Immediate Media

The Power of Podcasts - How to engage your audience


A significant proportion of UK adults, a third to be precise, have jumped on the podcast bandwagon as monthly listeners, according to recently published results. Immediate has been tapping into the audio market for some time and is enjoying huge success with podcasts such as HistoryExtra, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, The Radio TimesInstant Genius and A Calmer Life.

Ben, the number of podcasts out there is a huge. It's a real jungle. How do you stand out and reach your audience? 

Immediate is the owner and publisher of some of the UK's most established and best-loved media brands. As a result, we can expand the magic of our brands, using the wealth of content behind them to create engaging and informative podcasts. With podcasts, you have to create a feeling, an environment that engages with the listener. If you are doing a Country file podcast, you need to go into nature and capture the sounds as you engage with your listeners. Make it an experience and make sure you know your audience.

What differentiates a good podcast from a bad podcast?

The competition is increasing all the time. There are now over 5 million global podcasts, and the production value is massive. The entry bar is very high, and the production quality is key. You need a professional studio and a broadcast standard production. The voice has to be in tune with the audience. You also need to really know your subject. Informal podcasts in particular need a podcaster with expertise. It shouldn't be set up like an interview, it should be a two-way conversation. A dialogue that happens naturally. This also takes time and practice. In other words, this is how good podcasts differ from bad podcasts. Producing a podcast is not something you do on the fly.

According to a survey** on podcast consumption in the United Kingdom in 2023, 37 per cent of respondents who listened to podcasts at least once a month did so while doing housework. 51 percent stated that they listened to podcasts while relaxing at home. What other trends are you seeing in the podcast market?

Consumers are creatures of habit and listen to podcasts according to their schedules. But the important thing to remember is that consumers' choice of consumption changes during the week. People tend to prefer news and services early in the week. Sports and comedy are more towards the end of the week. You have to figure out who your user is and interpret your data correctly. You have to be consistent and reliable with your content. For example, if your podcast comes out every Tuesday at 6 am, you need to stick to this. Customers rely on this content for their commute or journey to the gym.

How important are podcasts to Immediate's content strategy as a publisher?

We have established much loved brands that are renowned for their quality and relevance in the everyday lives of our audiences. It is vital that our podcasts support this strategy and build on the trust we have built with our audience through print, digital and live experiences. Growth is, of course, a fundamental factor. We have been growing for a number of years and we need to make sure that this growth is sustainable. We have a history to build upon and the trust of our audience. What better place to get started? This is an industry that will continue to grow. So, if you haven't started yet, now is the time.

To what extent are podcasts replacing other media formats? If at all.

Print magazines have been under a lot of pressure over the last 30 years. With digital innovation, there is always the question of what will happen next. But digital formats are allowing podcasts to bring a new and slightly different audience to some of these established brands. It won't replace the feeling of holding a magazine in your hand, it's just a new way for audiences to engage with our content.

It is also important to consider that not every brand is going to fit a podcast. It takes expertise and understanding to create an audio experience. But for us as a media company, we need to be early adopters of new formats. If you wait, you will be at a major disadvantage. I think the success of many of our well-loved podcasts shows just that.

Ben's top five tips for making a good podcast 

  • Understand your audience
  • Create a feeling that engages
  • Ensure a natural dialogue
  • Invest in your podcast production
  • Be consistent!

*  According to the leading podcast network Podstars
** According to the global data and business intelligence platform Statista

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