What is a podcast?
Think of podcasts like on-demand talk radio shows. You can subscribe to a show, download an episode to your smartphone or computer, and listen whenever you want. There are over 800,000 podcasts out there, covering just about any topic you can imagine: from sports to comedy to spirituality to business. Podcasts also come in a variety of formats, including interviews, roundtable discussions, investigative journalism, fiction, game shows, and more. No matter what you’re interested in, chances are there’s a podcast about it!
Who listens to podcasts?
An estimated 90 million Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, while 62 million listen weekly — and that number is steadily growing.
- By Age: 40% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 listen to podcasts, while 39% of people between 25 and 54 do. Only 17% of people 55 or older listen to podcasts.
- By Gender: 36% of men report listening to a podcast in the past month, while 29% of women have.
People who listen to podcasts really love podcasts; the average podcast listener listens to seven episodes per week!
(Source: Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2019)
How do you listen to a podcast?
There are many different ways to listen to podcasts.
iPhones and iPads come with an app called “Podcasts” installed on them. Look for a purple icon with a white microphone. Open the app and browse or search for a podcast. When you’ve found one that looks interesting, click on it. You can download a particular episode to your phone or tablet and then play it. You can also “subscribe” to a podcast. When you subscribe — don’t worry, it’s free! — you save it to your favorites and can automatically download new episodes.
Android devices do not come with a pre-installed app for listening to podcasts, so you will first need to go to the app store and download one. There are many popular podcast apps, including Overcast, Downcast, or Pocket Casts. Once you have downloaded an app, open it and find a podcast you want to listen to. You can download a particular episode or subscribe to the podcast just as you do in Apple’s Podcasts app.
If you have the Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio app installed on your phone or tablet, you can find podcasts in these apps as well.
On a web browser, you can often go to a podcasters’ website where you will find an embedded audio player. Simply press play to listen to the episode.
On an Alexa-enabled device, try saying, “Alexa, listen to the ______ podcast.”
These are just a few of the many ways to listen to a podcast.
Who should podcast?
Podcasting is a great medium for any person or organization that already has a fanbase or clientele and is looking to deepen its relationship with those fans. Because of its intimate nature, audio is particularly good and strengthening existing relationships.
Your organization is a good match for a podcast if:
- Your customers feel emotionally connected to your product or service.
- You have the ability to reach your current fanbase, through an email database, social media, foot traffic, a mobile app, or an existing marketing campaign.
How do podcasters generate revenue?
Most podcasters don’t earn significant amounts of money from their shows. Among those that do, there are a number of different ways to generate revenue:
- Ads: Some podcasters sell ads or sponsorships for their shows. Typically, advertisers require a podcast to get at least 5,000 downloads per episode before they want to advertise in it. Less than 10% of podcasts achieve those numbers.
- Marketing: Podcasts are often used as a way of marketing a product or service. For example, a law firm might start a podcast about legal issue as a way to attract new clients.
- Subscriptions: Podcasters sometimes make additional content available to their listeners fo a price. For example, they may offer ad-free versions of their regular episodes, access to older episodes, or extra episodes that are only available to subscribers.
- Events: Some podcasters go on tour and record their shows in front of a live audience. They can sell tickets to these events to generate revenue.
- Merchandise: Some podcasters sell t-shirts, mugs, stickers, or other items related to their shows.
- Listener Donations: Some podcasts ask their listeners to support them directly by making donations.
At Michigan Podcast Productions, our focus is on producing client podcasts for marketing and customer service purposes. We don’t work with organizations because they expect to get rich from podcasting. We work with organizations who view podcasting as a way to deepen connections with fans and customers.