Podcasting has steadily gained popularity over the past few years as a source for everything from news and entertainment to advice and expert insights. With more than 1 million different shows and 30 million episodes available, the podcast industry is booming.
According to a BBC study, podcasts can increase brand awareness by a staggering 89%. With an estimated 104 million people tuning in to podcasts in 2020, this presents a huge opportunity for brands to tap into a receptive audience. This has led many brands to consider how they can use this content format to engage customers and prospects in a new way.
Launching and sustaining a podcast takes concerted buy-in and effort from the coordinators, marketing support and hosts. Most importantly, it requires interesting guests and episode topics that take a customer-centric approach to storytelling.
Companies experience success by approaching podcasts from a market education and thought leadership perspective instead of focusing strictly on the technology solutions they provide. To be relevant, episodes should focus on sharing insights related to current, broad societal or business issues. This is the most engaging way to elevate your brand as a knowledgeable leader, without being overly promotional.
Here are five considerations to take into account when evaluating if a podcast is right for your brand:
1. Audience: Find Your Focus
Audiences consume content differently. By analyzing your intended audience and their interests, you’ll be able to determine the highest-impact way to deliver your message. Are you a tech brand looking to increase awareness about your breadth of product offerings? If so, you’ll target C-suite decision makers. Are you a learning company who wants to reflect on the top issues that have transformed an age-old industry? You’ll seek a broader audience of end users who influence their organizations’ career development plans. Generally speaking, your podcast can’t be all things to all people.
2. Format: Develop a Consistent Approach
The format of podcasts vary greatly: You can have one host or multiple, one guest or a few. You can ask guests different questions each episode or have a few questions that you ask every guest who joins. You can dive really deep or keep the conversations at a higher level.
Take cues from your audience in terms of the format and style of your podcast, and know that the content delivery style says as much about your brand as the content itself.
3. Material: Curate Compelling Content
As you determine your target audience and format, you have to find your editorial mission and voice. Drill down into your market, uncover where the most important challenges and pain points are for your customers, and work backwards to determine the organizing theme of your podcast. Organizing podcasts under a more general theme helps ensure that brands can consistently publish episodes without struggling for topic ideas or guests or being so niche that it limits the content and audience. However, the theme should be more specific than just “technology” or “healthcare.”
Once the theme is determined and guests invited, the work turns to delivering engaging conversation. Speaking casually and frankly is expected in podcasts and helps the audience feel like they’re listening to an honest discussion versus an over-produced infomercial. By speaking directly to your audience’s interests, they will come back for more.
4. Frequency: Commit to a Cadence
Podcast listeners expect new episodes of their favorite shows to drop with a regular cadence. It’s critical to determine what is realistic for your team. How often can you secure new guests? What does the turnaround time look like for recording, editing and finalizing episodes? Do you have a promotion plan in place to ensure episodes are visible? Communicate this cadence to your audience, deliver on it and stick with it.
5. Distribution & Access: Build Your Strategy
The listener experience is of paramount importance to a successful podcast. While there is much debate over which podcast streaming service is more popular, Spotify and Apple Podcasts are consistently top contenders. Utilizing a platform that will distribute your podcast to these services, along with others like Stitcher or Google Podcasts, will ensure that it’s easily accessible to your audience wherever they consume content.
The distribution of your podcast to popular streaming platforms is only a small piece of ensuring an optimal listener experience. Building out a communications strategy specific to your podcast is critical to bringing awareness to it. Email marketing or social media campaigns, or building out a website or landing page that houses the podcast, are ways to deliver a consistent message that turn listeners into loyal fans.
As Demand Continues, Podcasting Will Mature
Launching a branded podcast is a significant undertaking. A methodical and planned approach will help ensure its success. With business buyers and consumers increasingly engaging with podcasts (and with podcast reporting and advertising techniques becoming more mature), launching a branded podcast is a useful tool in your marketing and communications toolkit.
About the Author
Alex works with B2B technology clients across a range of industries to elevate their brands, subject matter experts, and new products and solutions with an earned-first approach. As the day-to-day lead for her clients, Alex is responsible for crafting strategy around daily media outreach, content creation and social media management while working closely with account teams on program execution. In addition to her focus on earned media, Alex has a passion for creative storytelling across mediums, collaborating with clients and creative teams on video projects, graphic development and podcast execution.