Listen up. With the rise in mobile use, podcasts have made a comeback and are no longer just for the techie world.
A podcast is similar to a radio program, but they are audio files typically listened to via sources such as iTunes. The word “podcast” originated from a blend of words “pod” (from iPod) and “broadcast.”
Thanks to the iPhone and other smartphones, audio streaming is available at the touch of an app and can be accessed anytime and anywhere, including in your car, at your desk, at the beach, or working out.
How Many Podcasts Are There?
In Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in 2018, the company said there were over 555,000 podcasts, including 525,000 active podcasts.
Apple also reported in June 2018 there were over billion downloads from Apple Podcasts.
In 2019, Google Podcasts product manager, Zach Reneau-Weeden tells Discover Pods there are around 2 million podcasts indexed by Google.
According to Nielson, 52% of podcast listeners use iOS, 43% are on Android.
Podcast Listener Stats
Key Stats from Edison Research 2018
- 70% of Americans aged 12+ are now familiar with the word “Podcasting.”
- 51% of Americans reported having listened to a podcast at least once in their lives.
- 32% of Americans report having listened to a podcast within the past month.
- The average number of podcasts consumed in the last week among weekly podcast listeners has stayed at seven
- More than half (53%) of monthly Spotify users aged 12-24 report being monthly podcast listeners, up 32% last year
- Podcasting grew slightly as the “audio source used most often in the car” — now at 4%, up from 3% last year.
Thinking about starting your own Podcast?
Go for it. From a public relations standpoint, it’s the equivalent of hosting your 120 Social PR Secrets own talk show and can boost credibility and authority in your industry. I caught up with author, podcaster, and business coach Charlie Gilkey to get the inside scoop on the A, B, C’s of podcasting and tapped into his Podcasting Social PR Secrets.
Between his business-coaching cocktails and book-writing wizardry, Charlie hosts The Creative Giant Show, a podcast that dives behind the scenes to talk about what it takes to thrive as a creative person who’s actually making a difference in the world. It’s a mix of interviews, jams, and riffs with Creative Giants at varying levels of success.
Podcast PR Secret #1
Think about search-friendliness for your podcast and episodes. People search iTunes for podcast topics, so consider what someone would be searching for when you’re titling your podcast and episodes as if they were blog posts. This works better for how-to and tips podcasts, but you can still use it for story-based or interview podcasts as well. If Seth Godin is on your podcast talking about marketing, then “3 Must-Apply Marketing Insights from Seth Godin” is significantly better than “Episode #21: Marketing Tips”. The previous title is also much more social-friendly.
Podcast PR Secret #2
Create a “home” page or a landing page on your website/blog for your podcast so that it’s easy for people to find it without being in podcatchers and iTunes. Imagine that someone finds your podcast after you’ve recorded 50 episodes. How will they really know what the podcast is about? They get Episode 51 Chapter 13 – Podcasting PR Secrets 121 and have to figure it out from there. Or imagine that they want to share the podcast with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, or email (it happens!). If you’re not going to create a site specifically for your podcast, at least have a page on your website that introduces your podcast and makes it easy to share. As an example, check out the page for my podcast, The Creative Giant Show
Podcast PR Secret #3
Create a podcast that you would want to listen to and that you’ll enjoy producing. Data is all over the place about what works best for podcasts because it’s such a versatile medium. Each host brings their own special sauce to it, and each community of listeners wants different things from their hosts. Some hosts can conduct a fascinating 45- to 55-minute interview that keeps people hanging on every minute, where others lose steam after 15 minutes. Some hosts can rock the 8-minute tip format, where others ramble and half-say something.
Podcasting is a long game, so make sure that you enjoy it as you do it, or it’s going to be a long grind. If you’re not sure what you’ll enjoy, just tell your listeners you’re trying something new and do it. Podcast PR Secret #4 Ask for reviews and tell people exactly how to do it on your FAQ page. Charlie Gilkey walks his audience through the steps using screenshots, a visual that actually shows people exactly how to do it. And don’t be shy; ask for a five-star review. If you don’t tell people what you want, they won’t know what you want them to do. It’s that simple. It works almost every time.
