Podcasts have grown in popularity with now 37% of the American population having listened to a podcast in the past month (up from 32% last year). Podcasts are a useful and effective marketing tool for brands, but only if done correctly.
As a podcast production company here are some of the questions we ask our prospective clients before we agree to produce a podcast for their brand:
1. Do we really just want to create an ad?
If so, then create an ad. Create a beautiful ad. But don’t make it a podcast. Who wants to listen to a 20-30 minute ad?
Are we sure it isn’t an ad? Some signs that a branded podcast might just be a long ad:
It mentions the brand throughout episode
It uses a lot of internal JARgon/speak
It neglects the storytelling and sonic potential of the medium
Get the drift?
2. Do you understand your audience?
It’s a fundamental starting point because having a clear focus on topics that interest-targeted listeners (and sticking to it) will build respect for a podcast by offering legitimate value, encourage sharing, and cause an audience to grow.
3. Do you have something of value to say?
An interview that is neither insightful nor authoritative will be a tune-out for most listeners. Engaging topics and original or provocative ideas command attention and provide value. Think of your podcast as a thank you or a gift to listeners (Conversely, if you don’t have a point or there’s nothing to say, it may be better to wait.)
4. Do you have a certain level of creative bravery?
There is over a million podcasts out there. Creative ingenuity when it comes to storytelling and higher production values can distinguish you from the pack.
5. Do you have enough to say?
Ideally, you can at least get a season of 6-10 episodes out of the show. Do you have enough runway for a show to sustain listeners’ attention? This can be a good challenge because it forces brands to break out of their “usual” topics and explore other parts of the organization. What is the one thing that your organization can do that nobody else can? Try focusing on that.
6. Are you prepared to invest in promoting it?
There’s no point in putting all this work into it, only to have it hidden, floating out there with nothing pointing in its direction. Starting with the channels your brand is currently in and share the show to the communities you have already around these channels, but then moving out to organic and paid opportunities.
We believe that creating a podcast for your brand is an excellent way to offer value to your existing community and to help attract new audiences – but it has to be right for your audience and your brand. A podcast is an intimate listening experience that can truly deepen an audience’s relationship with your brand. But it has to be done well. It’s worth asking yourself these 6 questions before investing in a podcast.
Jen Moss is JAR Audio’s Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer