With several studies indicating a strong increase in awareness and affinity with branded content, it’s clear that personalized podcasts offer brands a direct way to engage with consumer values in an authentic and relevant way. In this article, Natalia Aldasoro (Creative Strategist for Acast Creative, Americas) highlights just how much there is to gain from working with bilingual creators in the space.
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, has taken me to LA and New York for my college years and beyond (an event extremely rare in Latin cultures, where the old-fashioned status quo is to live with your parents until you get married). This is where my love for American reality TV began, and it continued when I returned to Mexico.
Not all American reality TV shows air worldwide, but luckily my favorite podcast hosts were there to keep me up to date. There are so many podcasts covering the latest episodes of almost every reality show you can think of – even though, at the time, they were all in English. Spanish-speaking podcasts were mostly radio news snippets or translations, and like any book or movie, the content is always best in its original language.
Growing up bilingual is a privilege for native Spanish speakers. To this day, I remember songs from kindergarten that helped me learn English (“Pollito: Chicken, Gallina: Hen…”), and if you grew up in a home like mine, where my parents repeatedly said that English was the language of opportunity, being fluent was a priority. They were right. Knowing English opened more doors for me than I could imagine, and even gave me a third language – let’s call it the language of the street – the famous mixture of Spanish and English – or “Spanglish” which made me discover a whole new community.
And then in 2019, I discovered ‘Se Regalan Dudas’, a podcast that dared to talk about taboo subjects that any girl growing up in a Latin family could relate to. Their success came quickly: three years later, they are now heard in over 120 countries, with a 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 cherished by podcasters of all sizes: knowing your audience, understanding their needs, and never forgetting them. This mission allowed them to understand the need for more content designed for a very underserved audience: bilingual speakers.
Before long, My Favorite Podcast had special English-language episodes that featured writers and artists such as Glennon Doyle, Becky G, Edith Eger, and Robin Sharma, to name a few. And now they’re also the guest hosts of an original Acast Creative podcast presented by State Farm, reported and written by yours truly – an incredible looping moment for me.
The most important 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 a wider audience that continues to grow, but it also highlights 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 over 559 million people, making it the second most common language in the world. Spanish is slowly becoming the universal second language for podcasting. According to a statista.com article, 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 Argentines and 25% of Colombians.
As a Creative Strategist at Acast, my mission is to help podcasters use their existing platform and break down boundaries with international campaigns. This allows them to reach new listeners and monetize through personal storytelling with personalized branded content.
It would be a mistake not to consider creators able to speak and use both languages as an asset for a campaign. In the field of podcasting, the growth, expansion and potential of podcasts in Spanish and English provide us with the best opportunity to create engaging and compelling branded content. Again, the main competitive advantage of podcasting over all media is that it is global.
Giving a platform to those who speak other languages helps brands break down barriers and connect with their entire audience. Accents, forgetting words, creating new ones, or wondering how you pronounce them, is a facet of ourselves that we don’t often 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 speaking artist 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’s 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 tear you apart not because of the award but because of her acceptance behind it.
As Ashley Frangie of “Se Regalan Dudas” said in a talk about their various episodes, “we allow people to be more than one thing and one world.”