By Emily Lowe and Nik Gandhi
On the 24th and 25th May, in Islington, was the first ever ‘Podcast Show’ with over 2,000 visitors in attendance.
Over the course of the 2-day festival, we saw talks from the likes of Louis Theroux, Emily Maitlis, Edith Bowman, and of course the wonderful team behind the hit show 28ish Days Later.
It was an overwhelming event with a programme stacked with not-to-miss talks – even we couldn’t see everything we wanted to.
That is precisely why we’ve boiled down the best bits into our key takeaways.
1) Content is king
It’s something that seems obvious and that every single person who works in podcasting says, but never has it been so true. Content is king. Content will always be king. No matter how you’re promoting your podcast, you will never build a loyal audience unless the content is quality. That doesn’t just mean investing heavily in audio equipment, nor does it mean trying to please everyone with the content you’re producing. It means authenticity at the heart of what you’re trying to make.
This is a lesson that is exemplified by Niellah Arboine and Aiwan Obinyan, part of the team behind ‘Growing up with gal-dem’, who we saw talk about the challenges of their podcast as well as how inclusivity means having representation at every level of the series, from guests to researchers.
2) Video is the future of the podcast industry
Podcasts are no longer singularly defined as an audio-only medium, thanks to the rise in popularity of video podcasts. In a recent study by Edison, 74% of podcast listeners agreed that video enhances podcast listening (US only). Video allows the listener to visualise the host and guest dynamic, bringing them closer to the action and offering an added level of engagement.
But even more importantly, audiences simply want to consume content in the format that’s most convenient to them. Video therefore allows podcast brands to broaden their audience, reaching them across new and diverse platforms, and to satisfy those audience’s ever-growing hunger for more opportunities to connect with their favourite talent and voices.
3) Gen Z want community in podcasting
According to the IAB, while Gen Z spends a minimum of 8 hours per day in front of a screen, marketeers have just 8 seconds to grab their attention. So how do we connect with this elusive audience? This was one of the big questions being discussed at the inaugural Podcast Show.
As Isabella Maxey from Resonate Recordings aptly put it, Gen Z “doesn’t want to buy your brand, they want to join it”. Gen Z is certainly hungry for content across a multitude of channels, but on top of that, want to feel involved and invited into your brand’s world. In the podcast universe, this might be supporting their favourite creators on Patreon to unlock exclusive content, attending virtual parties or in-person events and tuning into live streamed episodes. Podcasts that create a real and authentic sense of community for their Gen Z viewers and listeners will be best positioned to engage this key demographic.
4) Branded podcasts shouldn’t be adverts in disguise
The Podcast Show 2022 turned the spotlight onto the increasing number of brands harnessing the power of podcasting to connect with their audiences.
Jeff Vidler, Founder of Signal Hill Insights, emphasised how brands need to focus on creating something people really want to hear, rather than an advert for their brand in disguise. A great example is OnStar’s Tell Me What Happened, a podcast sharing real life stories of human connection and compassion. Rather than making a podcast about OnStar’s product, the brand made a compelling show that demonstrates their values and tells listeners what they stand for, fostering positive brand associations.