Your friend Allen has to be thrilled that the calendar has flipped to 2021.
You know the friend I’m talking about. The one who loves cryptocurrencies, probably gets excited about voice technologies like Alexa, and has no doubt been pushing you to start a podcast for a while now.
Your friend Allen (who is in no way related to me/my twitter feed, btw) may have some strange interests that tempt you to write off his latest suggestions as yet another fad that will likely come and go with the course of time.
That would be a big mistake.
2020 was the year when podcasts went from being a “nice to have” to a fundamental part of every marketer’s toolkit. 2021 is the year you’ll actively be behind if you don’t leverage one. Much like websites before them, podcasts, audio, and voice experiences have all gone from being a luxury that big brands/networks can afford, to a platform that allows organizations of all shapes and sizes to connect and communicate with their communities.
Don’t take my/your friend Allen’s word for it, though. Many reputable marketing leaders like the wise folks over at Wistia are predicting massive growth for the pod world in 2021. This is happening for 3 primary reasons:
Google Prefers Websites with Podcasts
2020 was huge for the world of podcasting in two primary ways. First, audience growth was off the charts from previous years. Monthly listeners in the US jumped from 26% of the population in 2019 to 32% last year. That’s the biggest single-year of audience growth since podcasts were first introduced in the early 2000’s.
The massive increase in demand has grabbed the attention of major technology platforms. Companies like Google exist to serve the most desired piece of content in a timely and relevant fashion which is exactly why we saw Google make significant changes to their algorithm last May so that it now prefers websites that host podcasts over those who offer traditional content results.
Then of course there was COVID.
This kind of infrastructure and environmental change is massive for businesses who rely on the internet broadly or Google more specifically for any amount of traffic or customer acquisition.
Commoditization of Podcasts
Much like websites, social media, and video before them, podcasts are now hitting a critical mass due to the many tools and platforms that are commoditizing the ability to create simple versions of the popular medium.
Don’t get me wrong, for 90% of entrepreneurs and executives running businesses full-time, producing a podcast on the side isn’t a worthy investment of your time and productivity. However, there are those creators driven by hobby, interest, talent or simply an influx of time who have made podcasts more ubiquitous by leveraging easy to use tools like Anchor or Zencastr to produce shows.
Further, the efforts of these creators have cultivated an expectation amongst audiences to be able to access the content and ideas they are interested in via podcast.
These creators and the tools they’ve used have essentially developed a market that now needs to be professionally addressed by the entrepreneurs and executives who are developing, cultivating, or selling into an existing audience.
Traditional Advertising’s Slow But Steady Demise
This is a much bigger point that could be argued ad nauseam by creatives who want probably have a new brilliant idea that they want to sell you to help you drive sales.
The bigger point remains, though, that audiences have grown weary of being advertised to and are now spending a vast majority of their time on devices (e.g. mobile and computer) that gives them options rather than the traditional ad formats like TV, Radio, Newspaper, Direct Mail, etc.
The influx of time spent on mobile devices has created two big opportunities for marketers who are paying attention in 2021.
First, the extra time is being spent not only on reading/watching content but very often on listening to it as well. We’ve already shown the stats for podcast content above, but audio content overall is on the rise as consumers replace their typical radio or slient commutes with podcast, audiobooks, etc. Creating a branded experience that can connect you with your audience as they are spending passive time with their phones is a no brainer.
Secondly, the long-form and consistent nature of podcasts naturally acts as seed content for a variety of other content formats that can be created as a result. For instance, each podcast we produce for our customers gets re-purposed into a blog post, video trailer, social content thread, etc.
While consumers don’t want to be advertised to, they are willing to engage with content when they feel they are a part of the conversation that is occurring between themselves and the brand.
Phil Nottingham (Wistia) said it best in his 2021 preview when he predicted, “Podcasts will become the new blogs.” While overly simple, the importance and benefit of companies who will leverage this still new medium to earn attention over the long-term can’t be overstated. To help those companies and executives who are looking to take advantage, I have good news. We’ve just launched a brand new company in order to do all of what I’ve described above FOR YOU while you continue to run your business.
See you on the Podcast Charts!