Are brands content creators?
Better question: should they be content creators? Even better question: what kind of content creators should they be?
I used to listen to a lot of podcasts. It was a problem.
At one time, I was subscribed to 45 podcasts, each one updated weekly and some updated twice a week. When you listen to that much content, you begin making mental notes of the shows you should drop. You come up with rules.
- If the show took more than four minutes to get to the point, hard unsubscribe.
- If the show had bad production values (bad sound, clicking, typing, hissing, etc.), it was gone.
- If the show had advertising every 10 min, it was cut.
The last point, about advertising, is problematic. Some relatively short podcasts, maybe less than 30 min, would typically include two or three ad reads, each one about a minute-and-a-half in length. That’s 22% of the total runtime of a “short” podcast.
More annoying than listening to the same ad reads was the constant interruption of the main topic of discussion.
Brought up on traditional media for so long, we’re all used to ad interruption. But with streaming and subscription-based platforms, interruption is a thing of the past—content consumption is controlled by the creators and users, not by advertisers.
So, what does this mean for brands that want to get their message out to listeners? If it’s so easy to skip their ads, how will they be heard?
Brands must create content that draws people in
Repetition and frequency don’t work anymore. Forced interruptions will not stand. Why pay to advertise on a podcast or platform when you can just produce the content people want to listen to?
A recent Apple iOS update included the ability for paid subscriptions for creator-owned podcasts, further incentivizing brands as content creators. With more companies moving towards subscriptions, this will accelerate the process.
I can’t imagine a future where brands interrupt our experience with their messaging. Instead, I see brands creating an experience I want to opt into.