The Benefits of Podcasts for Listeners and Hosts
Podcasts are one of the fastest-growing ways to consume content, with an estimated 88 million listeners last year.1 Podcasts have grown in popularity because they are easy to access and consume, are tailored to individual interests and are a great source of knowledge and information. Many listeners appreciate the casual tone and personal connection they feel to hosts, leading to continued interest and repeat listening.
In addition to listening for personal interest, many businesses and individuals are finding success by hosting their own podcasts, sharing industry insights and covering topics they are passionate and knowledgeable about. Keep reading for more insights into the growth of podcasts, optimizing your podcast listening experience and leveraging podcasts for personal and business growth and success.
The Growth of Podcasts
Although podcasts have experienced rapid growth in the past few years, listeners have been tuning in since 2004. Podcasts began to gain traction after the emergence of broadband internet access and portable digital listening devices, providing the opportunity to consume audio content on the go. They quickly grew in popularity, with The New Oxford American Dictionary naming ‘podcast’ the word of the year in 2005.2
In recent years, podcasts have become one of the most common ways to consume content. Listeners tune in to their favorite shows while working, at the gym, commuting to work, completing household duties or other everyday tasks. Because they only require an internet connection and a device to listen, podcasts are easier to consume than media such as television, streaming video or even social media. The ease of consumption is complimented by the choice of when to listen. Once an episode is released, listeners can enjoy their favorite content when it’s most convenient, increasing engagement and listening rates.
Podcasts have also grown in popularity because listeners have access to thousands of shows and episodes tailored to their personal interests. Whether it is music, comedy, personal and professional development, business insights or their favorite hobby, there are podcasts for every interest. According to The Podcast Host, there are over 990,000 podcasts on Apple Podcasts that have published an episode in the last 90 days.3 The large number of shows and episodes allows listeners to control the content they consume and when they consume it.
Maximizing Your Listening Experience
One of the most common reasons for listening to podcasts is to learn more about a topic you are interested in. Studies show that 74% of people listen to a podcast to learn something new.4 With the number of podcasts and episodes to choose from, committing to listening can seem daunting. Whether you are tuning in to your first episode or are a routine listener, there are several ways to get the most out of your podcast listening experience.
- Find the Right Time to Listen: While podcasts can be consumed at any time, it is beneficial to listen at a time where you are most productive and least distracted. If you are listening for personal or professional development, you want to maximize your time and retain as much information as possible. Find and dedicate a time to tune in to your favorite podcast to get the most out of it.
- Perfect the Playback Speed: Many podcasts are developed to be short episodes that are easy to consume. However, you can get through your favorite episodes faster if you increase playback speed. While ideal speed is an individual preference, many people listen at x1.5 or x1.8 speed. Playback speed can usually be managed by controls within your preferred listening platform.
- Take advantage of show notes: Most podcasts have some form of show notes that accompany their audio content. Take the time to read these and use them to help you take notes, summarize key points or prioritize the episodes you want to listen to.
- Subscribe and Share: Similar to favorite shows or movies, podcasts are a great conversation topic to share with others. If you enjoy a certain podcast, subscribe to it on your favorite platform. If a series or episode sticks out to you, consider sharing with friends that may find it interesting so you can enjoy and discuss together.
Getting the most out of your listening experience will depend on your personal preferences and interests. Experiment and test out new things to find the strategy that works best for you.
Leveraging Podcasts as a Publisher
Podcasts have also grown in popularity because they allow businesses or individuals to create and publish their own content. With the correct tools and knowledge, podcasts are relatively affordable, simple to produce and deliver great results.
Publishing your own podcast allows you to establish yourself or your company as a thought leader and deliver valuable content to listeners. Because each podcast is different, every part of the show from start to finish can be customized. You can cover specific topics from a unique perspective, control the content and share valuable insights. Providing high quality content in an easy to consume format will lead to increased engagement, brand awareness and lead to opportunities for growth.
Podcasting and streaming audio continue to grow in performance. Podcasting is very valuable from a positioning perspective, but it can also be valuable from a monetary or revenue generating perspective. In 2020, U.S. podcast revenue neared $1 billion and is expected to continue to increase.5 As podcasts gain traction and attract more listeners, the opportunities to leverage podcasts as a revenue stream through advertising will continue to increase as well.
Podcasts provide many opportunities for personal, professional and business growth. Starting a podcast for your business can be an exciting and enjoyable process, but success will likely require a strategic plan, a high level of commitment and having resources available to you for consistent production.
If you’re interested in a podcast that focuses on marketing to rural America and you haven’t already, check out our podcast OUTdrive. We’ll see you on the airwaves!