January 16, 2023

Does Your Brand Really Need a Podcast?

Recently we’ve been toying with the idea of revisiting our podcast and while it sounded good (in theory), it got us thinking and asking these rhetorical questions: Do we really need a podcast? Does the world really need another podcast?

The short answers are… ”perhaps” and “yes, of course!” Podcasts are an important medium for storytelling and content creation and while the market may seem saturated (yes, even cats have podcasts), there’s no slowing down on its impact on the digital landscape. So why have podcasts become so ubiquitous in today’s era of information literacy? 

We’re quite sure that we could attribute this to one common denominator – time and money (okay, that was two), but after all, time is money right? In the case of podcasts, this medium has proven to save time while providing an opportunity for individuals and brands to monetize from it. 

We’re in a golden age of audio with the largest growth rate in podcasts taking place amongst Millennials and Gen Z’s. One reason that podcasts are becoming more popular is their convenience. The flexibility of listening to podcasts while doing other activities simultaneously is most certainly driving market growth. Users can listen to audio episodes while running, cooking, or doing almost any mobile activity. Podcasts are also super effective as learning tools and are widely used in education due to effortless delivery.

The flexibility of listening to podcasts while doing other activities simultaneously is most certainly driving market growth – especially useful when trying to reach busy farmers. Click To Tweet

So then where have podcasts been all of our lives? Well, to be honest, this phenomenon isn’t anything new and in fact, podcasting has been around since the late eighties/early nineties.  

Formerly known as audio blogs, podcasting can be traced back to the pre-internet era when pre-recorded radio programs were distributed on cassette tapes. RSC (Radio Computing Services) provided scheduled talk and music software to radio stations digitally. 

During the early days of the Internet (1993), the very first computer-radio talk show, Internet Talk Radio was launched by Carl Malamud. The emergence of MP3 technology enabled users to download episodic news, sports, entertainment, weather, and music in audio format for listening on a PC, and other MP3 players such as Apple’s iconic iPod. Branded entertainment evolved from radio and television to audio mediums such as Spotify and the podcast market as we know it today.

The podcast boom shows no signs of slowing down as more creators, publishers, and advertisers are entering this space. Time spent on digital audio is beginning to increase higher than time spent on traditional radio. That being said, why would any brand want to step into this “saturated” world? Simply because it is still a very young and relatively untapped market with very few barriers to entry. 

Audio listenership is increasingly digital and the significant driver of audio adoption is podcasting with a growing number of listeners in Canada. In 2021, 46% of Canadians aged 18-49 were monthly podcast listeners vs. 33% total age average. 65.3% of Americans (218.6M) were listening to digital audio monthly.

In 2021, 46% of Canadians aged 18-49 were monthly podcast listeners vs. 33% total age average. 65.3% of Americans (218.6M) were listening to digital audio monthly. Click To Tweet

Recent studies indicate that the podcast industry will continue to climb at a rate of at least 20% with an audience expected to double by 2024.

Today, podcasts are becoming so prominent that they receive attention from major media companies, which is changing the landscape of the industry and pushing it into the mainstream. Despite these changes, however, podcast creation is still relatively low and accessible for creators, with new podcasts emerging almost every day. 

With the growth of podcasting comes numerous massive opportunities for brands to begin partaking in this exciting content channel. But how is this relevant to your ag brand? 

After some of our team attended Canada’s Outdoor Farm show last fall and got an inside perspective on the technology inside most of the equipment that farmers use, the opportunity for audio advertising/podcasting and even branded ag training is certainly low-hanging fruit. The agriculture audience is on the go whether on the field or on a tractor. Tractors are equipped with the latest technology gadgets from tablets to USB outlets providing the perfect opportunity to embrace the power of sound.

As with any brand, (whether tech, finance, or entertainment), reaching, connecting, and engaging with your audience is key – and let’s face it, in this digital era, we’re filled with clutter, and screen fatigue is real. Audio communication is a great antidote to this.

