Confession: I love podcasts. Since podcasts are generally multitask-friendly (when you’re okay with being just a little distracted), I often listen to a few hours of podcasts a day — in the car, while cooking or doing chores around the house, and as a part of my morning and evening routines. With all of this listening, I’ve been pegged as a pseudo-Podcast Evangelist by some around the office, which ranks (only) third on the list of embarrassing titles I’ve managed to rack up over the past year at PMG.
What keeps me hooked on podcasts is their breadth of scope: From a show discussing Better Call Saul featuring the cast and crew of the actual show, to a surreal fictional radio show about a town plagued by mysterious happenings, to celebrities or companies looking for new channels to reach their audiences, you can find podcasts about basically any topic, ever.
The flip side of this incredible diversity is the amount of noise in the space. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “iTunes alone now offers more than 285,000 podcasts,” which means the nonconformists and indie productions who only distribute via Stitcher, SoundCloud or other hosting/aggregation sites boost the number even higher. If you’re not one of the 39 million Americans who listened to at least one podcast in March (or one of the 7 million who listened all the way through 12 episodes, or 8.5 hours, of This American Life’s blockbuster spin-off Serial), you may feel a bit intimidated, especially if you’re a digital or tech fan feeling the pressure to be in the know. That’s where my next bit of evangelism comes in. Buckle up, podcast newbies…
(head’s up: for each of the below shows I’ve tried to point to some of my favorite episodes using hyperlinks. Sorry for the link-fest, but you’re welcome for removing your need to think 🙂 )
Podcasts covering Digital News & Trends
Even though we at PMG love talking about climbing mountains, moving to a new demographic segment or just plain moving, this is, at the end of the day, a digital ad agency blog. So it would be remiss of me to neglect the podcasts that cover our industry from different angles. It can be difficult to find good marketing podcasts from actual professionals, but the below podcasts cover plenty of need-to-know with a bit of fun-to-know thrown in.
- The Digiday Podcast – Produced by the well-known digital and agency news site, this weekly show discusses news and trends affecting agencies, social media and publishers in the digital space.
- The Mobile Mixed Podcast – Greg Hickman’s podcast is most applicable for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but he regularly covers relevant issues like Mobile Web optimization, SMS campaigns (#tbt) and mobile strategy. Episodes of Mobile Mixed are short-and-sweet, a great intro for those looking to expose themselves to mobile marketing.
- Exponent – Exponent is a fly on the wall-style podcast of weekly conversations between Ben Thompson of Stratechery.com and James Allworth, writer at Harvard Business Review, Director of Strategy at Medallia and co-author of How Will You Measure Your Life? They’re two very smart guys, and they cover the gamut of technology and digital trends from current headlines to long-term theories of how the space will turn out. Dry at times, but always insightful perspective.
- HBR Ideacast – Created by Harvard Business Review. The HBR Ideacast features bite-sized snippets of interviews with authors, researchers and other thought leaders on leadership, creativity and other “work smarter, not harder” types of topics. Great for introductions to books or influencers you may have never encountered before.
Favorite Podcasts for People Living the #DigitalLife
What’s an article about podcasts without some of the cooler creative shows thrown in? If you’re new to podcasting or unsure about its role in the media space, start here. These shows are all interesting and probably relevant to your day (or at least better than endless T-Swift and used car commercials during your commute).
- Reply All – Hosted by the two hilarious former hosts of WNYC’s TLDR, Reply All is the second podcast launched by podcast startup Gimlet Media. Reply All takes on all kinds of stories related to the internet, from one of the most famous dogs of Instagram, to even creating their own holiday called “Email Debt Forgiveness Day.” Comes out weekly and is definitely (seriously) worth a listen.
- 99% Invisible – This weekly show is billed as “a tiny radio show about design, architecture and the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.” If that sounds dry, it shouldn’t — 99PI has covered everything from lockpicking to the sound engineers who design and dub the sounds you hear while watching sports. If you’ve ever wanted to be that interesting person at cocktail parties, this show might be your ticket.
- This American Life – This American Life doesn’t focus on technology or the internet, but it is arguably the #1 radio show (and podcast) in the world. Hosted by Ira Glass, this weekly radio hour picks a different theme each week and serves up interesting stories on the theme. A couple of my faves are “What I Did for Love” and “Call for Help.”
- Serial – If you’ve read or heard anything about podcasts before — or read the intro above — you’re probably aware of Serial. The show follows a consistent storyline throughout the season, and Season 1 covered the true story of a murder investigation with troubling gaps in the case. The reporting and production is fantastic, making Serial a great intro for anyone wondering what the big deal is with podcasts. Start with the first episode and be prepared to binge-listen.
- Internet Explorer – This new podcast by Buzzfeed covers some of the oddest topics on the Internet. In addition to that, it’s also the former niche-clickbait-site now huge-clickbait-site-and-growing-media-company’s first foray into podcasting (now followed by Another Round).
- File under Why That Matters: As more and more large publishers make the jump into the podcast world, we on the advertising side will likely see trends like native audio ads and podcast branding buys grow, if podcasts like this one can continue to grow their audience.
Hey, you made it! Hopefully this post caught you up on all this podcasting the kids are talking about and pointed you toward some shows you might like. If not, give me a shout: I’m @cdbuckler on Twitter and always down to geek out about shows or news in the podcasting space.