There’s no doubt about it, the branded podcast is on the rise. In 2022, a podcast has become an essential component of any successful content marketing plan, similar to social media or email campaigns.
First things first, what exactly is a branded podcast? A branded podcast is a podcast launched by a brand or company to help them achieve a variety of goals, like raising their profile, connecting with potential customers, or establishing the brand as an authoritative voice in their field.
As a marketing tactic, there’s nothing quite like the podcast. For starters, the average podcast is around 43 minutes long, and the consumption rates on the platform are higher than any other medium.
This means brands have a unique opportunity to hold their listener’s attention long enough to connect with them emotionally, tell stories, and share any other key messaging they’re hoping to convey.
There are a wide variety of other unique benefits that come with podcasting, especially for brands who are hoping to establish themselves as an authoritative voice in their industry.
Does this mean a podcast is the right choice for everyone?
The short answer: not necessarily. For the long answer, we’ll have to break down some of the key signs that your company is ready for a branded podcast.
4 Signs Your Company is Ready to Launch a Branded Podcast
1. You’re hoping to expand your network and build community
If you feel like your company is ready to establish new connections, grow your community and network with like-minded people in your industry, then launching a podcast is a great way to do this.
Podcasts can help you build a sense of community around your brand through:
- Brand storytelling. Building a narrative and memorable storyline around your brand will give you a chance to entice listeners and help your company stand out from the podcasting crowd.
- Guest appearances. Featuring high-profile or knowledgeable guests on your podcast is a great opportunity to boost your brand’s platform and connect with new potential audience members.
- Cross-pollination. Contributing to other podcasts in your network and vice versa will help you build your network and strengthen your community in the podcasting space.
- Sharing audiograms and quotes from your podcast on social media. An audiogram is essentially a short snippet of a memorable moment from a podcast episode that you can use for social media posts to draw in new listeners.
- Blog posts created from podcast content. Drafting blog posts based on past podcast contact will help you draw in new listeners and continue strengthening your online brand.
In 2022, creating a sense of community around your brand is one of the most important things you can do to connect with potential customers and raise your profile. A podcast is a great way to do this.
2. You have the time, budget, and human capital to devote to a podcast
Although you can launch a podcast fairly cheaply and easily today, it will reflect better on your brand if you devote ample time and resources to ensure production quality is top-notch.
Depending on your company structure and the human capital you have available, you’ll want to devote a team of marketers, production experts, writers and technical support to the podcast project. If you don’t have access to people in these roles internally, you can always outsource the work to freelancers or an agency.
Although hiring an external team to help with your podcast will cost more upfront, the investment will be well worth it in the end. Podcast listeners today have a low tolerance for poor sound quality or unedited content, so if you’re hoping to set your podcast up for success and grow your audience, you’ll want to ensure you have enough time and money to devote to the project to do it right.
Of course, this will require establishing a firm budget or at least a ballpark figure before you hit “go” on the project. Full service podcast production can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per project. Again, depending on your company’s structure, this may require you to pitch the idea to your leadership team. In that case, you’ll need to have firmed up some concepts in advance, which brings us to our next point…
3. You have key topics and subject matter to discuss
It may seem obvious, but one of the first things to establish before launching a branded podcast is the answer to this question: does my company have enough to say during multiple podcast episodes to keep listeners’ attention?
Many brands today have jumped on the podcast bandwagon hastily without taking the time to consider the key messages they’re hoping to convey, or the ultimate podcasting goals they’d like to achieve. It’s important to determine a subject matter focus that’s specific but not too niche, as well as an underlying message or theme to include in each episode.
Today, you can start a podcast about anything from woodworking to personal finance. If you’re interested in your topic, there’s a good chance others will be, too. However, the key is determining a focus for your podcast that will set you apart from other podcasts in the same space.
Before launching a branded podcast, take some time to brainstorm with your team and reflect on the essence of your brand. Here are some key questions to ask yourself when deciding your brand’s podcast focus:
- What does the brand do really well?
- What are some of the brand’s weaknesses?
- What is the brand’s mission statement?
- If the brand had one message to share with the world, what would it be?
- How would I describe the brand’s overall tone and mood?
- If the brand was a person, what qualities would they possess?
- Can I imagine creating several podcast episodes about this subject matter, or is it too limiting?
- Would I talk to my friends about this subject matter at a dinner party?
- Does this topic entertain, inspire, or educate?
There are many other questions you and your team can ask yourselves when brainstorming content ideas for a branded podcast. The important thing is that you take the time to reflect on who you are as a brand and what you’re trying to achieve with each episode you create.
4. You have credible expertise to share
When conceptualizing your podcast’s subject matter focus, it’s also important to consider any expertise your company will bring to the table. For example, do you have subject matter experts available to speak on the topic during an episode, or even serve as the podcast’s host?
If you’re hoping to use your podcast as a tool to position your company as an industry leader and an authoritative voice in your field, sharing any credible expertise you have available will be key. One element of podcast success is building a foundation of trust with your audience, so choosing the right people to appear on your podcast is critical.
You should ensure that you’re adding value to the podcast community. Here are some questions to consider before you launch so that you can add a ton of value through your show:
- Would I read a book by this podcast guest or host?
- Does this guest or host have a persuasive tone and manner of speaking?
- Does this guest or host have a unique perspective to share that people may not have heard before in the media or online?
- Do I trust this person?
- Does this person have experience or credentials to back up what they’re saying? (This point may not apply to all podcast guests. For example, if a guest is speaking about science or health, then of course they should have the appropriate level and amount of schooling and experience to back it up, but if a guest is speaking about a personal life experience, then credentials aren’t necessary.)
When you are launching a branded podcast, the bottom line is that your company should devote ample time to reflecting, ideating and conceptualizing the show before executing. Knowing exactly why you’re launching a podcast, who you’re speaking to, and what you hope to say is critical. Otherwise, you’ll risk coming off as unclear on your message and alienating listeners.
Once you’ve taken all the steps discussed above (aligning on a team, budget, content focus, etc.) it’s time to start executing. Setting up a podcast schedule in advance can be helpful at this stage of the process, so you’ll want to get organized with your team and ensure roles and responsibilities are clearly outlined from the beginning.
Then, it’s time to start researching, guest sourcing and writing scripts—hint: this is the fun part! After putting in the tough legwork from the beginning, you’ll be set up for success and smooth sailing for the rest of the podcast season.
Mackenzie Patterson is the Digital Content Strategist at Quill, an award-winning production agency that specializes in corporate podcasts.