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Podcasts are among the fastest-growing forms of popular media, and branded podcasts are no exception. Immersive and intimate, they constitute a rare opportunity for businesses to connect with listeners without being too invasive.

In branded podcasts, the branding stands out from its surrounding content, helping to land the messaging better than global radio benchmarks, where brand mentions score 5% lower on average, a BBC study found. Brand mentions in branded podcasts deliver, on average, 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding than the adjacent content.

So, branded podcasts are a proven and effective way to achieve more brand awareness and grow your audience successfully.

But where should you start? What exactly is a branded podcast, what are the benefits, and where do you start with branding one? This article will tell you what you need to know about branded podcasts.

What Is a Branded Podcast?

In 2018, Fast Company described branded podcasts as "the ads people actually want to listen to."

As the name suggests, a branded podcast is—drum roll please—the official podcast of a brand.

In other words, a business or company decided to launch its own podcast in which it is likely to discuss relevant industry topics and insights and mention its own brand, products, or services from time to time.

Why Start a Branded Podcast?

In the US, many families have incorporated podcasts into their everyday routines, and the use of the medium is set to grow over the coming years. Therefore, considering a branded podcast as part of your marketing strategy is a logical idea.

If you don't do so, your competitors surely will—and they are likely to attract more customers and conversions for their company.

A full 75% of podcast listeners respond to the sponsored messages they hear in a podcast, including the branded messages, NPR has reported. That is significant because it shows that podcast promotions can sound natural and that potential customers are willing to act on them.

How to Brand a Podcast

1. Define your goal or objective for your branded podcast

Business podcasts usually exist to create a positive impression of that business, which means that subscriptions, downloads, or chart positions might not be as important as KPIs that consider brand awareness, engagement, and authority.

You might want your podcast to work as a tool to gain vital feedback, or you could use it to become a thought leader in your industry, or perhaps secure a dream guest that will generate value for your listeners.

2. Establish your ideal branded podcast audience

Like a customer persona, an ideal listener is the one person who represents your listeners, and you should outline the person's age, occupation, gender, location, job, and interests.

Suppose your overall goal is brand elevation, and your target audience is female CEOs age 35-45. In that case, you'll create a branded podcast that is hyper-focused on that specific audience's interests.

3. Establish your branding

In other words, why are you here? Podcasters rely heavily on their audio, but first impressions matter when branding is the concern.

Consider nonaudio elements: strong and visually powerful podcast elements are vital for getting your podcast noticed in the first place. That might include colorful fonts, quirky descriptions, and an inimitable tone of voice.

Use your brand guidelines to ensure you are getting branding right. If you are a legal advice company, you will likely want a professional and serious tone of voice, whereas a makeup brand is likely to want something more personable and fun. Jingles can also help distinguish a podcast at the start and end of an episode.

Research your competitors' cover art and note which ones would attract you to listen. With 700,000+ podcasts out there, it's never been more important to stand out from the crowd—and a large part of that comes down to unique and compelling branding.

The Benefits of a Branded Podcast

The nature of podcasting is precisely what makes it so beneficial for a brand: The conversational and intimate way the content is conveyed helps create an optimum environment for engagement and brand awareness.

The BBC report referenced earlier found that there are many benefits of a branded podcast:

  • They achieve unique cut-through with ad avoiders. Users who tend to avoid ads were 22% more engaged with podcast brand mentions than those on TV.
  • Their listeners are active. A full 94% of listeners consume podcasts while doing something else, whether driving, exercising, or housework. Strangely enough, that activity makes listeners more receptive to brand messaging. The other activity helps keep the brain occupied, which enhances its ability to absorb information at a level of "low-involvement processing," meaning the messaging is retained for much longer.
  • They encourage positive association. Listeners create subconscious associations with brands based on words they hear in their podcasts. For example, if the word "innovative" is used repeatedly, listeners are likely to refer to the sponsor as "innovative" too, showing that they instinctively link the brand with the message.
  • They offer additional airtime for brands. People consume podcasts during windows of time when they would not usually be available to traditional advertising. That is an enviable commercial opportunity, as it adds a new target to the media mix.

To elaborate further on that last point: only 20% of audiences read an entire blog article; and although videos around the 2-minute mark receive 70% engagement, that dramatically drops at the 6-minute mark to 50%, and below 50% after the 10-minute mark.

Although 70% is a good consumption rate, the length of content across which you can maintain user attention is minimal. The average length of a podcast is 28.5 minutes; it can hold the listener's attention for 14 times longer—an impressive length and engagement rate for any branded content.

* * *

In an ever-crowded market, brands should embrace innovations to stay ahead of the game. Branded podcasts look set to ride their current wave of success into the future, along with videos and other formats that turn traditional marketing on its head.

Branded podcasting is one of the best ways to build awareness, identify with your audience, establish loyalty, and address potential customers in a way that doesn't only push your products and services but also helps them to achieve their goals.

The most popular branded podcasts still derive from the heart of what makes a good quality podcast: great storytelling, interesting conversations, and valuable content that people want to listen to.

More Resources on Branded Podcasts

How to Build Your Podcast Brand : MarketingProfs Webinar

Why Podcasts? Why Now? How to Leverage the Power of Podcasts for Your Brand

Podcasting for B2B Marketing Thought Leaders

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Phil Caplin

Phil Caplin is the founder of Broadcast Revolution, a specialist broadcast PR agency providing a fresh and creative way to deliver high-quality coverage for brands. Its services include talent sourcing, media relations, video and podcast production, and media training.

LinkedIn: Phil Caplin

Twitter: @Cappers2011