Why Podcasting Is the Most Intimate—and Captivating—Platform

By: Samantha Wood

February 8, 2018

How many times have we heard that attention spans are shrinking? Videos need to be shorter, messaging needs to happen in the first six seconds and no one will read to the bottom of a blog post.

Well, podcasting throws all of those ideas out of the window.

The rising success of podcasts is based on long-form, in-depth stories that captivate an audience. And at HowStuffWorks, they’ve been telling those stories and finding success through podcasting for 10 years, notching about one billion downloads.

“Digital media and social media are going through a tough time right now, in terms of politics and questioning credibility,” says Jason Hoch, head of new initiatives at HowStuffWorks. “But podcasts continue to thrive and grow. There are great data and analytics out there proving that this is the ultimate platform to be on.”

Hoch says podcast consumers listen for an average of five hours per week, according to Edison Research.

“There’s no other platform that is as personal and intimate,” he says.

The bond between listener and host is one of the more unique aspects of podcasting. Users don’t violently recoil from advertising, like they do on other platforms—pre-roll and mid-roll ads read by the host will hold the audience’s attention.

“We found that listeners actually like the ads when they’re read by the host,” he says. “We’ve seen from the data, from Apple Analytics and some other platforms, that only about 5% or fewer listeners skip the ad, and they’re listening to about 85-90% of an episode on average. That’s been some of the most dramatic data that we’ve been able to show the community.”

Hoch also offered advice for brands who are just testing the waters. Start by tying your brand to a category, look at what your competitors or similar brands are doing and think about what you can offer that’s unique. Once you decide to start, he says, you need to be dedicated.

“One of the important things we’ve learned is the importance of consistency—consistency of sound, quality, message, time of the week, scripting and marketing of the podcast out to your fans,” he says. “It can’t just be a hobby, it really needs to be taken seriously.”

Keeping that consistency of quality as well as finding content that elevates your brand above the crowd are the two most important considerations, Hoch adds.

“The days of doing your podcast in a closet or a soundproof room with just a couple people having a random conversation are over,” he says. “It’s time for anyone, whether you’re a brand or a content creator, to really step up your game.”


Follow Jason: @starexplorer

Follow Samantha: @samantha_c_wood

At The Social Shake-Up