5 Things You Should NEVER Include in a Branded Podcast

Because sloppy content marketing can hurt your reputation and your relationships.

Creating a podcast is a big job and, for folks lacking experience, it can be easy to slip up.

This is one of many reasons we recommend working with a qualified production company to launch your branded podcast.

That said, we want you to succeed no matter what.

So, here are the pitfalls you’ll want to avoid — whether you try this alone, partner with another company, or choose to work with us.

Is your guest the right fit?

The unvetted guest

This one seems obvious but can be particularly damaging if it slips through the cracks.

Identifying potential guests for your series is a lot of work in itself — nevermind the time and energy it takes to properly vet them.

Imagine this.

You bend over backwards:

  • Finding a guest

  • Planning

  • Researching

  • Writing

  • Recording

  • Writing some more

  • Editing

  • Publishing

  • Distributing

  • Promoting

And only after all of this, you find a nasty skeleton in your guest’s closet.

Perhaps it’s an unpleasant history you didn’t know about — like racist, sexist, ableist or otherwise discriminatory behavior. Or, maybe it’s something a bit milder. Perhaps you run a plant-based podcast and your guest is invested in big dairy.

Whether it’s a matter of mismatched values or crappy behavior, an unvetted guest can make a major impact. Seriously. This has the potential to hurt your brand’s reputation and sink your podcast.

Learn how to measure the ROI of your podcast. 

Your podcast should be a blatant sales pitch.

The obvious sales pitch

You’re making this podcast as part of your marketing plan, right? So, shouldn’t you design it to sell your products or services?

The answer is no. But also yes. Stick with us.

A branded podcast is a form of content marketing (not advertising) and as such should never feel like a commercial.

Yes, this type of content is designed to positively impact your bottom line.

That said, a successful branded podcast won’t do this through advertising or a sales pitch. Instead, it will build a lasting, meaningful relationship with your brand’s owned audience.

This seriously works — but you need to trust in the process

And hey, if you don’t believe us, perhaps you’ve heard of Expedia or Saje Natural Wellness?

Effective relationship building sets these industry-leading brands apart.

Stay on topics which feel right for the brand.

The off-brand topic

It can be tempting to cover whatever is trending right now. We get that.

But, when it comes to building authentic connection, hot topics are not always the way to go.

At the end of the day, your branded podcast should be made for your audience — or several thousand versions of your ideal customer.

It should focus on topics that will resonate with the people who connect with your brand and its values, mission and purpose.

This is about building real brand affinity and lasting trust and investment. Diverging from your normal programming can feel click-baity and end up hurting your bond with your audience.

Unclear on what works and what doesn’t? Let’s take a look.

Intermittent fasting is trending and you find a great angle for your mental health or sports-focused podcast? Sounds great. Cover it.

That said, you should probably take a pass on this topic if you normally focus on design, literature, or the latest backcountry camping trends.

Some dots are appropriate to connect — but your audience will see right through you if you’re grasping at straws.

So stay in your wheelhouse. Or atleast around it.


Avoid producing an episode without a plan.

The unplanned episode

Put simply, every episode of your podcast must be carefully planned and researched.

While the conversations should flow organically and never feel forced, this really isn’t a coffee shop meetup.

If you’re simply inviting an expert (or not-so-expert) guest along and going off the cuff, the result will be sloppy. Obviously, this doesn’t make a good impression on your audience.

Yes, podcasts should feel informal and warm. But they still need to include exceptional storytelling, timely topics, and value-aligned themes.

The bottom line is that, when it comes to a branded podcast, you should never start recording without well-planned talking points.

(For the record, you should also have a seasoned editor and producer on hand — in case anyone goes off on a tangent.)

Avoid the equivalent of advertising “double dipping”.

The third party advertiser

Alright, this one might not be a never never — but it’s really not something we recommend to the brands we work with.

If you’re building a popular branded podcast, it can be tempting to generate some ad revenue and we totally get that.

There is also evidence to suggest that audiences are very receptive to brand mentions within a podcast.

But get this. We still think you should say no to third-party advertising bucks.

Why, you might ask?

This comes down to that trust we’ve already talked about — and the bond you want to build with your audience.

A branded podcast allows you to give them something with no strings attached. By omitting ads, you’re simply offering exceptional content based around their values and interests.

You should also consider risk versus reward. Ads from brands that aren’t perfectly aligned with yours could hurt your brand identity or deter once-loyal listeners.

When it comes to content marketing, forget about immediate return. Focus on the long game — building a loyal, invested, and brand-appropriate audience.

Pulling it off

When we get to talking about the mistakes you might make with your podcast, things can feel a bit overwhelming. We get that.

If you’re feeling intimidated by the task ahead, don’t stress. A qualified production agency can lighten the load and make this a seamless process. (That’s us!)

And don’t forget — the long-term results are well worth the effort.

Ready to explore how podcasts really impact brands? We’ve rounded up some stats we think you should know about.

Learn how to measure the ROI of your podcast. 

Looking to Solve Your Business Problems with a Podcast?

JAR Audio is a full-service agency that solves brand problems with Original Podcasts.