Owning Your Audience: The Not-So-Secret Weapon of Industry-Leading Brands

Why rented and owned audiences appear in exceptional marketing plans.

As businesses recognize the value of meaningful connection and work to build affinity for their brands, there are plenty of big decisions to be made — many of which can make or break a marketing strategy and dictate success long term.

If you’re looking to grow a business with longevity, you will need to decide whether you’d like to own, or exclusively rent, the audience of your brand. While both renting and owning have their place in a well-rounded marketing plan, we’d argue that this is a bit of a no-brainer — owning your audience is a must for all innovative brands.

Below, we’ll take a quick look at what owning can offer that renting falls short on, and how owning and renting can work together in a well developed marketing plan. We’ll also consider the importance of branded content to owning your audience, and why a podcast is a standapart tool when it comes to finding and growing the right audience for your brand.

Do you want to own or rent your audience?

What is a rented audience?

In the simplest terms, a rented audience refers to the folks that receive your message or encounter your brand when you buy media.

For example, you might choose to:

  • Run a commercial.

  • Buy a magazine spread.

  • Sponsor a podcast or YouTube video.

  • Partner with social media influencers.

  • Create unique content that will be hosted by another brand.

And, with this approach to marketing, you are connecting with audiences that don’t “belong” to your brand — whether this is the following of a public figure, publication, or perhaps a business related to yours.

This is one strategic approach to connecting with people who may, or may not, be interested in your brand.

Learn how to measure the ROI of your podcast. 

Consider owning your audience.

Consider owning your audience.

What is an owned audience?

An owned audience, on the other hand, is a following built specifically by and for your business.

This is a term usually used in reference to content marketing — because creating high-value content is ultimately one of the best ways to build an owned audience that will be loyal to your brand.

In the simplest words, your owned audience refers to the folks who visit your website or consume your content because of the unique offerings you create, and not by way of a separate business, media conglomerate, publication, or influencer associated with your brand.

There are many reasons why owning an audience is a must-try approach, and should be a top priority for all innovative brands. Let’s take a deeper dive.

Build your brand affinity with an owned audience.

Build your brand affinity with an owned audience.

Build brand affinity.

Brand affinity refers to a feeling held by consumers that they share common values and priorities with your brand — a connection much bigger than supply and demand.

With the help of high-value branded content — such as podcasts, ebooks, or blogs created and hosted solely by your business — you’re able to tell more meaningful stories, better relay your values, and systematically identify the folks who will resonate with your brand.

In an increasingly competitive professional world, it’s more important than ever that we create these kinds of connections. Consumers choose in part with their hearts, and a deeper sense of personal investment will prompt them to choose and stick with us (as opposed to our competitors) long term.

This is something that can’t be achieved as precisely, or in some cases at all, through avenues like influencer marketing, billboard placement, or 30 second commercial spots that barely scratch the surface of the values and interests they might share with your brand.


Offer something in return and build reciprocity.

Offer something in return and build reciprocity.

Build reciprocity

Alongside brand affinity, content marketing and an owned audience can be used to create an atmosphere of reciprocity between that audience and your brand.

By offering something for nothing, like podcasts, blog posts, or emails that actually benefit the people that consume them — whether that’s by way of humor, entertainment, or education — you’re giving them a reason to give back to (read: buy from) your brand.

Gain valuable insights and feedback.

Gain valuable insights and feedback.

Get valuable feedback.

When you own your audience, there are several ways you’re able to get valuable feedback from them that can (and should) inform the way you do business and continue to develop your brand.

Firstly, you form a stronger line of communication with an owned audience. Your opportunities to gather emails, survey followers, and build dialogue are much greater when they are coming back to you time and again for high-value content exclusive to your brand. Podcasts, blogs, and email lists create countless openings to engage with your audience through comment sections, direct-to-inbox invitations, and other participation opportunities that encourage them to engage, and connect with your brand.

Secondly, if you’re using content marketing and own your audience, you’re able to gain valuable insights on what’s important to them by studying the KPIs of said content. If you create a branded podcast for example, you’re able to examine the download and listen-through rates for varying episodes to see what values and interests you hold that also resonate with your owned audience.

Learn how to measure the ROI of your podcast. 

Increase the amount of time your audience spends with your brand.

Increase the amount of time your audience spends with your brand.

Decrease bounceback

Most SEO experts will stress the importance of the time audience members spend with your brand. No, not out for coffee or at happy hour with your marketing team — but on your website, engaging with your business and learning from, or about, your brand.

For maximum search engine optimization, which will make you a top result in online queries and increase brand awareness overall, you will want to keep your bounceback rate — or the speed with which folks leave your website — as low as you can.

In the simplest terms, the more time users spend on your website, the higher you’ll rank for your key search terms. Producing high value content, and owning your audience, are essential steps to keeping this number as high as you can.

Combine owning and renting to maximize success long term.

Combine owning and renting to maximize success long term.

Pairing owning with renting for maximum impact

While the above is by no means exhaustive and an owned audience can pack countless benefits for your brand, an exceptionally effective marketing plan will employ owning and renting in tandem to maximize success long term.

Renting can, of course, boost sales and help to build awareness of your brand on its own, but the folks it drives toward your business are often one-time spenders who want your product or service, but don’t stick with your brand. To overcome this, the ultimate goal should be to make them part of your owned audience.

To convert audience members to longtime supporters of your brand, you will need to deliver on, and effectively promote and distribute exceptional content — such as an expertly produced branded podcast.

A podcast can move and connect with your audience in a way no other medium can.

A podcast can move and connect with your audience in a way no other medium can.

The power of the branded podcast

A branded podcast may be the most powerful tool in a savvy content marketer’s toolkit. Here are a few things they offer that other mediums fall short on.

The branded podcast can:

  • Deliver value while decreasing screen time.

  • Reach your target audience while they’re on the move.

  • Offer humanity and humor that builds stronger connections with your audience.

  • Provide a richer, dynamic experience through the versatility of sound.

Ultimately, this is content that can move and connect with your audience in a way no other medium can. That said, an effective branded podcast must come with exceptional writing, professional audio, carefully curated guests, and a medium-specific marketing plan.

Sound like more than you’d like to take on? That’s what we’re here for. Contact JAR Audio to build your owned audience with a branded podcast, and permanently elevate your content marketing plan.

Roger Nairn is the Co-Founder & CEO of JAR Audio

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