A Podcast Prognosis – 5 Trends to Keep in Mind for 2021

For the podcast industry, 2020 was a particularly good year. We have experienced growth of the format at breakneck speed and can look back on countless new podcast gems which popped out of nowhere. You can discover OmniPod’s favorite shows of the past year here.

Podcasts have become many people’s favorite media in the last couple of years. Reasons are widespread, but one is that podcasts are easy-to-consume formats which usually require nothing more than your mobile phone.

The question is: what’s next?

There are plenty of predictions making the round for 2021, including a flurry of technological progress and another rise of popularity of podcasts. This way of content delivery becomes more and more attractive not only for private people who want to or have already secured their spot in the business. Also marketers and companies have discovered its huge reach and excellent reputation, which is why the overall competition will become bigger.  

Read on to discover some of the main trends for the podcast year 2021. What’s certain is that if there’s ever been a good time to jump on the train, it’s now.

Trend #1: Higher podcast platform competition

If you want to start with podcasting you first need a hosting platform to store your files and share it with your audience. And if you listen to podcasts you usually go to Spotify, Apple Podcast, iHeartRadio or use one of the many other options out there.

The different providers which are called, amongst others, Buzzsprout, PodBean or Captivate, are constantly developing and playing themselves off against each other. They offer different features and benefits, easy-to-handle surfaces, some are more suitable for beginners than others, and most of them have free versions but you can also pay to get even more out of it. A lot of competition which is already there, and this process will even intensify in 2021, as new platforms will appear to fight for the pole position. And there are rumors that social media platforms want to get into the act, as Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube intend to launch their own podcasts directly on their already existing platforms.

A new platform to consider in 2021 to host your podcast is OmniPod. The app offers recording and editing of podcasts in a simple, fast and effortless way. You do not even require expensive recording equipment, which makes OmniPod suitable if you want to try out and set foot into the podcast business. Recorded podcasts an be shared with your network in no time and you get instant feedback

Trend #2: New podcasts and more podcasters

2021 will possibly be the year for “medium” podcasts and podcasters. These “sleeper” shows, as we may call them, from creators with modest audiences and high growth potential will make their way forward and successfully compete with the big ones who often have huge network backing. During the pandemic, more podcasters decided to take advantage of lockdowns and downtimes to start something new, such as podcasting. With relatively little costs and efforts, they have managed to set up their projects, and at least some of them will really break through in 2021.

One reason for this development is that these smaller shows usually achieve a closer relationship with the listeners. It is more of a personal link because the producers are rather normal people themselves and not inaccessible celebrities who have their own fancy lives and we as average listeners cannot refer to. Listening to these “sleeper” podcasts will make you feel that you’ve joined a community.    

Trend #3: A change of content strategy

News podcasts have always ranked top and are still extremely popular, as it is a convenient way to keep oneself up to date on what is happening in the world. However, with 2021 hopefully being a less COVID-19-dominant year and with the US elections that have passed, people will turn more to other forms of content.

This year is dedicated to be the “hygge” year of podcasting – more distraction to take your mind off the serious stuff, and less news and politics. More niche shows will appear, since new podcasters have to distinguish themselves from already existing material. And, as the age range of podcast listeners has expanded significantly, more shows for specific age groups will appear, such as more podcasts for kids.

Trend #4: New podcast formats

Influenced by TikTok which had its breakthrough in 2020 with short video constraints, podcast consumers are increasingly looking for content to fill their lunch breaks or dish-washing times after dinner. Or the short evening stroll with the dog around the block. Tina Verma, Senior Producer at CBC Podcasts, states accurately:

“Short and Sweet. We need comfort. We need wisdom. We need laughs. And we’re going to get it in short bursts. Podcasts that speak to our new routines — midday walks, well-intentioned workouts, baking something other than sourdough — these will be the gaps that podcasters fill with habit-forming, to-the-point podcasts in 2021.”

These “micropods”, or whatever we want to call them, will infiltrate the podcast universe. We can look forward to short flashes of wisdom or a quick laugh which can easily be included in our everyday habits.

Something else that will pop up more in 2021 is to live-stream podcasts, which makes it possible to get instant feedback from and interaction with listeners. Together with more advanced technology, this interplay will connect hosts and audiences like never before and will definitely maximize listener engagement and growth of fanbases.

Trend #5: Growing businesses with podcasts

Mobile phones have changed our overall consumer behavior. Besides social media presence and visual channels, brands need to acquire an audio identity on their road to success to reach their potential customers, on their smartphones. That’s why, in 2021, significantly more money in marketing budgets of companies is going to be dedicated to podcast productions.

What is more, businesses and companies have slowly started to realize that the popularity of podcasts can be of great use for them. Podcasts will be utilized as a marketing tool. And it is now that the effects will be highest, because this way of promoting businesses is not yet widely adopted.  

Here’s to another great podcast year that lies ahead of us!