If your visual content marketing efforts are growing stagnant, it may be time to consider an audio content strategy.

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Commuters have traded in their playlists for podcasts, and consumers everywhere are tuning into online talk shows. In fact, some 24 percent of Americans over the age of 12 now listen to podcasts on a monthly basis; and Statista projects that, by 2021, there will be more than 100 million podcast listeners in the United States alone.

Related: 7 Reasons to Add a Podcast to Your Content-Marketing Strategy

The number of people already hooked on podcasts coupled with its anticipated future growth indicate that podcasts are quickly becoming a viable marketing channel. 

Why podcasts are gaining popularity

In just the last few years, podcasts have been gaining popularity fast. One of the biggest reasons has been the shift to mobile; consumers are moving away from desktops and using mobile devices more often.

Even search engines are changing their algorithms to give mobile the priority, making it more important than ever for businesses to focus on optimizing for mobile platforms. As people rely more heavily on mobile devices, it has become easier than ever to access, download and listen to podcasts whenever, wherever.

Another factor fueling the popularity of podcasts is people’s lack of time. It seems that we’re busier than ever and that fact has made it more difficult to sit down, read a book or even watch a TV show without distraction. People want to multitask and get as much done as possible, and podcasts make it easy to listen during a commute, on a run, while getting housework done, etc.

Related: Should You Really Start a Podcast?

Not only is it easier for people to find and access podcasts, but it’s also easier than ever to produce podcasts. The equipment needed for high-quality broadcasts is widely available and more affordable than ever. It’s also easier to find a popular website to host your podcast.

How podcasts are changing marketing

The main focus when it comes to marketing is content. “Content is king” is a common phrase you’ll hear tossed around the industry, and although these words may be be cliché at this point, they still hold a lot of truth. In an effort to produce as much quality content as possible, many businesses have established blogs where they can regularly post written content, but podcasts are changing that.

With podcasts, there’s actaully no need for a written blog post (although some blogs offer podcasts transcribed word for word). And, what’s more, podcasts are easier: Businesses can use them to put out high-quality, relevant content without the same effort and ability that writing requires. Podcasts inspire conversation, while blogs tend to provoke thought.

Podcasts also help to build brand recognition, authority and trust among consumers. With so many people listening, they offer a great opportunity for conversations related to specific industries; and, in this context, they build credibility in the podcaster’s niche.Further, they get the word out about the podcaster’s brand to listeners who may have never heard of it before.

As Seth Greene of Market Domination LLC.com told MartechToday, “For the next three to five years, [it will be] like the new ground floor of podcasting. There are a billion listeners and that’s supposed to triple in the next few years.

“There’s a global proliferation of smartphones, and now the Podcast app is being installed in Apple Carplay,” Greene said.

In short, there’s no better time than the present to get in on the podcasting opportunity and start capitalizing on it as it continues to grow.

How to use podcasting in your marketing strategy

Although a podcast may not be a good fit for every industry, most niches can seriously benefit from producing a regular podcast. If your niche is one of them, here is what you need to do to start podcasting as part of your marketing strategy:

Invest in quality equipment. Improved technology and greater access have made getting quality equipment easier and more affordable than ever, so there’s no excuse for creating a low-quality show.

Consistently create relevant, informational, high-quality content. Consumers are more likely to engage with content that is educational, entertaining or otherwise relevant to their interests, but it also has to pertain to your business and brand. Generating high-quality content takes a fair amount of planning, research and development, so you’ll really have to commit to produce a podcast listeners tune in for.

Host on a relevant platform. There are a lot of podcast platforms out there, but you need to find the one most relevant to your industry and hosts the most consumers interested in your niche. It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing podcast in the business if your audience listens on a different platform.

Related: Podcasting Success Tips From 3 Top Female Entrepreneur Hosts

Podcasting is quickly entering the world of business and becoming a popular marketing strategy, not only because of its popularity among consumers but also because it’s so easy to create podcasts to broadcast accessible content for your target audience.

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