How to get your brand podcast to the top of charts

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the July issue of the online magazine devoted exclusively to content and digital content.

In the bright days of 2008, podcasting was barely visible. According to Edison Research, the total audience of podcasts listeners accounted for 9% of the US population per month.

Yet, despite the global recession looming on the horizon, 2008 was also the year when I realized that my self-employment was to become a content marketing and public relations agency – and the # One of my first client projects was producing The Scoop, a weekly technology podcast for MIS Magazine, part of the Fairfax Media team.

Today, podcasts attract about 90 million listeners per month, or 32 percent of the total US population over the age of 12.

One of the most important changes in podcasting over the past decade has been the emergence of brands as podcasters. It is no longer a media channel dominated by independent and enterprising podcasters who pass on their great ideas to the world.

These brands all face an existential challenge. They have an open sales and marketing program – but podcasting is a very personal and intimate form of media. In other words, podcasts challenge brands to be human.

#Podcasts challenges brands to make humans, says @markhjones. Click to tweet

My first podcasting lessons helped to understand this dilemma. If you are not really passionate about connecting with your audience, it will be difficult to make your podcast profitable. It's as simple and so difficult.

With this in mind, here are my top five podcasting tips for brands – presented in reverse order, as a hat for David Letterman.

5. The public is not listening yet

It's the mistake "if I build it, they will come".

What usually happens is that someone from the company, usually from the communications team, decides, "We need a podcast." It is sometimes a strategic decision. Other times, it's because a member of the team likes podcasts or has seen a competitor do a show and FOMO is doing his job.

Be that as it may, it leads to a leap of logic: "We are a very big brand that is successful. If we created a podcast, all our clients and future clients would listen to it. "

Let's stop here. No, they will not be. At least not yet. I regularly see this huge gap in hope, partly because we are used to the reach of advertising and the acquired media. We know how to make these channels work for us and assume that the same rules apply to podcasting.

The true story:

According to the Libsyn podcast publisher, the average number of downloads per episode is 1,622 (based on episodes published via Libsyn in September and October 2018). It may sound solid, but averages can be misleading. The median number is only 140 downloads, which means that 50% of podcast episodes have generated fewer than 140 downloads.
Your show is one of thousands in a rapidly expanding universe.
You can not just wait and hope to win – unless of course you already have a global team like Bill Gates, Oprah or Ellen.

The best approach:

Invest in long-term podcasting. In my experience, most programs are slowly being built before the message comes out and downloads start to skyrocket.
Boost your show on every channel you own, earned, paid and shared. Newsletters usually offer the best return on investment, and your host actually appears on other podcasts as a guest.
Experience digital advertising with your target audience. Share captivating and compelling audio clips that get people to listen to the entire show. As they say in the game of the agency: land and grow.
Experiment with digital advertising with your target audience. Share tight and compelling audio clips, says @markhjones. Click to tweet


4. Find the host with the most

It's not because your sales manager is a good speaker of an excellent voice on the radio that this does not mean that he will be the best podcast leader.

Your show will come up and fall on the strength, talent and humility of your podcast host. How far can they stand aside and let the guests speak? What real passion can they share without it being like an obvious stop for the brand? Finding the right balance is difficult and you do not want to go wrong.

Your podcast # goes up and down on the strength, talent, and humility of your host, says @markhjones. Click to tweet

The true story:

A member of management decides he knows what the ideal host should look like. In fact, they strongly recommend [this person].
Concerned about conflicts or maintaining their work or agency contract, all actors in the chain are playing with it.
The new podcast host has trouble connecting to the public and you have to produce a program that fears.

The best approach:

Add the suggested podcast host to a short list.
Treat the process as a job interview. Talk to each candidate and ask the top two or three candidates to participate in a trial.
Train your host. From the beginning, expect that you will work with them as the producer of the series to create an emotional connection with the audience over time.
RELATED HANDPICKED CONTENT: The most important question to ask yourself before launching a podcast

3. Podcasting is not just another channel

At the macro level, podcasts are an excellent checkbox within your marketing and communications team. But it's not just another string to squeeze a gang to serve short-term priorities from one campaign to the next.

A podcast is a brand of valuable content, a media channel owned by the company that requires a long-term commitment. Your show deserves attention and concentration. Give it life by boosting content, analyzing performance and thinking about your audience.

A #podcast is a brand of valuable content, a proprietary media channel that requires long-term commitment, says @markhjones. Click to tweet

The true story:

Your marketing team and partner agencies are embarking on an exciting new project. You've agreed on an umbrella message, messaging pillars, a custom landing page, and a series of tactics among earned, paid, held, and shared channels.
A podcast is associated with other tactics to amplify the message and tell the story. All is well until now.
The campaign starts and the new podcast is slowly starting to attract an audience. Problems are getting ready over the weeks with nothing being available within the reach of other channels that are earned, paid for and shared. Has everything failed?

