Is Your Podcast a Painkiller or a Vitamin?

There are two simple paths to successful audio.

No matter your industry, or what niche your content is centered around, your branded podcast should be one of two things — a painkiller, or a vitamin.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, let’s break it down.

We’ve touched on this before (and it should probably be clear to you regardless) but exceptional content marketing must always put its audience first.

An effective blog post shouldn’t read as a sales pitch, so your podcast shouldn’t sound like an hour-long radio ad either.

You should be creating a series for your audience, and well executed, audience-first content does one of two things…

It solves a problem (like a painkiller), or helps listeners improve on what’s inside (like a vitamin).

This probably still feels a bit abstract, so let’s take a look at some successful corporate podcasts that follow these formulas.

A closer look at painkillers

Ultimately, the formula for a great painkiller podcast is simple…

It should identify a pain point unique to its audience and offer realistic, tangible, and meaningful solutions to their problems.

If your brand chooses to go this route, this is precisely the formula you should follow.

Below, we take a closer look at two branded shows — both produced by the team at JAR Audio — that exemplify the painkiller approach.

Business Class: Build It Braver by American Express

This hit series from AMEX tackles the growing pains of small and upcoming businesses.

Guided by host and entrepreneur Vivian Kaye, listeners receive substantial tips and strategies designed to help them navigate real-world challenges.

Here are some of the pain points this show addresses…

  • Supply chain issues

  • Competing in a saturated market

  • And the cash flow hurdles that come with new growth

To deliver maximum value, Business Class: Build It Braver relies on expert guests like Taylor Frankel, co-founder of breakout cosmetics brand NudeStix, and Daniel Warner, co-founder and CEO of health tech startup KixCare.

The result? A series that helps listeners manage their day-to-day woes with high-value advice from folks who’ve faced similar challenges.

This is Small Business by Amazon

Another series for the burgeoning entrepreneur, This is Small Business tackles common career gripes in episodes designed to change the game for its loyal listeners.

Host Andrea Marquez sits down with guests to discuss the (many) hurdles that small brands face, and explore the solutions listeners need to overcome them.

A closer look at vitamins

A corporate podcast production that takes the vitamin approach is less focused on solving specific problems, and more focused on helping listeners grow.

The result? A series that enhances their lives, and offers something meaningful that’s totally free of charge.

Ultimately, this is the kind of dynamic that can change the game for your business — and define the impression folks have of your brand.

To paint a clearer picture, let’s take a look at two successful examples, also produced by the team at JAR Audio.

The Sound Bath by Lush Cosmetics 

This is a series that believes its fans can do more than scrape by; it encourages them to thrive.

The Sound Bath empowers listeners to change not only their minds, but the world around them, and their daily lives.

Packed with candid and vulnerable conversation, it covers topics including…

  • Racial bias in the digital world

  • Building intergenerational trust

  • And healing childhood trauma

While this series certainly tackles some difficult material, the content is meant to enhance peace, purpose, and meaning.

Each episode closes with a meditative sound bath created to cultivate space, calm, and understanding for the folks that tune in.

The result is a show in line with Lush’s branding — that reinforces its core messaging around ethics, social responsibility, and self care — all while offering something of real value to audience members everywhere.

Nice Genes by Genome BC 

This show is a prime example of adding value through education — the gift that keeps on giving.

It entertains and informs, providing not only an enjoyable listening experience, but something of substance listeners can walk away with.

As we write, Nice Genes is only two episodes in, but has covered topics including all things genomics, and how pharmaceuticals interplay with our genes.

Guests to date have included neuroscientist and science communicator Dr. Samantha Yammine, and award-winning Genetic Counselor Dr. Jehannine Austin.

You have to choose one

So, what’s the bottom line here?

Your show should absolutely fall into one of these two categories. (And if it doesn’t, you’re unlikely to succeed.)

Whether you’re helping your listeners grow, or helping them over a hurdle, there has to be a real incentive for them to tune in — and keep coming back for more.

This is how you cultivate meaningful relationships, build your brand identity, and foster the kind of loyalty that lasts long term.

To learn more about what it takes to make a chart-topping podcast, check out this post.