Do you speak podcast?
7 May, 2019
“Podcasting, a distribution for personal music players or, in French-speaking Canada, podcasts, is a way of distributing files on the Internet called podcasts.” Wikipedia
A definition from another era, reminiscent of the first formats launched in 2008 on iTunes.
No boom at that era so. But the Podcast had not said its last word….
You cannot have missed the phenomenon we are experiencing today. Podcasting is experiencing a renewed interest, with a rather crazy speed of access and use.
It has undeniable attractions: useful, informative, creative, Podcast opens a depth of field, with often expert content. Content that the major traditional media, from the radio world (France Inter, Radio France, Arte Radio…), have appropriated in the first place. But what is interesting to observe are the exclusive contents, which enthusiasts and influencers have been able to create, even before the brands.
Let’s start by asking ourselves a simple question, as a good marketer that we are: what explains the Podcast phenomenon?
We consume information in an increasingly delinearized way…
We no longer consume live, at specific times, but offline and at the right time.
We are also seeking to regain control over what we consume. This is reflected in the growing offer of catch-up TV, streaming and Netflix. Smartphones are pushing the limits of mobility, with ever more powerful and accessible data packages, which also explains the success of using Podcast in read or download mode.
So let’s try to decipher why podcasting sounds so cool.
The podcast is:
An audio or video format for which everyone can set their own rules: freedom to create the content of their choice, as many times as they wish, to name it as they wish and to broadcast it whenever and wherever they wish.
An exercise that seems so simple that independent content creators from all walks of life have come to enrich this new web: journalists, of course, but also and more and more onlookers.
Bystanders? Um, not quite. They have taken over the podcast because they have a strong interest, a passion for some people, which they have at heart to transform and tell into stories, experiences, expertise. A number of them come from the world of entrepreneurship and digital technology, without too many surprises.
A relational and affinity tool
Practice listening to even 3 or 4 podcasts in the process, and you will understand what almost all of them have in common: the desire to share. This is one of the main leitmotivs of podcasters.
– A journalist, for example, will be keen to discuss a topical issue with a colleague. (Do we see this on TV or radio? Not really, debates usually take place between politicians)
– An entrepreneur will offer to openly share his difficulties, learning, failures related to his activity. With the addition of a friend/partner in a guest-star, to support the testimony and feed the exchange.
– An influencer, of course, a trendsetter. Like Safia Ayad, which already has 2800 subscribers on its Soundcloud account, and which offers fresh and counter-current content, such as the one on happiness on Instagram.
As you will have understood, we are witnessing here a principle of replicability, which the listener can apply to his own subjects/projects, with useful decoding and mantras on the part of the Podcaster.
Podcast therefore seems to be a playground where everyone can have their place, and can emerge thanks to the quality of its content. If it is successful, the game is won for the rest. If it is not, the “public vote” will be merciless.
Podcasters, philanthropists? Perhaps in fact, in any case a clear desire to contribute to the creation of useful information, for anyone who wants to discover it / will need it.
The content is certainly important, but the form should not be underestimated: from the first listening, one lets oneself be carried away by the emotion and intimacy that emerge from the voice and personality of the podcaster. We may not agree with everything he says, but for it to work we must find a minimum amount of sympathy/relevance.
And that goes through a few key mantras:
– the sincerity and precision of the purpose
– the positive and committed way in which the subject is approached
– the spontaneous, friendly aspect, sometimes without filters, and not always worked/anticipated (more an asset than a weakness)
– the pleasure of sharing, with transparency, kindness and respect for others
Podcasts generally favour a more or less long format (on average 15 minutes, the time of a trip, even up to 1 hour when you have time to land), a luxury still allowed by the non-monetization of the platform, we will talk about this point a little later.
What about the marks in there?
Let’s place ourselves on the listener’s side, who often spends a lot of time listening to Podcasts… and that’s a gold mine for brands.
So, what opportunities for brands?
One of the challenges of brand content today, on the digital level, is to create a lasting connection with audiences. There is no doubt that podcasting, because of its free (short/long) and durable (series) format, can very quickly become an important lever for brand storytelling.
– 81% of downloaded podcasts are listened to: this is what the new Médiamétrie study reveals. According to the same study, on average, 8.5% of Internet users listen to radio podcasts every month, or 4 million people.
– In the vast majority of cases (58%), podcasters listen to podcasts in their entirety.
– It is estimated that nearly 10% of the 25-49 year olds, who are more urban, listen to Podcasts regularly.
– A free subscription principle, which automatically gives access to the following episodes.
– Lower production costs than more traditional content (videos, magazines, etc).
To approach podcasting in the right way as a brand, you need to ask yourself the right questions:
– Which pillar(s) of the brand platform should be valued? In a non-restrictive way, dig into the brand’s DNA to find out what it means in what it does, what is the genesis of its history, what are its strong pillars? What vision for tomorrow? With the help of a content strategist, an editorial concept can be devised, to be used throughout the Podcasts.
– What partners and spokespersons can the brand surround itself with to create a living, tangible and emotional material?
– Provide yourself with the means to produce quality content, so as not to take the risk of losing credibility.
– Accept to reveal yourself, explore new territories, while remaining sharp.
Not to mention that content is also about brand tone and style, which must be recognizable among others.
For brands, Podcast is therefore a way to reclaim their own content and imagine new ones, in a very creative way (and yes, even without visuals), in a longer format, for a more complete, intimate and interactive brand experience.
Take a moment to listen to the exciting podcasts of the Hub Institute, which recently approached the subject from a branding perspective, with inspiring and very concrete podcasting initiatives:
– Bonjour PPC the 1st collaborative live podcast, a recent content that addresses topics related to digital transformation, but in a non-descending way: the Twitter community defines upstream the theme it wants to see addressed the next day. Podcasting becomes an open-air watch, from which everyone can benefit.
