Podcasting may seem like a buzzword these days. If you haven’t yet incorporated a podcast into your content marketing strategy, you could be missing out. Podcasts help to humanize your brand, meeting your consumers where they are: on their mobile phones. And no matter your business, you can design a podcast format to fit your brand and your audience’s needs.

Why podcast? More than 73 million people listen to podcasts. And more than 51% of Americans age 12+ have listened to podcasts, with 32% having listened in the past month. These numbers have continued increasing year over year with no signs of slowing down any time soon. In fact, podcast listenership is growing faster than ever.

For these reasons – and more – podcasts are a low-cost investment that can pay big dividends. But interestingly enough, only 15% of brands are currently podcasting. You know what that means?

It’s your chance to get in early.

Podcast Format Trends

In podcasting – just as in life – the industry is subject to changes in trends. It has to continue evolving to meet the ever-evolving wants and needs of podcast consumers. As well as advances in technology that facilitate these changes.

Think about this: the first Amazon Echo wasn’t launched in the United States until June 2015. Now, “Alexa” is a household name. Podcast researchers have already begun anticipating the future of podcasts in this regard:

“The market for shorter, bite-sized podcast content will grow, as will podcast consumption on smart speakers.” – Tom Webster, Edison Research

Let’s say that I’ve totally convinced you to start a podcast. (You’re going to be a great podcast host.) Now, let’s start exploring some of the common trends in podcast format.

Repackaging Content

Reduce, reuse … repackage? When it comes to creating podcasts, some in the broadcast industry have started repackaging their usual content into bite-sized pieces.

Think about long-form mediums such as radio shows. They’re long and time-consuming. The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, for example, is more than three hours long on your average weekday. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the time to catch every show live. And missing an episode means a backlog of content to get through.

What’s the solution?

Enter The Best of the Chris Evans Breakfast Show. In podcast form, this show highlights the “best bits” of the longer show, condensed down into one hour.

These short podcast episodes are far more shareable than listening to something that’s three hours long – or waiting for rebroadcasts. And we’re seeing more and more radio stations jumping on this trend. Kyle & Jackie O from KIIS, as well as shows from WABC, are converting their long shows into shorter ones.

The same exercise can be applied to video content. The RSS Blog breaks down the steps needed to convert a video to a podcast from a technical perspective and also provides insight to benefit of repackaging video.

“A blog post only reaches a certain audience, a video has the potential to reach another, and podcasts reach yet another. Turning your video into a podcast is one simple way to make your content efforts go further — without a lot of extra work.” – RSS

Repackaging your existing content gives you an extra platform to connect with your listeners and may be more likely to keep your audience engaged. You’ve got the content already. Make it work harder for you.

Podcast-Only Content

Though repurposed-content podcasts are growing in popularity, they haven’t overtaken the other main podcast format: original-content podcasts. It’s likely that many of the podcasts you listen to aren’t repackaged from a radio show or video. They stand on their own as original content.

So even if you don’t have pre-existing content in another format to draw from, that’s no barrier to starting a podcast. All types of podcasts can be good podcasts.

Recently, ESPN launched a brand-new podcast with host Mina Kimes. ESPN Daily is a 20-minute weekday morning podcast covering a wide range of topics – from the biggest names in sports, to investigative stories, to “quirky” stuff.

While ESPN already boasts several podcasts, most are simulcasts of their radio or TV programs repurposed into more streamable content. However, the new daily show focuses on the original content creation.

“This could be a great move for ESPN to expand their podcast presence. The length is perfect for people to be able to listen on their work commute and for people who may not have time to watch or listen to their other shows, and the focus on one particular event or issue might appeal to some.” – Phillip Bupp, Awful Announcing

Local Media Creating Original Podcast Content

There’s no limit to the types of original-content podcasts you can create. Even those concerned about audience size, should look at local media as a potential guide. Don’t number of audience numbers, yet a loyal audience within your niche. Here in Kansas City, local news station KSHB currently hosts four different original podcasts:

  • 4th and 1: Monday-morning podcast about the Kansas City Chiefs
  • 41 Files: Weekly podcast focused on local news and issues
  • Chew Diligence: Twice-monthly food podcast going “beyond the plate to the people, places, and cultures of Kansas City”
  • Screened on the Spot: Weekly TV and movie reviews with occasional interview format

Think about your local news stations. You probably feel like you “know” your broadcasters in a sense. You may have been watching them on the same channels for many years. With its podcasts, KSHB is able to authentically connect with their audience in a new way.

There’s likely already a strong sense of familiarity and trust from the audience’s perspective. By bringing additional content in podcast format – through four different topics – the news station continues to foster its relationship with its audience and create a conversation with its listeners.

Get In The Game

Now that you’ve made the decision to start a podcast (high five!), think about which format might work best for your brand. Are you already creating content that you can repurpose? Or are you ready to get started with something original?

Regardless of what you decide, we’re here to help. Download our checklist so you can start recording your show. And we can even provide everything you need to get an audio show started.

Let’s get your show published and start growing your brand.