“In a world where more podcasts are being released than anyone can listen to in a lifetime, the content needs to be highly compelling to attract and retain listeners.”
This was a recent observation from Alex White, VP of content at Pandora.
As of April 2019, there are over 700,000 unique podcasts on iTunes, with over 29 million episodes. That’s an spike from 550,000 podcasts reported at WWDC last June. The podcast bandwagon is in full swing, with brands large, small, and tiny sponsoring series and creating original podcasts. Anyone with a relatively small investment can start a podcast. Starting a podcast is an action item in many a marketing plan.
The state of podcasting reminds me of the content marketing phenomenon Mark Schaefer defined in 2014 as “Content Shock”: “the emerging marketing epoch when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.”
Mark predicted diminishing returns as the volume of content grows. Podcasters are increasingly paying for ads on other podcasts to try to get listeners to pay attention to their own podcasts. Are we headed toward a Podcast Shock, particularly in relation to brands and marketing?
Pandora’s Alex White said, “The brands that win here will not just be releasing copycat content or thinly veiled advertisements but will offer their unique point of view tailored to the podcast medium. With lots of great content to listen to, podcasts that are perceived in any way to be an extended advertisement will likely not perform well at all.”
Marketers can’t break through the clutter by adding to it.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:
“Content Marketing Overload” March 2017
“Content Marketing Engagement” October 2016
“Trojan Horse Marketing” March 2016