Explore the pros and cons of in-house podcast production vs. full-service podcast agencies in our comprehensive blog post. Discover the factors to consider, the costs involved, and which approach aligns best with your branded podcasting goals.
So you’ve decided it's time for your company to start a branded podcast.
Now that you’ve taken that first step, it's time to decide if your show will be produced in-house, or by an outside, full-service podcast agency.
Suppose it’s your first time stepping into the world of audio. In that case, we recommend that you enlist professional help from a podcast agency to ensure your finished product is high-quality, reflects your core brand values, and accurately tells your brand’s story.
However, in-house podcast production is still an option.
This is why we put together this blog to help outline the differences in each part of the audio process so you can make the best decision for your podcast, team, and brand.
One of the most important aspects of any podcast is audio quality. Listeners will quickly notice if the audio is low quality, has volume fluctuations, or cuts in and out.
Tellingly, a third of people claim low podcast quality is why they don't listen and unfortunately, common audio issues can be difficult to fix on your own.
While most audio issues can be fixed in the editing phase of production, this does involve having experience and the correct software.
That’s one of the many benefits of working with a podcast agency, they have a dedicated team with producers and audio engineers who know how to edit and mix the audio along with best practices for recording.
On top of that, full-service podcast agencies will provide you with (or recommend) good-quality audio equipment to ensure your podcast sounds professional regardless of your recording location.
If you’re producing in-house, ensure you’re recording in a quiet room and that your host is comfortable in front of the microphone. It’s also never a bad idea to do a test recording session so you can work out any kinks before the first episode.
Plus, if you’re having guests on your show, make sure they’re also in a quiet (ideally sound-proof) space with decent recording equipment and no distractions.
Quill Tip: If you’re not ready to commit to an agency, you can hire freelance sound editors to help you make your final product sound its best.
A vital part of your branded podcast is the content.
If the content doesn’t resonate with your audience, the quality of the production doesn’t matter since no one will be listening.
If your podcast can’t provide value in some way to your audience, then we recommend going back to the drawing board.
While you and your company are the experts in your industry, having a team of people to help transform that knowledge into a great podcast is why many brands choose to work with agencies.
Podcast agencies can help you choose a niche that captures your brand’s story, captivates your target audience, and differentiates your show from competitors. Plus, they can leverage their connections and help you source guests that will add value to your show.
Working collaboratively with a high-end agency blends your two areas of expertise to create a winning final product.
If you’re producing in-house, decide before you begin writing what the tone and style of your podcast will be. This will ensure you stay organized and aren’t scrambling to get episodes out on time.
If you’re planning on having guests, sourcing can take a lot of time and effort. That’s why we suggest reaching out well in advance.
While you likely have in-house marketers, podcast marketing is different than many other marketing mediums.
Podcast marketing is a newer concept to marketers and creators, and because of this, it can be confusing to know what tactics to leverage and what ones to leave at the door when it comes to growing a show.
Audience growth is the biggest challenge among podcasters, so having your show backed by the expertise of a full-service podcast agency can be a game-changer for your show’s reach and ROI.
Firstly, podcast agencies conduct thorough audience research to identify niche markets and understand their preferences. They analyze listener demographics, interests, and behaviors, allowing brands to tailor content effectively.
Leveraging insights from research, agencies help craft compelling content that resonates with the target audience. They know how to structure shows, choose relevant topics, and engage listeners effectively.
When it comes to marketing strategy, full-service podcast agencies will cover a lot of the heavy lifting. Their team of audio experts understands the various podcast platforms and distribution channels and how to position your show for maximum visibility, ensuring it reaches your desired audience across platforms.
Without a well-thought-out podcast marketing strategy, it’ll be challenging to rise through the ranks. Throwing tactics at the wall and seeing what sticks without a clear strategy or measurement plan in place can be a waste of time at the end of the day.
If you’re producing in-house, make sure your marketing team is looped in every step of the way, and have discussions early on about how to incorporate your podcast into your marketing pipeline.
Quill Tip: To help turn your content team into podcast marketers, we put together this guide to lay out the unique aspects of podcast marketing and strategies you and your team can leverage to increase your show’s reach.
Podcast strategies include goal setting, creating listener personas, deciding on episode type and structure, distribution, marketing, PR, tracking, and much more.
Of course, it’s impossible to plan out your every move before you begin executing your podcast—after all, podcasting is a fluid process and unexpected issues will likely arise along the way.
However, creating a comprehensive strategy will help keep the many moving parts moving as smoothly as possible.
A winning podcast strategy has many steps and will vary depending on your specific goals, needs, and desires. The good news is that turnkey branded podcast agencies are professionals when it comes to audio strategy and fine-turning procedures to help fit you and your brand.
Podcast agencies advise you on how to capitalize on your audio strategy, and what they feel will perform the best. They also have tools to track your podcast’s performance, so you’re able to have your efforts validated and strategize together on where efforts can improve.
Limited resources, such as time and budget, necessitate careful allocation. Even if you’re producing in-house, you’ll want to determine who will be doing what and when to keep the process as efficient and smooth as possible.
Additionally, if you’re producing in-house, you want to make sure that someone on your team has a strong understanding of podcast analytics so you know:
Quill Tip: Every agency has its area of expertise. If you’re going the agency route, find one who has experience working with a brand like yours, as they will be the most familiar with how to build an effective strategy.
The post-production process ensures that all your episodes sound coherent and that your editing sounds natural and includes the best bits of content, especially if your podcast includes interviews.
Podcast agencies help in the post-production stage by ensuring impactful distribution and making sure your podcasts are on all listening apps including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and many more.
