Can we have a word in your ear?

Mar­ket­tiers’ Ch­eryl King says we are en­ter­ing a golden age for pod­casts and brands have three main ways of cap­i­tal­is­ing on the medium

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

Pod­casts are en­ter­ing a golden age, says Mar­ket­tiers man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ch­eryl King. So how should mar­keters use them?

“I was lis­ten­ing to a great pod­cast this morn­ing…” has be­come a com­mon re­frain at of­fice cof­fee ma­chines around the world of late. Mass read­ing of The Girl with the Dragon Tat­too, Fifty Shades of

Grey, even Harry Potter in days gone by, has been re­placed by mass lis­ten­ing to the likes of smash-hit pod­cast, Se­rial, or BBC R4’s Desert Is­land Discs, or co­me­dian Adam Bux­ton’s con­ver­sa­tions with other co­me­di­ans. Pod­casts have taken a big slice of our me­dia diet and the way we now con­sume in­for­ma­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment.

Yes, it’s true that pod­casts have been around for years but greater wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of smart­phones (pen­e­tra­tion among mil­len­ni­als in the GCC is over 90 per cent), tablets and, more re­cently, smart speak­ers, mean the lit­tle Pod­casts app embed­ded in iPhones has fi­nally got its day in the sun. And with that, it’s time for mar­keters and PR pro­fes­sion­als to take note.

Pod­casts are boom­ing around the world. The num­ber of pod­cast down­loads crossed 2.6 bil­lion globally last year. Au­di­ences are typ­i­cally skewed to­wards young, af­flu­ent and ed­u­cated peo­ple, often a pri­mary tar­get au­di­ence for brands – and one that the UAE boasts a high pop­u­la­tion of. But how can you cut through the noise and take ad­van­tage of this me­dia for­mat?

There are three main routes for brands in the re­gion to cap­i­talise on the pod­cast op­por­tu­nity: spon­sor an ex­ist­ing pod­cast that has an es­tab­lished au­di­ence rep­re­sen­ta­tive of your tar­get au­di­ence; place a brand or cam­paign spokesper­son on an ex­ist­ing pod­cast as a guest; or pro­duce your own brand-funded pod­cast se­ries.

Spon­sor­ship is the clas­sic paid-for me­dia op­tion. How­ever, de­spite Ap­ple alone hav­ing a pod­cast in­ven­tory of more than half a mil­lion ‘ac­tive’ shows globally, since there are rel­a­tively few pod­casts ded­i­cated to au­di­ences in the re­gion, this ap­proach risks a great deal of mes­sage wastage, not to mention a po­ten­tial first-mover dis­ad­van­tage in your sec­tor. Most pod­cast apps also in­ad­ver­tently give the lis­tener an easy op­tion to avoid ads by tap­ping the 15-sec­ond skip-for­ward but­ton.

Guest place­ment is a more tra­di­tional PR av­enue, sim­i­lar in many ways to other forms of broad­cast PR, where op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­liver ed­i­to­ri­ally bal­anced brand mes­sag­ing to rel­e­vant au­di­ences is achieved by the ju­di­cious place­ment of in­ter­vie­wees on es­tab­lished con­tent pro­duc­ers. Much like tra­di­tional broad­cast me­dia re­la­tions, how­ever, you’re still at the mercy of the pod­cast pro­ducer to agree to in­ter­view your spokesper­son, and you’ll rarely have in­flu­ence over the ques­tions they ask.

Pro­duc­ing your own pod­cast se­ries re­quires you to build an au­di­ence, but gives you to­tal con­trol over the con­tent. To­tal con­trol shouldn’t mean you cre­ate a long-form au­dio ad­vert. In­stead, cre­ate con­tent that is aligned to your busi­ness and its value but isn’t about your busi­ness. If you are a beauty prod­uct for women, talk about is­sues women are con­cerned with. If you are a tech­nol­ogy busi­ness, talk about the most ex­cit­ing new tech­nol­ogy com­ing from around the world. As hu­man be­ings we like good sto­ry­telling, and as com­mu­ni­ca­tors we’re in the busi­ness of sto­ry­telling. Then, us­ing the so­cial chan­nels owned by your brand and those be­long­ing to the pre­sen­ter and/or guests ap­pear­ing in your pod­cast se­ries, you can ef­fec­tively build a com­mu­nity of fans. 94 per cent of pod­cast lis­ten­ers are ac­tive on at least one so­cial me­dia chan­nel, so this is a good way to en­gage with them and re­cruit them as lis­ten­ers.

Be­fore em­bark­ing on a brand-funded pod­cast se­ries, make sure you au­dit the ex­ist­ing pod­cast land­scape. The riches are in the niches so make sure your con­tent will of­fer some­thing new to your in­tended au­di­ence. You’re not pro­duc­ing the next Se­rial with a huge global au­di­ence, but since pod­casts de­liver a deeper re­la­tion­ship with lis­ten­ers than other forms of con­tent – it’s lean-in, rather than lean-back me­dia – it is that in­ti­macy that adds value.

Eval­u­a­tion is also a key con­sid­er­a­tion and an­other rea­son why pro­duc­ing your own con­tent has ad­van­tages, since you can ac­cess your own dash­board to view down­loads. Be­yond quan­ti­ta­tive met­rics, as a mat­ter of course, we build into our brand-funded pod­cast strate­gies a qual­i­ta­tive eval­u­a­tion of the con­tent. This in­volves on­line re­search amongst a sam­ple of pod­cast lis­ten­ers that matches the tar­get au­di­ence. Re­spon­dents are re­quired to lis­ten to a pod­cast episode, then an­swer a se­ries of ques­tions to es­tab­lish how ef­fec­tively it’s de­liv­er­ing on ob­jec­tives. In­sights gleaned are then used to in­form and im­prove the pro­duc­tion of sub­se­quent episodes.

That’s not to say th­ese three routes to tak­ing ad­van­tage of the pod­cast op­por­tu­nity are mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive in your com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­egy. They can all play into one an­other – paid-for pre­sen­ter reads and plac­ing guests on es­tab­lished pod­casts is an ex­cel­lent way of in­tro­duc­ing rel­e­vant au­di­ences to the ex­is­tence of your own brand-funded pod­cast se­ries.

As hu­man be­ings we like good sto­ry­telling, and as com­mu­ni­ca­tors we’re in the busi­ness of sto­ry­telling. Au­di­ences are typ­i­cally skewed to­wards young, af­flu­ent and ed­u­cated peo­ple, often a pri­mary tar­get au­di­ence for brands – and one that the UAE boasts a high pop­u­la­tion of.

CH­ERYL KING Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Mar­ket­tiers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.