2019 is very much the year of the podcast. But how useful a communications tool is podcasting in the housing sector?
According to research published by Ofcom in September 2018, 6 million adults in the UK listen to podcasts every week. This has almost doubled in five years from 3.2 million in 2013.
Almost 11 per cent of all UK adults listen to a podcast each week. This figure rises to nearly a fifth for 25 to 34-year-olds and a sixth for 15 to 24-year-olds. The most popular content is comedy, followed by music, TV and film.
So, the bulk of podcasting is a business-to-consumer activity at present. How does podcasting work as a business-to-business communications channel? To what extent is podcasting helping people to do their jobs?
The evidence here is less clear cut at present. The most popular business podcasts on iTunes tend to cover property investing or personal finance. There are also podcasts that focus on entrepreneurship, such as Start Up or The Tim Ferriss Show. In addition, there are plenty of podcasts with career and skills content.
What about the housing sector? There has been steady growth here in the past 18 months. This is most noticeable with The Housing Podcast from Inside Housing, which is broadcast weekly and now has more than 50 episodes covering a current news topic over 40-50 minutes of discussion and interviews. Each episode tends to receive between 700-1,000 listens. There is also the Housing Matters podcast by the National Housing Federation, that follows a similar format, but has published fewer episodes. And The Waterloo Podcast by Waterloo Housing, which is aimed at tenants and residents, and has just published its fifth episode.
See Media has recently produced the first podcast for 9,000-home housing association settle. It covered its recent stakeholder event and captured the highlights of the day in an easy-to-listen 10-minute episode. settle has used this to communicate with stakeholders and colleagues unable to attend on the day. The podcast has also been used to provide those who are unfamiliar with the organisation with a quick snapshot of what it is all about – for instance journalists and new recruits to its customer voice panel.
So, how do you determine if podcasts could form a useful part of your communications mix? Here are some pointers to help you decide, and how to make the most of the opportunity if you decide to go for it:
- Young audience: Podcasts are increasingly popular – especially among millennials. If the content is right, this could be a great communications channel with the next generation of tenants and residents
- Detailed ideas/content made easy: Podcasting is a modern, easily accessible means of quickly communicating need-to-know information about you and services you provide. You can capture complex events/issues in a clear, appealing format. In many cases, a podcast can tell the story of a stakeholder day or the key points of a conference far better than a 1,000-word article
- Anyone can listen: It can work for all your audiences: customers, sector peers, local/national stakeholders, suppliers, investors, regulators, etc.
- Great for colleagues: Yes, podcasts can help communicate with stakeholders and customers, but they can also be an effective tool at communicating with colleagues. This is particularly relevant at times of change and in larger organisations with many teams and a big footprint
- Have some fun, but also have a script: The tone of most successful podcasts is personable and often light-hearted. However, like all good content, the purpose and benefits of a listener investing their time in a podcast are crystal clear. A script helps ensure the correct balance
If you’d like to add podcasting to your communications mix, please get in touch to find out how we can help you to make it happen.
Stuart Macdonald is Managing Director of See Media (and loves the BBC Sounds app – almost any podcast you will ever need is there!)