Podcasting the Barrier to Entry

Article By Spike Ballantine 

Spike Ballantine 
Podcasting the Barrier to Entry

The global growth in podcasting has meant that brands and advertisers are reaping the rewards of the medium’s proven benefits: content that genuinely connects with its audience, and delivers high engagement and positive brand recall in the process. Unsurprisingly, South African brands are also seeking to get into podcasting, and one recurring theme I find in discussions with clients (of all sizes) is that it’s an attractive option because of its perceived low barrier to entry. It is indeed one of the medium’s best attributes – and its worst.

At its most basic, all a podcast requires to get off the ground (besides enough motivation and a data connection) is an idea for content and some way to record it – a laptop or mobile phone will do. We’re even at the point now where AI services will take care of things like show notes and social media posts to promote your new podcast. Record a conversation, upload it to a hosting platform, and the world will know about your brand!

But, like so many things in life, the reality isn’t as straightforward. This simple set-up-and-go perception isn’t ideal because it lacks any consideration for crafting the content in a way that allows it to leverage podcasting’s considerable advantages.

I like to think of it this way: if you run a company (and you’re not an architect), and you wanted to build a new corporate head office, you probably wouldn’t get a committee together and sketch out a few ideas on paper. And you most likely wouldn’t have a crack at constructing it yourself. You’d almost certainly brief an architect, and rely on their years of experience and creativity to generate blueprints using specialised software. And when it came time to build, you’d again rely on the architect to make sure your new building is constructed in the best possible way, in order to take advantage of all its attributes.

Brands that are getting into podcasting often try to leverage podcasting’s low barrier to entry in order to simply create a voice for themselves. More often that not, though, they do it at the expense of the medium’s true strengths, and miss an opportunity to position themselves as thought leaders. Maximising these strengths is best done by working with podcast professionals who understand how to tell a compelling brand story in a way that delivers a great listening experience. A DIY approach to podcasts often yields results that, at best, do nothing to stand out amongst the thousands of other podcasts vying for your customer’s ear. At worst, they end up being a waste of budget and a far cry from the quality of the rest of a company’s messaging.

On-brand messaging is a vital component of business success, and podcasts are now part of that messaging. Like creating an ad campaign, designing a website or building a new head office, the creation of a branded podcast is best done with the assistance of professionals who work with the medium, and understand its ability to help showcase a brand in the best possible way.

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