Three Reasons People Listen to Religious Podcasts

Recently NPR and Edison Research released The Spoken Word Audio Report. This research focuses on Spoken Word Audio (all non-music audio) and its “share of ear” with American listeners. As podcasts, audiobooks, and streaming become more popular, Spoken Word content is also seeing an increase in the number of weekly and monthly listeners.

When we develop your organization’s broadcast outlets we must understand where, how, and why your listeners are consuming your content. Inside the Spoken Word Audio report – nestled away in one of the final pages – is a little nugget of insight that I believe will change the way you approach media with your organization.

When asked why they (listeners of Spoken Word Audio content) are listening to more Spoken Word Audio content in the religious category, respondents gave the following three reasons:

1. It’s easier to find content that is made for people like you.

2. You have found hosts who are like you and who you identify with.

3. It helps you stay connected to your religion or spirituality.

Now, how do these three answers apply to your content?

When we create your audio content – podcasts, audiobooks, audio streamed on our websites, or other digital mechanisms – we often think about taking your existing program (most likely built for radio distribution) and carbon copying it digitally. This can work… sometimes. But the future of Spoken Word Audio content is truly found in the answers above. Listeners to your content are seeking connection with your organization in a more intimate way. It is becoming equally about giving them a place where they feel a sense of community and identity as it is feeding them the content you have developed.

Here are a few things you can try to increase your chances of securing a stronger listener-base:

1. Create bonus episodes on your podcast channel where you give your listeners a behind-the-scenes listen into your organization and the personalities who make it work. If you bring them into your internal community, they will be given a chance to connect more deeply with your organization, giving them a higher level of affinity towards all you do.

2. Add a monthly live video of you recording your podcast content and share that with your donors/supporters/volunteers. Let them see your podcast being created and take time to do a live Q&A with viewers that gives them access to you.

3. Develop auxiliary resources that help your podcast listeners go deeper with your content. While the podcast is an amazing tool, we must call our people to act on the things we are sharing and teaching them. Create a downloadable PDF that they can access by visiting your website.

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