2 Reasons Brand Marketers Are Afraid of Podcasting
Podcasting is a Movement!
So much so, that there is an annual conference appropriately named Podcast Movement. I recently attended the second occurrence of the annual conference where podcasters convened for education, networking and idea exchange. More than 1,100 people attended, mostly from North America. The attendees were a mix of established podcasters with popular shows, as well as modestly experienced podcasters with less than 100 episodes. That’s me, with more than 70 episodes of my Social Business Engine podcast. Additionally, I met many people who are new podcasters with fewer than 20 episodes. And, there were a surprising number of attendees who had not yet launched their first podcast.
Fear: The Recurring Theme
The two day conference, held over a weekend in Fort Worth, Texas was top notch. The quality of the keynote speakers was superb. The breakout sessions were instructional. The vendors were informative, many with overlapping products and services ranging from podcast hosting to podcasting gear and podcast support services.
I was expecting quality content, and I was NOT disappointed. I took 10 pages of notes. I wasn’t expecting to experience a recurring theme. The speakers, themselves very established podcasters, repeated the same theme even in some of the most technical sessions.
Most podcasters are challenged with fear. The fear ranges from a fear they won’t be liked by an audience, a fear their content won’t find an audience, a fear that there are other podcasters speaking on the same topic, a fear they can’t monetize their podcast, a fear they can’t learn the in’s and out’s of podcasting’s technical side, a fear they won’t or can’t continue with a podcast once they start. And, the biggest fear is the fear of failure.
The fear of failure is interesting because failure assumes there is a clear definition of success. In podcasting, the definition of success to a podcaster is unique to each podcaster. But, let’s be honest, most podcasters want to earn a living from it, or supplement their income from a full time job.
I was also surprised to learn that 99.9% of the attendees at Podcast Movement were independents. That is to say that aside from a few professional podcast shows such as Conversion Cast, the attendees were mostly individuals in business for themselves, or gainfully employed and podcasting on the side in hope of one day earning a living at it full time.
The Absent Corporate Podcaster
The stat in the previous paragraph is my guestimate. The conference organizers didn’t share data on audience make up. I went out of my way to poll attendees as much as I could. I even asked the conference staff if they could point me to attendees with a corporate podcast and I was only pointed to the Conversion Cast podcast and one other brand podcaster, whom I interviewed at the conference for my podcast.
This isn’t the first time I wondered why there aren’t more brands podcasting. In my conversations with our B2B clients at Find and Convert, I’ve observed that there are two common reasons that brand marketers don’t have a podcast:
– Lack of Understanding of Podcasting
– Too Many other Marketing Programs on the Plate
We’ve long advocated to our clients the importance of developing their own media channel. The illusion that social media is our media channel is dangerous because it’s rented (digital) land. Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., are channels owned by their respective entities. We get to publish and share our content through these media channels, but we don’t control anything about them. Additionally, “pay to play” has become prevalent in both LinkedIn and Facebook if you want to reach your target audience.
The Fear of Podcasting Among Marketers
I’m convinced that brand marketers are not podcasting because they’re afraid of change. Corporations are run by people. People’s behavior is driven largely by emotions, even when we say “our goal is a 15% conversion rate.” That may be a metric-based goal. But, it’s tied to a bigger goal such as keeping your job, getting recognized by your boss or peers, getting promoted or getting that next job on your career ladder.
If you’re a brand marketer and you’ve never podcasted before, it’s natural to fear it. It’s unknown territory. It’s risky.
The Growth of Podcasting
Edison Research publishes an annual report on podcasting titled The Podcast Consumer. Here are a few eye-popping stats from this report, now in its 10th year.
33% of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to a podcast, compared to 11% in 2006.
22% of podcast listeners consumed 3 podcasts in the last week.
36% of podcast listeners have a household income greater than $75K.
Image Source: Tom Webster, Edison Research.
The breakout podcast show Serial has racked up 72 million downloads. And, while lost brand marketers will never come close to that number, what’s notable is the impact Serial has had on podcasting as a mainstream medium for content consumption.
Find Your Niche Audience
Forget think big! Think small!!! Define a narrow audience. If you sell products or services in the healthcare market, consider a podcast that is focused on one specific element of healthcare where you can build a specific audience with interest in this topic. For most brands that will require focusing on a narrow area of the business, rather than for the entire brand. If you’re concerned that the audience for such a niche topic isn’t very big, that’s exactly the point! The tighter and more focused the audience, the more likely you will make an authentic connection with that audience. Would you rather have an audience of 1,000 highly relevant listeners, or 10,000 not so relevant listeners?
Brands whose marketing department is overly focused on demand generation marketing tactics will struggle with this. Enter fear again.
Begin with a focus on serving your niche audience with quality content that makes their lives/jobs better in some way. Be sure to brand your podcast. And, when people in your audience need the type of services and products you offer, or their friends do, you’ll be top of mind. That’s demand generation, isn’t it?
This is a departure from the traditional lead capture most marketers seek. Be honest, it’s not getting easier to get prospects to give you their name and email address on a form. If you produce great podcast content for a niche audience you can offer gated content that complements your podcast. But, (and this is a big but), you must first build a deep relationship with your audience through your podcast content.
The realization that fear is the biggest obstacle to corporate podcasting has motivated me, and the Find and Convert team, to develop a program to teach corporate marketers how to create and launch a podcast. We’re developing a webinar to be delivered in Q4 to educate brand marketers on the opportunity for brand building, differentiation and content marketing through the podcasting medium.
If you want to attend this webinar, register here to get the notification.
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