Podcasting that has purpose will win hearts in 2022

Podcasting that has purpose will win hearts in 2022

Are you thinking about launching a podcast in 2022?

First of all: good luck. With over two million podcasts out there vying for attention, your audio effort is going to have to work extra hard to grab your target audience in these soundbite-saturated times.

But all is not lost. Create something authentic that has a sense of purpose at its heart, and you’ll be able to connect at a more meaningful level with your listeners.

Used well, podcasting is emotive, providing an outlet for real voices, real people and real issues in a way that can feel more immediate and unfiltered than other formats. This is why podcasting lends itself to subjects that have an element of social purpose.

Audio content worth tuning into

Companies need to take a stand on issues beyond their own profits, if they are to win over stakeholders such as customers, employees and investors. And podcasting could be one of the mediums brands use to tackle some genuinely compelling topics – from social justice to social impact, impact investing, and everything in between.

So, if you want to create a podcast with a purpose, where do you start? Let’s look to some recent award-winning series to see what can be learned.

Be approachable

It’s easier to convey tone through audio than text, which means you can make it a genuinely absorbing listen – as well as informative. The result? ‘Difficult’ issues can become more approachable for people who aren’t already invested in them.

At this year’s British Podcast Awards, Vent Documentaries, a series sharing formative experiences of young people in the London borough of Brent [see main image], was one of the big winners.

It picked up three awards, and judges praised the podcast for a “brilliantly engaging listen” that provided “fresh insight into real lives as lived by young people”.

Create a sense of community

Look for ways for your podcast to become a starting point for people wanting to build communities, encouraging them to continue the conversation on social media or in-person with family and friends. This will amplify the impact of your podcast, giving it life after the final minute of each episode.

The European Parkinson’s Disease Association’s Parkinson’s Life podcast – which Speak Media produces – has been recognised with the Gold Award for ‘Best Branded Podcast’ at the 2021 International Content Marketing Awards. In the words of the EPDA, the podcast “gives a voice to the Parkinson's community on fundamental yet too often neglected issues”. Indeed, featured episodes have helped spark conversations on social media and beyond, on everything from fitness and food, to sex and relationships, to parenting and the pandemic.

Get personal

Listening to a podcast can be a surprisingly intimate experience. It’s just the listener and the podcaster who’s speaking directly into their earbuds. It’s a perfect environment for creating empathy – and that’s one of the first steps towards encouraging change.

Fearne Cotton, the host of wellness series Happy Place, was another winner at the British Podcast Awards, earning the ‘Podcast Champion’ prize for her efforts to open up conversations around mental health. Cotton doesn’t shy away from emotional subjects as she talks to guests about life, love, loss, and everything in between.

Sharing stories that matter

Before setting off to buy microphones, any aspiring podcaster should take a moment to think about whether they can create authentic audio content that goes beyond a self-serving look at their own brand.

By being approachable, creating a sense of community, and getting personal, you stand a good chance of connecting with your audience – and making a positive impact at the same time.