Expert Roundups

The Branded Podcast Playbook: Insights from Industry Experts

Last updated on: 
September 29, 2023

Explore insights from the best brains in podcasting as they share their invaluable tips and strategies for creating and growing your own branded podcast. Read the post now!

Podcasts have come a long way since 2004. 

From humble beginnings, podcasts have now redefined the way brands can share their stories, values, and expertise. 

This paradigm shift has led to a new era of storytelling, one where audio narratives have the potential to resonate with listeners and forge lasting connections that are challenging in traditional marketing channels.

In a report commissioned by the BBC, organizations with branded podcasts saw:

  • 89% higher awareness
  • 57% higher brand consideration
  • 24% higher brand favourability
  • 16% higher engagement 
  • 14% higher purchase intent

And in a recent study by Sounds Profitable in partnership with CoHost, it was discovered that listeners are as likely to listen to branded content as they are to a celebrity show. 

So to summarize, branded podcasts are here to stay. 

International Podcast Day 2023

As we approach International Podcast Day on September 30th, we wanted to celebrate branded podcasts in some way. 

The Quill team decided to source some of the best and brightest in branded content and podcasting and ask them:

  1. How should brands align their podcast content with their overall marketing strategy?
  1. How do you see the future of branded podcasting evolving, and how can brands stay ahead of the curve?
  1. What’s your biggest piece of advice for brands looking to invest in a branded podcast?

From brands who podcast themselves to agencies and consultants, by harnessing the collective wisdom of these experts, this ultimate guide equips brands with the knowledge and insights needed to produce a podcast that creates impact. 

Let’s see what they had to say: 

How should brands align their podcast content with their overall marketing strategy?

“A podcast shouldn't be viewed as just another tactic but as an integral part of your brand's identity and thought leadership. Don't limit your podcast to just an auditory form; explore different mediums like video, social posts, blogs, newsletters, and more. Your content should be accessible to your audience how they prefer it, maximizing engagement and reach. Use your podcast to fuel the engagement and community-building aspects of your marketing strategy. Educate, inform, and entertain your audience, providing value and establishing yourself as an authority in your industry. Remember, the ultimate goal is to meet your users wherever they are and however they want to engage with your content, and the content from your podcast allows you to utilize elements from it for all your marketing needs.”

Greg Wasserman, Head of Partnerships & Growth at Castmagic

"A podcast is a platform. It's a unique space that allows you to actually prove out the messaging you're promoting in other media. Go a step further by showing some thought leadership, pulling back the curtain on something interesting internally, or delivering something that you know your audience truly wants. Podcasts don't always have to be the centerpiece, but they should embody and expand your essential message in an unmistakable way.

Slate Studios is one of the longest-running custom audio houses, with nearly 10 years of branded audio experience and 4.5MM downloads to date.”

–Andrew Harding, Vice President of Marketing at Slate Studios

“It comes down to whose attention you want to earn, the story you have to tell, and how you want those people to feel about your brand. It's not a story about your marketing strategy, but one that overlaps between their expectations of wanting real content, and the value of your product. 

In a year where doing more with less is keeping every marketer up at night, the brands that focus on the moments that matter the most for their customers will win the attention wars. That's what's the most important thing to consider in a pull medium like podcasting, so ask yourself which values of your marketing strategy have a story to tell that your audience will actually want to spend time with. It's the ultimate exercise in restraint and creativity, and the payoff is huge when its done right.”

–Matt Mise, Head of Pacific Content 

“If a brand is producing a podcast that will add to their thought leadership in a particular space, they should try and utilize that podcast content wherever their customers may be. i.e. pull the transcript from the podcast and publish it as a blog, clip some audio or video for social media content, grab quotes you can use in your marketing materials, pull takeaways, and share them with their newsletter. Depending on the goals of the brand, they should utilize their podcast content wherever and in whatever form they can across their relevant platforms.”

–Jeff Umbro, Founder and CEO of The Podglomerate

“There are two pieces to a successful podcast strategy for a brand: The Job and The Gift.

The podcast has a Job to do as part of the marketing strategy. Brands need to be very clear in identifying The Job the podcast is supposed to do. It might be brand awareness, brand positioning, client education, or any number of other business outcomes. 

The content of the podcast, though, needs to be designed as a Gift to the intended listener - it needs to be valuable enough to earn their precious time and attention.

The great branded podcast strategies are the ones that balance both The Job and The Gift. When The Job and The Gift are aligned, the podcast delivers marketing results for the brand precisely because it is delivering value for listeners.”

