Though podcasting was once considered a niche format, the past decade has seen a huge jump in podcast consumption, with no expectations of slowing down as more audio-first platforms invade our households and shape the ways we consume sound.
A recent US survey conducted in early 2020 by Edison Research revealed that monthly podcast consumers grew by 16% year-over-year, cresting 100 million Americans.
- 37% of Americans age 12+ are monthly listeners, a figure which has almost tripled over the past decade.
- Almost 50% of US listeners are between 12 and 43 years old.
It’s no secret that podcasts are exploding in popularity, but why? One reason is the platform’s ability to express creativity and connect with listeners on a deeper level.
Unlike social platforms like Facebook or Instagram, podcasts command the attention of their listeners for an extended period of time – at the gym, during their daily commute, at home, or at the office. As an on-demand service, you listen to what you want, when you want.
For brands, podcasting is a powerful communication tool because it involves a one on one relationship. This degree of intimacy doesn’t even exist on the radio. You have to pay attention when listening to a podcast — you need to be engaged.
MUSIC can play a significant role by helping the audience connect more quickly to the podcast’s content and driving the emotion you want them to feel. Let’s break this down.`
The Audio Elements of Podcast Storytelling
Intro, outro and break-up segments are the main audio ingredients used in the majority of podcasts to accomplish this; they help structure the content, like subheadings in an article or chapters in a book. From an audio branding perspective, these segments tie the brand story together, so podcast producers should think about how they want that brand story to sound.
As you’d expect, intro music plays at the beginning of a podcast and often fades out as the voices of the show fade in. Intro music is extremely important and needs to be crafted carefully, as it is the first piece of audio that the listener will hear. As such, it sets the tone and mood of the entire episode.
Outro music signifies the end of a podcast episode and is usually played over the end credits or the last few seconds. Outro music should punctuate the show, providing listeners with a feeling of closure.
These types of intermittent sounds are especially useful for episodes structured like stories, with multiple parts that are clearly defined. They help punctuate key moments as you travel through the beginning, middle, and end of an episode, adding extra emotion to your interviews.
Each of these audio elements should be based on the same feelings and harmonies, in order to create congruent sound that emphasizes your brand’s values and emotions.
Your Sonic Identity in Action
If your company has a sonic identity, you should incorporate your brand’s musical DNA throughout your podcast’s story to raise listeners’ awareness and enhance brand recall.
Take care that your sonic logo is appropriately placed too. The end of the podcast is a good time as it is the last thing people will hear; it will stick in their brain and provide a nice sound signature for the episode.
As the worldwide podcast market is growing rapidly and competition continues to rise, branding podcasts with the right audio strategy will make a world of difference. Brands that take this approach will undoubtedly reinforce their connection to their audience at a profound level, building deeper, more trusting relationships over time.