Over the past couple of years, podcasts have carved out space for themselves in the digital media world. and  As something to listen to while driving, getting ready, cooking, working out, etc., podcasts are occupying the spaces that radio used to fill in the past. Having grown out of the ninth segment to generate a more popular appeal, it’s no longer something that can be deemed a “fad”. It is full-blown mainstream.

Podcasting has exploded as a medium over the past 7 years. The percentage of Americans above the age of 12 who have listened to a podcast jumped from 27% to 44% between 2013 and 2018, with over 75% of the US population listening to or having knowledge about podcasting. The projected number of hours people are spending listening to podcasts in 2021 is 15 billion, up from 12 billion a couple of years ago. A multitude of forums has emerged to host and aggregate podcasts, playing a crucial role in this rising popularity. Brands like Spotify, Acast, Stitcher, and Anchor, aside from the regular Apple and Google Podcasts, have all gotten in on the action and become popular platforms that have taken podcasting to the masses. 

But the fascination around podcasting extends beyond the numbers. Podcasts offer real value to marketers as an influencer marketing tool, as well. Influencers of every tier and status have added podcasts to their repertoire in the past year or two, and for good reason. They can engage their audience for a longer duration through podcasts, and this engagement also comes with the opportunity to engage with brands. Topics like comedy, true crime, and sports continue to be the top genres for podcasts, but business and marketing are popular subjects that are growing in relevance by the day. 


Why Should Podcasts Be A Part Of Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns?

There is a multitude of reasons why podcasts should be an integral part of your influencer marketing campaigns. Here are a few noteworthy points and insights around this growing market.


They Create Authentic Connections

Though it’s an audio-only format, podcasts have a way of creating an authentic connection with the follower base. Generally, podcasts tend to be informal, fun, and engaging conversations between the podcasters. Many also take questions from the listeners offline and answer them to build engagement. Through these actions, influencers and podcasters can build an authentic relationship and deeper connection with their audience. 

A large number of podcasts are also unscripted conversations between the host and the guest(s). This is entertaining for listeners, but it also leads to a more real and authentic experience. Podcast hosts are also able to engage the listeners for longer periods of time by using stories and anecdotes that connect with the audience. This lengthy engagement builds works greatly in favor of podcasts. 

The trust that the hosts build with the audience works the same way as it does for influencers. Listeners come to trust their suggestions and also look forward to the conversations they host, becoming more in tune and connected with both the influencer themselves and the content they create. 


They Foster Content-Led Engagement

Rather than using ads as the medium, podcasts can be a great way to engage the audience with content. Whether you are hosting or appearing as a guest, the focus remains predominately content-driven. Listeners expect this, so if you structure the conversation well and give the audience strong, actionable insights, they will engage with both the creators and content. 

In a world where brands are constantly searching for new ideas and content formats, podcasts should be near the top of their list. This is especially true for brands that are marketing to a younger audience. On the flip side, influencers can create and build audio content that is highly engaging as a format.


It’s A Scalable Channel

The popularity of podcasts has grown at an exponential rate. It is estimated that there are currently over 2 million podcasts, and while some of them would not be as big or as popular as others, that’s still a lot to choose from. As the format continues to grow, brands will have an enhanced selection of potential influencers, helping companies to select the most appropriate fit and engage with them.

If the current trend is indicative of the future in any way, the number of podcasters is only going to increase. We will see more and more podcasters become influencers (if they are not already) in their communities. This continued rise in popularity means the format gets more listeners, and with more listeners comes more content creators. For brands, this makes podcasts a scalable channel for influencer marketing campaigns.


They Tend To Occupy Niche Segments

A strong argument can be made that podcasts often skew toward a specific niche, and its a primary driver behind the growth of the industry at large. Podcasts usually focus on niche topics, and with the number of podcasters seemingly growing by the minute, every topic of interest seems to be covered. Brands can seek to find podcasters within the niches of their target audience and partner with these creators to run campaigns. 

As a result, brands can also tailor campaigns to these niches more effectively, as content creation can be far more focused and informed when you are targeting a highly specific audience. With a sharp audience persona, your promotional content can resonate better with the niche audience. Just the act of supporting their favorite podcaster through sponsorship can help to achieve additional goodwill. 


They Offer Enhanced Measurability

Most of the engagement through podcasts is done via ad reads, and a majority of these ads talk about promo codes as the primary hooks. This means that the impact of your influencer campaign via podcasts can be measured easily and effectively. 

Measurability of engagement is always a concern when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns. But brands that utilize podcasts will have enhanced metrics. Data points will be directly attributed to the revenue generated as a result of the podcast via promo codes. 


Quick Tips For Running Influencer Campaigns With Podcasts

Now that we looked at why podcasts should be a part of your influencer marketing campaigns, let’s discuss a few quick tips on how you can use them effectively.


Find The Right Podcasts To Partner With

Half the job is about finding the right influencer. The same is true for podcasts too. Listen to a few episodes, understand the audience that the podcasts cater to, and also get a sense of the general tone and messaging. If these align with your brand and the marketing goals, you are set to go.

Finding the right mode of engagement is also important. You can choose to use pre-recorded ads or ads read out by the podcast host. You can also try to embed some of your content into the podcast. All three offer you great ways to engage with the audience.


Be Conversion-Oriented

Being conversion-oriented is the key when using podcasts in your influencer marketing efforts. Though it’s an audio-based format, there is a track record that shows solid engagement and conversion rates on podcast promotions. With this in mind, use specific promo codes that give listeners special benefits. Apart from promo codes, you can also use short URLs and other CTA formats to drive conversions, but make sure that it pushes the listener towards making a purchase or at least engaging with the brand.

By focusing on conversions, you are also able to drive better ROI from these campaigns. Brands that are able to effectively align the content of the ad to the audience see even better results. 


Measure & Optimize

The essence of most successful marketing efforts lies in how well you can measure the campaigns and optimize them for effectiveness. Utilizing podcasts in your campaigns is no different. You should always be keeping a close eye on the numbers. Look at the overall performance of the podcast, including the total number of listeners, average listening time, etc. Also, look at the conversions you are driving from the campaign. 

Once you have an idea of the numbers, you can begin to adapt the promotional content and CTAs to make sure that it is working well. Keep in mind, it may take some time for your campaign to kick off properly and you are not likely to see thousands of customers coming in from the get-go. A patient, data-driven approach is far more fruitful. 


Final Thoughts

As the surge in podcasting continues, casters are quickly gaining status as influencers. This trend is set to continue, with audio format gaining prominence in the form of new social media platforms such as Clubhouse or Twitter’s Spaces. 

While some may be hesitant to jump into what may feel like a potential passing fad, podcasts have proven that they aren’t going anywhere any time soon. These broadcasts allow both brands and creators to engage their audience with content their followers want – and not just ads that are served digitally.

Through contextually relevant and personalized content, podcasts allow you to build a long-term, authentic relationship with your target audience. The measurability of the medium and the range of podcasters to consider for partnerships are the icing on the cake. As companies both big and small begin to emerge from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, podcasts should be an integral part of your influencer campaigns moving forward. 

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