–Steve Pratt, Founder of The Creativity Business

“Brands should look at their podcast content as a way to delve deeper into the messaging they're promoting with their overall marketing strategy and use their podcast as a chance to highlight their customers and humanize their industry.”

–Ananya Kingshott, Senior Growth Programs Manager at impact.com

Key takeaways for brands looking to align their content strategies 

  • Brands should see podcasts beyond a marketing tactic but as an extension of their brand identity. Branded podcasts offer unique opportunities for thought leadership, deeper engagement, and community-building. 
  • Leveraging podcast content across various platforms ensures consistent messaging and maximizes reach. 
  • While a podcast serves the brand's marketing objectives, its content should also be a valuable "gift" to listeners, providing genuine value, insights, and humanized narratives. 
  • The most impactful podcast strategies serve both the brand's goals and the audience's interests. 

How do you see the future of branded podcasting evolving, and how can brands stay ahead of the curve?

“I see brands creating more podcasts designed for specific audiences. So brands will create their own networks. To stay ahead of the curve, really listen to what their audience is telling you about what sort of podcast they want from you.“ 

–Roger Nairn, CEO of JAR Audio

“The future of branded podcasts is a continued blurring of the imaginary line between content and marketing. This is true in all podcasts, not just branded ones -- and in all other media, too. Research shows that true brand engagement requires being the content rather than interrupting content. Some agencies will vanish, because they think of themselves primarily as savvy media buyers rather than creators.  In the future, it will be obvious to all that better ROI results from breakthrough ideas, not lower CPMs.”

–Dave Beasing, CEO of Sound that BRANDS

“Differentiation and distribution are driving much of the change in branded podcasting right now. As the space matures and more companies adopt the medium, it's becoming increasingly challenging to stand out and build a meaningful audience. This is forcing brands to think more creatively about how to serve their audiences in new and interesting ways and to have a strategic approach in how they promote it.

I think we're entering a really exciting period for podcasting where we'll see some amazing new formats and show concepts. The brands that win here will be the ones brave enough to try something new and stand behind it with their promotion dollars.”

–Harry Morton, Founder of Lower Street

“To me, branded podcasts are a trailing variable of companies that have stories worth telling. No podcast in the world can make people care about a company that doesn't already inspire at least curiosity if not respect. The best way to stay ahead of the curve is to create a podcast-worthy brand and that goes beyond simply having a compelling "why," which customers ultimately don't care about. What they do care about is *how* that why gets translated into a product or service in a meaningful way, and how the sale of that product is congruent with a shared value. I hope more brands figure this out, and then look to branded podcasts as a way to share that congruency with others, and not as a way to spin or position an incongruent brand. Maybe I'm an idealist.”

–Tom Webster, Partner at Sounds Profitable

“Brands need to be smarter than ever when it comes to measuring the ROI of their podcasting efforts. As budgets get tighter, branded podcasts need to prove their positive impact on the business to remain sustainable.

The tools available for podcast measurement are becoming increasingly sophisticated but interpreting the data and gaining actionable insights is the biggest challenge.”

–Jonas Woost, Co-Founder of Bumper

Key takeaways for brands looking to stay ahead of the curve

  • The future of branded podcasting can be characterized by brands leaning towards crafting niche content tailored for specific audiences, potentially evolving into their own podcast networks. 
  • The boundaries between content and marketing will continue to merge
  • Podcast success will hinge on innovative content strategies, bold experimentation, and nuanced promotion. 
  • Never underestimate the importance of authentic, congruent brand stories that emphasize shared values. 
  • As the landscape matures, astute measurement of ROI and interpreting actionable insights from sophisticated analytics tools will be paramount.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for brands looking to invest in a branded podcast?

“When you're thinking about your show's discoverability take the time to repurpose content for your other marketing channels. We see many brands create a podcast and have it live independently on the listening platforms without working it into their content ecosystem. Your podcast shouldn't be living in isolation but instead, your focus should be an omnichannel marketing approach to reach different audiences. Ie. Take the time to convert your transcripts into recap blogs for accessibility purposes, consider adding your audio episodes with a full-length audiogram on YouTube, and prioritize capturing and creating video assets for social channels like TikTok. When a podcast is fully integrated into a brand's marketing strategy, only then are you using it to its fullest potential.”

–Fatima Zaidi, Founder and CEO of Quill Inc. and CoHost 

“Differentiate your podcast for listeners who are seeking a unique perspective or behind-the-scenes soundscape. We invite our audience to join us on the frontlines in the fight for child health by offering candid chats about big breakthroughs with renowned experts, patients, and families.”

