According to a recent study done by Nielsen, it was determined that, since 2000, the attention span of humans has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds, putting us below the attention span of goldfish! This downward trend presents a new challenge for utilities as they aim to stay relevant and make a lasting impression on their customers – not only do we need to compete for attention in a crowded digital landscape, we need to maintain it. In the energy sector, ideas for interesting content isn’t usually the problem as there are plenty of fascinating trends emerging all the time. So, what’s the answer? How can utilities evolve to produce content that both captures and captivates their audiences?

At Hydro Ottawa, we believe the answer is seeking out content mediums that build brand personality, foster two-way engagement, and tell a story. These days, consumers want to know brands are real, human and relatable. This can be achieved through a consistent style and message and through brand ambassadors. Based off research and trends, and the desire to build this kind of brand personality, we determined that developing an ongoing podcasting series would be the right step for Hydro Ottawa.

Why podcasts? Podcasts are a highly engaging content medium. In fact, research is revealing that podcasts are trending to be more engaging than video. While the average video watch time averages at 25-35 per cent, podcasts are showing an impressive listen/consumption rate of 84-93 per cent. This means that once people are tuning in, they continue listening for all or most of the episode. Part of why this engagement rate is so high is that they are convenient and require a low time commitment. Thanks to smartphones, Bluetooth, smart audio and podcast apps, the barriers are disappearing for people to quickly listen to a podcast while driving, performing chores around the house, or while working. Best of all, for podcast creators, it’s easy for listeners to subscribe and have episodes automatically download to their devices as they are released. This helps creators secure an audience for repeat touchpoints and to evolve a connection with their audience.

In May of this year (2019), Hydro Ottawa launched the ThinkEnergy podcast. Designed for creators and consumers of energy, Dan Seguin leads the conversation with industry experts on a variety of hot topics, including electric vehicle adoption, crisis communications, and LED streetlight conversion projects.  Throughout every episode, Dan aims to help his audience better understand the fast-changing world of energy.  

The research proved true for the success of the podcast. ThinkEnergy’s listen rates are currently averaging at 80 per cent. Our strategy to secure success has been to maintain a consistent bi-weekly publishing cadence as well as a consistent interview format, helping our audiences know when and what to expect. These efforts, paired with thorough promotion across all of our digital channels, have returned great results. So far, we’ve seen over 1,500 downloads in six months – and, it’s only the beginning!

Interested in more than just a ‘goldfish’ attention span for your organization’s content? Listen to the ThinkEnergy podcast at hydroottawa.com/thinkenergy! We hope to inspire you to join us in the conversation – either as a guest on our show, or perhaps starting your own podcast.