Podcasts have steadily become mainstream in the past decades–and for good reason. The medium allows for anyone who has the necessary equipment to speak on virtually any topic. And our post-COVID, work-from-home world yields a truly massive potential audience. Podcasting isn’t just for talking about true crime. Many companies use it as a vehicle to market themselves and their services. This is great in theory. But how effective is podcasting as a marketing tool (and what are some methods to leverage it to its fullest extent)?

According to a survey conducted by Voices, one of the largest voice-over talent agencies, “73% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last 12 months.” This means that around whopping 82 million people listen to podcasts. On Spotify alone there are over 5 million podcast titles. While this is a robust industry, it’s also oversaturated. That creates a challenge for marketers. When basically anyone can create content, there’s bound to be titles on every conceivable thing. Why will yours stand out? Marketers need to compete when creating their own content. Think of it this way: hobbyists create podcasts; professionals create a strong following.

Professional podcasts, according to The Cincinnati Business Courier, are indeed an effective way to market your brand. For one, they allow brands to connect with both consumers and other businesses. If done right, that connection is on a much more personal level than possible through other marketing methods. Picking someone personable to be the face of the brand for a podcast can really help listeners align with the messaging of the show. Research shows 81% of podcast listeners trust the host and content (according to an Edison Survey.) Additionally, 14% of companies indicate increased website traffic when they incorporate podcasts into their marketing strategy (Hubspot.) Finally, podcasts are an inexpensive way to market your product, as getting the required materials for a professional-grade show is just a few thousand dollars.

All this is to say that podcasts are an effective way and inexpensive way to increase your brand awareness and reach if it resonates with your audience. But don’t take my word for it, here’s an interview with Zeke Trezise, who works at New Stack Ventures (a venture capital firm) with their very own podcast, The Full Ratchet.

Sam: Do you believe that your podcast is an important part of your marketing strategy?

Zeke: Yes. It’s our main marketing strategy.

Sam: What does your podcast achieve for you?

Zeke: The podcast is part of a flywheel. As investors, it’s important to maintain a rolodex of co-investors to share deals with. This occurs both with investors before our stage (referral sources), and with those after our stage (people we refer deals to). By taking conversations that were previously closed doors and putting them in front of a broader audience, we’re able to improve the quality of our network. We connect with people we wouldn’t otherwise be able to due to the increased exposure. Additionally, there’s the benefit of brand awareness for the fund and for the partners that host the show. By putting their name in front of tens of thousands of investors and startup founders, there’s additional inbound dealflow that comes from listeners of the show.

Sam: Have you noticed increased website traffic/engagement since starting the podcast?

Zeke: Yes. It’s hard to quantify since it’s been around so long but the show has been pretty consistently compounding. This is what I hear from many other podcasters as well — shows tend to grow slowly but very consistently. This tweet from Ben Gilbert (who’s pod I love) shows the compounding value podcasts see.

So think about giving podcasting a go when you consider your marketing strategies–it might just open you up to a whole new market. To start, you should listen to shows that you envision as being similar to your concept. What do you think works? What doesn’t? And most importantly, how can you make your show unique? Answer that question, and your audience will find you.