As we saw 2020 become the year of branded podcasts, at Quill we had a lot of time to experiment with marketing this audio medium. When a podcast is powered by a brand and used for awareness, thought leadership,or lead generation, there is one notion that we keep in the forefront of all of our marketing strategies - think of the podcast as its own brand.
Yes, it is a bit “inception-esque” to create a podcast for a brand but then also think of the podcast as its own brand... But when you really break it down, trust us, it makes sense.
When it comes to branded podcasts, something that we always steer clear of is a podcast that is overly sales-y. I’ve never met a listener that has opted in to listening to a 30 minute infomercial. The art of branded podcasts really comes down to being able to create a series that is tied to your brand but in a clever and subtle way.
For example, pretend you’re a mattress company and you’re looking to start a branded podcast. You definitely don’t want to sit in front of a microphone and talk about why your mattresses are amazing and why everyone should be buying them instead of those of your competition. Nope. Instead, maybe you’ll have a series that’s about insomnia. You can bring on doctors, experts, and individuals who suffer from insomnia. The goal of the series can be to help everyone get better sleep, one bed at a time.
Do you see the difference? The podcast about insomnia relates to your brand and if you have a comment in the intro or outro that says “powered by *your mattress company*”, that’s all you really need to have in the actual podcast when it comes to letting listeners know who you are.
This is how you create a clever and successful branded podcast.
Now that we’ve laid out how your podcast is tied to your brand, it’s time to start building a unique brand for your series.
When you only see your podcast as another marketing medium for your brand, you might rub listeners the wrong way, because truly, they don’t want to be sold to. A successful podcast is a brand of its own, its own voice, identity, and mission. Yes, it can (and should) be tied to your brand like we described above, but it’s also its own standalone entity.
Let’s go back to that podcast about insomnia for your mattress company. When you’re creating it, it’ll have a name of it’s own. Maybe we call it “Slip Into Slumber”. Now this marketing channel has its own name. Can you think of other marketing tactics that do this?
On top of its own name, the podcast also lives somewhere other than your website (yes, you can still embed audio players into your site so users can listen, but we promise the vast majority of listeners will be from the Spotify and Apple Podcasts of the world). Again, what other marketing tactics do this?
When a brand launches a podcast there should also always be an entirely separate marketing strategy that goes along with the podcast. This can include creating separate social channels, newsletters, building a community around your listeners, guerrilla marketing campaigns, paid advertising, and so much more.
Now let’s add this all together, your podcast has a goal, a name, a platform, a marketing strategy, and (hopefully) its own audience. Doesn’t that kind of sound like a brand?
When you shift your way of thinking and start to view your podcast as a brand, it opens doors to so many more opportunities when it comes to growth and marketing. You’re no longer just stuck in a box within your company’s brand but you’ve created a whole separate space that this podcast can live in.
Podcasts have changed the way that brands can market. There’s truly no other medium like it. A listener is allowing you into their space in an incredibly intimate way for long periods of time every day, week, and month. They deserve to have a brand built around this audio that is authentic and true to the content in the series.
Like we mentioned, we’re not saying to cut ties between your company’s brand and its podcast. Not at all. We’re just saying that we should all start thinking of podcasts as brands that live within the larger scope of a company’s brand. They’re unique and they deserve a unique place in your company.
Have any questions about how to market your podcast?
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