Face Your Audience with a Podcast

July 28, 2020  •  Creating Content

Building an audience is like walking a tightrope. Your audience shows up for you, to hear your thoughts and engage in your conversations. Yet, few people in your audience will know you personally, and you have limited bandwidth to connect in return.

What if you could sit down to coffee with every member of your audience, all at the same time?

From Late Night to Anytime

Conan O’Brien, with his quirky, left-of-center style of comedy, has been a mainstay of American late-night television for more than 25 years. In 2019, the TV host took a left turn and started a podcast. On “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” O’Brien sits down with other comedians and creators for an in-depth conversation about craft, life, and to generally have a good time.

That Conan started a podcast isn’t necessarily remarkable. What’s notable about the show is the reason he started it. O’Brien described how despite the fact that he interviewed people for a living, he never really had time to get to know any of the guests on his show. Seven minutes between commercials simply isn’t enough time, and often publicists dictate the direction of the conversation.

The podcast was a means to connect. And connect it has. Fans have flocked to the show, making it one of Apple Podcasts’ top 50 podcasts. Personally, O’Brien talks openly about how the podcast is a highlight of his career and one of the most enjoyable things he’s ever done.

In a busy, noisy world, it’s nice to make a personal connection.

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The Rise and Rise of Podcasting

Podcasting, as a form of media and the technology around it, has existed in some form or fashion since 2003, but 2019 was a pivotal year in the rise of podcasting as a mainstream content medium.

The US has crossed into saturation territory because 51% of people have now listened to at least one podcast (22% still listen weekly). Internationally, there are now podcasts in 100 different languages.

2019 was the first full year where Google Podcasts has been a standalone app, and Apple is officially sunsetting iTunes and investing heavily in Apple Podcasts as a standalone platform. Google and Apple dominate today’s technology, but they’re not alone in the podcasting rush: Spotify just paid $340 million to acquire two podcast startups (and Pandora has podcasts now too).

“Podcasting is the new blogging.”

That’s what Seth Godin said at the end of 2018 (the same Seth who has been blogging daily for more than a decade). Seth was there in the early days when blogging was just taking off, and he recognizes the same phenomenon today.

We recommend you consider adding a podcast to your online platform for at least three reasons:

  1. Podcasting is personal. Imagine that you could sit across the table from each person in your audience and share your heart. Podcasting helps you connect with thousands of people with the ease of talking to a close friend.
  2. Podcasting is familiar. As traditional radio goes the way of the Dodo, podcasting picks up the torch, filling a coveted role in the lives of people as they work, commute, and relax.
  3. Podcasting is convenient. Unlike radio, listeners decide when they will turn on their favorite podcasts. This on-demand format helps your audience engage more deeply and remain more loyal.
  4. Podcasting is niche. Because podcasts aren’t held accountable to ratings and advertiser’s expectations, you can afford to pursue niche, detailed subject matters. Your audience will feel like they’ve found their tribe and grow more loyal and engaged with each episode.

Your audience wants to connect. Podcasts are the new frontier of brand development, and provide a singular power to deepen your tribe. Shall we?

About John Meese

John leads a team focused on simplifying online marketing for professionals as the Dean of Platform University and lives in Columbia, Tennessee, with his wife and three beautiful children. You won't find him on social media, but you can connect to him personally on his blog: