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Meet the Era of Audio Influencers

by Victoria Skiba

Imagine the “I want to believe” type of situation: you were taken by aliens, let’s say, three years ago, and they returned you back to Earth now, in 2021. The first question you’d probably ask is “Why are all people wearing masks?”, the second would be “What the heck is Clubhouse and why is everyone so obsessed with it?”, and the third would be “Why are there so many podcasts now?”.

Meet the era of audio influencers

A Poseidon-like wave of influencers once flooded the whole world. Just around a year ago, the second wave of audio creators appeared on the horizon. But why?

Let’s figure out:
What’s so cool about the influencer “society” and how to get in
Why audio influencer marketing is even a thing
What to listen in all this craziness of podcasts
How to style your podcast and turn it into a brand

What’s so cool about the influencer “society” and how to get in

Back in 2019, Google received over 60K search queries for “influencer marketing” per month. The team behind Merriam-Webster Dictionary finally added these long-used words and phrases to their database: tweetstorm, buzzy, gig economy, on-brand, and of course—influencer.

So much has happened since 2019, but you know it all. What you probably don’t know is that:

The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019, according to Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data.

Business Insider, Influencer Marketing Report, 2021

And what’s most important, is that “The future lies with micro-influencers, not megastars with millions of followers”, as predicts Kali Ridley, PMM at Brand Studio, Google. She also states that:

Micro-influencers have smaller followings — between 1,000 and 100,000 — but those followers form more of a community, and as a result, they’re able to craft messages that will really resonate with their fans.

Kali Ridley, PMM, Brand Studio, Google

Such predictions bring a lot of hope for a more balanced-out future of influencer marketing. People already started to support their local brands and creators, so we believe that the next big step for all of us is to begin filtering the flood of information and become a bit pickier when it comes to following and supporting someone.

There are millions of influencers now, and it’s hard to believe that just several years ago, this billion-dollar marketing machine did not even have a proper term in the dictionary.

Our data reveals a 3.2 million – 37.8 million estimation for the total number of influencers on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

Mediakix, The research on the number of influencers
across the major social media platforms.

Influencers teach makeup tricks, show their amazing travels, joke around, create unbelievable DIY projects, plant trees, and play video games. They seem to do the same things all humans do, so why can’t all people be influencers by default? And what to do if you’re an aspiring creator who wants to become an influencer?

Influencers don’t just appear from nowhere. First, they put a lot of effort into becoming someone people can relate to and trust. Then, they try to keep that trust and grow the follower base for some time. And only after that can they secure the position of someone, who can impact others, and especially their decisions to buy a product, use a service, or donate to some organization.

It does not really matter what influencers do, it’s how they do it. That is, how often they do it, how sincere they are while doing it, and how inspired you are after watching them doing it.

Source: Behance, INFLUENCERS by Bernat Casasnovas Torres

There are no unified rules that will help you build a successful influencer career, but there are things that every accomplished influencer certainly did before they became popular.

  • Be yourself—Prepare to show your real personality to the world, if you want people to believe you and eventually start listening to your advice.
  • Create—Above all, influencers are creators, so when someone likes your content, they tell friends about it. And the more content you create, the more people relate to it and want to follow your work.
  • Be useful—When you’re an aspiring creator who wants to make money online, it’s hard not to get carried away with multiple integrations. But followers usually don’t stick around for long if the influencer starts putting more ad integrations than the actual content people came for in the first place. Don’t focus all your efforts solely on monetization. It never works out well. What’s really important is to keep balance and make content that people need.
  • Pay attention—In order to have an impact, it’s important to understand what is it that your audience wants most right now. This would be impossible to figure out without hours of research that influencers usually spend to come up with new content.
  • Communicate—Talk to your followers, ask questions, read their comments. Respect their opinions (if they’re sane and well-reasoned) because if you listen to them, these people will show their gratitude with even more feedback and ideas for your future growth. Go build a community!

