My name is Sophie and I am a podcast-aholic. From the twisty mysteries of Serial to the statistical ponderings of Freakonomics, I consume hours of podcasts each week. And it seems I am not the only one. As this infographic from CopyBlogger shows, podcasts have seen an astounding growth in popularity over the last decade.

For brands, podcasts represent a massive opportunity to connect with their audiences. Indeed, we have already seen Square Space and MailChimp corner the market in podcast sponsorship. However, for smaller brands, podcasts also offer a fantastic content marketing opportunity. For me, one of the most amazing things about podcasts is that there really are no barriers to entry. You don’t need to buy airtime, or invest in expensive equipment. You just need a bit of audio kit, some editing software and most importantly, great stories.

If you work for a start-up, small business or charity, the chances are that you are driven by a passion for something. So why not turn that passion into a podcast, and get your ideas out there? Maybe you run a restaurant and could podcast a simple recipe each month? Or maybe your non-profit works with young people whose stories you could share, episode by episode? It’s a great way to communicate the purpose and personalities that drive your organisation.

Of course, creating podcasts isn’t a piece of cake. It will take a lot of hard work and grit to stick to finding, researching, recording and producing content on a regular basis. This is perhaps why so few brands have managed to sustain podcasting in the long term. However, if you can find powerful, relevant stories that people want to listen to and share, the benefits for your brand could be enormous.

Image by Nikolai Kashirin