Podcast: from the origins to the rise in content marketing strategies

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A trend with a 50% increase in less than a year. Here’s what podcasts are and everything  you need to know about  how to use them in a digital content marketing strategy.

What is a Podcast?

Personal Option Digital Cast. 

When we use the term podcast we are referring to a type of content in audio format , recorded and then made available online thanks to on-demand services. The strength and the main feature of the podcast is that it is accessible at all times and therefore disconnected from schedules and breaks. Its diffusion and use is defined asynchronous , not in real time, unlike that of the radio which is defined as synchronous , that is, in real time. A podcast and its diffusion are possible thanks to ” podcasting “, a term that encompasses all those processes of recording and putting the content online.

A false myth about the podcast is that it is a newcomer to the digital news landscape. Let’s clarify: the word podcast first appeared in 2004 when Ben Hammersley , a BBC reporter , defined access to computer audio content as “podcast”.

But where exactly does the word ” podcast ” come from? This term has its root in two words: iPod + broadcast . The first is a well-known music player , the second is a technology that concerns the “ transmission of information from a transmitting system to a set of receiving systems not defined a priori”. What do these two terms have in common? They are both technologies from the last decade, still in use, just like the podcast!

Podcast in Italy: all the numbers of a growing business

According to the Voxnest Audience Network , 27 million podcast listeners were registered worldwide in early 2019 . In December of the same year, podcast listeners more than doubled to 55 million .

This trend obviously also involved Italy, which in 2019 began to actively invest in podcasting. Before then, apart from a few isolated cases such as Pablo Trincia’s Poison podcast, we have never had particularly relevant cases in the reality of successful podcasts in our country.

Spreaker , the first web platform in Italy with which it is possible to create and share audio, live or podcast content, without having to download any program, has released data that speak very clearly: the daily listeners of podcast content in Italian have gone from 60,000 to 160,000 within a few months . Looking at the monthly statistics, here too we have an important increase: from 1,800,000 in January to almost 4,500,000 recorded at the end of 2019.

The best podcast platforms

As in any new expanding sector, the great players in the technology market are both pioneers and great strategists. However, even the “little ones” know how to defend themselves well.

Let’s go in order of notoriety:

Apple : undisputed market leader at the beginning of the podcast phenomenon and with an extremely varied catalog with millions of daily plays.

Google : He certainly didn’t keep his fans waiting long. For a comeback with style, it has included podcasts as search results through its engines and increasing the dedicated “ Google Podcast ” function.

Spotify : after the lists and the most listened to songs, it also implements the same features for podcasts, suggesting them based on your interests , as well as for the other audio contents offered by the platform.

Spreaker : today it is considered the most valid platform both by podcast users and by the creators of this type of content, precisely because of its completeness of functions.

Podbean : less known than the names already mentioned, but very good as a platform. Its strong point is certainly in the catalog , which varies more than 6.9 billion downloads and plays. The platform also offers a valuable service for anyone wishing to start recording podcasts .

Castbox : 95 million podcast episodes organized by categories and according to the preferences of the individual user. On the platform there is also a “ranking” section where the most listened to podcast episodes are proposed , with the possibility of filtering them by categories of interest.

How to use podcasts in your marketing strategy

It is necessary to know how to seize opportunities where others do not see them, in this case even where they do not feel them.

Podcasts are the protagonists of this 2020 in terms of communication and advertising. This is why it is important to understand, analyze and be able to make the most of their potential.

It is necessary to make a necessary premise, the difference between “simple” podcasts and branded podcasts , the ones that can be most functional in a marketing strategy .

A normal podcast can be created with high quality standards and interesting topics, but it will always have something other than a branded one: the strategic thinking behind the production of the content.

The branded podcast is an audio content, created by a brand , which intercepts its target , especially that portion of the public that is refractory to classic advertising.

How does he do it? Through a story, a story or a set of speeches with guests, it conveys the values ​​of the brand by establishing an intimate and one-to-one relationship with the listener .

