How to Make Your Brand’s Podcast Soar to Top of the Charts

Editor’s word: This article debuted in the July difficulty of the now digital-only Chief Content Officer journal.

Way again in the heady days of 2008, podcasting was barely a blip on the radar. According to Edison Research, the whole viewers of podcast listeners was 9% of the U.S. inhabitants per 30 days.

Yet, regardless of the looming world recession, 2008 was additionally the yr I noticed my freelance enterprise ought to turn out to be a content material advertising and PR company – and one of my first shopper initiatives was producing The Scoop, a weekly expertise podcast for MIS Magazine, half of the Fairfax Media steady.

Today, podcasts entice an estimated 90 million listeners per 30 days, 32% of the whole U.S. inhabitants over the age of 12.

One of the largest adjustments to podcasting over the previous decade has been the emergence of manufacturers as podcasters. It’s now not a media channel dominated by entrepreneurial, solo podcasters bringing the world their huge concepts.

These manufacturers all face one thing of an existential problem. They have an overt gross sales and advertising agenda – but podcasting is a really private, intimate type of media. Put one other approach, podcasts problem manufacturers to be human.

#Podcasts problem manufacturers to be human, says @markhjones. Click To Tweet

My early podcasting classes introduced this dilemma into sharp focus. If you don’t have a real ardour to join together with your viewers, delivering an ROI in your podcast shall be robust. It’s that straightforward, and that onerous.

With that in thoughts, listed below are my prime 5 podcasting suggestions for manufacturers – introduced in reverse order as a hat tip to David Letterman.

5. The viewers isn’t listening, but

This is the “if I build it, they will come” fallacy.

What sometimes occurs is somebody in the enterprise, often on the communications group, decides, “We need a podcast.” Sometimes it’s a strategic determination. Other occasions, it’s as a result of somebody in the group loves podcasts or noticed a competitor doing a present and FOMO is doing its work.

Regardless, it leads to a leap of logic: “We’re a really big, successful brand. If we created a podcast, all our customers and future customers would listen.”

Let’s cease proper there. No, they gained’t. At least, not but. I see this huge expectation hole again and again, partly as a result of we’re used to the attain of promoting and earned media. We understand how to make these channels work for us and assume the identical guidelines apply to podcasting.

The actual story:

  • According to podcast writer Libsyn, the common quantity of downloads per episode is 1,622 (primarily based on episodes printed by way of Libsyn in September and October 2018). That would possibly sound stable, however averages can deceive. The median determine is just 140 downloads, that means 50% of podcast episodes resulted in fewer than 140 downloads.
  • Your present is one of hundreds in a quickly increasing universe.
  • You can’t simply flip up and count on to win – until of course you have already got a worldwide following like Bill Gates, Oprah, or Ellen.

The finest strategy:

  • Invest in podcasting for the lengthy haul. In my expertise, most exhibits construct slowly earlier than the phrase will get out and downloads begin to spike upwards.
  • Amplify your present throughout each owned, earned, paid, and shared channel you’ve at your disposal. Newsletters sometimes supply the finest ROI, and there’s actual energy in your host showing on different podcasts as a visitor.
  • Experiment with digital promoting to your audience. Share tight, compelling audio clips that entice individuals to pay attention to the full present. As they are saying in the company sport: land and broaden.

Experiment w/ digital promoting to your audience. Share tight, compelling audio clips, says @markhjones. Click To Tweet


four. Find the host with the most

Just as a result of your head of gross sales is an effective talker with an ideal radio voice, it doesn’t imply she or he shall be the finest podcast host.

Your present will rise and fall on the energy, expertise, and humility of your podcast host. How properly can they get out of the approach and let visitors speak? How a lot real ardour can they share that doesn’t sound like an apparent plug for the model? Getting the stability proper is tough and also you don’t need to get it fallacious.

