All hail the rebirth of the Podcast
One topic that we often discuss at the CMA office is the question of ‘how should agencies market themselves?’ We are lucky. Many of our members are great at instituting content marketing programmes that feed both SEO and media relations campaigns, while at the same time highlight thought leadership and business acumen.
In fact, the standard of content that is produced by our members on their own websites and blogs is really high, award winning in fact! Dispelling the myth that agencies aren’t actually that great at marketing themselves. It does, however, beg the question ‘what can agencies do to stand out further?’
Obviously speaking at events, especially CMA events, is one way of highlighting an agency’s key differentiators, and we are always keen to hear from members who want to contribute to the events we run.
Another way of exhibiting thought leadership, and ensuring high levels of engagement from both existing clients and potential prospects, is via the rising phenomenon of podcasts
A year or two ago the jury was very much out on podcasts as a format. The success of Serial, and the many shows that followed it, had revitalised the media, but I wonder if many marketers assumed it would be a short passing fad. That hasn’t proved to be the case and the latest figures from Nielsen in the US shows that almost 50% of Americans listen to them.
Brands have also commandeered podcasts as a way of deepening their relationship with their customers. Where they work so well is in engaging the listener. If you can persuade someone to listen to half an hour of audio from your brand you have attained incredible levels of customer loyalty.
Inevitably then most branded podcasts tend to be fairly subtle in their approach, offering insight, advice and, sometimes even, humour in a very light way. Branded messages are low-key and intelligently placed.
Great British podcasts
CMA members have been at the forefront of producing podcasts. TCO has created an excellent series called Joining The Dots for its client leisurewear company Size. The podcast takes the form of deep dive interviews helmed by polymath Don Letts. Other members too have delivered podcasts for brands. Companies with a publishing heritage, such as News UK and Bloomberg, boast many podcasts tackling all manner of topics,
And there is now a solid assortment of branded podcasts from the UK the best of which include Penguin, Boots, Unbound and Landrover. There are also a growing number of industry podcasts, like for example the always stimulating Media Voices which focuses on publishing and the media, and the Campaign podcast which takes a broader view of issues the marketing industry is grappling with.
Going back to the original point though there is clearly an opportunity for agencies to use podcasts to parade their thought leadership thereby increasing brand awareness and ultimately attracting new business. Several CMA members have already produced podcasts in this way the most high profile of which is the iProspect podcast. Its series of shows tackle some of the key technological challenges facing marketers at the moment, unpacking them in an informed, but informal way. For example, if you are confused about the difference between Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, this discussion, between three of the company’s senior team, is a great place to start.
As you’d expect iProspect also cleverly weaves clients and case studies into their podcasts, so for example, the podcast on chatbots not only focuses on their evolution as a format but also features Diageo’s Paid Social strategy as a case study.
Another CMA member that has harnessed podcasts to show thought leadership is Havas. Similar to the iProspect offering its episodes tend to feature its experts discussing how technological change is both impacting on consumers and empowering marketers. Archant Dialogue is putting together the finishing touches to their “Dialogue With” podcast which will go live later this month.
As with all B2B content reach is less of an issue than perhaps it is with its B2C equivalent. Numbers might not be so important, but getting the podcast heard by its core target audience is clearly essential. It is here that social media, as well as paid advertising, has an important role to play. One other way of extending the reach is by inviting influencers on to the podcast as they will invariably promote the episode to potentially new audiences through their own channels.
Deciding to create a podcast is one thing, there are then a series of editorial challenges from ensuring the content is compelling enough to keep people listening, to deciding on the format and tone and much else. If these are issues you are wrestling with the CMA is running a podcast workshop on August 21st where Kobi Omenaka, Podcaster, Digital Marketing Consultant and Startup Mentor whose Podcast CV includes The Guardian’s “The Business Podcast”, The Kobestarr Digital Podcast, The Wire: Stripped Flixwatcher to mention just a few, will run through the basics, and offer insight into how to make the podcast compelling.
The CMA podcast
Here at the CMA we have taken the plunge and decided that creating our own podcast would be a wonderful thing! Launching in September we will be producing a series of podcasts ranging from interviews with our members to hints and tips to assist you in the evolving world of marketing. Be sure to tune in!
Contact Rob.John@the-cma.com if you are interested in taking part.