Uncover the strategies, benefits, and step-by-step process to create a successful branded podcast that engages your audience and boosts your brand's visibility.
Branded podcasts, when orchestrated correctly, can profoundly amplify a brand's voice and deepen customer loyalty.
Throughout this guide we break down 11 different elements your brand needs to consider when it comes to bringing your podcast to life.
But before we begin, how do we define branded podcasts?
Branded podcasts are identified as a podcast series owned or brought to listeners by a
company with the purpose to benefit the brand.
And since 2016, branded podcasts have been on the rise according to CoHost’s State of Branded Podcasts report.
In fact, in a study by BBC they uncovered that through branded podcasts, the brand actually stands out from the content. Podcasts that mention the brand deliver on average 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory compared to surrounding content.
The intimacy of podcasts is unlike any other mediums. Brands can create a conversation and connection with their listeners through their podcasts - and listeners respond favorably.
81% of listeners say they pay attention to podcast ads more than they do to radio, TV commercials, billboards, and even digital ads on social media.
And in the same BBC study, they found that branded podcasts increase:
As a brand, the number one thing to consider when starting a podcast is the goal you’re trying to accomplish.
There’s no use in creating a podcast for the sake of creating a podcast. You want to ensure that your content is geared towards achieving your goals and KPIs whatever those may be.
Over the years and after producing countless podcasts for leading brands, we’ve identified four primary ways brand’s are leveraging podcasts to achieve their goals. .
Let’s dive in:
The most popular goal for branded podcasts is awareness, a.k.a the elevation of brand values in the eyes of consumers.
Podcasts give you the opportunity to build a relationship with potential customers by showing off values and providing industry credibility in your respective space. These types of podcasts can be used for both the B2B and B2C space with examples like Pick Me Up, a series created by Lyft in partnership with Gimlet, or Rise and Grind presented by Zip Recruiter.
Building brand awareness through a podcast requires consistent effort and long-term commitment. Regularly releasing new episodes, engaging with listeners through feedback and Q&A sessions, and actively promoting the podcast across various channels are essential for sustaining interest and growing audiences.
By consistently delivering valuable content, brands can establish themselves as reliable sources of information and maintain a strong presence in the minds of target audiences.
It’s important to note that creating a series solely focused on your brand's offering will not work. No one likes to be sold to and listeners don’t want to hear a 30-minute sales pitch. Find a sweet spot that lets listeners know what you do while sharing content that’s of interest.
22% of listeners say there are “way too many” advertisements on podcasts and 74% of listeners are tuning into podcasts to be educated. So make sure you’re providing value rather than selling your product/service.
By focusing on providing quality content, brands can build trust and credibility with the audience, which enhances brand awareness.
Contrary to popular belief, podcasts can also be a gift for your sales team, not just your marketing team.
By leveraging the popularity and intimacy of this medium, sales teams can enhance their sales strategies and drive meaningful results. Here are three ways sales teams can use podcasts:
If there’s a specific lead that you’ve had your eye on whether it be an individual or brand, invite them onto your podcast as a guest. This gives you an opportunity to organically build a relationship with them.
Make sure the conversations are not overly sales-y and transactional. You want to be creating valuable content that informs your audience, yet speaks to their interest. The priority should be creating a natural conversation so that the sales magic happens off the mic.
Branded podcasts offer an exceptional platform for sales teams to strengthen their existing relationships with clients, partners, and leads.
Again, by featuring key stakeholders as guests on your podcast series, you not only deepen your connection with them but also provide them with additional exposure and marketing opportunities.
The podcast format allows for a more personal and in-depth conversation, enabling you to connect on a deeper level. As you share valuable insights, industry trends, and thought-provoking discussions, you position yourself as a trusted advisor and resource.
It’s crucial to strike a balance between showcasing your brand and offering broader industry insights. If your podcast solely focuses on self-promotion, it risks coming across as inauthentic and purely sales-driven.
Instead, aim to curate a diverse range of use cases and success stories from your industry. By presenting a variety of perspectives, experiences, and solutions, you provide valuable content that educates and inspires your listeners. Through this approach, you establish your brand as an authority and demonstrate your expertise in solving real-world challenges.
When incorporating an omnichannel approach to podcast marketing, your content becomes an integral part of a larger, connected customer experience. Through podcasting, you can foster trust, loyalty, and relationships by allowing your listeners to connect more closely with your brand as they engage with meaningful content.
One of the most potent strategies to maximize the potential of your podcast is by repurposing its content. By transforming podcast episodes into alternative formats, you can expand your reach to a wider audience, increasing the likelihood of customer touchpoints through various channels while maintaining a consistent and unified message across platforms.