Plus, their teams of audio experts will ensure that your show sounds perfect, complete with sound effects and music for a strong audio brand. This way, you won’t have to worry about glitches post-release.
A successful podcast hinges on its availability and accessibility across various listening platforms. Maximizing your podcast's reach on all these platforms is not only a matter of boosting your audience numbers but also a crucial step toward establishing your podcast's presence and credibility.
If you’re producing in-house, distribution is another area where you may consider employing a freelancer, as we believe investing in expert help will be well worth the price.
Launching a podcast is a lot of work, so to make sure your efforts are paying off, tracking your show’s performance is crucial.
Podcast analytics tools and listening apps provide insights into audience engagement and behavior, allowing brands to understand their listeners better, tailor their content, and measure ROI.
Podcast agencies that offer podcast analytics services have a dedicated team of experts with extensive knowledge and experience in analyzing audio data. They’re familiar with the metrics that matter most in the podcasting industry and provide more actionable insights than basic listener numbers.
Agencies also generally have access to advanced analytics tools specifically designed for podcast data analysis. These tools go beyond simple download numbers and provide valuable data on listener engagement, drop-off points in episodes, and other key performance indicators.
If you’re producing in-house, we highly recommend that you have at least one person on your team well-versed in podcast analytics and measurement so you can set accurate benchmarks and track your show’s performance.
There’s analytics information available directly in listening apps, but we suggest spending a little bit more on third-party podcast analytics tools to receive more robust data.
Here are some third-party podcast analytics tools we recommend:
Check out our complete list of podcast analytics platforms to find the right software for you.
If you decide to use an agency, here are some we recommend:
A Toronto-based turnkey branded podcast agency, Quill, is an award-winning production agency specializing in branded podcasts. Working with leading brands like McKinsey & Co., Expedia, PwC, and SickKids Foundation, Quill covers everything from podcast conception to production, growth, and measurement. Quill also owns CoHost, a podcast analytics and audience insights tool built to give brands podcast analytics that measure impact and audience engagement.
Another Canadian agency, JAR creates branded podcasts that blend great audio quality, creativity, and content to help brands build a strong connection with their audience.
Content Allies specializes in building revenue-generating B2B podcasts. They offer pre and post-production services, including social media promotions and guest outreach.
Lower Street works with brands of all sizes to create their ideal show and target their audiences. They want to help brands create binge-able content their users will love.
For a full list of branded podcast agencies complete with client information, specific expertise, and additional services offered, check out our complete guide.
If you’re still debating whether or not a podcast agency is the right fit for your brand, here are some companies that have partnered with agencies to produce their branded podcasts to reveal more about the process, outcome, and impact.
Eyal Sivan approached Quill with the ambition to create a podcast that would not only amplify his brand but also elevate Raidiam’s presence in the open banking landscape.
Collaborating closely with Eyal, Quill facilitated the entire production process, ensuring Eyal's vision translated seamlessly into a podcast. Recognizing the importance of guest selection, the team meticulously curated industry leaders from diverse regions, each contributing a unique viewpoint to the conversation. To complement the podcast, Quill also crafted accompanying blog articles and social media content, strategically disseminating information to organically expand the show's reach.
As a result, "Mr. Open Banking" emerged as a compelling narrative, offering a diverse array of perspectives on open banking from global leaders. The show's impact extended beyond listenership numbers. It became a cornerstone in fostering brand awareness, establishing credibility, and solidifying Eyal's and Raidiam’s positions as influential voices in the ever-evolving landscape of open banking.
Seeking a partner to elevate content quality, reach target audiences, and drive leads, CIBC didn’t just want to produce content but create a compelling narrative in the competitive podcast landscape.
Recognizing the need for a strategic alliance, CIBC partnered with Quill to create a professional podcast that creates an impact. Additionally, Quill took on the mantle of amplifying podcast visibility through paid marketing strategies, thereby bolstering brand awareness and lead generation for CIBC.
With Quill’s involvement, season three of the CIBC Innovation Banking Podcast experienced an unprecedented surge in growth compared to previous seasons. Leveraging Quill's expertise, the podcast garnered attention from publications like BetaKit and Glory Professional, broadening its reach and capturing their ideal listeners.
Oyster, a global automated employment platform operating in 180+ countries, sought to solidify its position as a thought leader in the realm of PeopleOps (People Operations) leadership.
Oyster approached Quill, a podcast agency, with a clear vision: develop an original podcast series, the "New World of Work," centered on engaging discussions with PeopleOps leaders. The podcast had to reflect Oyster's thought leadership, foster a community of industry leaders, and delve into progressive ideas shaping the future of work.
Quill spearheaded the creation of the "New World of Work" podcast, crafting each episode, and delineating distinct segments that highlighted a specific challenge and its corresponding solution. This approach ensured a compelling and purposeful discussion in every episode.
The decision between in-house podcast production and full-service podcast agencies hinges on a consideration of your unique goals, resources, and preferences.
In-house production can be well done, but it involves planning, investing in equipment and software, and time. Working with a full-service podcast production agency will bring high-quality results, advice, and expertise to your podcast, but can be expensive.
Both options involve the investment of time and money, it comes down to where and how much you’re willing to invest.
Generally speaking, the breakdown of investment is:
In-house = more time, less money (potentially)
Full-service podcast agency = less time, more money
Ultimately, the key lies in aligning your decision with the specific needs and aspirations of your podcast. Whether you opt for the efficiency and expertise of a full-service podcast agency or embark on in-house production, success depends on a thorough understanding of your brand, audience, and the stories you want to share.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a full-service podcast agency can fit into your business, please reach out to the Quill team!
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