Podcasting is the latest content format that has boomed in recent years. With a plethora of new shows and hosts rolling out daily every imaginable topic is available.
According to the 2021 Infinite Dial Australia Report (a collaboration of Edison Research & Commercial Radio Australia), 5.6 million Australians (26 per cent of the population) are weekly podcast listeners. This represents a 53 per cent increase from 2020 with podcasting awareness sitting at 91 per cent of the population. These statistics are generalist across all genres.
The push and dilemma
Alongside the growth has been a surge of podcast and production companies. With that has come a push for businesses and brands to include podcasting as part of their marketing and content strategy.
The pitch is that podcasting is a must-have platform and if not utilised, businesses are losing out on market potential. The sell (similar to all other content formats) is the elevation of personal brand authority and expertise recognition.
We are drowning in content to wade through with the volume, platforms and mediums (video, written, audio). We are all consumers but businesses are also content creators. It’s a real dilemma to choose the right avenues for maximum ROI and target visibility. Understanding content preferences of consumers is, therefore, essential.
I wanted to find out the consumption habits of business and professional podcasts. Did the broad research from Edison show similar uptakes?
I posted a poll on LinkedIn in August asking “Do you listen to podcasts for business and professional topics?” A solid 893 votes were received with hundreds of comments. Every industry sector was represented and ages ranged from early 30s to late 60s.
Age range, status, level or industry sector had no bearing on voter preferences. The gender split in each category was similar in Always, taking a rise in other choices for male voters, especially for Never/waffling voters.
Insights and impacts
The poll showed that a combined 27 per cent never listen, 28 per cent love them and 45 per cent listen very occasionally.
Many occasional voters said there weren’t many great podcasts and if a person they admired was being interviewed they would listen. Some would like to listen more but didn’t have the time.
Many shared that COVID and working from home significantly reduced their podcast consumption. Once a regular commuting activity (car, planes, public transport) time wasn’t available now.
Unlike video and written content, podcasts are mostly consumed when multitasking with cooking, exercising, housework and dog walking. People aren’t listening at their desks or whilst working.
For the 27 per cent who don’t listen, quality, length and self-promotion turned them off. Some admitted that their attention span was short and podcasts just took too long to get the gold nuggets of value. Reading for many was easier and more efficient.
If you produce a podcast or are contemplating doing so there are some takeaways and considerations to factor in.
Content in all formats is competitive for visibility and traction. Whilst a spoken voice is golden, consumer content preferences and learning styles are varied and not linear irrelevant of sector, topic, age or gender.
- Take a raw review of your intent, strategy and purpose.
- The first 60 seconds must be amazing and inspiring.
- Every minute counts for sharp value.
- No ego posturing and heavy self-promotion.
- Ideal length is 30 minutes.
- Transcribe each podcast.
Creating, consuming or being a guest on podcasts have all different motivations and outcomes. Horses for courses, but the poll indicates that podcasts are hot for some, not for others and in the middle is a swag of once in a blue moon listeners.