The possibilities for repurposing your podcast content are extensive. Consider the following options:
Transcribe your episodes and convert them into blog posts for your website, boosting traffic and enhancing SEO. Identify relevant sections in your current blog articles that can benefit from further explanation, and embed episode players within those sections. This tactic can lead to a threefold increase in episode listens.
If you record video during your podcast, segment it into shorter or longer clips and share them on platforms like YouTube and social media.
Utilize snippets from your blog posts, Q&A articles, expert roundups, or quotes from episodes to create engaging social content.
Since COVID-19, virtual events have become increasingly popular for podcasters as they offer a unique opportunity to engage with their audience in real-time, regardless of geographical limitations. These events can take the form of live Q&A sessions, panel discussions, or even virtual conferences. A podcast editor plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of these virtual events by managing audio quality, editing the recorded sessions for post-event distribution, and enhancing the overall listening experience by adding intros, outros, music, or sound effects.
Blend all the aforementioned content elements to create a compelling webinar, complete with slides, text, images, and videos, to reinforce the concepts discussed in your podcast episodes.
By exploring these repurposing opportunities, your podcast can become a content powerhouse, allowing you to engage your audience to the fullest and promote your podcast effectively.
Internal communications play a crucial role in keeping employees engaged and informed within an organization. However, many companies struggle to find effective channels to reach their diverse audiences. Fortunately, branded podcasts have emerged as a powerful tool for internal communications, boosting employee engagement, and retention.
In a report done by Poppulo on internal communications professionals, it was found that 30% of internal communications professionals still struggle with what channel to use to reach specific audiences.
Here are three ways that brands can leverage podcasts for internal communications:
74% of employees feel as if they’re missing out on company news. Branded podcasts can bridge this information gap by delivering company-wide updates or department-specific news. By regularly sharing updates through podcasts, organizations can ensure that employees are always in the know, fostering a sense of inclusion and engagement.
By providing a platform for employees to share their experiences, expertise, and insights, branded podcasts help build trust, connection, and engagement among the workforce. This approach also breaks down hierarchical barriers, as employees from all roles and titles can contribute and learn from one another.
In fact, 69% of managers said that they are not even comfortable communicating with employees in general. Branded podcasts offer an avenue for managers and employees to connect on a more personal level, fostering a stronger sense of unity and collaboration.
Staying up to date with industry news is crucial for organizations seeking to remain competitive. Branded podcasts can play a vital role in disseminating industry updates to all employees.
By keeping the workforce informed about the latest trends, advancements, and challenges within the industry, organizations can empower employees to think critically, contribute innovative ideas, and align their initiatives with the current state of the brand. This shared awareness fosters a culture of continuous learning and enables employees to become brand ambassadors who actively contribute to the company's growth and success.
Similar to developing a customer persona, an ideal listener profile identifies the demographic and psychographic behaviors of your potential audience. Who do you want listening to your content?
By understanding their needs and desires, you will be able to effectively develop a relationship between your audience and podcast host.
For example, if your goal is brand elevation, and your target demographic is women 25 to 34, developing a persona will tell you what your demographic cares about so you can conceptualize your podcast series around a subject that hyper-targets their interests.
The goal here is relatability. You want to paint a clear picture of who your listeners are in their everyday life so you can relate to them on a personal level. That way, they will have a positive association with your brand and will be more likely to become engaged listeners.
Before you begin brainstorming different structures and formats for your podcast, you need to be aware of what already exists. Take some time to listen to other podcasts that exist in your category and analyze things like quality, length, format, and overall notes on what you did and did not like about the series.
Once you’ve listened to a variety of podcasts and have a breakdown of around 5-10, write out what your UVP is (unique value proposition).
What can you do to set yourself apart from the other podcasts? This could be format, length, guests, host, etc. Find what will make you unique in your category.
Once you’ve defined your podcast goals, ideal listener profile, and competitive analysis, you can begin conceptualizing your series.
Get creative and use the knowledge that you have of potential listeners and current competition to define your subject matter.
For example, if your ideal listeners are huge supporters of women empowerment and are heavily based in New York City, it may make sense to interview female leaders currently residing in NYC.
Now it’s time to get creating.
Below we’ve listed a number of different formats you can experiment with. Remember that this is all a guideline, based on your UVP, it’s up to you to switch up or get creative with what will set you apart.
Interview and discussion formats (63.1%) are the most popular podcast formats among branded podcasts. Brands often gravitate towards formats that enable them to interact with customers while also presenting their brand in a trustworthy and favorable manner.
