Many have tried, and many have failed. Now it looks like TikTok might be able to pick up the challenge of integrating podcasting into a social media platform.
For some reason, to date, audio has been too much of a challenge for the social spaces biggest players... Facebook have reversed out of its audio strategy, Twitter seem reluctant to develop some promising plans around Podcasting and Greenroom seems to have faded away after a promising start, but are TikTok in a position to buck that trend?
The buzziest of all social platforms is currently testing a new "podcast" feature that allows its users to continue listening to audio from within the app once they have navigated away to other destinations.
As it stands, there has been no official word from TikTok on plans for podcasting, but rather the "hidden" feature was discovered by blogger Emily Skvarc who unwittingly stumbled across what appeared to be testing of the new feature.
The lack of official word from TikTok means we can only speculate as to what the platform's plans might be, however given the prominence it gives to audio and music, you can see how it might be in a more advantageous position to take advantage than some of its social competitors.
My (purely speculative) view is that we are unlikely to see any kind of full podcast integration into the app, such as the ability to ingest RSS feeds. Instead, we will see TikTok introducing longer video content which can be tagged as "Podcasts", allowing users to consume the audio part of that content with or without the video accompaniment. As a result, this will blur the lines between video and podcasting even further, and produce a similar podcasting proposition to YouTube.
One advantage TikTok does have in this space is there seems to be a strong synergy between its user base and that audience's interest in podcasts, with the platform proving a very effective marketing tool for shows looking to reach their 3.5 billion users!
If you are looking to leverage TikTok to market your podcast audience, here are my top 5 tips:
Share highlights... but not just highlights
Show highlights are great for promoting your content (after all, it's what you do best) but mix up the content. Provide behind-the-scenes insight on your show or additional content that's not discoverable anywhere else. This is your opportunity to build a brand and personality around your podcast.
No camera, no problem
Filming podcasts is becoming more and more the norm, but not having access to a camera, or just feeling reluctant to get in front of one, needn't be a barrier to utilising TikTok as a platform. Apps like Headliner can help you optimise audio content for video platforms such as TikTok and help you publish content without your face.
Know your niche
TikTok has come a long way from its lip-syncing days and is now establishing itself as an endless source of information sought by people who want to know more about a myriad of topics (just see the success of BookTok). If your podcast focuses on a specific niche, then own that niche. Share your skills, knowledge, tips, and experience in your specialist area to build your own niche-specific TikTok audience... and make sure you use the right hashtags so people can find it too. #PodcastTip.
Be a tease
Anyone who has ever worked in (podcasting's big brother) radio will know the value of a tease. You needn't give away all your content on TikTok to get those views. A sneak peek at something that's coming? The end of a great story? The answer to a brilliant question? Think about what content you can post on the platform to entice the audience to search for your podcast elsewhere.
The key to all social media is interaction. TikTok, like other platforms, is not linear. It is best when you engage with those who engage with your content. To really make TikTok work for you, you need to become a part of the community. Reply to users in your comment section, reach out to creators making similar content, and generally explore and have fun. It will help your organic growth.