–Neil Parmar, Senior Specialist, Development Writing and Content Services at SickKids Foundation

“Ask yourself the question: What job is the podcast meant to do? Really think about the business reason why this podcast exists, then create the podcast around solving for this.”

–Roger Nairn, CEO of JAR Audio

“Be invested in your brand. Listeners can hear when you care, and so can production partners. We can teach you how to stay on mic or provide you with an amazing script, but we can't teach you to care. Having a host who is behind their brand makes a podcast more engaging and easier to make.”

–Steph Colbourn, CEO of editaudio  

Key takeaways for brands looking to invest in a branded podcast 

  • To attract and retain listeners, differentiate your podcast by providing a unique perspective or behind-the-scenes insights. Offer something that sets your podcast apart from others in your niche or industry.
  • Before creating your podcast, determine the specific business objective it serves. Ask yourself what job the podcast is meant to do for your brand. 
  • Craft your podcast content around solving this purpose to ensure it aligns with your brand's goals and resonates with your target audience.
  • Fully integrate your podcast into your brand's marketing strategy to unlock its full potential. By aligning your podcast with your overall content ecosystem, you can effectively reach diverse audiences and maximize the impact of your podcast.

Are you ready to create a branded podcast to be proud of?

From the crucial importance of establishing a strong brand narrative to the art of audience engagement, these expert insights underscore the multifaceted nature of successful branded podcasting. 

Crafting a compelling and authentic branded podcast is not only about creating captivating content, but a strategic endeavor that demands creativity, consistency, and an in-depth understanding of your target audience.

If you’re interested in learning how a branded podcast can fit into your company, reach out to our team.

Tianna Marinucci

Content Marketing Specialist

Tianna Marinucci is a content creation and digital marketing specialist. She graduated from McGill University in 2021 and has since worked in a variety of industries from interior design to technology.

After traveling to more than 60 countries and working in three, she is inspired by diverse cultures and motivated by unique experiences.

In her spare time, Tianna loves trying new foods, going to concerts, and learning more about history and socio-economics through books and podcasts.

Platform
Price
Pro’s
Con's
Anchor

Free

  • Easy to use
  • Automatically distributes your podcast to major platforms.
  • Embed media player.
  • Great if podcasting is a
    side hobby
  • Very basic editing
  • Since it’s a free tool, you don’t have full control over the monetization of your podcast.
  • Not the right platform for people taking podcasting seriously
Buzzsprout

Free for 2 hours of content per month

$12 for 3 hours per month

$18+ for 6 hours and up

  • Very user-friendly
  • Caters to both long term and beginner podcasters
  • Advanced analytics
  • Easy distribution of your episodes
  • They measure their size requirements to hours not megabytes
  • Bonus: get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for any paid hosting plan!
  • Advanced features like dynamic ad insertion need some work
Libsyn

$5/month for Monthly Storage 50mb

  • Oldest podcast hosting site.
  • Easy distribution to major platforms and great for scaling once your podcast gets bigger.
  • Hosted over 35,000 podcasts.
  • An iTunes Podcast partner.
  • Allows you to publish your podcast to specific directories.
  • Embed media player.
  • Price is based on storage
  • 50mb storage for $5 won’t be enough if you are publishing weekly so you’ll end up with a higher price point
Podbean

Unlimited audio package: $9/month

Storage space:

Unlimited

  • Great support & customer service features
  • Unlimited audio.
  • Pages are easy to customize
  • Can schedule podcast release dates.
  • Easy to use.
  • Uploads and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions are automatic to Spotify.
  • Embed media player.
  • Simple Analytics
  • Analytics aren’t as advanced as other platforms
  • Upload and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions take a day to change on iTunes.
  • Not an iTunes podcast partner.
  • The process to send a podcast to iTunes is more tedious. But, you will still be able to get on the platform.
Blubrry

Classic

$5/month

Monthly Storage

50mb

  • Podcast Wordpress plugin and management.
  • If you want to record a new introduction or conclusion, add in a sponsored ad or upload a new version of a podcast, it doesn't count towards your storage usage per month.
  • Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month
  • Prices are based on storage.
  • Usability is okay.
SimpleCast

Starting: $15/month

Recommendation: $35/month

Monthly Storage: Unlimited

  • Hosts your audio files no matter what the size!
  • Dynamic insertion for podcast ads or edits.
  • Incredibly detailed analytics including number of episodes completed and listener location tracking.
  • Embed media player.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great distribution! Easy access to all major podcast platforms.
  • Customizable podcast
    website.
  • Prices are slightly higher than other platforms, but well worth it especially if you have a branded company podcast!

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Chat with our experts about your podcast

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