On October 3, 2014, a 53-minute audio recording was quietly launched into the digital universe, and changed the 21st century media landscape. I am referring to Serial, the blockbuster podcast produced by the folks at This American Life, and that took the county—and the world—by storm. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, there was nothing particularly spectacular about the podcast itself, it was merely a young woman telling the story of the arrest and conviction of 18-year-old Adnan Syed for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, and featured interviews with those involved in the case, including the alleged killer himself. The show, however, asked so many important questions, and captured the imaginations of so many listeners, that Syed was granted a request for retrial in 2016.
Podcasting: A Brief History
Podcasting was introduced in 2004, just 3 years after Apple’s introduction of the iPod, where podcasting gets its name (iPod + broadcast.) Podcasting initially enjoyed brief popularity, until podcast producers seemingly ran out of steam—iTunes is littered with abandoned podcasts from this era with only a few episodes—and smartphones came along with an all-new set of distractions for our eyes and ears. But since the launch of Serial in 2014, podcasting has entered a “second wave” of popularity, not only for storytellers, but for comedians, writers, foodies, news organizations, sports fans, technologists, marketers, and small businesses (the popular StartUp podcast also launched in 2014), among dozens of other categories. The format has proven particularly effective for entrepreneurs who have harnessed the popular medium to not only tell the story of their business, but to offer listeners valuable, useful content, establishing themselves as influencers and experts in their field.
Is Podcasting for You?
There’s no doubt that content marketing using podcasts has been effective for many new business owners, but you may be asking yourself, “Is podcasting the right strategy for me? And will it really make a difference in my business?” The short answer here is “Probably, but it does require a bit of effort.” Is that effort worth it? Let’s pause for a moment to take a look at a few numbers from Nielsen’s 2017 report on podcasting: Read on…