When I began podcasting in 2016 there were a little under 550,000 podcasts worldwide. Today, in 2023 there are around 4.5 million. The Covid pandemic catalysed an eruption in podcasting that few had predicted, and yet as a media form it continues to grow.
There are podcasts on every conceivable subject, from parenting to pilates and politics to American football. It has become easier than ever to set up and run a podcast, with the hosting platforms improving their service all the time. Podcasts have also become mainstream with 71% of respondents to a UK survey in 2021 reporting to be familiar with podcasts.
For businesses, podcasts have become a brilliant way of connecting with their existing audience and reaching out to potential new clients and contacts. Niche audiences have sprung up everywhere. Even if a podcast only has a regular listenership of 50-100 people, that is still a powerful tool for marketing, and so more and more businesspeople are taking to podcasting as a result. It is an intimate form of media too, connecting with a host over time and building rapport over time.
Podcast listeners are highly engaged and if you cultivate that relationship with them they are more likely to click through to your website, interact with your social media and critically speak favourably of your brand to others. By being open with them and involving them through your podcast you make them feel part of something bigger.
Podcasting establishes your voice in your particular field and can be a great outlet for connecting and networking.
Is there somebody in your field who you would like to cultivate a working relationship with? Well, if you had a podcast inviting them on would be a fantastic way of initiating that connection. It is also a great way of giving junior members of your team confidence in public speaking.
In 2023 podcasting is predicted to attract more younger and older listeners. Younger members of GenZ as well as the Alpha generation and Baby Boomers will all increase their listenership in podcasting. There will also continue to be strong listenership from the existing strong listenership from millennials.
Podcasting is powerful for many reasons. At its heart podcasting is about the democratisation of the voice and of stories. Everyone with a smart phone has the capacity to make a podcast and launch their voice to the world. This is a powerful thing. As listeners it has also transformed the way we consume media. You can do another activity whilst listening to a podcast, which makes it attractive to millions. Critically though, podcasting has unleashed a revolution for creatives and creators, allowing millions of new voices the capacity to be heard.
Ben Eagle, Founder and Head of Podcasts, RuralPod Media.