Everyone loves a story and people love telling stories. Stories are memorable and many are inspirational. Childhood memories are often full of the bedtime stories we were read and the books we read ourselves as we discovered whole new worlds, fell in love with protagonists and imagined what our lives would be when we grew up. Would we ever meet our own Heathcliff? Could we ever be as courageous and clever as Jo March? And how many parents have named their child after little Scout (AKA Louise Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird) or Finch for that matter? Many.
Stories in books are powerful. Stories themselves are incredibly effective in any medium to learn from and to teach something. In marketing, storytelling is a compelling and sometimes an evocative way of getting a message across. The intimacy of storytelling is one of the reasons podcasts have become so popular and an effective way of communicating.
Who listens to podcasts?
According to Seth Godin and his Akimbo podcast, there are 700,000 podcasts currently available. This is the fastest growing medium apart from when people started browsing the internet.
From the podcaster’s point of view, it’s fairly easy and affordable to start a podcast and a fantastic way to build a meaningful relationship with your audience. Podcasting can increase your reach and help you become known as being trustworthy, a thought leader and it’s a way to showcase your expertise. Depending on your goals, podcasting could fit in very well with your overall business purpose, enabling you to spread the word about why you do what you do in an engaging and interesting way. That could be through telling your own stories, interviewing guests or facilitating debates.
From the listener’s perspective, podcasts are easily accessible, portable, entertaining, a purposeful way to kill dead time and a quick, memorable way to learn something. Podcasters are people who generally really care about their topics, want to share their knowledge and passion, educate and/or create a conversation. All of that resonates with listeners in a massive way. The result can be hugely effective for both podcaster and listener. Depending on your interests and your motivation for listening to podcasts, there is a lot to choose from too! If you’re an iPhone user, it is even easier to subscribe to podcasts and get into the habit of listening to them on a weekly or even daily basis. Podcasts can be ‘audio for the soul’ straight into your ears and with business podcasts being one of the top five podcasting genres, it’s no wonder that so many entrepreneurs, business owners and start-ups turn to podcasting – either as podcasters themselves or as loyal listeners.
The closeness of storytelling in this way is both compelling and accessible. Most podcasts are free and can be accessed online via on any device, through various platforms such as iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Soundcloud to name a few. So there are opportunities for prolific growth.
For me, I started out listening to industry specific podcasts in order to learn, develop my skills and keep up-to-date with web and tech trends (such as WP Builds and BrightonSEO). I increasingly became interested in business podcasts, especially ones that were recommended to me or ones by people that I had come into contact with, such as Richard Freeman’s The Possibility Club and Mary Portas’ Work Like A Woman podcasts. From listening to The Possibility Club podcast, I’m constantly learning many useful things about business purpose, the future of work and education and change for good. From listening to Work Like A Woman podcast (Mary Portas also has a book by the same name which I recommend too), I’m constantly being inspired by her passion for changing the way we work as a society and learning from successful entrepreneurs and influential people in media and publishing. A good one for marketers is Future Proof from the Kantar & Saïd Business School, they bring in experts and their aim is to help prepare marketers for the future.
Podcasts are also a fantastic way to learn from events that we cannot attend in person; it’s the next best thing and means we won’t miss out entirely, especially events that are many miles away or even overseas.
Hearing these captivating stories via podcasts is influencing the way we do business, the way we run our company and the way we communicate with our clients; it proves that podcasts are effective. So many people are doing a great deal of good and helpful things in this world and through podcasting, we can hear about them, share their stories, and be a part of that goodness. We can even contribute to it too by helping to spread the word and encouraging good people to start a podcast series! On that note, if you’d like to clarify your thinking and share that with your audience and the wider marketplace, then listen to our friend and collaborator Corinne Card’s BrightonSEO talk about podcasting for some valuable insight into how and why you should start your own podcast.
Which podcasts do you listen to and why? Do you have a podcast series yourself that you’d like us to know about? Please tell us in the comments.
Meg Fenn, Director of Shake It Up Creative