Apple launched podcasts on iTunes back in 2005, the same year that the Oxford Dictionary named “podcast” its word of the year. The ‘pod’ of podcast is borrowed from Apple’s iPod digital media player; and the ‘cast’ portion of podcast is taken from Radio’s ‘broadcast’ term. In March 2018, Apple Podcasts hit 50 billion all-time episode downloads and streams.
Apple’s FAQ for podcast fans describes podcasts as “episodes of a programme available on the Internet. Podcasts are usually original audio or video recordings, but can also be recorded broadcasts of a television or radio programme, a lecture, a performance, or other event”, adding “for podcast listeners, podcasts are a way to enjoy great content from around the world for free. For podcast publishers, podcasts are a great way to reach a wide audience.”
Note – podcasts do not need to appear on iTunes, and can be listened to on non-Apple devices.
Research released in March 2018, by podcast platform Acast, highlighted:
– 23% of UK people have listened to a podcast in the past month.
– Of those listening, 21% have started listening in the last 6 months
– On average, podcast listeners spend 3.6 hours listening to podcasts in a typical week
– Current podcast listeners tend to be younger, with 2/3 of new listeners aged 16-34
Many businesses are now using podcasts as a a powerful content marketing tactic for communicating with their audience. I’ve been interviewed for a few podcasts, so I thought I would turn the tables and ask host of the Being Freelance podcast, Steve Folland, a few questions…
Q. Can you briefly introduce yourself…
A. I’m Steve Folland – a freelance video/audio creator and for the past 3 years host of the Being Freelance podcast. Each week I chat to different creative freelancer about what life and work is like for them. It’s great to learn from each other’s experiences. I also produce a weekly vlog on YouTube documenting my own experiences as a freelancer.
Q. When did you start the podcast? How many episodes have you recorded? How frequently do you record?
A. I launched Being Freelance in January 2015. There’s 140 episodes out there in the wild now including two recorded live with an audience. It goes out every week with breaks for holidays.
Q. Why did you decide to start the podcast?
A. I went ‘full time’ freelance in 2014 and was looking to learn from others by hearing their stories. At the time all I could find was podcasts about being an ‘entrepreneur’ – and whilst lots of successful freelancers have an entrepreneurial side to them, they are a different species. The podcasts were also 95% American and often very ’shiny’. I wanted to hear from real creative freelancers like myself. Certainly none of those podcasts really spoke to me. So I created the podcast I felt was missing. To hear from freelancers all over the world.
Q. What has the podcast helped you/your business achieve?
A. It’s made me feel like I’m not alone being freelance. There are a lot of shared experiences, no matter what field they work in. It’s helped me think differently about my own productivity, work-life balance, branding and business strategies. It’s also connected me to tonnes of fantastic people around the globe. Some of whom I’ve even ended up hiring or have hired me – though that wasn’t why I started it. The podcast isn’t aimed at my clients as a freelance business, but I still think it helps build my reputation. My clients can see that I’ve consistently created something that people love and that is helpful. They can see my professionalism and standards of quality at work – it gives them a glimpse of someone they’d like to work with.
Q. What advice would you give to anyone considering starting a podcast?
A. Don’t get hung up on listening figures. Think about it: if you got up and spoke to 50 people, that could seem like a big deal. 100 even more so. 1000 – insane! Imagine that number of people in a room hearing your message, getting to know you. A small number can make a big difference. Also, be consistent – keep putting it out there into the world. Tell people about it – you need some kind of marketing strategy. There are a lot of podcasts, so how will people hear about what you’re doing? And if you’re doing an interview podcast like I do, book people up in advance – build a buffer of guests so that if people drop out, or you’re sick etc, you still have episodes ready to hit publish on.
You can listen to Steve interviewing me on the Being Freelance podcast, here.