All these tips are pretty straightforward, and you probably already know them. But if you really follow them diligently and consistently, the growth won’t keep you waiting for long. Besides, the approach works for any branch of influencer marketing: visual content (Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.), text (Twitter, Reddit, and personal blogs), and audio (podcasts, live conversations, streaming).

Why audio influencer marketing is even a thing

Now, let’s delve a little deeper into audio influencer marketing, which would be impossible without podcasts that are peaking in popularity. As of 2020, almost 80 million people in the US alone listen to podcasts since it’s one of the most common ways to spend leisure time these days.

A tiny flashback

Not so long ago, we’ve been mostly listening to the radio, where all content is delivered in small pieces. One radio station can employ many people, including hosts who create and deliver such content as news, weather, music, and short interviews, all in a well-thought-out sequence. Podcasts are usually held by one or several hosts and are broken down into episodes, each dedicated to one key topic but still have one major traceable theme. These two notions are so similar, so why did we even flop over to podcasts in the first place? Podcasts are more personalized, this is why. With a list of shows going up to millions, you can always choose a subject you’re most interested in. Radio simply doesn’t allow you such freedom. You can change a station, but you can’t decide on the content you want to hear.

It would be tough for a podcast to become popular just by quietly existing. Content creators behind podcasts usually gain their follower base via major social media such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. But social media noise is so loud, and for a podcaster who wants to promote their work efficiently, it gets harder and harder to get through this flow of information to reach their audience. Influencers became more sophisticated and now manage to blend personal and business content so well that you sometimes don’t even notice the promotion.

The next logical step in the evolution of influencer marketing is the appearance of a new social media, which gives podcast creators the opportunity to start all over and be among the first influencers on the platform. Make the network an invite-only space, and consider it successfully hyped (yes, this is about Clubhouse, if you’re still wondering).

Source: Behance, Clubhouse Brand Identity Concept by Alexis Balinoff

No wonder that after only one year in existence, a cozy network Clubhouse turns into a massive audio influencer marketing machine. The more people come to see the show, the more influence you have as a show host. Podcast creators can finally communicate with each other and with their followers in a way that’s most convenient for them—by voice.

Moreover, Clubhouse is a place where you can stumble upon people of all professions and hobbies. We can listen and talk to movie stars, athletes, musicians, public speakers, scientists, and everyone else, whose work we admire and follow on other social media.

Some conversations are just friendly talks about hobbies or work, while others are about day-to-day issues, stereotypes, climate change, politics, economy, and science. Everyone can find their type of “club” and hang out with people from all over the world.

Clubhouse introduced to the world a new way of communication. It breathed a new life into influencer marketing which now gradually branches out into something different, previously unavailable for creators—live audio influencing.

Podcasts remain an effective instrument for promotion integrations, but a nice friendly talk with your followers has a lot of potential too, and can even turn out to be more effective. Live conversation means no post-production. Live conversation is sincere, engaging, and can evoke more intensive emotions than a podcast. Therefore it’s very powerful when it comes to the question of impact.

Now, imagine you’re listening to a Clubhouse live speech of some scientist explaining the benefits of a well-established sleeping routine. Everyone in the “room” is hooked because the topic is on-trend and very relatable. Then, almost randomly, a scientist mentions the perfect mattress for sleep, obviously from the expert point of view. How powerful do you think is that? (Hint: it is powerful indeed, someone definitely bought that mattress)

What to listen in all this craziness of podcasts

Now that we’ve figured what’s going on in the world of influencer marketing and particularly audio content, let’s move on to the fun piece of this article. We’ve prepared a list of podcasts that are worth listening to, if you haven’t already. Podcasts that can teach you something new, make you laugh, inspire you to drive your own marketing strategy, or simply lighten up your day.

Podcasts about art, creativity, and writing 🎨

Great conversations about the state of modern-day art, the challenges artists face, especially in recent years, and where these artists find inspiration to create something incredible every day. Listen to inspiring people talking about inspiring things to …well, get inspired!

