By Tina Dietz, guest columnist
A Pew Research Center poll found that almost one-third of Americans believe they are overloaded with technology. As a result, some of us are trying to mitigate the impact that screen time can have on us: mentally, physically, emotionally and socially. “Screen-Free Week” is just one example of efforts to rediscover the joys of life beyond tech.
At the same time, our interest in listening to podcasts has been steadily rising over the past several years. According to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial report, The Podcast Consumer, an estimated 144 million people has listened to at least one podcast—twice as many as in 2010.
There are several reasons why many find podcasts more appealing than video. First, there’s the portability aspect. Audio is available when you can’t read or watch anything, which increases the likelihood that the message is actually being heard.
Second, many listeners appreciate being able to enjoy podcasts while doing other tasks, such as commuting to and from work, doing household chores, or working out. Podcasts can also be highly engaging, with 52 percent of people listening to entire episodes and 41 percent listening to most of them, according to that same report by Edison Research. At a time when our attention spans are shrinking, this is impressive for long-form media content.
Podcasts can help you build relationships with your audiences and explore topics on a deeper level. They’re also easier to distribute than video and quicker to produce. In the two or three hours it might take to shoot a high-quality video, between three and five podcast episodes could be recorded.
Producing a professional, high-quality video requires a special skill set that not everyone has. This is why some find it much easier to feel relaxed, comfortable and authentic when there isn’t the pressure of having a camera almost directly in your face. When recording a podcast, you don’t have to be concerned with how you look or whether the lighting, background or angle is just right; you just have to show up and deliver great content.
Three approaches to starting your own podcasts
There are several low-risk ways to make use of this medium:
- Encourage senior leaders at your firm to share their knowledge as guests on podcasts.Many podcast hosts are actively seeking powerful stories and advice to share with their audiences. I’ve also found that the experience that leaders receive in preparing and learning to be expert guests elevates their communication skills. This transfers back to the boardroom, and to team leadership.
- Start an internal podcast.This can help enhance communication, build culture and showcase the talents and accomplishments of your team and clients. Companies like Trader Joe’s, American Airlines and JP Morgan have all taken this approach.
- Consider producing a shorter podcast series.These short series can consist of eight to ten episodes around a central theme. In the end, you’ll have a complete set of content your marketing team can share and repurpose in a myriad of ways.
Overcoming early obstacles to podcasting success
That said, there are some challenges you should consider before entering the world of podcasting. For example, I’ve found some leaders don’t like the sound of their own voice, so they’re reluctant to record anything. Leaders are also very busy, and podcasting can add to your already-packed daily schedule, which leads to a third common challenge: the return on investment (ROI). If you don’t see the expected ROI right away, you might become discouraged. Don’t. I’m not suggesting it takes 10,000 hours to master podcasting, but it does take a little practice. The great thing is that it’s really easy to gather metrics and measure your success. And you can hear for yourself as you get better with each episode behind the mic.
In the meantime, consider which of the three options above is the best fit for you and your company to start making the most of this powerful medium. Consider for yourself: What are the stories your company or brand has to share with the world?
The opportunity is clear
With nearly 30 million podcast episodes and 90 million monthly listeners at last count, there is a show for everyone. By taking action on one of the areas listed above (and keeping some of the challenges you might face in mind), you can begin your own podcast journey and connect with potential clients, your team, and current customers.
What’s your take on podcasting? We’d like to know.
#Podcasting #practicemanagement #thoughtleadership