Podcasts And The Power of Conversational Storytelling

This week, AdWeek published an article that pinned Podcasts as the next big thing in advertising. Coming from a company that is centered on storytelling, and creating an authentic relationship with consumers, I was intrigued.

Think about radio advertising the way we know it. Personally, I don’t think I was ever more bothered than the times my entire driving commute consisted of in-your-face commercials. They know you’re stuck in your car and they have your ears for this dreaded rush hour drive. To consumers, it feels like an abuse of power and an unnecessary annoyance. Where’s the music?



Podcasting is a perfect hybrid of everything advertising aims to be today. Commercial time is little to none, and you don’t have to squeeze your message into a three minute spot. Instead, podcasts are an opt-in media source that holds listeners attention for 20-90 minutes! It’s digital, and accessible anywhere and anytime as long as you have a smartphone. Podcasts are generally lightly scripted, leaving speakers with lots of room to conversate and expand on the topic at hand, which creates a more authentic, educational experience. Remember Serial? People were obsessed (including myself, I spent the entirety of April 2016 listening to season one), Serial created a conversation with listeners that leaked into our everyday interactions with friends, coworkers, and families for months to follow.



Let’s apply this concept to other advertising mediums like sponsored content on social media and blogs, and differentiate between storytelling and storytelling through conversation. As someone who works everyday with influencers and brands to create sponsored stories that live on blogs, I’ve seen it all, good and bad. The goal is to get someone to read your entire story, and if you’re very lucky, click through to the brand’s site and make a purchase. There’s a big difference between a good story and just listing a product’s benefits. Personally, I’m not looking for a laundry list patting a brand on the back. The stories that have pulled me in the most are one’s that have a personal tie-in, and a perspective on the brand that goes deeper than just saying “This product is good because of A, B, and C”.



And then I think about the types of topics I’m most likely to engage with in my free time. I think about things trending on social media. They are trending because they have created a conversation within the social sphere. Everyone has their own perspective, and the story evolves through conversation. That’s why thoughtful social media marketing can be an incredibly affective way to create a relationship with your target audience, it asks them to get involved.


Podcasting just might be the next big thing for advertisers, but conversational storytelling is something that can and should be applied in all of our advertising efforts today.