Podcasts are a hot favorite in China. Source: Shutterstock

Podcasts are a hot favorite in China. Source: Shutterstock

China loves podcasts and marketers need to get in on the action

PODCASTS don’t seem like a winner for businesses looking to market themselves — especially in a market like China where smartphones and video content is so popular — but they are. Marketers that ignore them are missing out.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the total number of podcast listeners grew from 348 million in 2017 to 425 last year, and the number is expected to go up further.

While the rest of the world listens to podcasts on platforms such as Google Podcasts and Spotify, Chinese users prefer Ximalaya FM — whose growth trajectory the SCMP discusses in its article.

However, for those doing business in China and looking to create an impression on customers and influencing them to make a purchase, podcasts also offer a great opportunity.

Ximalaya FM’s competitors are Lizhi FM and Dragonfly FM — and together, they have just over 560 million users.

In fact, Ximalaya FM told the SCMP that the average user spends 150 minutes a day on the app and has more than five million people creating and uploading content to the platform.

To any marketer, these numbers are incredible — and highlight the opportunity in the market.

Podcasts usually offer quite a high return on investment as listeners are quite loyal and generally listen without skipping segments.

Further, podcast creators, especially in crowded markets, usually create niche content, making life easier for marketers when looking for the best options to carry their brand’s voice and message.

What can digital marketing managers do with podcasts?

The most straightforward way for marketers to invest in a podcast is to become a title sponsor, series sponsor, or even a feature/episode sponsor — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are some creative ways for marketing managers to engage with podcast creators:

#  1 | Brand mentions

Podcasts generally gain popularity among groups with a strong interest in a specific category or segment. As a result, listeners tend to hang onto every word uttered by the host.

When engaging with podcast creators, brands can, therefore, work with the host and producer to weave brand mentions into the show in a way that seems reasonable and natural.

Doing so not only makes an impact on the audience but also, according to experts, boosts brand recall significantly.

# 2 | Business and partner interviews

Digital marketing managers that represent brands that aren’t very well known to a market or segment can work with podcast creators, hosts, and producers to create a series that is centered on the business and the people associated with the brand.

Of course, it has to be of interest to the podcast and its audience.

However, if deemed suitable, such a show could make a significant impact on the audience, helping them hear from the company’s leadership as well as key clients and learn from honest discussions between them and the trusted podcast host.

# 3 | Series co-host opportunities

Digital marketing managers that want to invest in a podcast that has the right audience might decide to go all in and make time for a business leader to join the podcast as a co-host.

This is a difficult proposition and not only requires the brand’s digital marketing team to make significant efforts to find and groom the business leader for the show but also needs the podcast’s producer and host to make adjustments to their show to welcome the new co-host without turning-off the audience.

If successful, however, the rewards can be significant — boosting brand image, reputation, value, as well as brand recall.