In recent times, podcasts have been increasingly gaining popularity, attracting an audience and expanding their market. Especially in the last decade, podcasts seem to have become the latest trend in the world of audio entertainment. So, what are podcasts? In today's article, we will explore this topic and provide a few tips at the end.
How did podcasts originate?
To understand what podcasts are, we need to look at their origins. These origins are both distant and recent, closely related to our current times. It all starts with the radio, which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At the beginning of the century, radio became widespread, filling people's homes and introducing them to a constant background voice throughout the day. This medium had the advantage of being used while performing other tasks since it was purely auditory.
From those times, we need to fast forward, especially regarding the technological devices used to consume content. In 2001, Apple introduced its MP3 device, the iPod. The market for "portable music" was already established, but Apple's entry significantly expanded the sector. Thanks to podcasts, audio entertainment is regaining popularity that it hasn't seen in a long time.
Why discuss this? With the iPod and the expanded market, consumers started downloading radio content onto their MP3 players. Entrepreneurs Adam Curry and Dave Winer further facilitated this consumer demand with their software. In 2004, they developed "iPodder", an RSS software capable of downloading radio broadcasts onto the iPod.
Also in 2004, Ben Hammersley, through an article published in "The Guardian", coined and became the father of the term "podcast". In the article titled "Audible revolution", the term emerged from the combination of the words "iPod" (hence the previous mention) and "Broadcast". "Podcast", finally, is the abbreviated term for "Personal Opinion Digital Casting”.
The resurgence of audio
Over time, with the advent of new technologies and media, radio was losing ground. Listening was increasingly dominated by video and visual elements. However, thanks to podcasts, audio entertainment is regaining popularity that it hasn't seen in a long time.
Especially during this period, people have become accustomed to multitasking and have a constant need for stimulation and entertainment. Therefore, traveling from one place to another becomes a perfect opportunity to listen to music or follow a podcast.
What are podcast?
So, after discussing their origins, what exactly are podcasts? We can define them as internet-distributed transmissions that can be downloaded and stored on various devices.
We no longer use the term "radio" in connection with podcasts because they are no longer exclusively audio. Although they originated as an audio format and remain predominantly so, they are often accompanied by video content.
This "new" form of entertainment has gained popularity due to its versatility and immediacy. Each user can discuss any desired topic in their preferred manner. This is a characteristic that listeners can also enjoy, searching for podcasts on interesting topics whenever they wish.
Podcasts are usually divided into episodes. These episodes can be closely related, like a TV series, where it would be difficult to understand a randomly selected episode. Alternatively, they could be linked by a philosophy or a broader topic, such as a podcast about history. In some cases, episodes can be completely unrelated, discussing finance in one episode and cooking in another. It is up to the podcaster(s) to decide how to structure their creativity.
All this may evoke the idea of "radio 2.0", and it wouldn't be entirely wrong. However, there is a significant difference between the two, as mentioned earlier: "downloadable and archivable".
While radio is a form of streaming entertainment, podcasts involve the periodic release of episodes on one's channel. This way, there's no need to keep an eye on the clock for your favorite segment or endure interference in areas with weak antenna signals.
Furthermore, podcasts can be played through Wi-Fi or substitutes, but by downloading the episodes, they will be available anywhere and at any time.
Best podcast platforms
Now that we know what podcasts actually are, why not give them a try? Here are the most well-known platforms:
- Spotify: Probably the most popular streaming platform. While it's widely known for music, since 2019, Spotify allows the playback and saving of a wide range of podcasts.
- Apple Podcasts: This platform comes preinstalled on all Apple devices. Just like the previous point, its library is extensive and regularly updated. However, non-iOS users won't be able to utilize this platform.
- Google Podcasts: Completely free and intuitive, it integrates various Google functions, such as Google Assistant. P.S.: It's also possible to listen to podcasts on voice assistants like Google Home or Alexa.
- SoundCloud: Similar to the first platform mentioned, SoundCloud originated and is known for music sharing. However, it offers a vast catalog to explore and is highly recommended for those who want to create their own channel.
- Stitcher: One of the most beloved platforms in the podcasting world. Apart from offering many options like other platforms, it allows users to "stitch" their favorite programs into a single playlist, as implied by its name.
- YouTube (bonus): As mentioned earlier, podcasts have evolved beyond pure audio content. That's why you can also find video versions of various podcasts on this platform, potentially providing a more stimulating experience by receiving multiple stimuli simultaneously.
Of course, these platforms are not the only ones available. There are many, many others with different strengths and weaknesses. The ones listed here are the main, most popular, and appreciated ones.
Top channels for marketers
So, now that we know what podcasts are and which platforms are best for listening to them (or even watching them), let's find out what to watch. Since Ekeria is a digital agency, we can recommend some marketing-related channels:
- Content Marketing Italia (by Alessio Beltrami): As the name suggests, content marketing is the focal point of the episodes. Through guests, expertise, and case studies, you'll discover the potential that this practice can offer.
- Dario Vignali Podcast (you guessed it, by Dario Vignali): CEO and co-founder of "Marketers," the host informs and shares the main strategies of digital marketing. Not only does he explain the usage, potential, and ways to navigate the digital world, but he also covers topics related to personal growth.
- Consulenti di Web Marketing (by Alessandro Mazzù): Similar to the previously mentioned podcast, the host not only addresses the main topic, providing real and useful advice and insights to answer various doubts but also dedicates space to personal growth.
- Storie di Brand (by Max Corona): As the name suggests, this podcast allows you to discover the stories of some of today's biggest brands, including their successes, failures, and much more.
- The Drum Italia: The Italian podcast of the homonymous company. If you want to stay updated on the world of marketing and advertising, this is the perfect channel. Thanks to their expertise and expert guests in the industry, they deliver excellent content.
Once again, we have mentioned only a few of the potentially infinite podcast channels that cover marketing topics. Furthermore, we have only mentioned Italian channels. Beyond borders, the possibilities become truly endless.
So, what are podcasts after all?
So, what are podcasts? We could say they are a relatively new form of entertainment, born by combining the world of the internet with that of MP3s. Podcasts are audio content focused on specific topics that, thanks to the ability to be downloaded, can be listened to anywhere and at any time.
The topics to be discussed and the ways to do it are at the discretion of the podcasters. Since they don't have to present episodes in real-time streaming like on the radio, they can bypass "the beauty of live broadcasting" by personalizing and further enriching the content.
At Ekeria, we have recommended some of the best Italian channels that cover digital marketing topics. This is because, as an inbound marketing specialized digital agency, we strive to stay up-to-date in order to offer our clients the best possible strategies.
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