According to Google’s Oxford Languages dictionary, a podcast is defined as a digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically. That speaks to function, but not use. A podcast is one of the most intimate ways to use digital media to build relationships with people who are expressly interested in what you have to say.
Radio and podcasting are very different in application, though they have similarities in format and production.
- Radio is a mass medium geared around large audience segments. Listeners tune in and out as it suits them while they go about their business. Discovery is primarily linear.
- Podcasting is entirely on demand. It involves small highly niche audiences who seek out specific content and voices which excite them, and they consume the content intentionally and methodically.
Podcast listeners often develop strong affinity, trust, and loyalty to their favorite podcasters. This is due in part to the fact that they are already passionate about the subject and seek out shows connecting to it. However, listeners also consume content in a more intimate way.
- Most people listening to podcasts are doing so with earbuds, privately.
- They are doing it at the exact moments they want to, when they can get the most out of the shows without distraction.
- They tend to proactively view podcasts as a positive means to improve their lives during unproductive time such as when exercising, traveling, or in a waiting room.
- They tend to binge listen and re-listen to juicy parts.
- And they are almost always alone when doing all of this. It is just them and the speaker.
- Many people treat podcasts as a good friend that they call for advice and allow that friend to do most of the talking.
Because of this, relationships can be built faster and stronger through podcasting than via most other mass communication channels. One podcast listener should be worth far more to an organization than one radio listener or a television viewer.
I have been producing podcasts for clients and myself for years. And I am continually surprised by the “superfans” a show will develop seemingly overnight. These are people who discover the show, subscribe, and then listen to almost every single episode in an impossibly fast time frame. In days or weeks, they consume years’ worth of content and painstakingly await the next show to be recorded.
If you are not using podcasting, this may be a great tool to help expand your organization’s influence.
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