Podcasts: Why Spanish-speaking creators are a superpower for branded content
With several studies pointing towards a sharp increase in awareness from and affinity with branded content, it's clear that custom podcasts provide brands with a direct path to engage with consumer values in an authentic and relatable way. In this piece, Natalia Aldasoro (creative strategist for Acast Creative, Americas) highlights how much there is to be gained from working with bilingual creators in the space.
From left to right: Lety Sahagún, Camilo, Ashley Frangie
My podcast journey started because I missed American reality TV. Embarrassing, I know.
I'm originally from - and currently based - in Mexico City, but my passion for marketing and fashion, deeply influenced by American culture, brought me to LA and New York for my college years and beyond (an extremely rare occurrence in Latin cultures, where the old fashioned status quo is to live with your parents until you marry). This is where my love of American reality TV started, and it persisted when I moved back to Mexico.
Not all American reality TV shows are broadcasted globally but, thankfully, my favorite podcast hosts were there to keep me in the loop instead. There are so many podcasts covering the latest episodes of pretty much every reality show you can think of – though, at the time, they were all in English. Spanish-speaking podcasts were mainly snippets of news radio or translations, and like any book or movie, content is always better in its original language.
Growing up bilingual is a privilege for native Spanish speakers. To this day, I can remember the songs from kindergarten that helped me learn English (“Pollito: Chicken, Gallina: Hen…”), and if you grew up in a household like mine, where my parents repeatedly said that English was the language of opportunity, being fluent was a priority. They were right. Knowing English has opened more doors than I could imagine, and even gave me a third language – let's call it street language – the infamous blend of Spanish and English - or 'Spanglish' which introduced me to a whole new community.
And then in 2019, I discovered ‘Se Regalan Dudas’, a podcast that dared to speak about taboo subjects that any girl who grew up in a Latin family could relate to. Their success came quickly: fast forward three years and they are now heard in more than 120 countries, with one bestselling book, two sold-out tours and three podcasts under the umbrella of their production company. Their success can be attributed not only to hard work, but also to that secret sauce that podcasters of every size hold dear: knowing your audience, understanding their needs, and never forgetting them. This mission has given them an understanding of the need for more content designed for a severely underserved audience: bilingual speakers.
Before long, my favorite podcast had special episodes in English that included authors and artists such as Glennon Doyle, Becky G, Edith Eger, and Robin Sharma, to name a few. And now, they’re also guest hosts in an Acast Creative original podcast presented by State Farm, reported and written by yours truly – an incredible full circle moment for me.
The most significant advantage of podcasts is that they are 100% global. Any show can be heard in any country. This allows creators, brands and agencies to reach broader audiences that continue to grow - but it also emphasizes just how important it is to have content available in multiple languages. Reaching listeners around the world is a missed opportunity if they can’t understand what they’re hearing.
Ok, let's talk numbers
The reality is that Spanish is spoken by more than 559 million people, making it the second most prominent language in the world. Spanish is slowly becoming the second universal language for podcasting. According to an article in statista.com, by 2025, Mexico will reach 40 million podcast listeners. Meanwhile, in 2021, Spain had the most effective podcast penetration rate (30% of internet users). Finally, podcasts reach 32% of Argentians and 25% of Colombians.
As a Creative Strategist at Acast, my mission is to help podcasters use their existing platform and break frontiers with international campaigns. This allows them to reach new listeners and monetize through personal storytelling with tailored branded content.
It would be a mistake not to consider creators with the skill to speak and use both languages as an asset to any campaign. In podcasting, the growth, expansion, and potential for Spanish and English language podcasts give us the best opportunity to create engaging and compelling branded content. Again, the main podcast competitive advantage against any media out there is that it is global.
Giving a platform to those who speak other languages helps brands break barriers and be relatable to all their audience. Accents, forgetting words, creating new ones, or asking how you pronounce them, is a side of ourselves we don’t often get to see reflected in the podcasts we listen to.
At this year's MTV VMA'S (Video Music Awards), for the first time, a non-English-language performer won the most coveted award, Artist of the Year. Benito Martinez, better known as Bad Bunny, accepted the award in a heartwarming speech delivered in his native language, Spanish. It is a statement on how Latin content has grown over the years. This generation is not afraid of foreign content but is more interested in a diverse and represented world. As a Latina, these moments make you tear up not because of the award but because of its acceptance behind it.
As Ashley Frangie from 'Se Regalan Dudas’ said in a conference about their diverse episodes, “we are allowing folks to be more than just one thing and one world.”
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Acast was founded in 2014 and is the world’s largest independent podcast company.Find out more