Check out how Charlie does it on his FAQs Page: https://www.productiveflourishing.com/podcast-how-to-faq/
What’s a podcast?
A podcast is like an audio blog. Rather than written content delivered to you via email or through a website, the audio episode goes right to your computer or mobile device. Podcasts are typically available as a series or have a theme.
How can I support a podcast?
Leaving a rating and review is the single best way to support the show. Next up would be sharing an episode with your friends or network.
Why is leaving a rating and review the best way to support the podcast?
In many ways, iTunes works like other search engines. iTunes uses ratings and reviews as a way to gauge popularity, and the more popular a podcast is, the higher it goes in its category’s listing. But iTunes also uses the number of listens to determine how popular a show is, and the higher a listing the podcast is, the more listens it gets. It creates a positive loop: The higher on the page a podcast is, the more listens it gets, and the more listens it gets, the higher on the page it goes. Leaving a rating and review is something we can all do, whereas directly causing a bunch of listens is something only a few people do. Listens, ratings, and reviews are important for three reasons:
1. They help us get great guests (if I don’t already know them).
2. They affect the amount we can get from sponsors. It’s expensive to run a great podcast, and we’re far from breaking even in current expenses, let alone startup expenses.
3. They help us evaluate whether it’s something we should keep doing. There are only so many things we can do, and we’re continually evaluating which projects are providing the most value to us and our community. Leaving a rating is also a way for you to reciprocate in the value that you receive from the show, and it doesn’t cost you anything. Thanks for your support!
What do you use to record your podcast?
My guests and I do a video meeting via Zoom, and I use a HeilPR40, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, and my laptop. I upgraded to pro gear after I had done about 50 episodes. By the way, though a lot of people use Skype, I found Zoom to be better because Skype recorded my guest and me at different volumes, and fixing it made the audio sound worse. Another source is Zencastr.
How do you get big names on the podcast?
Gilkey says, “I’m blessed to personally know a lot of Big Names. Occasionally, I’ll muster up the courage to ask some Big Name whom I don’t know to be on the show. Sometimes they say yes. Then I freak out a little bit, count my blessings, and start prepping to make it the best interview they’ve had in a while.” Other ways might be to look at your LinkedIn connections, talk to conference speakers after a presentation or webinar, look for experts in your industry, or even check out postings on HARO (Help a Reporter Out) www.helpareporter.com. After all, you are now a journalist.
How do you figure out what to talk about?
For interviews, I mostly research what my guests are interested in, which makes me interested in it, too. I learn how they got to where they are and ask them to share that journey, especially the not-so-glamorous parts of it. I’m intensely curious about people. Though I always have questions to ask that my guests never see, I often abandon those questions. If I wanted canned conversations, I’d ask people to contribute something to the blog instead.
Who produces your podcast?
It’s a team effort for The Creative Giant Show. The good people at Podfly handle the audio editing and get it into Libsyn (a podcast hosting and publishing system) for us. The rest of the workload is distributed among different members of the Productive Flourishing team. Shannon’s the showrunner and manages guest coordination and chases me down, Macey works on the written content and promotional materials, and Vanessa designs the lead banners. Their support helps me focus just on the interviews and on recording great episodes.
Podcasting is a lot of work. How do you publish one episode, let alone two, per week?
Podcasting is a lot of work. A lot more than I estimated. But it’s also something I really love doing, and it has business value for us, too. The distributed workload above is the only way we get it done. As of now, we’re doing two episodes per week, and in case you’re curious, publishing two times per week is more than twice as hard as publishing once per week. We might not continue doing it that frequently.
Ready to start a podcast? Make a plan but don’t plan to be perfect.
Your show is calling
Speaking of Podcasts, listen to Lisa Buyer’s interview on Search Talk Live where she talks about the latest trends in Social PR and search.