Your #podcast rises and falls on the energy, expertise, and humility of your host, says @markhjones. Click To Tweet

The actual story:

  • Someone in administration decides they know what the ultimate host ought to sound like. In reality, they strongly advocate [this individual].
  • Worried about battle or preserving their job or company contract, all people down the chain performs alongside.
  • The new podcast host struggles to join with the viewers, and also you’re caught producing a present that sucks.

The finest strategy:

  • Add the advised podcast host to a shortlist.
  • Treat the course of like a job interview. Speak with every candidate and ask the finest two or three to are available in for a trial.
  • Coach your host. Set up expectations from the starting that you just’ll work with them as the present’s producer to construct an emotional reference to the viewers over time.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: The Most Important Question to Ask Before Launching a Podcast

three. Podcasting is not only one other channel

At a macro stage, podcasts are an ideal field to tick inside your advertising and communications group. But it’s not only one extra channel to press-gang into serving the short-term priorities of one marketing campaign after one other.

A podcast is a beneficial content material model, an owned media channel requiring a long-term dedication. Your present deserves focus and a focus. Breathe life into it by amplifying the content material, analyzing efficiency, and serious about your viewers.

A #podcast is a beneficial content material model, an owned media channel requiring a long-term dedication, says @markhjones. Click To Tweet

The actual story:

  • Your advertising group and its company companions embark on an thrilling new undertaking. You’ve agreed on an umbrella message, messaging pillars, a bespoke touchdown web page, and a collection of ways throughout earned, paid, owned, and shared channels.
  • A podcast is bundled in with the different ways to amplify the message and inform the story. All good up to now.
  • The marketing campaign kicks off and the new podcast begins constructing an viewers slowly. Trouble brews as the weeks cross by and it doesn’t ship something shut to the attain of different earned, paid, and shared channels. Has the complete factor failed?

The finest strategy:

  • Think long-term buyer engagement, not a short-term hit to model consciousness. Launch your present approach earlier than the model’s huge marketing campaign hits the market so you’ve a ready-made platform.
  • Ask your self, “How can this podcast amplify my brand’s master narrative?” For instance, if you happen to’re an electrical energy retailer centered on making life easier, how will your content material echo that narrative? A “life hacks” present that helps individuals declutter and discover easy options is a pleasant alignment of model and shopper narratives.
  • The editorial/promoting divide nonetheless issues. Keep your model messaging to brief promoting stings or dwell reads by the host. Let the calls to motion do their magic.

Research by Podcast One in 2018 in Australia revealed that up to 63% of podcast listeners will take some sort of motion primarily based on promoting or sponsorship. The discovering is per a research from Edison Research again in 2016, which confirmed that 65% of podcast followers have been prepared to take into account buying merchandise they realized about throughout a present.

  • Make a tough determination: If you want fast outcomes and large attain to your marketing campaign, purchase promoting. If you need to construct a long-term, partaking dialog together with your prospects that fosters advocates and drives referral enterprise, construct a podcast.

Think long run. #Podcast advertising fosters advocates and attracts referral enterprise, says @markhjones. Click To Tweet

2. News flash: Podcasting isn’t fast and low cost

This is presumably the largest expectation vs. actuality hole in content material advertising. Many model entrepreneurs have minimized the money and time it takes to make an ideal present.

Certainly, recording a podcast takes much less effort and time than recording a video. For instance, you would possibly document 120 minutes to produce a two-minute buyer case-study video – a taking pictures ratio of 60-to-1. Meanwhile, we sometimes document 60 minutes of uncooked audio to produce a 30-minute podcast episode – a far more environment friendly recording ratio of 2-to-1.

However, such comparisons are deceptive, as there are different essential components that ought to affect your budgeting and resourcing choices. If you desire a good podcast you want to make investments time and manufacturing in analysis, making ready the visitors and host, intelligently modifying the present, and advertising your polished product.

