Discover the art of refining your branded podcast's niche with 5 expert tips from CAAT Pension Plan’s branded podcast, Contributors. In this blog, we highlight lessons from the Contributors podcast to help you get in front of your ideal listeners and create content that resonates with them.
When it comes to launching a branded podcast, we urge you to come back to the age-old debate: quality vs. quantity.
Hear us out.
In your early stages of brainstorming, you’ve probably already come up with what you want your podcast to be about. You may be thinking “Everyone’s interested in investing. I’ll just do that.” or “Business News podcasts have the largest audience, I’ll throw my hat in the ring.” But in reality, when you cater to everyone, you relate to no one.
In other words, this mindset forces you to focus on the quantity of listeners vs. the quality of listeners – but we strongly suggest focusing on the latter.
Take a look at the most popular podcast categories according to CoHost’s State of Branded Podcasts Report:
But when looking at the list above, they all seem pretty generic and well, broad. So how can we effectively narrow down these categories into a niche that will resonate with your target audience?
Hosted by Russell Evans, MBA, SCMP, and Vice President of Communications at CAAT Pension Plan, Contributors invites influential leaders to the table who are working toward a brighter future for Canadians.
The show, produced by CAAT Pension Plan, is known for insightful conversations with guests who share how their organizations lead transformative change, disrupt industries, and invest in the well-being of Canadians.
Now that you understand a bit more about the podcast, let’s dive into how Contributors refined their niche and created a branded podcast that provides tangible value to its ideal listeners:
A niche is a specialized and narrowly defined topic that caters to a specific audience. A well-defined branded podcast niche gives potential listeners insight into what your show is about and helps them decide whether to invest their time.
For example, let’s take one of the broader categories above and narrow it down into a niche. Instead of creating a podcast with a broad topic like investing, you could create a podcast about a more refined niche like "real estate investment strategies.”
The scope narrows, making it clear to the audience what to expect and attracting those specifically interested in that aspect of investing. Bringing you more qualified and relevant listeners. It’s a win-win for both parties!
It’s no secret that today’s audiences lead busy lives and are overwhelmed by choice. Even if they do decide to tune into a podcast, 59% of the time they’re multitasking. On top of that, even if they’re looking for a podcast in your niche, you’ll have to make a lot of careful considerations to make your show stand out from your competitors.
Leaning on the branded podcast Contributors to help guide the discussion, this section will go over how to refine your podcast niche and provide value to your ideal listeners – so your show can become their go-to.
The first step to choosing your niche is identifying your ideal audience. Similar to developing a customer persona, an ideal listener profile identifies the demographics, psychographics, and behaviors of your potential audience.
For example, if the primary goal of your podcast is brand awareness, and your target demographic is middle-class women 18 to 35 living in North America, developing a persona will tell you what your demographic cares about so you can center your podcast around a subject that hyper-targets their interests.
When developing your ideal listener persona, the more specific the better. To help you get there, you can start analyzing existing customer data. Analyze purchase histories, feedback, and interactions to gain insights into their preferences and behaviors.
We also suggest looking into data like:
In the case of Contributors, instead of targeting “Canadians aged 30-65,” they narrowed down their listener persona to “Canadian business leaders who are looking to bring fresh perspective to their role, or looking to reinvent the way their organization is currently handling financial benefits for their employees”
By refining their target listener persona, CAAT can better craft content that directly addresses their listeners’ needs and interests. This tailored approach ensures that their branded podcast resonates with listeners, providing them with valuable insights, solutions, and education, which in turn, builds a positive association with the brand.
Conducting competitive research is essential when it comes to measuring how saturated your niche is and finding out how your branded podcast can differentiate itself.
There are a few ways to go about this stage, but here are some questions we suggest asking yourself when skimming through related shows in your niche:
To help you answer these questions, you can type in keywords in popular listening apps to see the results. Here’s what I got when I researched “Canadian pensions” on Spotify:
From there, you can pinpoint the shows that look the most like your own and analyze their show description, episode descriptions, podcast landing page, reviews, and social media to get a better sense of their overall purpose and messaging. This can help inspire your show – whether it’s areas to emulate or segments to differentiate.
The niche you choose should not only resonate with your target audience but also showcase the unique perspectives and knowledge your brand brings to the table.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some general questions to reflect on:
One effective strategy to infuse expertise into your podcast is by showcasing the knowledge within your team. By featuring team members who are knowledgeable and passionate about your brand, you not only humanize your organization but also demonstrate the depth of expertise that sets you apart.
