The Data Is In: Podcasts Matter More Than Ever.

2020 brought its worst. Podcasts fought back hard. And won.

You may have been on a virtual happy hour, joking with good friends about how it seemed like everyone suddenly had a podcast. You may have even scoffed, “That’s never going to be me.”

But times have changed. The data is in and now we know that perhaps those people who started podcasts in the 2010s were onto something. Maybe, actually, everyone should have a podcast.

Months into 2021, over half of the American population has listened to at least one podcast.
Podcast listening has gone up 17% year over year. Podcasts are even becoming bigger than TV — The New York Times’ The Daily podcast has 4 million listeners a day. That’s bigger than Fox News’ Primetime audience.

Catching on? If you want to reach people in 2021, you probably need to join the podcast revolution.

Every year, the podcasting world waits for the annual report that puts numbers on the industry: the Infinite Dial from Edison Research. The Infinite Dial is the longest-running survey on how Americans are consuming digital media.

The podcast industry relies on this research, so we’ve pulled out the major takeaways for you.

This is what you need to know about podcasting in 2021.

Podcasts are now part of the content ecosystem.

Podcasting is officially mainstream. If you put effort into creating content for marketing, advocacy, or communications, you need to include a podcast in your plan.

Here’s why:

  • 41% of the population say they’ve listened to at least one podcast in the last month.
  • 28% say they’ve listened to at least one podcast in the last week.

This means that a bi-weekly podcast has a very good chance of being heard by the people you’re trying to reach.

Not only are millions of people listening to at least one podcast a week, but people are actually binging on podcasts. The average podcast listener isn’t committed to only one show, but is likely to follow multiple shows. Podcast listeners listen to an average of 8 episodes every week, listening to 5 different shows per week.

What this means for you: Putting out a podcast is no longer a gamble. The data shows that a large section of the population listens weekly to multiple shows. If you work in public affairs or any sect that influences policy, you understand how important an effective communications strategy is. A podcast would be a critical asset to your content plan in reaching your target audience and the data shows that people will listen.

This poses the question: who exactly are podcasts reaching? The answer is great news.

Diversity in podcast listeners is almost as diverse as the country’s population.

This is the biggest change in podcasting over the years. Diversity in podcast audiences is approaching the demographic diversity of the country.

Podcast audiences used to be made up of mostly white men with average to higher-than-average incomes. Now, 43% of podcast listeners are non-white and evenly split between women and men, almost consistent with the actual population.

In fact, according to Nielsen Research, non-white audiences are growing faster than white audiences.

There are several factors at work here. First, more content is being created specifically for audiences of color and women. Content creators are also realizing that they benefit from more diverse audiences and are updating their marketing plans accordingly.

What this means for you: A podcast has the potential to reach the total breadth of your audience. More women, people of color, and people of all ages are listening to podcasts which means your podcast can reach the different demographics within the country. As Tom Webster put it, “There truly is a podcast for everyone ー and podcasting is for everyone.”

Podcasting is here to stay.

The pandemic took away our commutes and travel, the times where we listened to podcasts most. But podcast listenership still grew. People didn’t leave podcasts behind, but rather made new space for them in their free time, in their homes, while cleaning, and on walks.

The bottom line is this: podcasting isn’t going away. If your organization has big goals in reaching a specific audience, now is the time to consider a podcast as one of your most critical assets.

Ready to get started? Contact an expert at Voxtopica for a consultation to plan your podcast to reach your target audience or guide your current podcast to better results.

How Well Are Your Guest Interviews Going?

Here Are 3 Ways You Can Improve Them.

You’ve experienced this. You play an episode of a podcast talk show, anxious to learn. But 10 minutes in, the host loses control of the conversation, the guest starts rambling about completely irrelevant topics, the episode ends, and you’re left feeling deflated, disappointed, and with little desire to tune into that podcast again.

As a podcast host, you might want to blame your guest for a poor interview. But here’s the brutal truth: it’s your show and you are in control. Your interviewing skills need to be sharp or you run the risk of losing listeners.

So how do you improve interviewing skills? It doesn’t require a masters degree in journalism. But it does take effort and practice that is necessary if you want to grow and maintain your listenership.

We’re going to share with you the Three P’s, our tactics to running effective and valuable guest interviews.

1. Know Your Purpose.

As the interviewer, your purpose is to create value for your listener. It is your responsibility to take the guest’s stories, thoughts, and ideas and transfer them into valuable information.

Before each interview, you must ask: what value can this conversation provide to my listener?

For example, if you work in public policy, perhaps your listeners want information on how they can get involved in advocacy efforts. With this value for your listeners in mind, you can run the interview in a way that helps your guest provide that value to your listeners..

Now that you know what value to give your listeners, you can better prepare.

2. Preparation: Research and Rehearse.

Bad interviews usually happen when the host does nothing to prepare. If you don’t prepare for an interview, don’t expect your guest to provide value to your listeners.

Here’s how you should prepare:

Research everything about your guest and the topic they’ll discuss. But wait, isn’t that what the interview is for? Not for you, Host! By thoroughly researching your guest and topic, you can know what’s relevant in their experience and what your listeners frankly won’t care about. Good research allows you to be the proxy for your listeners.

Now that your research is complete, start rehearsing. Don’t read from a script, but don’t wing it. We recommend using notes that structure out the conversation, then reviewing them several times before recording.

You’ll want to especially rehearse how you’ll introduce your guest. Do not let your guest introduce themselves. Why? Because as the host, you are in charge of telling your audience what specific value the guest will give them. It’s not the guest’s job, it’s yours.

Thorough research and rehearsing allows you to then guide the conversation during the interview.

3. You Hold The Power.

Your job is to listen to your guest and lead them in the conversation. Let guests tell their stories, but don’t let them control the conversation.

Your guest might share a compelling story that isn’t relevant to the topic. Or they may jump ahead in the conversational structure you planned. Don’t panic. Gently bring your guest back to the agenda comfortably and consistently. You can do this by recognizing their story as significant and then naturally transitioning to a previous or totally new topic.

We recommend using transitional phrases to cue your guest and guide them through topics. You can help your guests stay aware of the time with phrases like these:

  • “To start off…”
  • “As we near the end of our time…”
  • “Before we jump ahead to ____, let’s go back to something you said….”

Guiding the conversation is the perfect median where you can stay in control of your show, recognize your guest’s value and thoughts, and stay on track in delivering that value to your listeners.

When In Doubt, Remember The Three P’s.

Purpose, Preparation, and Power. When practicing these three strategies in every interview, you can guarantee to your listeners that they will gain something valuable from every episode.

If you want to learn more practices for improving your interviews, stay updated for future webinars or get in touch with an expert at Voxtopica.