The Future of Podcasting: The Live Experience

, Jan 28, 2020

CATEGORIES: Content Marketing
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From business advice and stories of serial killers to podcasts dedicated to recapping your favorite reality TV show – the podcast world has it all. And with more than half of the U.S. population listening to at least one podcast, there are no signs people will be hitting the pause button anytime soon.

But, when there is a podcast for seemingly everything, how can brands and individuals stand out from the crowd? Increasingly, they need to leverage channels such as social media (i.e. Facebook groups) and create engaging live experiences to stay number one on the charts.

Here’s a rundown of a few of my personal favorites, who have managed to take their podcasts and turn it into something more.

1. The Morning Toast

Branded as the “Millennial Morning Show,” The Morning Toast is hosted by sisters Claudia and Jackie Oshry. With roots as social ‘influencers,’ Claudia (@girlwithnojob) and Jackie (@jackieoproblems) have successfully built a following dedicated to watching their show live on YouTube every morning Monday-Friday. (Note: Episodes also are available in podcast form the same day). The Morning Toast tackles what Claudia and Jackie consider to be “the fast five stories you need to know before you take a bite of your morning toast,” in addition to regular recaps and special guests from Bravo shows and The Bachelor/Bachelorette.

What makes The Morning Toast unique is the girls’ ability to capitalize on the power of social media. With one dedicated Facebook group of ‘Toasters’ and over a hundred Toast-related others, the girls have fostered a true online community. That’s not to mention their combined 3.2 million Instagram followers who faithfully follow the girls’ every move and fashion moment.

But beyond the online followers, what’s most impressive to me is their ability to transition this following into the real world. In September 2018, the girls put on what they coined as Camp Toast, a weekend getaway in the Poconos with 87 of their most loyal followers. By the following May, the second annual Camp Toast had doubled in size with about 200 participants. With no signs of slowing down (i.e. the creation of the Toast News Network, and Claudia’s sold out Dirty Jeans comedy tour), these girls have created a one of a kind community for their millennial-based audience.

2. Absolutely Not

Hosted by comedian Heather McMahan, the Absolutely Not podcast “breaks down the everyday struggles of doing the most, and the least, at the same damn time.” With a segment where she listens to voicemails left on the “Absolutely NOT-Line” – her voicemail box that allows listeners to call in with their life complaints – Heather has created a community that ensures her fans feel seen and heard by their favorite comedian.

Similar to The Morning Toast, Heather has leveraged the power of social media to create an online presence, and just this year, she started touring the country on The Farewell Tour. Heather even took her presence overseas, going on a week-long vacation to Italy with a group of 20 women in November. By creating a more intimate and personalized experience, Heather is able to build a loyal listener-base that will attend her shows decked from head-to-toe in animal print attire.

3. Affectiva Asks

Created by Emotion AI pioneer Affectiva, Affectiva Asks explores “how we can put human before the artificial as AI manifests in our daily lives.” With guests including the world’s top thinkers in automotive, healthcare, robotics, academia and more, this podcast will have you considering what it would be like for technology to understand people the way we understand each other.

Affectiva Asks differs from my other two favorites in that it is produced by a business, as opposed to an individual(s). Nevertheless, Affectiva Asks does a great job bringing listeners into the world of AI, with insights from industry experts. And although Affectiva has not yet built experience around the podcast in the same way as the others, the podcast team was on-site at the company’s Emotion AI Summit where they spoke with six leaders about the future of human-centric AI.

So, as 2020 ramps up, we’ll have to keep an eye on which podcasts continue to rise (or stay) at the top of the charts. We can likely expect the emergence of more “celebrity” podcasters and the continued monetization of podcasts through influencer endorsements. But, we’ll also probably see more shows hitting the road, taking their podcasts on tour across the country as a means to build their brand and connect with audiences on a deeper level.

If your brand is looking to develop, distribute and promote a corporate podcast, don’t hesitate to reach out.