What you should and shouldn’t do if you want your series to work.
When it comes to their corporate podcast, a lot of teams struggle to plug their brand in a way that works — and to be honest, that comes as no surprise.
You need your fans to make the connection between your brand and their new favorite show, but you don’t want your podcast to sound like an ad.
Ultimately, you’re stuck in a balancing act.
Well, good news! Having created podcasts for major players like T-Mobile, Amazon, Lush, and even Amex, this is an art our team has more or less mastered.
In this post, we share our tips for in-podcast plugs that will draw your fans to — and never away from — your community, your content, and your brand.
Below, we explore…
- Why less is more
- How your plugs should sound
- Where you should place them
- How (and when) to add a promo
- And whether your fans will just tune you out
Let’s dive in.
Why less is more
We’ve said this dozens of times before, and we really can’t stress it enough…
Your branded podcast should almost never be focused on your brand — and you should think of those in-podcast brand mentions as a tiny exception to that rule.
Tiny is the operative word here.
When it comes to content marketing, the content should always come first. That’s what sets this strategy apart from traditional advertising.
Content marketing works because it builds trust and reciprocity. That’s the big picture.
Today’s consumers are ultra-savvy, and with the progression of technology and media today, they’ve seen just about every trick in the book.
Expect your audience to be suspicious of branded content. They will come to your show with their guards up because — let’s be real — we don’t fully trust content marketers yet.
Your listeners are expecting you to try to sell them something. Don’t.
You have to earn their trust first, and good opportunities to “sell” in the traditional sense are few and far between. (More on this below.)
What we’re looking for here is a connection made, and that’s it. We like to think of it like this…
The show is your gift. Your plug is the gift tag.
Ultimately, the gift is about the recipient, and that’s how it should be — but that short-and-sweet plug reminds them who to thank.
How your plug should sound
Bearing all of this in mind, you might be wondering how an effective brand mention actually sounds.
We like to keep it simple. We use phrases like “brought to you by,” and “powered by” before the name of a brand — and that’s all you really need to connect the dots.
Remember, if you’ve created a strategic and value-aligned podcast, it will implicitly tell your listeners exactly who you are.
A great series will convey your mission, purpose, and values, and you shouldn’t have to spell those things out.
Your brand mention should be heard, but it shouldn’t need an epilogue.
Where to place your plugs
When it comes to these short plugs, placement is pretty simple.
Depending on length, you’ll want to mention your brand (briefly) at the beginning of the podcast (as the sponsor) and end of each episode.
With two quick plugs, you can ensure your brand won’t be missed, and that your listener knows who created your content — even if they miss part of your show.
How (and when) to add a promo
While you don’t want your podcast to lean advertorial, there may come a time when it’s appropriate to mention a product or service within your show.
This should really only happen when there’s a clear connection between your content, and whatever it is you want to promote.
To give you a better sense of how this works, let’s take a look at an example.
In the corporate podcast Fireweed, we will occasionally mention a course that BCIT — the brand behind the series — offers, but only when it’s relevant to the material.
You can hear what that sounds like here…
This segment appears in an episode focused on the sustainable travel industry, and promotes BCIT’s School of Business and Media, where students can study sustainable biz.
You’ll notice that, just as we do with the standard brand mentions, we’ve kept this promo short and sweet — and whisked our listeners right back into the “meat” of the episode.
You will also notice that the promo is not a separate recording. Instead, it’s read by the host. This can help a promo feel organic, informal, and less like an interruption of your show.
Will your listeners pay attention?
Having read this post, you may be wondering whether your listeners will actually register your promos and plugs, or if they’ll just tune them out.
Well, this might come as a surprise, but the data tells us that in-podcast branding really does work.
In fact, one 2019 report from BBC found that consumers are more engaged during the branded parts of a podcast episode than they are during the rest of the content.
Go figure. Clearly, this is a massive green light for savvy content marketers everywhere.
To learn more about plugging your brand within your show, check out this post.