Once your podcast ready to go, it’s time to look at distribution. At this stage, you have multiple decisions to make moving forward:
A recent analysis conducted by Podchaser examined data from a span of six months in order to identify the optimal day for releasing new podcast episodes. The findings indicated that weekdays are more favored for publishing episodes compared to weekends, with no specific weekday proving to be superior to others.
Here are some options:
Podcast distribution platforms are platforms where you upload your series and it distributes your podcast out to all major listening platforms for you (i.e. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts).
Pricing can be dependent on hours, storage, number of episodes, and downloads.
Some of the major distribution platforms are:
It’s common that podcasts will launch with 3-5 episodes. The reasoning for this is that it not only gives your listeners more content to get addicted to until the next episode release, but it also avoids the risk of releasing one episode that doesn’t resonate well with your listeners.
Launching with multiple episodes will also look more attractive to potential listeners since it shows audiences that you are more committed to producing the series.
“Podfade” is a term used where after the 7th episode, podcasters tend to lose motivation and slow down production on their series.
You don’t need to launch with 7 episodes but if you launch with 3-5, it shows more dedication and motivation for the series which listeners will catch onto.
When it comes to audience growth the main question you need to ask yourself is: what channels do I have access to?
This will take some time for you and your team to sit down and make a list of every single place your podcast can be promoted on. These channels are unique to you, leverage them by promoting your podcast series across each different outlet.
This includes channels like:
A brand that successfully leveraged the channels that they have access to is Tinder. When Tinder created the series “DTR” in partnership with Gimlet, they added a promotion for the podcast on their app where the series would come up as if it were a match. If people liked it, they would be taken to a page where they could listen to the series.
If you’re looking for a full list of podcast marketing tactics to grow your audience, check out our podcast marketing guide.
Lastly, start building your audience as early as possible before you launch. One way to do this is to tell your audience about the podcast through a series trailer. Your trailer should be short (30 seconds - 2 minutes) and consist of:
In addition to a trailer, you can share teasers and snippets of your series to hook potential listeners through the different communication channels that you have identified. This will help grow your audience and build more awareness around your official series launch.
There are three main elements to discoverability.
Visibility increases the chances of your podcast being discovered by potential listeners. When your podcast appears prominently in search results, podcast directories, or recommended lists, it becomes more accessible to individuals actively seeking new content.
By optimizing your podcast's visibility, you increase the likelihood of attracting curious listeners who may be interested in your topic or genre.
One way to increase your visibility is to use show notes strategically. Quill Inc. broke down why you need podcast show notes, tips for writing them, as well as some resources podcasters can use.
a) Google Keyword Planner helps you to find the most effective keywords for your series.
b) Wordstream also offers a free keyword tool that also allows you to specify the industry and location you are focusing on.
c) Ubersuggest allows you to see what’s trending for others in your respective space.
Transcribe your episodes and format them into blogs to boost your SEO and add another content point. Repurposing your content helps expand its reach. Remember that not everyone discovers a podcast once it first launches. So if you’re creating a seasonal podcast series, don’t stop all promotion once you have released your last episode, new listeners can still be acquired between seasons.
And finally, experiment with different audience growth tactics to see what works best. Tactics that have worked for other podcasts may not fit with yours and your audience so don’t be afraid to try new growth strategies out and let them go if they are not producing your desired results.
Regardless of how you decide to distribute your podcast, it is vital to capture audience information. Key areas to focus on are listener demographics, behavior, and interest level.
Essentially, who are they, how long were they engaged, and are you retaining them?
Compare your results to your Ideal Listener Profile to ensure you’re hitting the correct customer base.
Some resources to gather audience data are:
Now it’s time to talk about analytics. Compared to other mediums, podcasts provide:
Downloads are an important metric and should be tracked and measured. But one thing to keep in mind is that podcast success isn’t based solely on the number of downloads your series has, e.g. if your podcast targets a niche audience that’s highly engaged, you probably won’t have a large number of downloads but your sponsors may have higher conversion rates through your show.
Use downloads as a tool to estimate how many subscribers you have. Every week, calculate how many downloads you have on the day of your episode release, if that number is recurring every week on that same day, you can assume it’s reflective of your number of subscribers. For reference, the average podcast earns 141 downloads in the first month
Audiences have two ways of listening to podcasts - either an episode is streamed or it's downloaded. Unique downloads are a useful metric that filters through all the listeners and downloads to only attribute one listener per download even if they downloaded the episode numerous times. This is a much more realistic metric of how many listeners you have.
Consumption rates refer to the measurement of how much of a podcast episode is being listened to by the audience. It provides insights into the engagement and behavior of listeners, helping podcast creators and advertisers understand the impact and success of their content.
