Podcast Power: Brand Building and Audio Advertising

Colin Pawlowski
November 18, 2020

There’s no way you’re not aware of the term podcast. The silly little word has exploded in our cars, homes, and headphones in the past couple of years. There are more than 1.5 million podcasts out in the world, and within those 1.5 million podcasts there are more than 35 million episodes active on several different platforms. That’s a lot of ear time!

For comparison, two years ago, Apple confirmed that there were only a little more than 500,000 active podcasts in June 2018. Half of the homes in the United States contain podcast listeners—that’s over 60 million homes that take in these shows. One final statistic for the cherry on top is that 80 percent of listeners listen to most, if not all, of the podcast episodes they are enjoying.

Beyond entertainment, podcasts have morphed into several different types of shows and genres, bringing to life many new forms of podcasts for people to listen to, laugh at, or learn from. Another new form of this material is branded podcasts.

Branded podcasts are a great way to define your brand in a new medium, provide specific and detailed thought leadership through shows that fall within your brand category, and tap into new audiences that could be really interested in learning about your message.

With more and more podcasts coming out, creators are looking to corner the market to relay their information about topics that haven’t been covered yet. So if you are looking for a show on how to be a better manager or if you need help finding a job during a global pandemic, whatever your product or service is, there’s a listenership for it.

Branded podcasts are getting smart and creative with their content, all while keeping their brand in mind.

Your brand can build a podcast from scratch…

Think about creating a podcast for your brand. Podcasts can get super niche. For instance, you could be interested in listening to a podcast from the business category. Within that category, shows can get even more specific with genres such as career building, entrepreneurship, and nonprofit work. 

Lettuce Rewind is a podcast from the founders of Señor Lechuga Hot Sauce. The husband and wife co-hosts talk about how they started their own business and building their own brand.

Podcasts can come from small batch brands like this, as well as larger brands like ZipRecruiter, Sephora, and Blue Apron, all of which have all started podcasts to educate their listeners and push their brand and purpose. Even toothpaste brand Zendium created their own podcast to give people something to listen to specifically while they brush their teeth.

Advertise on an existing podcast… 

If you don’t want to start a branded podcast from scratch, another common way brands use podcasts for their marketing strategy is by partnering with shows that already have followings and paying for ad reads within episodes. If a podcast host trusts your product, their most loyal listeners will follow suit. Podcast listeners trust their hosts, which adds to the fact that these shows are a highly engaging medium.

Audiences have a high retention rate when listening to their favorite shows, and with them already listening closely to each word, they will transition seamlessly into an ad as well. Brands can benefit from popular shows to help build a more personal relationship with their audiences.

BetterHelp, an online behavioral health service, is advertising on health and wellness podcasts to find audiences that could benefit from their product. They also have found room in the category of comedy podcasts like Seek Treatment with Cat & Pat with comedian hosts who use the service and can talk to it. A simple line of a podcast host telling the audience to use their promo code is a unique new way to be experts and thought leaders for the audiences you are trying to reach.

Or even book your talent on a podcast.

There is one more tactic that can help you incorporate podcasts into your marketing strategy, and it involves getting mic’d up! If you don’t want to start a podcast or pay for ad space, securing guest spots and interviews on popular shows is a great tactic to get your brand’s voice on a podcast. This is a really smart way to use the medium for your brand, because it benefits both your business as well as the show, especially if an interview can be with a thought leader. 

Another podcast that is doing this well is Love + Grit, a new podcast from Visit Philadelphia that tells authentic and diverse stories of the city to inspire all people. Not only is this a great way to showcase the city of Philadelphia to visitors, but it also brings a sense of pride to the locals who love their city. The podcast frequently features guest spots and interviews with local entrepreneurs and people of interest from around the city and gives a platform for them to talk about their passions, businesses, and brands.

Heading into 2021, brands should be thinking about how to incorporate podcasts even further into their marketing strategies. Podcasts are very conducive to the time right now. With a global pandemic, they offer a safe and socially distant way to make media and get your message across. Right now is also a great time to learn and try new things. So whether you are looking to buy ad space, make your own show, or showcase talent and thought leaders, podcasts are a great tool to add value to your brand.