Meet me at the museum—“Famous faces take their best mate, their mum, their neighbour (whoever they want) for an afternoon at a favourite museum or gallery. As well as getting a peek behind the scenes, seeing what makes a museum tick, it’s also the starting point for some great conversations about life, the universe and everything.”

Analog Talk—“Christine Bartolucci and Timothy Ditzler talk about film photography. Each week they bring on a special guest co-host and discuss their love of analog photography.”

C41—Exciting series of interviews with photographers, hosted by Willem Verbeeck. Learn about the modern state of photography and art in general from the very source—its creators!

The Modern Art Notes—“Each week, artists, art historians and authors join host Tyler Green to discuss their work.”

99% Invisible—“A sound rich, narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.”

Keep Creative—“Founder, Cherise Vecchio interviews creatives who are sharing with us behind the scenes and the reality of building a successful creative venture, all while doing it in an ethical and sustainable way. Cherise also shares her experiences as a freelancer and marketing professional giving insight on how you can too live a lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.”

Art For Your Ear—Enjoy Danielle (aka The Jealous Curator), finding out “why artists do certain things, what’s going on in their personal lives, and behind-the-scenes details about other artists they know and work with.”

The Last Podcast by Zac Little—“A show that used to be about being a better creative person and is now about being a better, creative person.”

My Forever Studio—“Imagine being able to make your perfect studio. Where would it be? What would it look like? And if you only had six pieces of gear to choose from, what would they be? Hosts and shameless nerds Chris Barker and Will Betts guide guests through the dramatic journey to studio foreverdom.”

Overtime—”Dribbble’s official podcast that goes behind the shots of your favorite designers.”

Scriptnotes Podcast—“Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.”

That Creative Life—Amazing podcast, hosted by YouTuber and creative entrepreneur Sara Dietschy. “On this podcast, you will find candid conversations with the best artists and business professionals in the world. Cheers to living your best creative life!”

Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin—“Alec Baldwin takes listeners into the lives of artists, policy makers and performers. Alec sidesteps the predictable by going inside the dressing rooms, apartments, and offices of people we want to understand better: Ira Glass, Lena Dunham, David Letterman, Barbara Streisand, Tom Yorke, Chris Rock and others. Hear what happens when an inveterate guest becomes a host.”

Podcasts about marketing, business, and finance 💰

Sometimes, you want to listen to valuable information for your profession. Learn how to boost your business, take hold of your finance, and engage your audience with smarter and more efficient marketing activities.

Marketing Over Coffee—“A weekly discussion of what’s new in marketing with John Wall and Christopher Penn.”

Harvard Business Review IdeaCast—“A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.”

Call to Action—“A show about remarkable online marketing success stories and how you can apply the lessons to your own marketing campaigns. You can expect candid interviews with digital marketing professionals and thought leaders featured on the Unbounce blog, actionable tips, actionable tips for improving your conversion rates and exclusive offers for marketing optimization tools, events and resources.”

Perpetual Traffic—The duo of hosts Ralph Burns and Amanda Powell “shares cutting-edge strategies on acquiring leads and sales for your business through paid traffic.”

The Copyblogger Podcast—“A weekly show hosted by Tim Stoddart and Darrell Vesterfelt. Each week, we host a cast of rotating experts that analyze content marketing, copywriting, email marketing, conversion optimization, mindset, and much more.”

Social Pros Podcast—“Shines the spotlight on social media practitioners, people doing the real work for real companies. Each episode includes insights from a leading social media strategist plus current trends and ideas in the social media industry, discussed and ratified or debunked by Jay Baer of Convince & Convert and Adam Brown of Salesforce.”

Oh My Dollar!—“Lillian tackles your money overwhelm with practical, approachable financial advice (with a dash of glitter.) This is budgeting advice from someone that doesn’t assume you’re straight with a salary, retirement account, 2.5 kids, or a white picket fence. You’ll get helpful advice for folks left out by traditional finance, you’ll learn to reduce money stress and prioritize your values.”

