How to Achieve Internal Buy-In for Your Branded Podcast (while minimizing any career risk).

Even though podcasts have been around since 2005, some companies consider it a new medium – meaning you may face the challenge of educating others in your organization about what a branded podcast is, and what it can help you achieve.

This post is all about helping you answer the kinds of questions you might get asked in an internal conversation, complete with some facts and data. Consider it your insider guide on getting started on an internal pitch.

“Why should our brand have a podcast?”

“What would our brand have to say?”

“What about our competitors. Can’t they also create a podcast?”

“Won’t it take a lot of work to produce?”

“Are enough people listening to podcasts?”

“We need to produce content quickly. How long will this take?” 

“What other brands have a podcast?”

“We don’t know how to distribute the podcast – isn’t it difficult to distribute the podcast to Apple, Spotify, etc?”

“Our marketing team is worried that they don’t understand the podcast marketing ecosystem. How will we get the attention of the market so that it doesn’t fall flat when it is launched?” 

“My CFO/CMO/Boss is asking if this podcast will pay for itself.” 

“My content and operations team is wondering how we record a podcast these days…” 

“What are the company attributes that lend themselves best to a successful branded podcast?” 

“What is the easiest way to dip our toes into this?” 

“We have great strategists but we’re unsure which stories would be best suited for podcasting.” 

“We don’t have time to write the scripts and we don’t know how to go about doing so.” 

“How do we set our podcast goals? Are they the same for everyone?” 

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“Why should our brand have a podcast?”

As discussed in our blog post “How to fix the hole in your marketing funnel”, it’s easy for marketers to get traffic into their funnels, but difficult to keep it there. With more distractions than ever, customers are easily swayed by your competitors. This loss of loyalty means you are likely losing prospects.

Consumers are more finicky with their time than ever before. And can you blame them? Marketers have eroded their trust: bombarding them with marketing messages, misusing their data, and taking them for granted. As a result, the average consumer only trusts a small group of things, from a small group of sources.

In 2019’s Edelman Trust Barometer, 74% of respondents used at least one advertising avoidance strategy, including using ad blocking (48%), changing their media habits to see fewer  ads (47%) or paying for streaming services (38%).

The loss of trust is costing us – as Thales S. Teixeira from Harvard Business School puts it, “the cost of customer attention has been consistently on the rise.”

However, if consumers trust a brand, they demonstrate loyalty. Edelman’s report revealed that 82% of U.S. consumers and 75% of global respondents say they will continue to buy a brand they trust, even if another brand suddenly becomes hot and trendy.

Here’s where podcasts can play a vital role.l. A well-produced podcast holds the audience’s attention, which increases the lifetime value of your audience. There’s really no other marketing medium with as high an engagement rate as podcasts. In fact, JAR Audio sees listen-through rates of 90-95% for each episode, with 20 minutes being the average episode length. Compare this to the average watch time of a YouTube video, which sees a 50% watch-through rate for a 1-minute video.

Great podcasts also get shared through word of mouth, decreasing the customer acquisition cost.

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“What would our brand have to say?”

Here is the most important thing to remember when producing a branded podcast: it must deliver superior value to the listener.

In order to do this, you have to ask yourself:

  1. What does our listener want to learn?

  2. Where does our listener need help?

  3. How does our listener like to be entertained?

The answer to these questions pretty much is never  ‘our product’. The best way to think about this instead is ‘what does the world need most that we are most qualified to talk about?’ Find that answer, and then create your podcast around that.

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“What about our competitors. Can’t they also create a podcast?”

It’s very difficult for a competing brand to copy your podcast. It’s also difficult for them to start a podcast on a topic similar to yours. Being the first to market in a story space can help fortify your competitive advantage and build a barrier to entry for your competitors. If you can provide a quality product that delivers a remarkable value to listeners, those listeners will keep coming back – and that level of engagement is gold.

So get to market first, own the podcast space around a topic related to your category, and provide as much value to your listeners as possible. This will increase your audience, and increase the value of your intellectual property.In turn, that IP becomes an asset that increases your company value.

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“Won’t it take a lot of work to produce?”

