The Growing Influence of Podcasts

For the past couple of years or so, I have often thought that one communications channel that has been overlooked is the podcast. Whenever we ask questions about communications channels we don’t include podcasts. I think that should change. I believe podcasts may be a great way to target uniquely and be heard above the social media fray.

I personally started listening to podcasts a few years ago. At first I found them to be a great companion for my long runs. They do a better job of distracting me from the pain of the run than music playlists. One thing that struck me early on was that I tended to remember the sponsors that advertised on various podcasts. And the way the advertising or sponsorship tends to work on podcasts, they aren’t as intrusive as what you get on broadcast television or radio. Often there is even a great fit between the advertiser and the podcast content.

Then there are the creative approaches to podcast content and sponsorship. Take a listen to Malcolm Gladwell’s Go And See, a podcast that is part commercial for Lexus and part fun podcast from Malcolm Gladwell. (By the way, I highly recommend his Revisionist History podcast.)

Often in surveys we now include various channels for communications and learning. There are the traditional channels, such as print, broadcast and outdoor. There are also digital channels such as social media, email, and online advertising. For my work, at least, I have only been able to convince the client to include podcasts a couple times. That was a couple years ago and the numbers that were returned for that channel were not impressive. (Though, admittedly, it’s not just about the numbers, but also the effectiveness within the channel.)

But the numbers appear to be changing.

Over the years, I have found value in publicly available research. And one of my favorite sources is Statista ( I get fascinating study results in my inbox every day. Ok, not every day are the study results fascinating. But they are relevant or intriguing often enough that I keep them coming.

I got this email from Statista recently.

In the US alone now more than a third of adults are listening regularly to podcasts. If you follow the Wayne Gretzky adage of skating to where the puck will be, then think of podcasts as a puck to skate towards.

Podcasts are a great way to support social causes and movements because you can target so well. For example, you could consider sponsoring both NPR’s It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders or Codeswitch, both of which are great podcasts in their own right but also address race issues really, really well. They are great to listen to, but also, if you want to show your support beyond just mass emails and tweets, to become a sponsor.

Podcasts are also great because you can target niche markets efficiently. History nerds? 1619, Slow Burn. Opera Lovers? Aria Code. Entrepreneurs? Increase Your Impact, The Entrepreneur Elevated. Star Wars fans? Children of the Force. Sports fans? Pardon My Take, The Lead. (There is even a podcast for British baseball fans. Seriously. Bat Flips and Nerds. And it is really entertaining.) Coloradans? The OutThere Colorado Podcast. And the list goes on and on.

My suggestion for elevating your research or marketing? Include podcasts.

I would love to know what podcasts you love so much you share with others. I am always looking for a new podcast. Please email me and share your favorites!

Here's a screenshot of my podcast cue to get an idea of some of my favorites.