The world of branding and marketing changes regularly. Keeping up with the latest trends and marketing forms is no longer optional; it is a must-do! Today, the most common ways to reach out to consumers are through visual, literary, and auditory content. While all three options have their own gravitas, audio podcasting stands out in a way that shows exponential growth. It is exciting to watch new opportunities rise in terms of podcasting and how people are paying attention to this type of content even more with each passing day. In this article, we will take a brief look at the history of podcasting, why it is so popular, and how to summarize a podcast and use it effectively in terms of drawing customers into your business.
Where it All Began
Although it existed, the idea of turning auditory content into a digital form was not too common before the internet came around. Mainly radio stations benefited from this type of technology. During the early times of the internet, certain websites began publishing their broadcasts and made them available for users to download. After online radio shows made their first appearances, audio blogs soon followed. These blogs mostly made their content available via MP3 format or other web-based formats such as Flash (Macromedia). While they were not as successful as podcasts, audio blogs essentially enabled various content creators to discover the possibilities of this tool.
Once the earlier mentioned formats were combined with RSS (Really Simple Syndication) web feeds, it became much easier to publish auditory content, and the rest was history. This combination benefited both the content creators and the users in a way that stimulated creativity and improved accessibility. The idea of spreading auditory content online was no longer limited to radio stations; in fact, it became much more popular within the world of marketers.
The term “podcast” was coined in the early 2000s, derived from the words “broadcasting” and “iPod.” After their exponential evolution, podcasts have become one of the most widely used tools for content creators. Given the fact that there are more than 300 million podcast listeners worldwide, marketers can no longer ignore its influence on consumers. This kind of demand also enabled multiple platforms to rise to the occasion and allow content creators to publish their podcasts, enabling them to appeal to their listeners and consequently grow their online presence.
But how did all this happen? Why are podcasts so popular? Let's dive into the reasons why so many people are drawn to them.
Why are Podcasts so Popular?
It is a known fact that we, human beings, are interested in good storytelling. A podcast essentially tells us digital stories. Whether it is for business, fun, or educational purposes, we are drawn to this type of communication because it gives us a sense of personal experience.
Podcasts are mainly a one-person activity. The listeners feel like they are the only person the podcast is targeting, thus allowing them to feel important. Podcasters have discovered that this intimate type of marketing makes a lot of sense in terms of their business value and brand recognition.
Over the past few years, more and more people have started paying attention to engaging podcasts rather than other media tools. Consequently, people become loyal to their favorite podcast channels as long as they feel the content remains relevant to their interests and needs.
With the help of digital platforms such as Spotify, PlayerFM, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, etc., listeners can access podcasts without any effort. This type of accessibility allows users to download these platforms/applications on their smartphones, tablets, computers, and simply tune in. Users are also tempted by the fact that some of these platforms provide services mostly free of charge.
Wide Selection of Content
Living in the information age, people need new content regularly. Depending on their mood and the amount of time they have to spare, listeners seek interesting content. They have many options to pick from, with topics being endless. Politics, science, personal relationships, true crime, informative, educational… you name it. There are literally millions of episodes of podcasts out there. All this content is just one click away, which is one of the main reasons why podcasts are in such high demand. It's the user's choice, and they can select whatever comes to mind at the exact moment they prefer.
Side Activity Factor
People are increasingly tuning in to their favorite podcast channels while doing other tasks. Some listen while working, others while cleaning the house, and some while driving. This sense of convenience allows listeners to feel like they are part of a more enjoyable and informative experience while doing their everyday activities.
Building a Community
When someone listens to a podcast, they feel connected to the host on a level that not all communication tools can reach. If this intimate feeling resonates with the listener, they are more likely to return to that podcast channel. By making listeners feel as if they are surrounded by friends and having a one-sided yet candid conversation, podcast hosts can create a sense of community within their listeners.
People love to feel valued. Podcasts are definitely a strong tool when it comes to consolidating that feeling. Listeners tend to tune in more and more as they feel like they are an important part of this experience.
Establishing a grounded relationship with the listeners essentially brings more people aboard. As the subscription number increases, so does your chance to profit from your podcast. To do this, you need to ensure that your content is engaging, reliable, and, more importantly, credible. Once trust is built within the community, depending on your business, profitable results will occur due to strong brand recognition and/or paid sponsorships from other brands.
