By Brian Boeckman, Director of Digital Content, FSB Public Affairs
Most Super Bowl commercials are just 30 seconds. The costs involved are astronomical, and ultimately very little information is conveyed to the audience. In the past decade, we’ve seen podcasts emerge as the new frontier of media. Where else can you hear a longform discussion on emerging green energy technology, or an intensive recap of the finale of Game of Thrones? Given that podcasts are infinitely more cost effective to produce than Super Bowl ads, podcasting opens up a world of possibilities for conveying complex messaging to a targeted audience.
Legacy media outlets have recently thrown their hat into the ring to try and break into podcasting, but they often misunderstand what makes podcasts popular. Podcasts are not the radio. Highly scripted and produced segments sound nice, but what drives podcasts’ popularity is the depth of conversation. There is simply no other viable communication medium to engage your audience and hold their attention for 20-60 minutes. Episodes of Joe Rogan’s top-rated podcast typically span 3 hours in length. You do not need to make a 3-hour podcast, but it’s easy to understand how much more information can be conveyed in 3 hours compared to a 30 second commercial. Rogan also demonstrates that there is a huge audience looking for robust, real conversations on complex topics.
There are exceptions to the dominance of longform podcasts. New York Times’ The Daily, and the Cato Daily Podcast are examples of short form shows that exploit the digital distribution model with great success. Obviously one can expect a larger audience to find 5 minutes to listen to an episode compared to 3 hours. This great disparity in format proposes a question: How long should your podcast be? The answer is easy: as long as it needs to be to thoughtfully convey your message.
Should you make a podcast? One downside to the lower production cost is that now virtually everyone seems to have a podcast. The market is saturated, there are over 2,000,000 podcasts. Most podcasts, however, never make it past 10 episodes. Persistence is simply part of the equation. Can you offer a unique perspective on an issue? Do you have an audience? Do you have more than 30 seconds worth of information you need to convey? Can you afford not to have a podcast?
The FSB Public Affairs team is uniquely qualified to assist with production of quality podcasts from our deep experience as broadcast journalists, public relations professionals, government affairs practitioners, and communications experts. Podcasting’s self-controlled distribution allows for long format conversations that go deep and provide detailed information that stakeholders want. If you are interested in learning more, send us a note at email@example.com.