• What’s coming out of your headphones or speakers? Many consumers are trading in their music playlists and video queues for podcasts. Journalists have attributed the increase in podcast listeners to the ubiquity of smartphones, commute times, and online streaming services. Unlike radio talk shows, podcasts are available at our fingertips as there are dozens of apps and websites where listeners can tune in on their phones. Podcast listenership has grown by 327 percent since 2006, according to Edison Research. This shift in what people are listening to while on the go encourages marketers to increase spending on podcast ads and experiment with branded podcasts themselves.

    Here are five ways marketers can amplify their brand’s voice with branded podcasts:

    1. Make It Personal

    Podcasting may be the most personal form of marketing available today. As a podcast host or interviewee, you’re literally talking into your listener’s ear about the industry or topics they’re interested in. To stand out, make sure your podcast hosts or speakers are recognizable to your audience so they associate that person or persons with the show. Ensure that the host embodies the topic of the podcast, as well as your company’s brand so they know how to correctly convey the message you’re trying to get across the airwaves.

    Zendesk’s Relate podcast makes their show personal by connecting their customer service expertise with stories about relationships. The podcast focuses on unlikely friendships and surprising connections and aims to help listeners understand their own relationships.

    2. Define Your Audience and Topic

    As a marketer, you’re already completely aware of who your brand’s audience is. Now take it one step further and determine which topic will garner your audience’s attention and keep them coming back. Leverage analytics pulled from your social channels and see which demographics are engaging the most with your branded podcasts, and analyze which topics they are engaging with. Be reasonable about your audience-size expectation—an engaged audience who tunes in every week is more valuable than a casual listener who unsubscribes after a few weeks.  

    A social media audit can determine who your audience is, and what they already want to know more about. eBay’s Open for Business podcast is a great example of a branded show that directly targets its audience and defines the topic around its listeners. This podcast is about building a business from the ground up, so it appeals to current and prospective eBay sellers.

    3. Identify the Content Gap

    There are thousands of branded podcasts out there, and your competitors might already be podcasting about the topic you had in mind for your show. Conduct a competitive audit to identify a gap in your market and determine how you can position your brand as a thought leader in that space. Additionally, look up the topic you wanted to focus your podcast on and see which podcasts are already out there and how your expertise can provide a fresh insight to it.

    Slack’s Work in Progress podcast focuses on the meaning and identity people find in work. The fact that Slack goes beyond its specialty, which is real-time messaging and file-sharing with colleagues, shows that the brand identified the content gap within its industry.

    4. Invest in Quality Equipment That Makes Sense

    Improved technology and greater access to it has made obtaining quality recording equipment and audio editing software easy and affordable. New podcasters should research to determine what kind of equipment and software works best for your team. As your audience of listeners grows, you’ll want to add more high-quality gear to your toolkit to improve your sound and enhance your branded podcasts. Podcast Insights has great suggestions for what you’ll need in your podcast starter kit, based on how many hosts you have, including:

    • A high-quality microphone and a pair of closed-back headphones for solo podcasters
    • An XLR microphone and studio headphones for podcasts with multiple people; since you can’t easily record more than one USB microphone into one computer, you’ll need to use a USB audio interface or mixer with an XLR microphone input for each host

    And yes, there’s a podcast on this exact topic: The Podcast Method, which is hosted by the founder of a podcast hosting and analytics platform who shares details on recording, audio and video equipment, software, mic technique, pre- and post-production, workflows, and more.

    5. Host On A Relevant Platform

    Where is your ideal audience listening to your branded podcasts? Research where your future audience is listening to podcasts on similar topics and make sure your podcast is available on that platform. Conduct an analysis to see where other podcasts in your industry are being posted. Are they on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Soundcloud, Spotify, or somewhere else? If they’re listening on multiple platforms, be prepared to accommodate your audio files for uploading onto different streaming apps. For example, the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is on the brand’s website, Apple podcasts, Stitcher Radio, PlayerFM, TuneIn, and Podtail.

    Branded podcasts present many opportunities for marketers to amplify their brand’s voice, but it’s important to know how to stand out against the noise. Creating branded podcasts provides another channel that can help your brand position as a thought leader. Take advantage of this interactive and engaging content strategy and get your audience to listen up!

    Is your company taking advantage of the rapid growth of branded podcasts and podcast advertising? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Email us at rampup@rampedup.us or tweet us at @RampUp to share your strategies and insights.

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