It's not as a way to make big dollars (blogging didn’t do that either). But as a way to share your ideas, to lead your community, to earn trust.
Podcasting is a proven technology that is still in its infancy. It’s an open mic, a chance for people with something to say to find a few people (or perhaps more than a few people) who’d like to hear them say it.
And podcasting is the generous act of showing up, earning trust and authority because you care enough to raise your hand and speak up.
These three facts tell us some important things about a millennial’s lifestyle: They want to stay connected and they want to make their mark. To do these, more millennials are developing a personal and a professional brand that they can project and expand to a growing community.
Traditionally, this generation was told to create blogs and websites with portfolios. In fact, having a blog was a most effective way to promote their brands and expand their communities. Adding to that would be a strong social media presence. Even video was touted. Podcasts were rarely mentioned. But millennials have found that podcasts can be an important part of their branding toolkits – important enough that they appear to be abandoning blogs for them.
Perhaps, this transition began as millennials realized that they themselves were not reading many blogs. In fact, over 41% of millennials have no patience for text content that is too long. If they were not reading blog posts that much, their own audiences were probably not either.
The popularity of podcasts is certainly growing. Edison Research found thatin 2016, 36% of Americans aged 12+ had listened to a podcast in 2016. That's a 75% increase since 2013. Interestingly, 64% of those who have listened to podcasts have done so on mobile devices.
Additional evidence for the growing popularity of podcasts is the fact that major legacy media organizations such as New York Times and Wall Street Journal and newer digital media organizations such as Slate and Buzzfeedare all heavily investing in podcasting.
Why podcasts appeal to millennial broadcasters and listeners
Podcasts are great media for those with short attention spans. And today’s consumer of information has that. With their headphones, listeners can do laundry or yard work while they listen. With their earbuds, they can work out, drive to and from work and walk their dogs. Video, which requires eyes as well, does not always work in these environments. And blog posts, which usually comprise of text content, just cannot work.
Some people just don’t like to write, and blog posts become cumbersome and tedious, not to mention that they may need to be edited by another party before being published. Podcasts, on the other hand, allow the broadcaster to speak in a genuine, natural tone, establishing a solid connection and communicating who they are as a person. This authenticity greatly appeals to millennials.
Podcasts are also a great medium to break down typically dense or “boring” topics like law or insurance into digestible chunks. Blogs and text content might not be as effective in doing this.
And there are some successful examples of podcasting by millennials who have chosen this medium over blogs to promote their personal brand.
- Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin began a podcast, “Stuff Mom Never Told You,” in 2014. It is entertaining and now receives over one million downloads each month.
- Katie Roach began her “Drunk Sex” podcast, hoping to open up conversations about sex. To Roach, her personality comes through far more than it does through a blog, even though she still writes posts to promote her podcasts.
- Eddie Murphy, founder of a sports podcast, “Dishing and Swishing,” started his podcast out of personal frustration of a regular career pursuit – not being able to get a job because of having no work experience, and not being able to get experience without a job.
These successful millennial podcasters have a theme about which they are passionate, and a personal connection goal to let listeners get to know and trust them. Podcasting allows them to build a better rapport with their fans, which, in turn, results in higher loyalty, higher engagement and more authority online.
Once your influence grows as a podcaster, you can invite very influential guests on your show like Tim Ferriss does on a regular basis and tap into their fan base too, while pushing your name recognition and brand forward. With blogging, you can welcome guest posts too, but getting high profile experts to write for your blog is much harder than recording a quick voice interview with them.