To measure consumption rates, podcast analytics platforms typically track metrics like average listening time, completion rates (percentage of episodes listened to in full), and drop-off points (where listeners tend to stop listening). These metrics can be combined with demographic data and other analytics to gain deeper insights into listener behavior and preferences.
CoHost's B2B Analytics is a powerful tool that provides brands with valuable insights into their podcast's performance. This feature gathers listener data from various listening apps, enabling brands to discover which companies are tuning in to their show and identify potential leads. With CoHost's analytics, brands can measure the impact of their branded podcasts and validate return on investment (ROI).
This feature offers a detailed breakdown of the companies listening on a show and episode level, including information on company size, industry, and revenue. This breakdown helps brands understand their audience better and leverage their podcast as an additional engagement touchpoint throughout the customer journey.
Lastly, this feature enables lead generation by exporting a list of companies tuning into the podcast, helping brands identify valuable prospects and boost their lead generation efforts. With CoHost's B2B Analytics, brands can gain actionable insights and maximize the potential of their podcasting efforts.
Information on your podcast doesn’t just come from its direct analytics. Social media is a powerful tool to measure the awareness, engagement, popularity of your podcast, and audience demographics.
Use social media listening tools (such as HubSpot, Hootsuite or Buffer) to find who’s talking about your podcast and how often listeners are talking about it. As you post your own content about the series, identify who consistently engages with it. These are either current subscribers or users that you can turn into subscribers.
In your episode give your listeners a call to action. This works when you give your listeners a specific code or link for them to visit. If you can offer your listeners a discount to a product or service that either you/a sponsor offers, track the number of listeners that are driven to the website using that discount code.
These numbers will also help you measure your conversion rates if you are interested in pitching to sponsors down the line.
The second way to use CTAs is by bringing potential listeners to your podcast whether that be through your website, social media channels, digital newsletters, etc. Give each channel a unique link so you can track where users are coming from. Once you’ve figured out which type of content and channel is best for converting users into listeners, put more marketing behind that tactic to grow your audience.
If your podcast exists on a platform like Apple Podcasts (which it should) that lets users leave ratings and reviews, these are incredibly important to analyze. For reference, the average podcast on Apple Podcast earns a 4.6 star rating.
Not only do ratings and reviews let you know what listeners think of your overall series, they also help you find out which episodes are preferred by your audience. If you see a spike in lower ratings after an episode was published, take note that maybe that’s not the type of content that your audience resonates with.
As of 2023, there are over 5 million podcasts with over 70 million episodes between them and the numbers are only growing. As podcasting becomes more saturated, the key to growing an audience is about the niche you are creating for yourself and the quality of content that you are putting out.
As you’re distributing episodes, make sure to check in with your content every 3-6 months. Due to the repetitive nature of podcast content (especially when not released in seasons), it can be easy to get lost in the motions, rather than ensuring that you’re creating top-notch content for your audience.
We define podcast quality into 4 main categories:
The value that listeners receive in return for listening to every minute of your podcast.
Does your episode have a narrative arc? You don’t want your content to be flat and have listeners get bored. Try to create a story around your content with challenges and solutions or rising action and climaxes depending on the structure of your series.
Ensure that your sound is clean and crisp rather than muffled and static. Music is also useful in keeping your listeners attention especially if you produce longer episodes (30+ minutes). Throughout your episode, add short music beds (5-10 seconds of music) that transition to a new segment, question, interview, etc.
Make sure your episodes follow one general theme, topic, and format. As we stated above, some possible formats are:
i. Interview Q&A
v. Scripted Narrative
Don’t forget to add effective signposts into the episode as well. Signposts are short clips in the podcast where the host will either recap sections of the episode, raise questions, give their opinion on a section, or tell listeners what’s coming up.
Signposts can be placed throughout the podcast, usually, we’ll hear signposts at the beginning and ending of the podcast and possibly throughout the episode depending on the length and format.
Is the topic you are discussing different from other podcasts on the market? For example, if you run a tech podcast, what is it about yours that is different from the rest? Find out what sets your content apart from other shows in your category to give your listeners a reason to choose to listen to your series.
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Creating a great podcast that listeners want to tune into takes planning, strategizing, and expertise. If your brand is planning on launching a podcast this guide is a perfect resource to get you started, but after you're done reading you'll actually need to take action and dedicate time to bringing your series to life.
It's also important to remember that podcasting is a long-term plan. Don't expect to have your podcast produce the results you're hoping for immediately. Be patient with the content and continue to work towards finding the right content and marketing tactics that fit your audience.
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