– In another field, #Vlan !, a societal podcast that brings a new perspective on major current issues, such as yellow vests for example. Gregory Pouy invites an expert, or a person who is passionate about the subject. Appointment every Tuesday
Podcast: media or simple format?
Podcast is not intended to disrupt an existing brand ecosystem, but rather to enrich it. It must be seen more as a rich media format that will allow us to work on proximity and complicity with a new audience, let alone a younger one.
The podcast is primarily presented as a complementary format of expression, if the angle of approach is well chiselled, and if it is integrated into a coherent brand ecosystem that is visible to the target audience.
It is therefore a question of asking about the new content that the brand will be able to create, in a podcast-first logic. Unprecedented for her and unprecedented for the audience she will want to reach.
This naturally raises the unavoidable question of the strategy of means:
– Surround yourself with good podcasters, especially influencers, who can be the content/media support in affinity with our subject and target. Involve them in the reflection to co-construct and be in a win-win relationship.
– What editorial planning? What frequency? The podcast allows a great freedom, we will have understood it, but it is important to have a regularity and create appointments to build loyalty in your community.
– What budget, what team to set up?
– Which relay strategy within my brand ecosystem? e.g. sharing on social networks, integration of Podcast within the brand’s site/blog?
– Which KPIs to set: should the Podcast drive traffic on my site? a pure image exercise?
– Which media strategy? example: propose to the podcaster-partner to insert an advertisement of my brand during the broadcast
– And incidentally a microphone and a small quiet room for recording
As you will have understood, podcasts do not only live within the platforms where they were created, they also editorialize the websites and social networks of their creators (brands, or bloggers if applicable).
Last but not least, the question of the business model
A rush, more and more quality proposals, audiences that are growing thanks to word of mouth, but the economic model has yet to be defined.
No advertising model, which legitimately raises the question of return on investment for brands.
Which financing model will be proposed by the platforms: subscription, sponsorship, advertising financing…? It is likely that these offers will be launched very soon to invite brands to take the plunge and make their content profitable.
In parallel, it will be necessary to optimize the user experience, as with a more powerful search engine, an intelligence capable of proposing recommendations… to date the functionalities are still relatively basic.
Mathieu Gallet, former president of Radio France, announces the upcoming launch of MAJELAN, a Nextflix-like dedicated to podcasting. With the promise to offer a complete podcast offer and in addition a paid system to access exclusive content.
The announcement of a market tomorrow only open to those who will accept to pay a subscription? A remuneration system for platforms and content creators, and therefore for the work provided. But what about this breath of freedom that is circulating and seducing so much today?
Useful Scriptum Post:
#1: forgive the long form of this article, which was written spontaneously, after all we are in the Podcast-mania
#2: it’s a gift: a small selection of Podcasts that we want to share, right now, with you (without order of priority, go whenever you want):
CHANEL (because we like to watch content when it is just beautiful)
CHANEL’s podcast 3.55 unveils its seventh series: interviews with personalities linked to the world of dance conducted by the writer Anne Berest, on the occasion of the launch of the new choreographic season at the Opéra de Paris. A launch campaign with content and star speakers, which finally celebrates dance and the emblematic Parisian place more. Campaign that gives way to a series of several episodes.
AIRBNB (because it can still be useful… while waiting for your next vacation)
Airbnb launches its podcast series “Portes Ouvertes” in partnership with the media Slate. The brand offers to travel around the world without leaving home. An immobile journey made of encounters, exchanges, novelties, emotions. Real people with real passions who share their sense of welcome. It is a way for Airbnb to embody and humanize its approach.
VEJA (because we like the committed brand)
The founders tell the story of their brand, its origins and foundations in person.
Content relayed on the brand’s website, in total adequacy with the brand’s DNA, and which goes further in privacy, with great accuracy. Simple and effective.
ORANGE (because we like this return to the roots of this www company)
With its podcast #PremiersCrampons, the brand offers 6 episodes for young football and rugby fans, and thus reconnects with its origins. Journalists meet sports personalities to record their testimonies about their visions of sport, their beginnings, and give advice to the new generation.
GUERLAIN (because the brand dares to follow an intuition…..)
Guerlain joins forces with La Poudre, a women’s podcast that welcomes an “inspiring” woman to a hotel room for an open conversation about her personal and professional career. The brand goes further and has launched a collaborative podcast platform – Olfaplay – where the community is invited to listen to or even record its stories related to the world of perfume (a memory, a journey, a ritual…)
Visionary brand intuition?
MADAME FIGARO (because every woman can be an inspiration)
The magazine launched podcasts with the support of the YSL beauty and Lancôme brands.
“Désirs“: dedicated to empowerment and interviews 10 women who are emblematic of our society.
“Happiness Therapy” on well-being and happiness in the world, just that!
Welcome to the Jungle (because when you work in digital, you necessarily know)
Launches “Le Bureau“, the podcast that listens to professional lives. We listen to testimonies, stories related to work, sharing experiences…
Ticket for change (because we like useful causes)
Launches the “activateurs de talents” movement.
Their mission: to highlight those who have decided to respond to an urgent and important issue in society.
Plus belle la vie ! (because we don’t have to watch only expert podcasts…)
Who can say that he has never watched an episode of the Marseille series?
The series launched a podcast with stories complementary to the TV series, in short formats from 5 to 15 minutes. For the pleasure of the ears simply, and to say, it doesn’t matter if I don’t have time to watch TV or listen to the radio anymore, my new friend the Podcast is here!