Brand Building with Podcasts


Podcasting was previously known as “audio blogging” and goes back to the 80’s and 90’s. Around 2004, as the U.S. shifted to broadband internet and adopted portable MP3 players, “audio blogging” became “podcasting” and started to catch on. However, it wasn’t until 2014, with the adoption of iTunes and the incredible success of Season 1 of “Serial,” did podcasting start to blow up, and since then it’s been on a rocket ship trajectory. In 2014 there were roughly 150,000 podcasts on iTunes, today there are more than 500,000 on Apple Podcasts. So, how are marketers building brands with podcast they work on?

There are two main avenues to consider:

1. Producing a Branded Podcast

2. Investing in Advertising and Promotion In-Podcast.

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Branded Podcasts

Recently, Pacific Content, a leader in branded podcast production, changed the term “branded podcasts” to “original podcasts from brands.” It really is the more accurate way to refer to this type of content, especially when they are done well.

Marketers can’t think of these podcasts as one long advertisement for the brand or else it will undoubtedly fail. Instead, it’s about creating highly valued, engaging audio content, that’s lightly branded.

If your brand is positioned as progressive, edgy, advanced, innovative or something of the like, then it aligns very nicely with the podcast space. While podcasting is growing rapidly, it’s still considered a relatively new medium. Those that embrace it early are perceived as being on the forward edge of marketing communications.

Branded podcasts are a great way to foster a deeper engagement with your audience. If done right, each episode will allow you to entertain your listeners with long form content covering topics highly related to your brand… content that people actually want to hear!

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We’ve seen our branded podcast, “Hackable?”, actually positively impact brand favorability and sentiment scores. For any brand marketer that tracks NPS, this should be music to your ears. It was to ours.

Branded podcasts aren’t just for B2C. There are many B2B brands that have developed popular podcasts. Their success speaks to the wide range of podcast listeners and the way people listen to podcasts.

A large percentage of podcast listening happens in the car while commuting. What better way to get relevant business information than while to drive to and from work?

In-Podcast Advertising

For brands that are looking for new ways to reach their audience in a relatively uncluttered environment, investigating in-podcast advertising is a must.

While networks like NPR only allow pre-recorded ads, read by their designated announcer, into their podcasts, others are far more open and creative with what is allowed into their programming.

We highly recommend seeking out shows that first and foremost reach your audience, but then also will have the host of their show speak in a natural way about your product, as if it were actually part of the show. If done this way, listeners actually like the “ad” content and will not skip it.

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As mentioned earlier, there are over 500,000 podcasts on Apple Podcasts alone. It is very likely that there are more than a handful that align with your audience and will allow creative, organic promotional reads by their host.

Work with an agency that has experience with in-podcast advertising to work with the shows for the optimal results. One tip from us, never pay for a post-roll position. If they are given to you as value add, take them, but for the most part listeners have checked out at the end of the podcast and won’t hear your message.

For reference to see which agencies work in the podcast world, check out Agency Spotter

Check out more articles in Ask The Experts

Carolyn Walker

Managing Partner at Response Agency
CEO, Managing Partner, idea driver. As the leader of the Response team, Carolyn is responsible for turning client partners into raving fans. During her tenure, Response has won over 100 awards (regionally, nationally and internationally) for marketing excellence.

Throughout her career, Carolyn has worked on a few brands you may have heard of, including Logitech, McAfee, Netgear, Sony Playstation, Amazon Web Services, Stanley Black & Decker, Citrix, Red Lobster, Uncle Julio's, United Technologies, Finesse Hair Care, Mylanta, and Tylenol among others.

When she's not pushing the team to create disruptive solutions, she's chilling on the beach.
Carolyn Walker

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