The best approach:

Think about long-term customer engagement and not the short-term impact on brand awareness. Start your show well before the big brand campaign is launched to offer you a ready-to-use platform.
Ask yourself, "How can this podcast amplify the main story of my brand?" For example, if you are an electricity retailer focused on simplifying life, how will your content reflect on this story? A "Life hacks" show that helps people get down to their clutches and find simple solutions is a beautiful line-up of brand and consumer stories.
The editorial / advertising divide remains important. Keep your brand messages on short advertising brands or live readings from the host. Let the calls to action do their magic.

Podcast One research in 2018 in Australia found that up to 63% of podcast listeners would undertake any action based on advertising or sponsorship. The discovery is consistent with a 2016 Edison Research study, which showed that 65% of podcast fans were willing to consider buying products they had heard about during a show.

Make a difficult decision: If you need quick results and considerable reach for your campaign, buy advertising. Create a podcast if you want to create with your clients an engaging long-term conversation that fosters advocacy and boosts reference activity.
Think long term. #Podcast Marketing promotes lawyers and attracts reference companies, says @markhjones. Click to tweet

2. Flash info: podcasting is neither fast nor cheap

This is perhaps the biggest expectation compared to the reality gap in content marketing. Many brand marketers have minimized the time and money needed to make a big show.

True, recording a podcast takes less time and effort than recording a video. For example, you can record 120 minutes to produce a two-minute customer case study video – a 60: 1 shooting report. During this time, we typically record 60 minutes of raw audio to produce a 30-minute podcast episode – a much more effective recording report of 2: 1.

However, such comparisons are misleading because there are other critical factors that should influence your budgeting and resource decisions. If you want a brilliant podcast, you need to invest time and production in the research, prepare the guests and the animator, intelligently edit the show and market your finished product.

With my experience in the organization and production of The CMO Show, our team invests between 10 and 15 hours in pre-production and post-production activities.

The true story:

Brands are often confused when podcast agency quotes are converted into high costs per episode. In reality, unless you do the work in-house, an agency must cover its hourly costs.
Some podcast agencies offer low rates to win the job but struggle to stay profitable because the hours inevitably rise higher than expected. Brand publishing takes time.

The best approach:

Do not consider podcasting as a media purchase or even as a set of content assets. You create a brand of content that will have its life and energy. If you do it right, people will join your new podcast tribe and give you a new platform for business growth.
Ask your content marketing agency or podcast what is the best distribution of this charge. For example, if you are able to find and invite guests to the show, remove it from the hands of the agency. Such tasks can be time consuming, so that a move can save you a lot of money.
RELATED CONTENT HANDPICKED: Podcasting pioneers explain the value of audio content and rookie errors to avoid

1. Think quality, not quantity

It is notoriously difficult to find accurate statistics on podcasts, in part because aggregators such as Apple Podcast do not publish much information and the industry has not yet adopted performance and reporting metrics universally accepted.

That said, we know we are approaching the million podcasts available. Tracks that can be categorized and monitors podcast applications such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. At the time of writing, Chartable's website indicates that its database contains more than 736,000 podcasts, totaling 35,375,500 episodes.

Note: The average life expectancy is 700,000 hours. The number of podcasts available is therefore greater than the number of hours of our human existence.

More than 736,000 podcasts are in the @ ChartableDotCom database. How can yours stand out, asks @MarkHJones. Click to tweet

We have seen this offer / demand equation apply to content marketing. In the early days of blogs and web content, the race was fierce: more content, more often, on more channels. Today & # 39; hui? It's the quality, not the quantity.

The true story:

When it comes to branding, we do not usually have a quantity problem. The issue is a struggle to invest in quality and long-term value creation.
Brand marketers often have difficulty defining the quality of content, a highly subjective process.
Brands find it confusing to compare themselves to independent podcasters, many of whom consider podcasting as their main occupation. In the independent world, some still hunt with a short and accurate daily show of just 10 minutes.

The best approach:

At the risk of repeating yourself, give priority to your customers. What is the quality like them? Double your knowledge, your entertainment and your added value. Then, when you have found the magic formula, you will understand why you are a rare commodity in an ocean of mediocrity.
Concentrate on attracting and maintaining the public's attention. As with sales, it is easier and cheaper to keep an existing podcast listener than to find a new podcast listener. Experiment with different ways to incorporate public comments.
The manufacturing demand for your unique difference. Use influencers and friends to spread the word; create interest through public relations, targeted social publications and events.

There is no doubt that brands will continue to invest in podcasting and advertising. You may remember the buzz generated last year by The Daily in the New York Times, which reportedly asked for $ 290,000 a month in sponsorship. Consider that a canary in the coal mine – advertising spending should continue to increase.

However, savvy brand marketers will inevitably ask, "Why spend so much money on sponsorship when we can create our own show?"

Anyone can do a podcast. You are not just anyone, so find a story that deserves to be told.


Have you heard the latest Podcast of the Content Marketing Institute? This is the weekly summary of our strategy advisor, Robert Rose. Take 10 minutes on Friday (or the day of your choice) for a thought, a new take and a great idea that you can use.

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Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute

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