The short answer is, yes. It takes time to produce a high quality podcast. However, we know your time is valuable and in short supply. That’s where a production agency like us can come in to lead the project, and provide the highest level of service and production quality for your podcast.

JAR Audio offers a full service, turnkey offering for the production of your brand’s podcast. This includes strategy, concepting, guest management, recording, editing, distribution and promotion. We build the plan together with you, and  then take over 100% of the execution to spare you capacity restraints.

Here is a break-down what your capacity commitment would be:

  • All of our projects include a kick-off workshop to align on the best way to work together on strategy, audience, podcast direction and marketing coordination. Before COVID this involved a day-long, in-person session. During COVID, however, we are conducting these workshops over the course of 2 x 2-hour Zoom video sessions. The sessions are moderated by the JAR Audio team and we invite anyone close to the content to join.

  • Afterwards, JAR interacts with an internal liaison on an ongoing basis. This person is assigned by you. They are senior enough to grant JAR Audio guest contact information and make introductions. It would help if this person worked on the marketing team or is involved in branding, messaging, social media, storytelling or communications campaigns. JAR would want to connect with this person for 2 hours per week in the beginning. This tapers off quickly after the first 8 weeks as the podcast progresses. We estimate this at roughly 2 hours per week x 4 months = 32 hours total.

  • Behind the scenes, JAR executes production.

  • Upon delivery your team would each choose a person to vet and approve the episodes to make sure they are “on point” and match organizational tone and audience goals appropriately. Approvals would take about 1 hour per episode or 12 hours over 4.5 months – this can vary depending on the number of episodes and the release dates, but we would be happy to discuss this further with you..

In total, JAR has calculated that you need to make yourself available for about 6 days of work over the production period.

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“Are enough people listening to podcasts?”

The latest Edison Research report shows 55% of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to podcasts.

On top of this, 37% have listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 32% in 2019 and just 26% in 2018. Podcasting is now a mainstream media channel. Monthly podcast consumers grew by 16% year-over-year, cresting 100 million Americans for the first time.

Meanwhile, Edison Research shows nearly 11 million Canadian adults (37% of the 18+ population) have listened to a podcast in the last month, the same percentage seen in the U.S. . In Canada, more than 13 million (45%) have listened at some point this year, signifying that here too, podcasting is now a mainstream media channel.

We have written the web’s most comprehensive list of podcast statistics called “The Vital Podcast Statistics All Brands Should Know About.” We’re constantly updating the list, pulling from some of the podcast industry’s most trusted sources, so check back often. If you have a specific need for data please don’t hesitate to reach out and we’d be happy to gather it for you.

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“We need to produce content quickly. How long will this take?”

The production timeline hinges on the format of the show, the number of stakeholders, your level of involvement in the planning, and the timeline of the guest booking process.

In approximate terms, for a 6-episode season, assuming we want to have 2 episodes ready before launch, we recommend allowing at least a month’s lead time to get those first episodes planned, booked, recorded, edited, approved, artwork done, and “in the can”. More lead time can mean more creative options.

After launch, the turnaround time per episode (once it is recorded) can be anywhere from 1-3 weeks. Again, this is affected by things like your internal approval process, and your agreed-upon episode structure (which determines how “involved” the edit is).

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“What other brands have a podcast?”

We’ve actually created the Ultimate List of Branded Podcasts.

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We don’t know how to distribute the podcast – isn’t it difficult to distribute the podcast to Apple, Spotify, etc?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked at JAR Audio. The process is actually quite simple. JAR Audio uses an online host server (like Omny Studio) to host the podcast and push it to a worldwide listening audience. We manage all of the set-up, including submitting the show to Apple for its approval. Once the show has been approved and distributed to the directories, it’s available for listeners. Most of the podcatchers that you are used to listening on ( Overcast, Casts, Castbox etc.) actually pull the shows from Apple.

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Our marketing team is worried that they don’t understand the podcast marketing ecosystem. How will we get the attention of the market so that it doesn’t fall flat when it is launched?

It’s no longer a case of ‘if you build it they will come’ – it is imperative to promote your podcast.. You need to look at your podcast promotion strategy from a 360-degree angle, including:

  • Public relations

  • Marketing through media companies and social platforms

  • Cross-promotion with other podcasts

  • Spotlighting on Apple and other directories

  • Paid opportunities

  • Plus other traditional and non-traditional tactics

We go in-depth on each of these tactics in The Ultimate Guide to Podcast Audience Growth.