Drawing on my expertise internet hosting and producing The CMO Show, our group invests 10 to 15 hours in pre- and post-production actions.

The actual story:

  • Brands are sometimes baffled when pricing quotes from podcast businesses are transformed into excessive per-episode prices. The actuality is, until you’re going to do the work in-house, an company wants to cowl its hourly prices.
  • Some podcast businesses supply low charges to win the work however battle to keep worthwhile as the hours inevitably climb greater than anticipated. Brand publishing takes time.

The finest strategy:

  • Don’t suppose of podcasting as a media purchase or perhaps a set of content material property. You’re making a content material model that can have a life and vitality of its personal. If you get it proper, individuals will be part of your new podcast tribe and provide you with a brand new platform for enterprise development.
  • Ask your content material advertising or podcast company how to finest share the load. For instance, if you happen to’re nice at discovering and welcoming visitors to the present, take it off the company’s fingers. Such duties will be very time consuming, in order that transfer might prevent tons of cash.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Podcasting Pioneers Explain Value of Audio Content and Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

1. Think high quality, not amount

Accurate podcast statistics are notoriously troublesome to discover, partly as a result of aggregators like Apple Podcast don’t launch loads of data and the business hasn’t but embraced universally accepted efficiency and reporting metrics.

That stated, we all know we’re closing in on 1 million podcasts accessible to your selecting. Chartable tracks and displays podcast apps similar to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. As I write this, the Chartable web site experiences there are over 736,000 podcasts in its database, with a mixed whole of 35,375,500 episodes.

Side word: The common human life span is 700,000 hours, so there’s extra podcast content material accessible than hours in our human existence.

736,000+ podcasts are in @ChartableDotCom’s database. How can yours stand out, asks @MarkHJones. Click To Tweet

We’ve seen this supply-vs.-demand equation at work in content material advertising. In the early days of running a blog and net content material, it was a race to scale: More content material, extra usually, on extra channels. Today? It’s high quality, not amount.

The actual story:

  • When it comes to model publishing, we don’t sometimes have a amount downside. The difficulty is a battle to spend money on long-term high quality and worth creation.
  • Brand entrepreneurs usually battle with defining what high quality content material appears like, a extremely subjective course of.
  • Brands discover it complicated when evaluating themselves to impartial podcasters, many of whom see podcasting as their major occupation. In the impartial world, some nonetheless chase amount with a brief, sharp each day present of simply 10 minutes.

The finest strategy:

  • At the danger of repetition, put your prospects first. What does high quality sound like to them? Double down on nice insights, leisure, and including actual worth. Then, if you’ve discovered the magic system, it ought to turn out to be apparent why you’re a uncommon commodity in a sea of mediocrity.
  • Focus on attracting and sustaining viewers consideration. Like gross sales, it’s simpler and cheaper to preserve an present podcast listener than discover a new one. Experiment with other ways of incorporating viewers suggestions.
  • Manufacture demand to your distinctive distinction. Use influencers and pals to unfold the phrase; create curiosity by way of PR, focused social posts, and occasions.

There’s no query manufacturers will proceed to spend money on podcast creation and promoting. You would possibly recall the buzz generated final yr by The Daily from The New York Times reportedly asking $290,000 per 30 days for sponsorship. Consider canary in the coal mine – advert spend is predicted to preserve climbing.

However, the savvy model entrepreneurs will inevitably ask themselves, “Why spend that sort of money on sponsorship when we can make our own show?”

Anyone could make a podcast badly. You’re not simply anybody, so go discover a story value telling.


Have you heard the latest podcast from the Content Marketing Institute? It’s the Weekly Wrap from our Chief Strategy Advisor Robert Rose. Take 10 minutes on Friday (or the day of your selecting) for one thought, one recent take, and one nice concept you should utilize. 

Read extra from the newest difficulty of Chief Content Officer journal right here. And subscribe to the now digital-only journal to obtain future points in your inbox. 

Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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