The advantages of establishing an intimate relationship with our final interlocutor are many:

  • Getting the brand message across without perceiving it as advertising
  • Taking the relationship with the consumer to a new level, off the keyboard, becoming part of his everyday life
  • Have her attention for much longer than usual

Create valuable content that is not pure advertising, but a real part of our content marketing strategy .

Creating a podcast… it’s not for everyone

Not everyone can create a podcast. Or rather, not everyone can create a successful podcast that works. In a landscape that is increasingly becoming more competitive and full of content, quality makes the difference.

Deciding to rely on professionals for recording or using your own voice could be a winning choice depending on the subject matter but, before this, you need to establish the objectives well.

Why register ? What do I want my listeners to do? How many episodes will my podcast consist of ?

These are only part of the questions to ask in a preliminary phase to set up the work in the right way and to be able to produce a truly effective content .

In this regard, there are several platforms that can provide valuable help for those at the beginning of this path:

The aforementioned PodBean provides an introduction service to the world of podcasting and its promotion and especially dissemination. How does he do it? Through effective tools that touch all aspects of this sector and extremely intuitive, perfect for those who are just starting out.

Specialized sites such as Podcast Insight provide the user with different courses, with ever increasing degrees of learning, to better master the production, distribution and measurement of podcast performance.

Successful podcast examples

  • Open for Business

Starting an online business from scratch? The best advice can be found on Ebay . No, not on the famous e-commerce, but on the 13-episode podcast series that the company has made. The protagonists of this series are famous entrepreneurs who tell their stories through the different steps of their career.

The peculiarity of this podcast series is its very specific and profound insider’s gaze on issues that can concretely help the listener. It does not linger on the surface but digs deeply giving really useful advice.

  • DTR – The Official Tinder Podcast

That’s right, that Tinder ! A series of episodes that ranges from the most disparate inconveniences in which an app user can come across, up to insights on what it means to interact, sentimentally, in the days of social media.

This product gives Tinder a new light, almost consultative , but always with its distinctive, ironic and light tone of voice. A podcast series that takes Tinder out of the simple “swipe left” or “swipe right” perspective.

  • 55

Chanel in 2017 introduced the concept of a fashion brand connected to the podcast . In this series the focus is on all the production processes and behind the scenes of the production of a bag. The touch of class: the first episodes were recorded in the historic Parisian concept store Colette .

  • The Discovery Adventure

Land Rover has devised a seven-episode podcast series with an immersive and introspective character. The listener will find himself in the role of the protagonist Sam who, together with his uncle and his faithful four-legged companion, will embark on a journey through the United Kingdom to unravel the mystery behind the mysterious interruptions in the GPS signal that create havoc and mystery throughout the Village.

The involvement of voices such as Natalie Dormer, Sophie Thompson and Alexander Armstrong, all united by the famous sound designer Gareth Fry, give life to a product of quality and value, associating the brand with a decidedly high and positive consideration .

  • The Message

Can you believe that General Electric made a podcast about a science fiction story ? There’s more! The Message , with its 440 million downloads , is becoming the most downloaded podcast in the history of audio on demand.


Podcasts are a tool with great potential that allows you to establish an intimate relationship with the final consumer, bypassing the dynamics of classic advertising to focus everything on a component that is first of all narrative and engaging.

They manage to make the user passionate about the values ​​of the brand through a communication channel that no longer has the “boring” role of an advertisement, but which is a real vehicle of stories capable of thrilling the listener.

The same listener who will then associate the brand with the positive entertainment experience .

The seriality of the contents, together with the average duration of a podcast itself, also allows the brand to have a lot of time available to tell about itself: nothing to do with the classic 30 seconds of a commercial.

To date , integrating podcasts into your content marketing strategy is a choice that requires an important investment in terms of content creation , but that will certainly pay off in the medium to long term with an increase in brand reputation and brand awareness .

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