Podcasts: The next big format in employer marketing

You may have been on the train to, or from, work. You may have been driving. You may have been in the gym or jogging. Or you may have been in your living room. In most of these scenarios, audio has probably played a role. Alexa, Google Home, Apple Car Play, affordable good quality headphones...these have powered a new role for audio in our lives. Podcasts in particular.

How popular are podcasts?

7.1 million people in the UK listen to podcasts weekly. That's a year on year increase of 24% (and 1 in 8 people). Ofcom also found that half of listeners got the podcast bug in the last two years. And 22% of people who have a smart speaker listen to podcasts on them (1 in 5 UK homes own one or more smart speakers BTW). Regular podcast users listen to around seven podcasts a week.

True to form, younger generations are up to speed with a growing format. YPulse found that 71% of Gen Z & Millennials listen to podcasts (up from 57% in 2018).

Podcasting and employer marketing: What's happening?

There has been an audio category in the RAD Awards for a few years. I remember its reintroduction being discussed when I was a judge and it was revived back in 2017. Entries for these have really been focused on audio advertising.

There's a big and exciting opportunity for employers. That is creating the media rather than advertising inside it. Podcasts have the power to draw the listener in and be consumed while multitasking. And there's no problem, at the moment, with ad/content blindness because there's relatively little in terms of podcast content in employer marketing. Finding it difficult to get employees in front of the camera for those video shoots? Audio could be the answer to this too.

Who's creating their own podcasts? I've been very aware of the potential of podcasts for a good few years now and I try and keep an eye, or ear, out for employer marketing examples. I rarely come across one.

The WeAreNetflix Podcast

Enter the WeAreNetflix Podcast. Here we have some great content, understandably, from a company in the business of content. But, whatever the company, there's inspiration that can be taken from Netflix. The podcast is available on their careers site, podcast distributors and YouTube. Here are a few examples.

These give a real feel for the people and life behind Netflix and there are plenty of episodes worth listening too while doing something else.

Is there a role for a podcast in your employer marketing?

Undoubtedly. Your employees have insights, advice and stories that people will find interesting. Whether you need to provide advice for people taking their first steps in the world of work or have stories that will strike a chord with experienced professionals there's a place for a podcast.

But don't feel you have to go all-in and dedicate big time and budget on a production like WeAreNetflix. Start small if you want by taking a particular area of recruitment (e.g. early careers). Or do it for just your employees to start with, just like Netflix did (that story is in Episode 1).

Podcasting could be the jewel in the crown of the employer brands who take advantage of this format's increasing popularity now.

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