Podcasting: The Other White Paper

Podcasting: The Other White Paper


A white paper is a great way to position yourself or your company as a thought leader in your industry. It can be an effective marketing tool when used as part of a comprehensive marketing campaign. But there is another often overlooked option that can be used as part of your branding strategy: the podcast.

“But that’s so 2005,” you say. To hijack a Mark Twain quote, “Reports of the podcast’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”

The case for podcasting
Edison Research, which has been tracking podcasts since 2005, recently reported that not only is the podcast still kicking, it is running at a healthy pace: 21% of Americans age 12+ have listened to a podcast in the last month, up from 17% last year. Edison’s summary of the study states: “That increase is some of the largest growth for the medium that we have observed in more than a decade of our podcast research, and represents an estimated 57 million Americans.”

A representative of Libsyn, a podcast hosting service, recently wrote that the rise in podcast popularity “has everything to do with smartphones. Smart phones, and the iPhone specifically, have made podcast consumption very easy.”

As the popularity of podcasts grows, so grows the medium’s potential as an effective advertising tool. Podcast listeners are a highly engaged audience. They are invested in the shows they choose to listen to. This listening experience provides a unique vehicle for brands to connect with potential customers.

All of which makes a pretty compelling argument to include podcasting in your marketing strategy. But in case you’re still not convinced, take a look at this compelling data from the Edison Research study:

  • 67% listeners are 18-34 years of age
  • 58% have a bachelor’s degree
  • 62% have a household income of $50,000+
  • 20% have a household income of $100,000+
  • And perhaps most importantly…63% reported making a purchase based on hearing an ad in a podcast. That is epic!

As easy as 1, 2, 3
There are three main options to consider if you want to enter the podcast realm:

  1. Be a guest on a podcast. This is a relatively easy way to test the podcasting waters. You can use the podcast directories discussed in option 3 below to find podcasts related to your expertise or industry. Listening to several episodes of the podcast will give you a feel for the format, the tone of the show, etc.
  1. Sponsor a podcast. Again, use podcast directories to shop for potential podcasts to sponsor. This type of advertising is much more affordable than traditional radio or TV advertising. For example, it costs $125 to sponsor one episode of Outlier, a business technology podcast that reaches 20,000 listeners. Another example, Juicing Radio podcast (no, I am not making this up) averages 40,000 downloads each month, with a total reach of 100,000 listeners. A sponsorship is available as an eight-episode package for $2,000, which breaks down to $250 per episode. Podcast advertising/sponsorship offers other benefits in addition to affordability. The host of the show reads from a script that you provide. This carries a lot of weight because podcast listeners are very committed to their chosen show and its host. Furthermore, your ad remains as part of that podcast episode for as long as it is available. People will still hear your message for months or even years after you’ve paid for the sponsorship. That offers potential for an impressive return on your initial investment.
  1. Produce your own podcast.If you are interested in pursuing this route, J.W.Morton can manage the podcast process for you, arranging for you to record episodes, promoting, selling sponsorships and arranging for a podcast hosting company to offer your podcast for downloading. You can also offer your podcast through your website, Twitter, Facebook or iTunes.

Helping potential customers find you
You’ll want to have your podcast listed in multiple directories so that listeners, aka potential customers, can find you. A writer for propodder.com underwent the arduous task of submitting a podcast to over 40 directories in order to find the best directories with the easiest submission process. He summarized his findings in a “best of” directory list. These directories are a great resource for all three of the aforementioned options.

While producing your own podcast is obviously the most demanding of the three options, it also offers you a strong advantage. Your voice and personality (or the voice and personality of a knowledgeable and personable employee you appoint) make a personal connection with listeners, attracting new customers and building loyalty among existing customers. Another bonus: you’ll have access to thousands of podcast-friendly consumers already downloading podcasts from iTunes.

Intrigued by the possibilities? Want to learn how podcasting can help your company attract customers and build loyalty? Just say the word.


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