Neville Hobson

How brands can get involved with podcasting

Serial podcast

A few days ago, I had the privilege of participating in an episode of the CIPR’s C-Suite podcast to discuss the topic of podcasting, especially from the point of view of what the medium can mean for brands.

I joined host Russell Goldsmith and podcasters Tom Ollerton and Alastair Cole – hosts of The Innovation Ramble, a new UK podcast that’s “investigating the world of innovation one podcast at a time” – at the Markettiers4DC studios in London in a 40-minute conversation for episode 13 that started with each of us talking a bit about our own podcasts (where I focused on the fact that I’d just stopped doing it).

Our discussion then jumped into exploring how brands can get involved in podcasting, be that sponsoring existing content, creating shows of their own, or some other activity. There’s a growing view that podcasting is enjoying a renaissance or resurgence, primarily in the US, due in part to the success of the American podcast Serial that gained huge attention from its start point in late 2014. Russ made a very good point in referencing Serial:

[…] What’s created this resurgence in podcasting is arguably the incredible success of Serial, which was a spin-off of This American Life, a radio show and podcast from the US. Now that particular show had a sponsor in MailChimp and of course not every brand is going to get as lucky as you could argue they did when it comes to sponsoring a show. In fact, I read an article in VanityFair last week by Sarah Ellison where she wrote that the co-creator of Serial, Julie Synder hoped for about 300,000 downloads when they launched and as the CPM for the sponsor slots were sold to MailChimp before they knew how valuable they would be, they believe they may have lost out a huge number in terms of unrealised revenue as the podcast has since been downloaded over 97 million times. That said, according to the article, Synder said “We’d love it if it were possible to garner tens of millions in revenue on a podcast, but as things stand now, that’s impossible, we are still just a podcast.”

It was an interesting element in our discussion where it seems that the approach to podcasting by some companies is to look at Serial as the example of what you want to achieve: the bar to aim for. As we discussed at some length, that’s definitely a starting-point view that is very unlikely to work for most brands.

The best and most effective approach is far simpler…

Our discussion included our recommendations on some business podcasts to listen to, and innovations we’d like to see in podcasting. Russ also included a short interview with Rachel Miller, host of the AllThingsIC podcast.

You can listen to episode 13 of the C-Suite podcast right here:

Subscribe at iTunes.

(Picture at top via Casey Fiesler, CC permission.)

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