The Return of Podcasting: 3 Platforms That Will Help You Build an Audience

At the turn of the millennium, RSS feeds and the increasing availability of microphones brought podcasting into existence and changed the way we consume information. Although its initial debut didn’t spark the revolution that early adopters predicted, recent developments in mobile technology have set the groundwork for podcasting to make a comeback.

Studies show that audiences of people who listen to podcasts on their cell phone in their car grew 10 percent from 2010 to 2012, and nearly one in five U.S. adults listens to podcasts at least occasionally. But the podcasting scene isn’t just for comedians trying to get their jokes off their ground. This emerging arena presents an opportunity for brand publishers to reach audiences through media that aren’t as crowded as social media and video—and on platforms that aren’t already saturated with brand messages.

A few years ago, Monocle magazine Editor-in-Chief Tyler Brule made his move into internet radio when podcasting was plateauing in popularity. Brule created Monocle24, a 24/7 Internet radio station designed to engage Internet users (while keeping written content available only to subscribers of Monocle). And he was right to do so.

Here are some podcasting and audio services that you should keep an eye on.

1. SoundCloud

Over a year ago, SoundCloud announced its brand marketing program, which offers companies the ability to increase their exposure on the platform through enhanced visuals and expanded networks.

“While video gets the lion’s share of attention when it comes to multimedia content—and rightly so, given the power of YouTube—audio is the unsung hero, quietly racking up ‘listens,’ along the way helping individual and company brands (the audio producers) to grow their audience and increase their influence,” writes blogger Trevor Young for Kamber.

Although social media companies such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram hog the spotlight, SoundCloud has even more active monthly users than all of them. According to The Next Web, SoundCloud has over 250 million active monthly users compared to Twitter’s 232 million, LinkedIn’s 187 million, and Instagram’s 200 million.

Harvard taps into this audience by using their their SoundCloud channel to upload recordings of forums, commencement speeches, and even audio guides to campus tours. Playstation‘s SoundCloud features its own blogcast series and soundtracks from video game favorites.

2. Pod Wrangler

In a similar vein as Swell, independent developer David Smith’s product Pod Wrangler also helps to streamline the way users access their podcasts. Their declaration: “There are plenty of podcast apps that let you build complicated rules for managing your queues and building complex rules for file deletion. Pod Wrangler heads firmly in the other direction.”

Although it has similar habit-recognizing features as Swell, it differs in business model. Pod Wrangler generates profit when users buy Feed Wrangler memberships.

Yale uses Pod Wrangler to get more eyeballs on their podcast series of educational talks. If you’re interested, you can submit your brand’s feed directly in the Pod Wrangler app.

3. TuneIn

Built on a model similar to music discovery and curation service Songza, TuneIn is a service that connects users with online radio and podcasts. With some functions of a DVR, TuneIn can record radio stations, which enables listeners to save shows for later. It also gives users the ability to pause and rewind live programs.

TuneIn is far easier to navigate than iTunes, which is worth noting because it could be a model for podcasting in the future. TuneIn appears to be taking everything audible and doing its best to store all this content on its own, easy-to-use platform.

To provide some inspiration for brands, TuneIn hosts Marvel’s This Week in Marvel podcast, which is co-curated by editorial director Ryan Penagos and associate editor Ben Morse.

By tapping into audio platforms, brands can reach audiences with more longform and subtle pieces of content, placed neatly away from flashy visuals and saturated communities of major social networks. As more and more people consume audio content—podcasts, books, and radio—through mobile devices and wearable technology, podcasting will grow into a increasingly important part of every brand publisher’s strategy.

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Image via Pictures Network

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