The Case for Podcasting: Q&A with Telum Media

I answer some frequently asked questions about Podcasting in Asia, published in today’s Telum Media Alert:

This week Telum spoke to Miguel Bernas, Founder and Consultant for Timber Wolf Media, as he shares his thoughts on why podcasts are growing in popularity and how brands can best leverage the opportunity they provide.

What’s all the fuss about podcasts then?

The Podcast is among the emerging content platforms that have resurged in popularity in the new digital media world. Not actually “new” (the medium has been around since 2004), they have become popular in recent years thanks to the emergence of streaming audio platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Why do you think podcasts have seen a surge in popularity?

The modern digital media has given rise to what I like to refer to as “micro-audiences,” niche interests with relatively small but deeply passionate communities. This is because the availability of inexpensive tools (cameras, microphones, editing software) and distribution platforms (social media, streaming services) allows new content creators to cater for these audiences. The first medium to demonstrate this at scale was YouTube. The resurgence of podcasting reflects this new “Golden Age” of content creation but in an audio-only format.

There is a perception that they are less popular in Asia than other markets – is that changing?

Although the medium is growing in popularity, there is no question that podcasting is still in its early stages in Asia compared to the West. The question marketers should ask themselves is: are you a leader brand or a follower brand? Follower brands typically try to emulate their competitors’ success but then realize they are so far behind, they end up paying a much higher price just to catch up.

We’re seeing more corporates jumping into the podcasting scene – does it work for all types of businesses?

Brands should never “jump into” anything, especially not if the motivation is to be trendy or to be follow what your competitor is doing. The considerations should always tie back to your marketing objectives, specifically, which segments of the audience you want to reach and what stage of the funnel or customer journey are they on. For example, I recently signed on to produce a podcast series for a Singapore-based online retailer. They see the podcast as a loyalty platform for existing customers, keeping them engaged with the brand and encouraging repeat business. In this case, the podcast will work in tandem with their existing email newsletter programme. Other brands use podcasts to attract new customers. Some brands use podcasts simply to establish their credibility in a new space.

Business objectives should determine why your podcast exists.

Why should brands consider podcasting if they have not?

There are three reasons why a brand should start a podcast:

  1. There is a passionate audience for a particular topic
  2. That audience is under-served (i.e. not enough content in that space)
  3. Your brand has the passion and credibility to address that audience.

Creating a new content platform is no small task and you need to determine whether you have both the ability and the commitment to keep it going.

There seem to be new podcasts every day – do you feel that we could reach podcasting overload at some point and how do brands manage that?

According to there are over 850,000 podcasts or over 30 million individual episodes. Now consider that 24,000 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every single hour. Podcasting is still comparatively tiny, regardless of which part of the world you are in. We are a long, long way from “overload” point. I do believe that podcasting will never become mainstream. But “mainstream” isn’t the point. It’s about finding that micro-audience and super-serving them.  

Lasty, how can brands can get started with podcasting?

First of all, identify an audience that you believe your brand has both the ability and the credibility to address. That sounds a lot easier than it actually is. It requires thinking like a consumer, their interests, their way of thinking well beyond purchase intentions. Often marketers are so close to their business objectives that they can’t put themselves in the shoes of their audience, no matter how good their intentions.  This is why I encourage brands take advantage of outside consultants like myself because. Even your ad agency is conditioned to think in terms of selling your product. A podcast is less like behaving as a brand, with a product to sell, and more like a media company trying to please an audience.

Want to make podcasting part of your Marketing mix? Find out more.

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