Podcast: 3 reasons why brands should use them for digital storytelling

We like listening, more and more: 3 reasons why podcasts are an opportunity not to be missed for companies and their digital narration.

Everybody is crazy about podcasts. According to Nielsen, the number of Italians who have listened to at least one podcast in the last year has increased by 16%. And the average listening time is also getting longer: in 2018 it was 19 minutes, now we're up to 23. In other countries, especially in the USA, this is a long-established reality.

But why is this format so appreciated? Some people have a limited idea of podcasts: they see them as the mere possibility to download episodes that have aired on traditional radios. But podcasts are much more than this, and they will play an increasingly important role in the marketing and communication strategies of companies.

Let's try to understand better. They are audio files (mp3/mp4) that are made available on the Internet and can be listened to on demand, asynchronously. Simply put, they are audio files that you can download and listen to whenever and wherever you want, because they can be played on any mobile device.

Unlike a blog article, which requires you to focus on reading, a podcast can also be enjoyed while you are busy doing other things (driving, running, etc.). Here are 3 reasons why companies should include them in their communication strategies:

1) It’s going to be love soon with Google

By the end of 2020, more than 50% of web searches will be made through voice. Despite the popularity of the podcast format, their creators still find it difficult to promote them outside the platforms where they are uploaded (e.g. Spreaker, Soundcloud, iTunes, etc.), and make them show up in Google search results.

But Big G has also thought about this: at Google I/0 2019, its annual keynote, Google announced that they intend (see point 45) to make sure that audio files of podcasts are indexed, positioned in SERP and offered to users in response to their queries.

Just like it already happens with videos in search results, podcasts will appear as audio clips in the SERP, as well. This way, you can click on them to play or download the episode without having to land on a new page. And Google's analysis of the audio track will also allow you to start listening right at the part of the episode mentioning the topic you are looking for.

If we think how much conversational queries are increasing, an audio file that includes a natural conversation will surely be even more relevant to a user’s search.

For companies, it means being found more easily.

2) There’s already feeling with voice assistants

Voice assistants are a comfort we soon got used to. The two most used ones, Siri for Apple devices and Google Assistant for Android devices, have a dedicated collection and distribution platform (Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts), providing free players to listen to podcasts.

Among the requirements to be included is the exposition of a valid RSS FEED. The tags to be indicated also include the title and the description. This step can be streamlined by platforms that generate embeds that are already complete with all tags.

Being found even by voice assistants is an added bonus!

3) You can create the Homer effect

We have been telling stories since the dawn of time: the narrator's voice recreates our most archaic communication systems, when the hero's stories were transmitted only orally and were entrusted to the listeners' mnemonic abilities.

A neuroscience study at the University of London led by Dr. Joseph Devlin has shown that auditory narration produces greater emotional and physiological involvement than watching the same scenes (or reading about the same information) on a screen. And above all, it stimulates imagination.

That's why using podcasts to tell a story that conveys the brand's values helps us build a more intimate relationship. This is what Homer would have done, had he lived in our times. 

An example of success comes from McDonald's. To announce the return of its Szechuan sauce, it produced a 3-part podcast called "The Sauce", modeled after the style of a serial. Needless to say, the engagement aroused was greater than that generated by any written ad. And brand awareness benefited.

The most important thing is that, through podcasts, you can speak directly to your audience. Communication can shift to a more intimate and immediate register: the listener has the feeling that you are addressing them directly, and the tone of voice used is certainly less formal than that of a written text.

For these 3 reasons, companies cannot do without podcasts... But it also takes the right technology.

Among the tools that support the storage and distribution of audio content is the Enterprise Content Platform THRON. It handles them in their highest quality, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable Internet experience.

At the same time, the quality that THRON guarantees for the audio tracks of the videos (up to 44100 khz) allows you to extract the speech and turn it into a podcast. In this way, companies can enrich their podcast library with both native audio files and audio tracks extracted from videos.

The advantages are above all in ROI: with a single investment, you get a double return from a single piece of video content, from which you will get two different formats.