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How to Think About Podcasts As a Brand

One of the most common conversations we have is variations on the question “why podcasts?” from brands. Over the years, we’ve developed a simple framework on how brands should think of podcasting as a new medium for expression, reach and conversion. Here is how to think about podcasts as a brand:

1. Only the Brave 

For a long time, podcasts were introduced as “internet for radio.” While this is true, it misses the point that brands who embrace podcasts have to be, at their core, brave. 

As with any market that is new, embracing it requires being comfortable with the learning curve that comes with entering it. What separates brands that do well in the space is simple: they have to be brave.

Brave brands embrace change, they look at new communication mediums as opportunities to further their reach. They think independently and aren’t afraid to take creative risks. 

The ads that work best are ones that are authentic and different. There is nothing less exciting to listeners than a plain vanilla advertisement that is focused only on promoting a brand. Engagement, empathy and humor – all could engage listeners at a deeper level, and lead to action. 

2. Reaching New Audiences 

Podcast audiences are intentional and engaged. Brands who know that, and are able to speak clearly and honestly, have the chance to engage (and better yet, cultivate) these micro-communities.

Copy-pasting content from other channels into the podcast space is a sure way to fail. Brands that succeed in podcast advertising spend time trying to learn about the audience, their listening habits and lifestyles. Based on what the objectives are, the ads can be customized in a way that is complementary to the audience’s life – and not totally blind to it. 

Success here can mean access to an audience that is exclusive – like a members only club. Except in this case, members are self-selected and discerning. 

3. Lower Funnel Goals

Over the past few years, advertising spend has become a bit of an arms race: fresh tactics go stale in months, and customer acquisition costs keep rising. Almost 40% of all venture capital spend goes to Google, Facebook or Amazon advertising.

As users, we are inundated with ads every time we login to Facebook or any other large platform. We are less loyal than before, and the more options we have, the more fickle we get as consumers. 

Podcasts offer something that these platforms never could: a personal connection with a host. For listeners who tune in regularly, they develop a special kinship with hosts and grow to trust their recommendations. When it comes to lower funnel goals, a trustworthy recommendation could yield far better results than large scale ad buys on social media. 

4. Social Strategy Companion

A podcast strategy alone is not enough. What it needs alongside it is a thoughtful (and hopefully interesting) social media strategy. Being consistent across platforms, using the same tone of voice and personality, is important as you develop a relationship with an audience.

Brands today live online, and podcast listeners will need to go somewhere to find out more. The CTA transition has to be smooth in terms of content alignment and tactics (CTA approach) to be successful.

As always, feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions about any of the above.