The rise of industry podcasts

The first time I was ever hooked on a podcast was with the one and only Serial. Sarah Koenig’s masterful weaving of a narrative so compelling and shocking had me taking “the scenic route” every chance I could, so as not to have to leave my car before the episode ended.

Serial not only kicked off a decade-long campaign for the freedom of the accused but also earned her the very first Peabody Award ever given to a podcast, among a slew of accolades. With the success of Serial, a new era of podcasting was born.

As a podcast producer, I am often asked by clients to benchmark against what’s out there on the scene and to give compelling recommendations accordingly. Without a doubt, the most popular podcast types in the UAE today are interview and conversational formats.

It’s no wonder these formats lend themselves to almost any industry or subject matter. The formula is simple: a charismatic host or two speaks to popular figures in a given space. And it works—interview-style podcasts have been trending on social media for years, with the rise of mega-successful podcasts such as The Joe Rogan Experience, Diaries of a CEO, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, and the Lex Friedman Podcast.

Relatable formats

People often joke that conversational podcasts feel like you’re sitting around with friends—part of the conversation and in on the joke. They resonate with audiences because, in this day and age, our time is increasingly precious, and most industry professionals would like their entertainment with a side of fresh and current learnings.

Just as narrative-driven podcasts like Serial have captivated audiences worldwide, industry-driven podcasts in the Middle East are among the most listened to. Shows such as The Dukkan Show, DIFC Unplugged, and Dubai Works, along with numerous real estate podcasts, have cultivated loyal audiences.

Industry knowledge

An example I am more closely familiar with is The Creator Sessions, a podcast owned by Create. As an agency-led podcast, the show reflects what’s happening within the agency, diving into the complex worlds of the digital landscape, marketing, creativity, and social media.

Produced, hosted, and executed internally, each episode features leaders and innovators who are shaping the industry in their own ways. This podcast not only shares their successes but also dives deep into the challenges and disruptions in the digital world, offering listeners real-world solutions and inspiring stories.

The incentive to podcast

The impact of such specialized content is profound. In the rapidly evolving digital landscape of the UAE, niche content focused on specific industries and themes provides the ideal circumstances to foster a community of like-minded individuals.  Podcasts create a space for learning and networking that is hard to replicate in other media formats.

As members of the industry, your business is constantly garnering insights and learnings that, if shared through the vehicle of audio, through interviews, conversations, or even long and musing narratives, can position you as thought leaders, generate interest in your business, or even simply entertain and educate the public. So if you’ve been mulling pulling the trigger on your very own company podcast, you’re in great company.

By Tala Mukaddam, Business Lead, Brand & Podcasts at Create Group.