Now that we know why podcasts are on the rise, it is necessary to mention a vital part of publishing a podcast, which is summarizing! You may wonder why it is important to turn something audible into a text format, but rest assured that summaries are an essential part of the whole process of podcasting. You need to familiarize yourself with the concept of summarizing, also known as podcast or show notes, to have a successful podcast. Let's dig a little deeper and see why a podcast needs to be summarized and how to do it.
How to Summarize a Podcast
Simply put, a podcast summary is a short text that briefly describes what your podcast consists of. It provides basic information such as the host's name, guest names (if any), quotes, links, and main points of the podcast.
The main purpose of this text is to describe and briefly explain what listeners can find in the podcast, which further helps potential listeners decide to tune in to your podcast. While for some listeners, the title of the podcast is enough, that is not the case for most. With this brief description, you have another shot at capturing someone else's attention. This is the main reason why summaries are so important in terms of building your audience, especially with those who are not quite familiar with your content.
Another aspect of these notes is that they help with your SEO. Search engines are not able to index audible content. Turning your podcast into text essentially helps search engines recognize your content and display it on the search result pages.
In order to utilize the podcast, there are some key points that need to be taken into consideration. Let's take a look at what these key points are.
Stay on Point
Avoid using unnecessary information in your podcast summary. Keep it brief and relevant to your content. Users tend to look for necessary, on-point information rather than wasting time with complicated sentences. This certainly does not mean being vague, but it is important to remember that you want people to listen to your podcast instead of reading it.
If you still would like to go into detail, you can always use a transcript for your podcast episode. Transcripts can sometimes appeal to different demographics of audiences, such as the hearing impaired, people who would like to read the whole episode, or those who want to scan specific parts instead of listening. Having a transcript also allows search engines to index your pages, so use an SEO-friendly format for your transcript. One option would be to structure your transcript as a blog post. Using headings, subheadings, paragraphs, and numbers would be optimal. Transcripts can also serve as detailed and more informative sub-points for your content when it comes to supporting your main points, which could benefit your podcast in the long term.
As already mentioned, there are millions of podcast episodes out there. In the sea of options, understandably, listeners tend to seek something that feels more appealing to them than others. Keeping this in mind, a summary needs to be relevant yet have a touch of something special that differs from other podcasts. Finding the core value of your podcast and establishing that in a creative and unique way would bring that extra touch to your summary. Also, using keywords is a must! So, make sure you do thorough keyword research before publishing your summary and optimize them in a way that appeals to your target audience.
Mention your Guests
If your podcast has guest hosts, you need to acknowledge them in your summary. Include their names, occupations, areas of expertise, and why they are valuable for your podcast. If your podcast is primarily an interview, it is also a good idea to write down some of the most relevant Q&A in your summary.
Another way to boost your SEO and, consequently, the number of subscribers would be to use backlinks in your podcast notes. Assuming that you have more than one recording, make sure you provide links for those in your summary. This will help your podcast channel gain more recognition. Of course, try not to ignore each content's relevancy to another while backlinking. This will help establish a loyal audience and improve your click-through rate.
Call to Action
Not everyone who listens to a podcast has a clear idea of what they are supposed to do at the end of the show. Sometimes, listeners need a little nudge in terms of being guided in the right direction. This is a big opportunity to turn your audience into your customers. It not only leads people to buy your product but also helps your online presence grow. Call-to-actions (CTAs) help establish a strong social media network by providing more subscribers to other personal online platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook accounts, email lists, e-commerce store web pages, etc. If none of these are a beneficial option for you, you can always use CTAs to direct your audience to your sponsors' websites.
Overwhelming your audience with too many CTAs can be confusing and may eventually damage your brand's reliability, so it is important to keep them to a minimum. Making your CTA links trackable is always a good idea. This will help you monitor your success rate and implement updates or changes in the future, if needed.
All in all, podcast summaries may seem like unnecessary extra work, but in reality, they have the exact opposite effect. While they create a better experience for the listener, they also enhance your brand's visibility. These summaries ultimately increase traffic, brand recognition, and revenue growth, which is the main purpose of doing podcasts in the first place.