As podcasts continue to grow, the publishing industry is taking notice and incorporating them into their brand and marketing
By: Karina Quiran-Juarez
Podcasts have been rising in popularity ever since 2013 according to Pew Research Center. They are also fairly inexpensive to create and can help companies find their niche or target audience in a different way. So, it is no surprise that some unexpected industries – like the publishing industry - are starting to use podcasts to reach new audiences.
Being essentially free for consumers to listen to, podcasts are accessible to a wider audience. And with limited equipment required to start one, it is becoming much easier to create high-quality content through an audio format that allows publishers and authors to reach out through different branches of entertainment.
A recent Entrepreneur article titled “Why Podcasting Is The Next Marketing Frontier” mentions that podcasts “offer a great opportunity for conversations related to specific industries,” inspiring more discussion instead of just relying on written blog posts.
Publishers are now incorporating podcasts into marketing campaigns to promote their books and authors. One of the earliest signs of this merge was in May 2017 when the science-fiction and fantasy publisher, Tor Books, launched one of the first podcast imprints, Tor Labs.
In their blog post, the publisher stated that Tor Labs would be “a new imprint emphasizing experimental approaches to genre publishing, beginning with original dramatic podcasts.” Their first project was a science-fiction audio drama called Steal The Stars (which was also later published in novel form).
Another example is the We Are YA podcast that started in Aug. 2019. Produced by the young adult publisher Penguin Teen, this podcast aims to share “all things YA with the amazing authors that make up the modern YA community.”
The incorporation of podcasts into publishers’ promotional strategies also allows for greater in-depth discussion with authors and topics relating to their craft. If a reader follows a particular author or genre of books, podcasts provide a way of offering a more personal and in-depth experience to learn more.
The difference in reach from print to those who prefer audio formats also offers increased potential for more engagement between both types of audiences. Forbes reported about how publishers are learning to appreciate podcasts, stating that podcasts “provide value to a publisher because they represent a path to a healthy and engaged fanbase that cross pollinates with an author or a franchise's audience, broadening both.”
Lauren Shippen, creator of a popular audio drama podcast The Bright Sessions, was tapped to adapt a series of young adult novels based on characters in the show. According to Publisher’s Weekly the first printing of Shippen’s novel “The Infinite Noise” was 75,000 copies.
The publisher also had one of the voice actors from the podcast narrate his character in the audiobook.
Statistia has reported that by 2020, podcast listenership will increase by 13 million. It would be wise for publishers and other businesses to incorporate podcasts into their marketing as it continues to be on the rise.
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