Social Media Marketing Podcast—“Publishing weekly since 2012, this show helps marketers navigate the ever changing marketing jungle with expert interviews from leading marketing pros. Join Social Media Examiner’s founder Michael Stelzner as he helps you discover new strategies and actionable tips to improve your marketing.”

Podcasts about work, wellbeing, and burn-down 📌

Listen to people talking about their jobs, productivity, communication, barriers, and procrastination. Relatable, useful, and funny podcasts to play. To make this whole thing even more ironic—listen to podcasts about work while working.

Back to Work—“An award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.”

Cortex—“CGP Grey and Myke Hurley are both independent content creators. Each episode, they get together to discuss their working lives.”

Hurry Slowly—“A podcast about how you can find more calm, comfort, and clarity through the simple act of slowing down.”

Ctrl Alt Delete—Hosted by Emma Gannon, Ctrl Alt Delete “is not a traditional career podcast. It’s a podcast for people who’ve looked at their interests to shape the work they do. A top 10 Apple podcast about work, wellbeing & creativity — with 8 million downloads and counting.”

Focused—“David Sparks and Mike Schmitz are not nearly as productive as they’d like to be. Join these fellow travelers (and a bunch of special guests) as they share the best ways to get focused, and talk through their successes and failures along the way.”

Hey, Cool Job!—A podcast by Mary H.K. Choi, well, about jobs. She invites professionals from different business domains to discuss all the great things as well as hidden pitfalls about their work.

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day—“A podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.”

Podcasts about the internet, tech, and all things digital 💿

If you want to stay on top of everything related to technology, progress, AI, coding, this is for you. Listen to smart guys talking about smart things and then get along with all your gadgets like Magneto.

Accidental Tech Podcast—“Three nerds discussing tech, Apple, programming, and loosely related matters. Hosted by Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa.”

Mac Power Users—“Learn about getting the most from your Apple technology with focused topics and workflow guests. Creating Mac Power Users, one geek at a time since 2009. Hosted by David Sparks and Stephen Hackett.”

Reply All—The Guardian claims it is “‘a podcast about the internet’ that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it.”

a16z Podcast—A podcast that “discusses tech and culture trends, news, and the future – especially as ‘software eats the world’.“

It’s Complicated—Hosted by Tanya Goodin, It’s Complicated is “a podcast that untangles our relationship with our phones and the digital world, and investigates how we can all get a healthier, happier, relationship with tech.”

Invisibilia—“Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.”

Podcasts about birth, death, and what’s in between ⚡️

A gibberish of everything to entertain yourself in the evenings when you don’t know what to listen. Mostly funny, but not standup-comedy-like funny.

Dear Hank & John—A hilarious podcast by brothers Hank and John Green about everything you can imagine. You might already know John Green by his books that have a great tendency to become heartfelt movies (“The Fault in Our Stars”, “Paper Towns”, and more). Apart from dubious life advice, jokes, and discussions of climate change, these guys also have the week’s news from Mars (the planet) and AFC Wimbledon (the third-tier English football club).

The Anthropocene Reviewed—Another podcast by #1 New York Times bestselling author John Green. “The Anthropocene is the current geological age, in which human activity has profoundly shaped the planet and its biodiversity. On The Anthropocene Reviewed, John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale.”

Harmontown—“Founded in 2011, Harmontown is a near weekly live podcast by Dan Harmon (Community, Rick & Morty, Channel 101) featuring co-host “Comptroller” Jeff Davis (Whose Line Is It Anyway?).”

The Unmade Podcast—Want to hear a podcast about making podcasts? Check out the Unmade Podcast, where “Tim and Brady discuss ideas for podcasts that they will (probably) never make.” Liked one of their brilliant ideas and want them to actually make a podcast about that? You can wait for it but you better not. It’s possible they never make one.

You’re wrong about—“Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider a person or event that’s been miscast in the public imagination.”

