Launching a Winner: How this Branded Podcast Topped the Charts in its First Week

It all started with an assumption, one that taught us one of our biggest lessons about podcasting – that diving into brand purpose can take the conversation much deeper than talking about product ever could.

The Initial Meeting

When we first arrived at Saje Natural Wellness’s HQ – the birthplace of Muscle Melt and Liquid Sunshine Diffuser – we couldn’t wait to get started. As per each introduction meeting, we brought a few high-level concepts with us that we thought were very on-brand; like what types of plants go into Saje diffuser blends. Heck, we even had a mock script about the root of peppermint.

And we’re proud to say that Saje really surprised us that day.

We walked in, shook hands, introduced JAR Audio, and within 10 minutes had totally ditched the idea of podcasting about aromatherapy products. Rather, we held space for Saje as they told us they wanted to further the conversation around modern health and offer value to their most loyal customers. Saje is a company with a governing philosophy bigger than its products and they had the vision to tap into that with a podcast all about wellness.

Bringing the Branded Podcast to Life

In the second meeting, we held a mini-workshop to focus on the heart of the podcast: the content. The workshop was orchestrated by our Creative Director, Jen Moss.

Our client told us they wanted their podcast content to be thought-provoking in the world of health. Meaning they didn’t want to use their audio platform to discuss the benefits of their products or brand points – but rather, they wanted to challenge people’s notion of what it meant to be healthy.

And more importantly, they wanted to do so via storytelling, data, research, and insight, so they could properly showcase “the hidden side of health” with well-framed conversations.

We determined that the show would feature an awesome host and have a bi-weekly conversation with doctors, wellness experts, and healers of all kinds.

In each episode, we opened a dialogue about how the meaning of “well” is different for everyone. Health and wellness practitioners, as well as people with lived experience of different health-related issues, would weigh-in with their thoughts on treatment, solutions, and – more importantly – the root causes of disease.

The show would be called Well Now. At the time, this was outside of the types of conversations that Saje was having.

And it was a podcast producer’s dream.

Planning an Awesome Show

With the concept and content locked in, we got to the fun part: bringing this potential hit to life. To get us through the next few months of writing, recording, and editing, we collaborated with Saje’s marketing and brand on the following attack plan:

Daily Touch Base
A fresh new branded podcast needs a lot of attention, and we stayed tied at the hip with our client.

Dedicated Project Team
Our CEO, Roger Nairn, CMO Jen Moss and CTO Aaron Johnson ran the entire process directly with the client.

Brand Top of Mind
The episodes didn’t mention Saje or its products, but we ensured the content was portrayed through the brand’s lens.

Collaborative and Honest Process
A key component of the way we work is a collaboration with authenticity, as we believe this builds trust.  As we are with all our clients, we promised full transparency on editorial differences and industry best practices (making for a much better end result).

Ultimate Flexibility
This may actually surprise even our own clients! We like to stay quick and nimble at JAR since a lot of podcasts require modern and customized solutions.

What do we mean? Due to the availability of different guests and their schedules, we recorded pretty much everywhere:

The Saje office.
Aaron’s living room.
On the street and sidewalk.
Even out in the middle of the forest!

It’s not difficult for someone to record in the wild but it is not easy to make it sound good – so Aaron and our technical team cleaned the audio up to make it sound seamless. It was important that everyone involved in the podcast felt comfortable that we could expand our options at any time and agile with anything.

With the first six episodes cut and ready, Season 1 of Well Now was ready for launch.

Marketing a Chart Topper

Well Now debuted at #2 in the Health category on Apple Canada’s Podcast charts

Together with the marketing team at Saje, we hit the podcast promotion from all angles. From our past experience, we knew the initial objective was to generate as many downloads as possible to boost the podcast’s ranking, which would, in turn, continue to spur on more listens. And we knew we had to take a 360-degree approach.

Here’s how we did it:

Leveraging Current Audiences
We created a tight media kit and assets to share the show’s launch across Saje’s social channels and email list. As the formula goes, brands can expect to convert about 10% of their social media following into a podcast audience, so we knew earned media was an important component.

In-Store
Saje set up actual in-store listening stations at different retail locations and paired them with curated displays of products that lined up with the episode topics. The branded podcast wasn’t just an audio play – it was a full retail experience as well.

Earned Media and Partnerships
We partnered with like-minded blogs in the wellness space so they could share information about our launch in support of various episodes. Plus, our host Meghann appeared as a guest on different podcasts to promote the show. As we’ve said before, we believe the best way to get the word out about your podcast is through earned media: Media coverage you don’t pay for, that spontaneously occurs because your content is of interest.

Paid Media
As with any marketing campaign, there’s also room (and necessity) for paid media that is done strategically, correctly, and on-brand.

The Aftermath

Saje was ecstatic. So much that their entire leadership team got involved in the celebration. Beyond downloads, Saje also received tons of positive in-store feedback from customers and staff about the podcast.

And despite launching so high, we all agreed that we could improve for Season 2 and 3. The reality is: you can’t just pulse out promotion of the show at the start– it has to be consistent, and the content has to remain strong. The listeners grow over time, not all at once.

Podcast Success

Saje’s original mission of staying true to brand purpose and creating a show as a resource, not a form of product promotion, has now led to an average listen-through rate of 90% (a very high level of consumption and engagement). This data tells us that people are actually listening, intrigued, and committed to the content.

And it all started with the idea of letting Saje take the driver’s seat and lead the discussion in the industry. Through the podcast, they have found a new way to empower their customers and staff while starting thought-provoking conversations about wellness.

Learn more about partnering with JAR Audio.

Roger Nairn is Co-Founder and CEO of JAR Audio