Podcast as a PR Tool

If you are thinking who listens to podcasts, fact is people are now very much glued on to the plus points of pod-casting. Podcasts have been engaging people. The focus on content marketing today, has certainly enhanced the visibility of pod-casting.

I remember reading in a weekend supplement of a leading newspaper, which listed five amazing podcasts that you should listen to, and the list included: Cyrus Says by Cyrus Broacha, Made in India by Mae Thomas, The Big Question by SNG Comedy and so on.

Podcasts have stories to tell, and stories leave a mark on us.

From a public relations perspective, there are three reasons to take in interest in podcasts. Firstly, it involves listening, where you get to learn about your sector. Secondly, it helps to reach out and thirdly it gives you the chance to you reach out to your target audience in a different way.

The main thing to remember with pod-casting is that you don’t get quick results. It takes time to build relationships and pod-casting can help you stay up to date, profile your business or your clients and can help win business too.

Has this become a popular and effective tool?

This owned media tool has evolved over the past decade and a half to become a good source of niche, specialised and incisive content.

“Consulting Podcasts have come very far from its inception in 2003,” says Shoebahmed Shaikh, Director – South, Ideosphere. Brands that seek to leverage podcasts as a PR tool have to keep in mind the listenership they are catering to and craft messages which enhance the auditory nature of the medium. He observes that there also needs to be a redefinition of the term “popular”. Podcasts for niche sports like UFC run by well- known host Joe Rogan for example, command a great deal of credibility and ‘super-user’ loyalty. A good review on a podcast post the fight night has shown to elevate fighter profiles by swinging public opinion their way. The key thus, lies in usage and understanding of the audience.

Pod-casting is a great addition to your marketing mix

Pod-casting integrates well with other digital marketing efforts. Through this tool, you can discuss recent posts on your blog, promote your social channels and use them as a conversation tool with listeners, build your email list and more.

Content marketing isn’t just about blogging. It’s about creating different types of content for your potential customers to engage with, wherever they are. Podcasts are the best format for mobile because they can be easily consumed while on the go.

What are the advantages/disadvantages?

Well-conceived podcasts are an effective, portable, convenient and intimate way to deliver and produce content, and to build ongoing relationships with your clients, employees and others.

Shaikh outlines both the pros and cons. A key disadvantage for podcasts in the past was indexing and directories to find content, which led to a very slow-paced and organic listener acquisition. The iTunes podcast directory and the subsequent launch of the iTunes app in 2012 further gave a tremendous boost to discoverability of podcasts. The app has also added a key aspect of measurement – engagement rates, skipping sections and attention spans of the audience which are giving brands valuable feedback on content adaptation, message suitability and monetisation. The consumption of podcasts has always been and will be mostly secondary in terms of attention span. People consume this content while driving to work, while plugged into work at office or at leisure due to its aural nature and one-way communication. But creative usage of time and content structuring can lead to high engagement levels as the audience’s awareness levels are high too.

What is its scope for future?

Technology progress especially on the ROI measurement, wide availability of streaming networks and proliferation of smart-phones have helped podcasts tide over infrastructure and reach hurdles, at the very least, points out Shaikh. In a country like India, podcasts hold tremendous potential due to its adaptability to regional languages – a multi-language digital ‘Mann ki Baat’ anyone? There is also a lot of potential on the educative and awareness side of campaigns especially when you are looking at long-format content which can be consumed on the move and while multi-tasking. Brand strategists can use this tool to create a good elevated platform of content and consumption for niche audiences for better gratification and engagement.

Just like written communication of any type, or even electronic communication, content is king in podcasts. Content has to be crafted with the listener in mind – not only their interests but their listening habits too.

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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