Heavyweight—“Jonathan Goldstein goes back to the moment everything changed. Join Jonathan for road trips, thorny reunions, and difficult conversations as he backpedals his way into the past like a therapist with a time machine. From Gimlet Media.”

Life is Short with Justin Long—“Is it just me or is time flying by? How do we make the most out of our short time here on Earth? That’s what we’re here to find out. I’m Justin Long and I’ve been an actor for most of my life, so I’m used to getting inside the heads of the characters I play. But now that I’m getting older, I want to peek inside the heads of real people to learn how they find meaning in life.”

Spirits—“A boozy podcast about mythology, legends, and folklore. Every episode, co-hosts Julia and Amanda mix a drink and discuss a new story or character from a wide range of places, eras, and cultures. Learn brand-new stories and enjoy re-tellings of your favorite myths, served over ice every week, on Spirits.”

Hello Internet—Enjoy Brady Haran and CGP Grey chatting about tech, weird things, YouTube, and life. This is the same Brady who does The Unmade Podcast, and CGP Grey who you might already know from the Cortex podcast.

Podcasts about everything on-trend 📢

Listen to speakers discussing climate crisis, economy, politics, space, pop culture, and whatever you’d discuss with your friends on a Friday night after two glasses of wine. (Literally a continuation of the previous part just served with a slightly different sauce)

Kottke Ride Home—“In just 15 minutes, the coolest stuff that happened in the world today. Science, progress, life-hacks, memes, exciting art and hope. The antidote to depressing headlines. Smart stuff in podcast form.”

The Joe Rogan Experience—We feel like there’s no need to introduce Joe Rogan and his 10M+ subscriber podcast. Just listen to it if you haven’t already!

Planet Money—”The economy explained. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, “Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.” Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening.”

This American Life—“A weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme.”

Call Your Girlfriend—“A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere co-hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, and executive produced by Gina Delvac. Every week, Aminatou and Ann call each other to discuss the intricacies of pop culture and the latest in politics.”

Flash Forward—”A critically acclaimed podcast about the future. In each episode, host Rose Eveleth takes on a possible (or not so possible) future scenario — everything from the existence of artificial wombs, to what would happen if space pirates dragged a second moon to Earth. By combining audio drama and deep reporting, Flash Forward gives listeners an original and unique window into the future, how likely different scenarios might be, and how to prepare for what might come.”

Ologies with Alie Ward—“Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists’ obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.”

On the Media—this podcast “is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield examine threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear.”

Radiolab—“One of the most beloved podcasts and public radio shows in the world. The show is known for its deep-dive journalism and innovative sound design. Created in 2002 by host Jad Abumrad, the program began as an exploration of scientific inquiry. Over the years it has evolved to become a platform for long-form journalism and storytelling. Radiolab is co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.”

How to style your podcast and turn it into a brand

Podcasts are all about voice, not the image, but how do you promote it if not via social media? If you want people to recognize your podcast from thousands of others, it’s essential to develop a unique style.

Crello Editor has everything you need for branding:

  • 50K+ professionally designed templates for all your marketing needs
  • Millions of royalty-free photos, videos, and vectors
  • A variety of ready-made text styles
  • Logos, shapes, stickers, masks, and other design objects to decorate anything
  • A library of music tracks to spice up your visuals with high-quality sound
  • Brand Kits to make multiple presets and create designs in your style even faster

And of course, easy-to-use design features to create posts, stories, ads, covers, posters, and more. What’s even better, you don’t need to have advanced design skills to create striking visuals in minutes.

All you need to do is create a Crello account, choose a template, and start designing! In case you have your own images, fonts, and music, just upload it all to Crello and design awesome visuals from scratch.

Wrapping up

Firstly, thank you for reading this abundance of words till the end! Secondly, we hope you found this material useful and fun to read. But most importantly, we wish you to stay on top of all things design, creativity, and inspiration. Make podcasts, make awesome visual content and marketing stuff, and Crello is always here to deliver you fresh ready-made, top-quality templates for all your creative projects!

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