Programmatic audio (i.e. streaming platforms, podcasts, and mobile radio apps offer options to match listening habits) – for farmers or anyone with a routine is undoubtedly appealing. They will have more time to listen while traveling for supplies or carrying out on the field or barn. 

Key Considerations Before Firing Up Your Microphone

In order to maximize your ROI on podcasts, these are the questions you should consider before you start 

How would a podcast fit into your brand’s larger content strategy? 

  • Understand your brand’s communication and content pillars and then focus on ensuring that you will have enough to produce content. Topics may have to evolve over time. 
  • Get a clear vision of what your show is about and narrow down your podcast topic to something more specific. For example, talking about farming is great but it would be far too broad to attract and keep your audience. When you narrow your focus to topics such as soil health technology, crop protection, and fungicide management, you’ll be able to create more episodes for your podcast that will better connect with your audience. 

How will the podcast best serve your audience?

  • Just who are you speaking to (or with rather)? Is your podcast focused on Agronomists with a high scientific knowledge base or are you reaching environmental activists who may require more intro-level facts on the agriculture industry? The difference in tone, content, and overall messaging is astronomically different and failure to recognize, understand and address this would not yield the results you’re looking for. It is possible to reach both audiences but keep in mind that the above-mentioned factors will differ depending on your audience.

(How) will a podcast align with and amplify your brand’s missions and goals?

  • Ensure your podcast themes directly correspond with the brand’s general direction and angle. Adjust them accordingly to establish a uniform content strategy and represent your outlook in the best light.

A Few More Things To Think About

Other things to consider before beginning your podcast:

Hosting format – your podcast could be either a) educational b) storytelling (fiction/non-fiction) c) interviews/conversational. You can either host the podcast yourself or feature a rotational hosting format which is the more favorable way. Having multiple hosting personalities can pull in a wide range of listeners and draw more interest to your podcast.

Equipment – Sound quality is the most important element in producing a podcast. It’s an audio service after all. Using a proper headphone set and an external microphone with a pop filter will improve the sound and clarity of your voice. You could use your computer’s built-in microphone, however, the quality of sound is noticeable and in a podcast-filled market, if your voice isn’t clear and your podcast is riddled with background noise, your listeners will navigate away.  Podcast kits are easily accessible and usually include a microphone and other audio recording and processing gimmicks. 

Frequency and length of your podcast – Optimizing your podcast frequency and time is fundamental to establishing and maintaining a connection with your listeners. Creating enough content to publish a podcast once a week is highly recommended. While this may seem overwhelming, your podcasts don’t need to be extremely lengthy. The average length of time is between 20 and 45 minutes.

Finally, the key takeaway is that it takes substantial time and effort to produce and market a successful podcast.

Podcasts To Tune Into For Inspiration

Here are just a few of the many ag brands and experts that are seeing success in the podcast game:

The Rural Woman – Canadian collection of stories from women in farming, ranching, homesteading, agriculture and more.

Real Ag Radio – Likely one of the more recognizable podcasts, this podcast is also a daily series from Shaun Haney is also streamed on SiriusXM.

The Root of the Matter – Featuring Ken Root, this podcast from UPL’s Open Ag speaks with other thought leaders about matters affecting farmers today. 

The Business of Agriculture – U.S. podcast that offers tips for success, ideas for self-improvement, and mental stimulation for people who make agriculture their Business.

FCC Knowledge – Stories and experiences of Canadian farm business entrepreneurs and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Off the Husk – Day-to-day experiences on the family farm in Minnesota where Millennial Farmer Zach Johnson builds the connection between farmers and consumers.

In short, they say strike while the iron is hot, and in the podcast and digital audio market, the iron doesn’t seem to be cooling off any time soon.

If you wish to learn more about whether or not your brand needs a podcast, or if you are wondering where and how to start, feel free to reach out to us.