In the last year, I’ve noticed an increase in podcast content that feels like it was produced specifically for me. Some of my favourite shows from this year include Normal Gossip, This is Dating, Scamfluencers, and Maintenance Phase– all shows that feel very targeted exactly to my Millennial Women demographic. This fairly new wave of content targeted toward my demographic has got me thinking: Where are all the brands?
I spend more time scrolling through TikTok and Instagram than I’d care to admit, so I feel pretty comfortable saying that brands are putting in work to reach my demographic on social media. Barely five minutes into scrolling and I’m coming across some makeup influencer, sponsored skincare routine, or branded hair tutorial. The data backs this up — 77% of influencers monetizing their content are women. Marketers have been aware for a long time that women are powerful consumers. Millennial women in particular are entering a stage of life with (hypothetical) disposable income, (hypothetical) young family to purchase for, and (hypothetical) greater purchasing power. For marketers, it makes sense to follow your target consumer to the platforms where they are. But for some reason, brands specifically targeting Millennial women have been noticeably absent from the branded podcast space. And that’s a huge miss.
What’s The Opportunity?
The 2022 Women’s Podcast Report by Edison Research and SXM Media reveals some important data that all marketers should know. The gender gap in podcast listening is closing, with women making up 48% of podcast listeners. And the total population of women who listen to podcasts is also growing — one in three women 18+ reported listening to podcasts monthly. Mirroring overall data about podcast listeners, women who listened to podcasts are more likely to be younger, employed, highly educated, high-income earners, and parents. It’s bizarre that the medium has been so largely ignored by content marketers.
Podcast networks and advertisers have been overlooking or dismissing women since the word “podcast” was invented. A recent article in the Washington Post profiling Dear Media highlights this. Though the founders of the women-centric network had proven success with a widely downloaded podcast, they struggled to find investment from legacy media companies. They felt that none of the networks, “took them seriously or were interested in serving a primarily female audience.”
This sentiment has permeated, impacting the type of content that large media corporations have produced, and thus, the perceptions about what type of content belongs in podcasting. But this sentiment doesn’t reflect the reality of who is listening to podcasts. Despite an arguable lack of content created especially for women, they continue to engage with podcasts, and the shows that have invested in creating content specifically for women have found success.
Fill the Gap
The lack of content specifically targeting women also means there is a large gap that brands can fill. According to the Women’s Podcast Report, 55% of women listeners would listen to even more podcasts if more shows included stories and perspectives of women, and over half said they would listen to more podcasts if they were hosted by women. Just as brands have invested in influencers and content creators who are women, brands have an opportunity to invest in women podcast producers, storytellers and hosts to reach their target audience authentically. Brands have an opportunity to provide women with a gift– content that reflects their experiences, speaks to them directly, and features women they can relate to. With the current push towards “de-influencing” and increased scrutiny of influencer marketing, producing genuine content that fills a real need for your target audience of women can bring you unmatched brand affinity and recognition.
So, What Podcast Should You Make?
According to the Women’s Podcast Report, there are some specific subject matters and genres that women are keen to listen to. Overall, women want to hear other women’s perspectives on mental health, friendship, self-care, and dating. Beyond this, women love podcasts that make them laugh, shows about love & relationships, news and celebrity gossip shows, and shows focusing on wellness and self-improvement. They also (unsurprisingly) listen to a lot of true crime podcasts.
While this is helpful information for brands looking to develop a podcast that women will enjoy, I think the most important takeaway from the report is that women want to hear from other women they relate to. There is no one podcast that’s going to appeal to all women– we’re not a monolith, and content preferences vary across age, ethnicity, location, parental status, and more. So, if you’re a brand looking to resonate with women, the biggest piece of advice I can offer is to hire a host that reflects your target audience and hire women from your target audience to produce your podcast. This is the most important way for your content to connect genuinely and authentically.
And for all of the beauty, fashion, wellness, and fitness brands that keep coming up on my FYP: The podcast waters are warm– jump on in!