Podcasts are on the rise, and we’ve added our own

Listen to Episode 1 of Leff Communications’ Rethinking Risk podcast.

People love stories. And, since speech preceded the written word—let alone video—the oral storytelling format goes back a long, long way.

Your local public radio outlet probably features a number of programs each week that revolve around storytelling. The sheer number of those shows suggests a certain popularity of the format. Beyond radio, though, another form of oral storytelling has taken off over the past decade: podcasts.

Citing data from Edison Research, the Pew Research Center’s Podcasting Fact Sheet reported that in 2016 21 percent of Americans 12 or older said they’d listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 12 percent in 2013. The percentage of Americans who said they’ve listened to a podcast at least once is even greater—36 percent—more than three times the 11 percent who’d said they’d done so in 2006.

There are various reasons for podcasts’ growing popularity, including the sheer increase in number (podcast hosting company Libsyn hosted 28,000 podcasts in 2015, up from 22,000 in 2014, and 16,000 in 2013, according the Pew’s Podcasting Fact Sheet), the talent behind them, and the best podcasters’ emphasis on high quality production. But podcasts’ increasing popularity is also one more example of an era in which people want to consume information the way they want, when they want it. Podcasts provide a way to deliver information to your audience in a way the written word or video can’t, allowing audiences to consume your message on their morning commute, at the gym, or while they’re walking the dog.

From a content marketing perspective, podcasts are an additional way to highlight your business and your experts, and one more way to connect with your audience. One thing podcasts are very good at doing is targeting groups with specific interests. That can make them a perfect vehicle for delivering content to your target audience.

But, while technological advances make it possible for anyone to produce a podcast, success requires the ability to tell a compelling story, an understanding of the format, and a level of production quality that can support extended listening. Those qualities will make listeners look forward to listening to the next episode.

At Leff Communications, we’ve made our own move into the world of podcasting. We’ve started with a series focusing on a subject near and dear to my heart, insurance and risk management. With our Rethinking Risk podcast series, we’ll be sharing the insights of risk management and insurance industry experts on important trends, issues, and innovations in the business. Before recording our first episode, though, we researched best practices and worked with an audio engineer to determine how to achieve the highest possible sound quality in a variety of different recording settings: in-person, dial-in, etc.

Our first episode features Tom Varney, regional manager, Americas, for Allianz Risk Consulting. Tom and I talked about the 2017 Allianz Risk Barometer, the insurer’s annual survey of risk experts around the world, about what they see as the top perils facing businesses in the year ahead.

You’ll be able to find regular new additions to our podcast series here on our website, as well as in the iTunes store.

We’re excited about including podcasts in Leff Communications’ content mix. You should consider whether they might have a place in yours, providing one more way to reach your audience with your message. If you’re interested in exploring adding podcasts to your content offerings, give us a call. We’d be happy to share what we’ve learned.

Rodd Zolkos

Rodd is an editorial director at Leff Communications. Prior to joining Leff, Rodd spent more than 35 years as a working journalist, including time with daily newspapers, community journalism, and the business press. Follow Rodd on Twitter @RoddZolkos.

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