Why Engagement, Not Conversions, Should Be Your Podcast’s North Star

JAR Audio CEO, Roger Nairn, lets us in on why your branded podcast should be guided by engagement, not conversions.

By: Roger Nairn, CEO

In the dynamic world of content marketing, podcasts stand out as a unique medium. As a marketer for an enterprise company like Airbnb or United Airlines, you’re not just looking to make a sale; you’re looking to build a lasting relationship with your audience. That’s where the focus on engagement over conversions in your podcast strategy becomes crucial. Here are five ways branded podcasts build engagement and long-lasting relationships to give your brand a leg up. 


1. Building Trust Through Stories

Podcasts are an intimate form of storytelling. They’re not just ads; they’re conversations, insights, and narratives that invite listeners into your brand’s world. This intimacy builds trust, which is the foundation of any long-term relationship. In a podcast, your brand isn’t just a seller; it’s a storyteller, an advisor, and a friend. That’s invaluable. 

One podcast that really capitalizes on the trust and intimacy aspect of podcasts for brands is from LUSH Cosmetics. In their podcast, The Sound Bath, listeners are brought into an intimate world of healing stories and self-care — exactly what the brand values. 


2. The Power of Loyal Listeners

A listener who tunes in regularly is more than just a potential customer; they’re a brand advocate in the making. Engagement metrics like listen-time and episode completion rates indicate how effectively your podcast resonates with its audience. A loyal listener is more likely to recommend your podcast — and, by extension, your brand — to others. When you have loyal listeners, you know you’re reaching the right people and making an impact. 

The Daily has a huge swathe of listeners who have incorporated the show into their morning routines. They get exactly what they need out of the show every single day, and if you ask one of their listeners for a news podcast recommendation, you can bet “The Daily” is top of the list. That is a big leg up for The New York Times.


3. Insights Beyond the Click 

While conversions give you numbers, engagement gives you insights — and insights are what you need to build long-lasting relationships with your target audience. Understanding why certain episodes perform better, analyzing listener feedback, and tracking how listeners interact with your content offers deep insight into your audience’s preferences. This information is gold for tailoring your overall marketing strategy. When you care about more than just conversions, you’ll have the information you need to fine-tune your branded podcast and make it as effective and valuable as possible. 


4. A Community, Not Just a Customer Base

Podcasts have the unique ability to create communities. Engaged listeners often form a bond not just with the host but also with each other. This sense of community is especially valuable for B2B and B2C audiences of enterprises, where decisions are driven by both logic and emotion. So, while branded podcasts aren’t solely about conversions, the intimate aspect of a podcast creates it over the long term by building powerful communities of listeners. 

Look at a podcast like Girls Gotta Eat. When they host live shows, they have a following that shows up and is ready for anything that’s thrown their way. That is more than just a listener or a customer — It’s a community built on similar values and desires. They write in, call in, and show up at all times.


5. The Long Game: Engagement Leads to Conversion

Finally, engagement is a long game — but it does lead to conversions. An engaged audience that trusts and values your brand is more likely to turn to you when they’re ready to make a decision. This is especially true for enterprise companies, where sales cycles are longer, and decisions are more considered. 

As the marketing landscape evolves, so should your approach. By focusing on engagement in your podcast strategy, you’re investing in building a relationship with your audience that is based on trust, loyalty, and mutual value. In a world where consumers care about more than just the product they purchase, this is a strategy for success. 

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