking your plan when possible ensure that your podcast will continue to reach the right set of people worldwide.

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