Download the PDF to learn:

  • How to start promoting your podcast

  • Understanding your audience

  • Competitive Analysis

  • Show objectives

  • Audience Growth Strategy

  • Promotion + Marketing

Plus readers will receive a free offer!

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“My CFO/CMO/Boss is asking if this podcast will pay for itself?”

How can you measure the ROI of your podcast?

It all depends on the goal of your podcast, and that decision should be directly tied to the goals of your brand.

We know that podcasts fix the hole in your marketing funnel, but all brands start podcasts for different reasons – and those differences affect how they should think about ROI.

For example:

  • You could be the CMO of an organization responsible for increasing revenue

  • You might be a brand manager responsible for increasing awareness of your service

  • You could be an account director at an agency, responsible for selling a smart idea to your client with your team

  • You could be the executive director of a non-profit organisation and are responsible for changing the public’s perception about your cause

Depending on why your brand is launching a podcast, the ROI you track will be unique to you.

Broadly speaking however, there are four main ways you can measure the ROI of your podcast:

  • Financial ROI

  • Brand Performance

  • Online Performance

  • Podcast Performance

Each has its own metrics, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) or Key Results Indicators (KRI) to measure. To help you understand which ROI is right for you we’ve developed The Ultimate Guide to Podcast ROI.

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“My content and operations team is wondering how we record the podcast these days…”

Before COVID, we were coordinating our recordings through a network of studios across North America. However, with most of us sheltering in place, we have developed a 100% remote-capable solution that retains exceptional audio quality.JAR is equipped to send out a remote recording kit to the host (and to guests, if timelines permit),  and to manage the recording of the episodes through the cloud with the JAR team members working on your podcast.

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“What are the company attributes that lend themselves best to a successful branded podcast?”

We believe that if you are a company that wants to produce a high quality podcast, you should have the following characteristics:

Creative bravery

You boldly push boundaries.

Audience-focused

You are laser-focused on the listener.

Driven to deliver value

You have to give the listener so much value that they simply can’t help but subscribe to your podcast and keep coming back for more content. That’s where the value in podcasting lies for brands – holding the audience’s attention.

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“What is the easiest way to dip our toes into this?”

One of the best ways to try out podcasting is to produce an internal podcast – a show made strictly for your staff. It’s then privately and securely distributed through either a direct link or on your intranet (vs on public directories).

An internal podcast is a highly enjoyable way of distributing your HR, product, or leadership content, with the added bonus that you can directly measure the results of engagement.

Here are some additional benefits:

  • Great break from screen fatigue during pandemic.

  • Emails and intranets often go unread and are one dimensional.

  • Delivered in a format that staff embrace on their own time.

  • Culture building, onboarding, development.

  • Delivered in conversational style.

On top of that, you can absolutely do a small, one-off podcast. In fact we wrote a post called Why Brands Should Experiment With “One-Off” Podcasts.

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We have great strategists but we’re unsure which stories would be best suited for podcasting.

JAR Audio has an intensive strategy period (including a storytelling workshop) that we moderate with your team to tease out those stories. Reach out to us and we can provide more details.

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We don’t have time to write the scripts and we don’t know how to go about doing so.

We can do that for you!

At the beginning of a project, JAR Audio schedules pre-production conversations with your team to get concept and key messaging points for each episode. JAR then chases guests and pre-interviews them. That all gets incorporated into a draft question line script for the host, which includes additional narrationYour team has the opportunity to go over this script before heading into the proverbial ‘recording booth.’

JAR then confirms the guests, recording dates/times. We often find it’s beneficial to guide listeners toward upcoming episodes and content as well – this is determined in conjunction with your team.

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How do we set our podcast goals? Are they the same for everyone?

That really depends on your organization. But a podcast can be perfect for:

  • Thought leadership

  • Audience growth

  • Website growth and conversions

We’ve gone into the ROI of a podcast in extensive detail, but it’s important that you outline the “why” behind your podcast before setting out to produce one.

Roger Nairn is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of JAR Audio.

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