As a commuter – for a total of about 2 hours each day – I am constantly trying to find new ways to entertain myself. When a comedian mentioned a podcast he hosts, I figured I’d give it a try. While searching for that specific podcast on iTunes, I was lost in a sea of podcasts, a sea I didn’t even know existed. Podcasting has never been on my radar. I’m sure most of America feels the same. But if others take the dive like I did, they will discover a huge, somewhat secret underground medium.
With categories to fit any interest, from sports commentary to comedy to education, and popular podcasts by Adam Carolla, fitness trainer from The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels, Dr. Drew, and a host of well-known comedians, podcasting is alive and well-er than ever.
There are even stats to prove my ignorance about podcasting as a medium was exactly that, ignorance. “Weekly audio podcast consumption grew 25% year-over-year, from 12% in 2013 to 15% in 2015” states The Infinite Dial from research done on digital media adoption.
While popular, podcasts are still far from mainstream. However, ‘Serial’, a new weekly podcast telling the true story of a 15-year-old murder case, has millions on the edge of their seats.
Why is Serial killin’ it?
Serial has been downloaded or streamed on iTunes more than 5 million times, according to this New York Times article, making it the most popular podcast in history. With dozens of shows re-telling true crime cases a la Dateline, The First 48, Snapped, and Forensic Files all over TV, what makes this podcast so different? Is it the detail of the story – one story followed over hours of content? Is it the storyteller’s point of view – doing her own additional research and telling the story as a “fan” of the case? Or is it something about the podcasting medium – a salacious story told right into your ears? The freedom to do whatever the storyteller wants because of a lack of censorship?
The reasons Serial has wormed its way into American’s ears and brains may never be fully answered, but what is clear is that podcasting has found a spot in the mainstream. With this season of Serial nearing its close, I suspect people will dive into the depths of iTunes like I did to say, “wow, there’s a lot of these out there” and get hooked on another podcast or two.Listen to the podcast yourself. You’ll be hooked.
Podcasting is a great medium for content marketing because it is free and easy. Two of our favorite words!
One of the biggest challenges to creating content is the physical time and effort to do so. No one has time to write a long blog post – and many people don’t like to read them. What we’re seeing is a cultural shift in the way people consume audio content, or more accurately, the way we realize that people consume audio content. Serial has taken over people’s commutes, work-time playlists, and other times in the day where reading isn’t really an option.
Can you talk? You’re well on your way to compelling content marketing.
What Serial has taught me, is that when you have compelling content, people will seek it out, even in new media territory. And the great part about podcasting content is that it’s easy. It’s easy to sit down and record 15 or 30 or 45 minutes of someone in your company’s thoughts on the industry – because it takes exactly that time. No outlining, no crafting perfect sentences, no editing, just talking. And to the right target, that can be compelling. Or you can make it compelling.
As an easy medium to create content and consume content, podcasting is here to stay.