In the episode titled “Canada’s Greatest Comeback: Why Pensions Matter to Employers," the podcast covers the historical context of defined benefit (DB) pensions in Canada. Host Russell Evans brings leaders and experts onto the show, including Paul Lai Fatt, Director of Pension Solutions at CAAT Pension Plan.
The episode underscores the increasing significance of pensions as the population ages and explores how organizations like CAAT are working towards the realization of a pension that works for everyone.
By featuring key team members and industry experts, CAAT Pension Plan not only provides valuable insights into the state of pension plans but also establishes itself as a go-to source for comprehensive and informative content in the pension space.
In essence, leveraging your brand's expertise is not just about contributing to your niche; it's about building a connection with your audience and showcasing the wealth of knowledge within your organization. By doing so, you position your branded podcast as a valuable resource that adds both depth and credibility to your industry.
In addition to bringing on employees, we highly suggest coordinating a diverse lineup of podcast guests to complement your niche, expand on their specific expertise, and create an engaging dialogue.
However, not every podcast guest is created equal. Before hitting record, you and your team need to do a deep dive to get to know your guest and their work. This encompasses everything from research on their background and accomplishments to their areas of expertise and interview skills to see how they will fit into your podcast.
Here are some general tips when it comes to guest selection:
Quill Tip: If you’re looking to become your podcast guests’ favorite host, check out our guide on how to prep your podcast guests pre-interview.
Expanding on our analysis of “Canada’s Greatest Comeback: Why Pensions Matter to Employers” the episode features leaders and experts from diverse backgrounds, including:
The lineup of expert guests not only adds credibility to the content but also provides in-depth insights into the historical context of defined benefit pensions in Canada, the increasing relevance of pensions with an aging population, and how companies like CAAT are innovating pension options.
At the show level, Contributors upholds the same high standards for guesting, noting:
“We sit down with guests on the show to:
As evidenced by Contributors’ stand-out lineup of guests, having expert guests on your branded podcast is a pivotal strategy for delivering exceptional value to your target audience.
Expert guests bring a wealth of knowledge, diverse perspectives, and real-world insights that can enrich your content and offer unique perspectives.
Unlike many other forms of media that only hold your attention for seconds up to a few minutes (think TikTok, Reels, and Shorts), podcasts, on average, hold listeners' attention for 30-42 minutes. That is a significant time investment that not everyone takes lightly.
To draw in potential listeners, making “what’s in it for them” clear right away is a great first step. This can be done in quite a few ways, but here are some of our favorites:
With over 5 million podcasts in circulation and 70 million episodes between them, standing out in audio is a must. One important way to do this is to set listener expectations right off the bat and Contributors does a great job of this.
Going back to “Canada’s Greatest Comeback: Why Pensions Matter to Employers,” CAAT makes the value listeners will receive very clear, noting:
“After this episode, you’ll learn:
This clear, skimmable list of takeaways helps listeners decide right off the bat whether this episode is for them. With the average human attention span falling to 8.25 seconds (that’s less than a goldfish) making your value-add clear and to the point is priceless.
Setting listener expectations at the beginning of each episode is a strategic move that benefits both the brand and its audience. It respects the listener's time, fosters trust, and enhances the overall listener experience by allowing them to decide whether the episode aligns with their interests. This transparent approach also allows you to precisely target your ideal audience, improves audience retention, and establishes a foundation for long-term engagement and loyalty.
Lastly, to go above and beyond, Contributors continues to provide a great listening experience even after the show has ended.
This serves as a valuable lesson for any brand with an existing podcast or contemplating venturing into this space – integrate your podcast into your broader marketing strategy and explore alternative avenues for engaging with your audience outside the podcast.
Contributors illustrates this approach well with the "Lessons From the Leaders" downloadable eBook. This resource encapsulates valuable lessons and insights from their podcast interviews, extending the impact of the show beyond its season.
This is a great practice, particularly for branded podcasts featuring in-depth guest interviews, ensuring that the enriching discussions remain at the forefront of listeners' minds and providing a valuable resource for them to revisit long after the interview ends.
As showcased by the CAAT Pension Plan's podcast, Contributors, the journey to a successful branded podcast involves refining a niche, a commitment to diverse perspectives, and the continuous pursuit of providing meaningful content.
By aligning your content strategy with the interests and expectations of your ideal listeners, leveraging expert guests, and extending the impact beyond the podcast episodes, you can craft a podcast that not only resonates with your audience but also establishes a lasting connection.
To learn more about Contributors, please visit their website.
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