Is your company looking for creative ways to stand out and connect with your target audience? While traditional marketing methods and GTM (go-to-market) motions continue to be used, there’s a new strategy you can tap into — the branded podcast.
Podcasts have a lot of upside for marketers. From leaping funnel stages with decision makers to creating mass quantities of compelling content, the branded podcast is following the growth path of the inbound blog toward a table-stakes position in an organization’s GTM strategy.
Let’s explore this trend in detail, from what a branded podcast is, to examples of how companies use them to connect with their audiences.
What are branded podcasts?
A branded podcast is a podcast produced by a company to increase brand awareness, generate leads, create thought leadership and grow an active user community. Branded podcasts allow brands to engage with customers and clients one-on-one in an intimate and immersive way, unlike most traditional channels.
Branded podcasts can take many forms, including interview style, narrative storytelling, educational or instructional content, or even a fictional drama series. Through these disparate styles, branded podcasts can tell stories about the company, its products, or its industry, as well as provide information, insights and entertainment relevant to the target audience.
Trendspotting: Branded podcasts
The branded podcast is a trend with legs that continues to climb. These stats give you a sense of the direction we’re headed:
- Podcasts are experiencing exponential growth. In 2021, the total number of podcasts broke the two million mark, and in 2023, there were over five million podcasts (Source: Spotify, 2023).
- We’re still early in the adoption curve. If five million podcasts sounds impressive, there are over 600 million blogs (Source: Internet Live Stats, 2022). It’s our opinion that podcasting will continue to grow along a similar path as buyer behavior shifts to consuming podcast content.
- Business podcasts are a viable research channel. In the US, 37% of B2B decision-makers regularly listen to podcasts; 75% of these professionals specifically listen to podcasts to gain valuable industry insights and knowledge (Source: Edison Research and Triton Digital, 2023).
While both the number of shows and listeners are growing, not all stats paint a pretty picture.
- Not all podcasts are active. Despite millions of registered podcasts, Apple reports that roughly 800,000 are active. Comparing trend data, the number of active podcasts is not growing as quickly as the number of new podcasts created.
- Podfading is a pitfall. Apple’s stat mirrors an earlier study by AmplifiMedia that showed 75% of podcasts fizzle out of production after less than 10 episodes – termed “Podfading”.
The Podfading number includes personal projects worldwide but is directional for business podcasts as there tends to be a surprising amount of work involved. Additionally, companies have discovered that, just like with other forms of content marketing where quality matters, it’s not enough to simply create a podcast in order to see a positive ROI.
Despite the challenges, for organizations that figure it out, branded podcasts are now a top channel for marketing (Source: MarTech, 2022).
Examples of branded podcasts
4 Benefits of a branded podcast
From lead generation that skips traditional steps to building brand awareness to compete with larger competitors, branded podcast benefits are surprisingly achievable without the lag time of traditional SEO or the large spends of pay-per-click marketing.
1. Boost brand recognition
A BBC study revealed that companies with branded podcasts experienced an impressive 89% increase in brand recognition.
Branded podcasts give companies the opportunity to connect directly with their audience in an authentic, non-promotional manner. This fosters trust, builds a sense of authenticity, and delivers value. With increased brand awareness and emotional connection, branded podcasts help companies cultivate a loyal fan base, generate leads, and boost conversions.
2. Drive lead generation
Lead generation in podcasting happens when B2B companies invite potential customers as guests. By featuring decision-makers from organizations that perfectly align with their Ideal Customer Profile, companies can bypass several stages of the traditional lead funnel. Additionally, hosts can ask probing questions during the podcast, naturally leading to problem-solving discussions after the show.
Furthermore, by inviting industry leaders, experts, and potential customers to participate, companies can establish valuable relationships and position themselves as trusted partners within the industry. As these relationships grow, guests become more inclined to do business with the company. Moreover, podcast guests often share the podcast and website with their own network, expanding the company’s reach and visibility to potential new leads.
3. Foster a thriving community
By nurturing a community of dedicated followers, a branded podcast becomes a source of significant value for the company. It provides a platform for organic word-of-mouth marketing and referral growth. Many branded podcasts even have dedicated Slack or Discord groups where users can discuss industry topics and recent episodes. The community surrounding a branded podcast can become a powerful advocate for the brand, driving leads and increasing visibility through social media shares, reviews, ratings, and recommendations.
4. Create exceptional content
Companies can utilize snippets from podcast episodes to create compelling social media posts, engaging email marketing campaigns, and insightful blog articles. The entire podcast episode can even be used as gated content, providing website visitors with exclusive access in exchange for contact information. By repurposing podcasts into various forms of content, organizations can leverage the expertise of their teams or thought leaders, deliver value to their audience at every stage of the funnel, and ultimately drive leads to their website.
Use a podcast readiness framework
Think you’re ready to launch a branded podcast? The secret winning ingredient for branded show creation is intention. My company offers this framework that includes core questions to ask during your process to help ensure that you’re being intentional. The order in which the questions are asked is important and will help you create a roadmap for your podcast launch. Happy podcasting!
Contributed to EO by Casey Cheshire, a recent guest on the EO 360° podcast with host, Dave Will. Casey is the founder and CEO of Ringmaster Conversational Marketing, which helps B2B businesses launch podcasts with the goal of driving growth and revenue. Casey is a former US Marine, podcaster, marketer and serial entrepreneur.