Podcast as part of the marketing strategy
What characterizes a good podcast from a user’s perspective, and which pitfalls should one be aware of when working with them? Read on here:
In five years, worldwide listening of podcasts has more than quintupled, and projections suggest that podcasts will continue to grow by more than 50% until 2024.  According to DR’s Media Research, 9% of Danes listened regularly to podcasts in 2016, and in 2020 that number increased to 26%.  Podcasts can therefore be a very effective element in the marketing strategy, when you want to reach a specific target group. Something that many of you who follow BestPractice Nordic works with all the time.
What we can learn from the podcast Kongerækken
The first sponsored podcast in Denmark was Kongerækken. In Kongerækken, a historian and a journalist presented historical facts and told anecdotes about the royal rulers from Gorm den Gamle to Queen Margrethe the 2nd. The podcast quickly became popular and ended up as one of the most played in 2015/16. For the same reason, the danish publicist Politiken entered a collaboration with the creators of the podcast, and their channel, which presents parts of Danish history, was created. Kongerækken is a great example of a well-functioning podcast because it combines information and entertainment. This is the combination that most users appreciate when listening to podcasts.
The podcast is distinctive from other media because the users rarely listen to a single episode – most often the user will subscribe to the channel behind the episodes. The channel publishes episodes on a specific area, such as history, health or marketing. This way, the user can listen to several episodes “on demand”, and also be notified of new episodes via the podcast player that may be used (eg Apple’s Podcast, Spotify or similar).
It is based on this user behavior that BestPractice Nordic has created channels for podcast within the fields of Oncology and General Practice, respectively.
In the Nordic countries, Sweden is the country with the highest proportion of people listening to podcasts at least once a week. 
The typical pitfalls when working with podcasts.
- Understand the uniqueness of podcast as a media RSS feed.
The RSS feed is the distribution technology and the backbone of the podcast medium. With the RSS feed, subscribers get a notification on the latest episodes out in their podcast player. Thus, the podcast combines the push and pull marketing mechanism in the interaction with the users. Over time, when you build up an audience for a podcast channel, new episodes will with the help of the RSS feed, “automatically” reach your users if they subscribe to your channel. This mechanism is the great advantage and also the reason why a podcast strategy must necessarily be long term if one wants to reap the special benefits of podcasting as a medium. It does not make sense to spend a lot of resources on making a podcast series of just few episodes, as the benefits of the RSS feed and the value of subscription is not utilized optimally. In that cases, one should reconsider whether the podcast is the right format.
- Content is king, but distribution is the queen – and she wears the pants!
Good content is worth nothing unless the distribution is also a priority. These days we all compete for the listeners, and the number of podcasts being launched is increasing every day. The listeners do not just come by. Too many produces only a few podcast, but they never get the life, they deserve. Among other things, because too few resources are spent on distribution. Unfortunately, this is a typical pitfall: that only effort and money is put into the production of podcast. A good rule of thumb is to spend the same number of resources on distribution as you spent on the production, alternatively enter a collaboration with an already existing channel that has built up a desired target audience.
- Convenience, information and entertainment drive the listeners.
It is well known that the convenience of listening to a podcast “on demand” – that is, when it fits into the user’s everyday life – is an important parameter for the success of the podcast medium.
But what really characterizes a good podcast? If we look at the numbers of the most listened podcasts, then it is seen first and foremost that the podcasts that manage to combine information and entertainment within a specific area perhaps even a niche are most successful. A good podcast should tell a good story while giving the listener new information. It is therefore very important that you know your target audience and their interests in order to capture their attention. Moreover, it turns out that the podcasts that have a recognizable and uniform structure with recurring elements are most successful.
As the audience builds over a longer period, it is important that the content is not linked to time. This is of course except for the podcasts that focus on daily news coverage, such as the most listened podcast in the world The Daily. If you manage to create content that is not time-bound, new listeners can always go back and forth between the channel’s episodes and listen to what catches interest without losing relevance.
This is how we took our own medicine.
When we, in BestPractice Nordic, started planning podcasts, we started by identifying our target groups’ primary interest – the Patient Case. Both BestPractice Nordic MEDcast channels are therefore based on a patient case with a subsequent diagnosis or treatment dilemma, which is discussed by specialists. Most often, the discussion is driven by several specialists with different focus, as it provides a good dynamic in the conversation. In addition, we operate with a fixed structure with a jingle, intro, middle-speaks and outro-speaks that binds the specialists’ conversations together. We produce a section for both of our channels; General Practice & Oncology 1-2 times a month and has given a high priority to both production and distribution. It has paid off with more than 1650 subscribers in under eight months.
If you want to hear more about the podcast, you are most welcome to contact Charlotte Knudtzen by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +45 61394747.