Podcasts: The new frontier for brands and creators

May 13, 2024
Emmy Liederman
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Quick question:

How many podcasts are you subscribed to?

Better yet, how many shows are you all caught up on? No judgment here, it turns out most of us have an endless supply of podcast episodes to get through.

And if you think the number of podcasts available is already high, just wait.

Podcast creation is on the rise and there’s no indication it will slow down anytime soon. Over the last handful of years, podcasts have picked up in popularity for a few reasons:

  • They’re readily available through downloadable apps or websites
  • There’s a diverse range of topics that speak to countless interests
  • Podcasts are easy to consume on-the-go

Here’s another thing to consider: podcasts have been attracting a lot of creators to the space: Chriselle Lim, Amanda Hirsch, Renae Bluitt, and Brandi Jordan, to name a few. Connecting listeners with their favorite creators – many of whom they’ve followed on Facebook or Instagram – has been a huge boon to the podcasting industry.

Because of the growing trends, it makes sense for ecommerce and retail brands to want to hop on and get in on the action.

From sharing behind-the-scenes news and trends in respective categories to highlighting and sharing the latest marketing insight, there’s plenty of room for podcasts as long as there’s value to both the brand and the listener.

How are brands and creators alike making this medium work? I’ve got some examples below.

Podcasts are the new marketing frontier

For the most part, brands are already creating and uploading content where the customer hangs out online – usually on Twitter, Instagram, and more recently, TikTok.

In fact, media budgets are changing, too.

With 125 million people listening to at least one podcast each month, according to Forbes, advertisers, and media companies are wanting to get in on the market fast.

Founded in 2018 by Michael Bosstick, Dear Media Studios is just one example of a media company embracing the power of podcasts and the potential that comes with it.  

With a focus on female-driven storytelling and tapping into the community of figures within business, pop culture, and reality television, Dear Media Studios features over 50 podcasts and offers support to shows, from concept and distribution to commerce options.

Brands are using podcasts as part of the marketing strategy, too. Here’s how:

Connecting with other brands and creators through episodes and shows is an effective strategy for getting noticed and expanding brand awareness.

The Shelf Life: Put it On Repeat, a podcast hosted by Alex McEachern for Repeat, has had a number of notable guests in recent months: Cody Plofker of Jones Road Beauty and Jonny Yu of Huron, for example.

The show, which covers everything related to the topic of retention, interviews founders, directors, and operators to get insight on a variety of topics related to CPG and the need for retention strategies while running an ecommerce business.  

Covering a range of trending and pertinent topics in the DTC and retail space, Future Commerce, founded by Phillip Jackson and Brian Lange, explores the intersection between commerce, consumerism, and capitalism.

While Repeat’s focus might be more on building brand awareness and relationships, Future Commerce uses its podcast as a platform for brands to learn from other marketers in the space, and how to implement insights and content to expand world commerce in a strategic and thoughtful manner.

Open up the Podcast app from Apple or browse through Spotify and you’ll find a multitude of podcasts that serve as an arm to a brand’s marketing strategy. But brands aren’t the only ones finding value in this medium.

Enter: creators.

Creators, meet podcasting

You might be thinking: why do creators want to start podcasts when they already use other social media platforms?

A few reasons: it blends creativity, and strategy, and creates a deeper, unfiltered connection with the creator’s audience.

Anyone can start a podcast, but building it up with great content that keeps listeners returning episode after episode is a whole new ballgame. There’s one attribute that separates successful podcasts apart from others: creating a show around a centralized theme or defined idea.

Consistency is perhaps even more important on a podcast than when compared with traditional social media platforms.  

Looking at trending podcast charts and you’ll see that shows with consistent, ongoing content are at the top of the lists. Creators like podcasts, too, because there’s an opportunity to engage [albeit maybe one-sided] with listeners in a more genuine and authentic manner. Where TikTok might be a platform for creators to entertain and create quick viral moments, podcasts allow creators to diver deeper into conversations within a given niche or community.

How are creators moving into the podcast space? Let’s take a look at three women-led podcasts all with a different focus and niche:

Chriselle Lim

Creator, blogger, and creative director at Phlur, Chriselle Lim is an entrepreneur at heart. Recently disrupting the coworking and childcare space through the creation of Bϋmo, a unique option for working parents, created a podcast to complement the business and also reach the target audience for the brand.

In Being Bumo, Lim and co-host Sara Sohn talk about all things parenthood, and careers, and engage in conversations with working parents from all walks of life.

Renae Bluitt

Storyteller, digital content creator, and filmmaker, Renae Bluitt created her blog ‘In Her Shoes’ as a destination to highlight and feature strong, successful, and inspiring Black women making big moves in the entrepreneurial space and beyond.

Bluitt has taken her blog’s success to a new medium. As host of her weekly podcast series, She Did That, Bluitt connects listeners to empowering women who’ve experienced success in numerous areas of their life including financial freedom, big career moves, and used creative passions to lead more fulfilling lives.

Amanda Hirsch

One of the newer creators to hit the podcast pipeline, Amanda Hirsch of Not Skinny but not Fat, has built a following by covering all the juicy reality television, pop culture, and celebrity gossip we could ask for.

Her Instagram, @notskinnybutnotfat, has accrued nearly 600K followers by “sharing her opinions and providing commentary” as she explains in an article with Romper. While her creator status helps her get sponsored content, she’s also collaborated with Deux to create a limited edition, vitamin-packed cookie dough.

The future of podcasting

With two million podcasts registered on Google and 62% of Americans listening to at least an episode, brands and creators are going to find value in leveraging this medium.

It’s safe to say events over the course of the last couple of years have altered and perhaps sped up the demand for podcasts. From listening on commutes to being preferred entertainment at home, brands and creators have plenty of data to help shape podcast creation strategies.

The Riverside.fm team broke down some tips to consider:

  • Listeners prefer to listen at home, but also spend time listening while on a commute. Since the average commuter spends about 25-30 minutes on the road (not in Los Angeles, ha!) every day, keeping shows to that length helps keep the content consumable.
  • Show content needs to be engaging and high-quality. Brands and creators will see increased success with a podcast show that’s quality and even studio produced. Two of the biggest reasons why listeners move on from a podcast is due to inconsistent uploads and poor audio quality.
  • Include a CTA in podcast episodes. As podcasts are part of the marketing arm for brands and creators, including a CTA is just as important here as it is with blog posts or social media content. Reminding listeners to subscribe and share a podcast works two-fold: it boosts shows to the top of charts for enhanced visibility and opens the door for more brand sales, potential podcast sponsorships, or ad earnings.

What does the future of podcasting look like? It’s anyone’s guess, really.

For now, it’s a booming media for brands and creators alike to move into – and it looks like things won’t change anytime soon.

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