Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The idea of creating branded content for your consumers is not new – advertorials have been around for decades. But how do you engage an audience that doesn’t want to be sold to? How do we grab the attention of an audience that actively rejects brands that are constantly trying to sell to them, or that don’t align with their own personal values?
To succeed, adverts must be more subtle than ever yet highly capable of engaging an audience. And that’s where branded podcasts come in.
Firstly, what is a branded podcast?
Effectively, it’s a podcast that brands have created with a specific audience in mind. It’s not a sales tool. It sits at the top of the marketing funnel to drive brand awareness or consideration – effectively improving the salience of your brand to ensure that it is top of mind when, or if, the listener enters the purchase funnel.
If you would like to check out some existing and highly successful branded podcasts, head over to our production team Radio Wolfang’s portfolio. They’ve produced series for the likes of Primark, Selfridges, Greenpeace and more.
Why are branded podcasts so valuable?
According to research from the BBC (this study was in 2019, but following the onset of Covid, more recent data is not yet available to the same depth and insight): “Branded podcasts are an effective means of advertising and a powerful addition to the marketing mix, generating real cut-through with audiences – particularly ad avoiders.” But, unlike other channels, they’re not precisely advertising or promotional. This is because through branded podcasts, the brand actually stands out from the content.
Podcasts that mention a brand deliver on average 16% higher engagement and 12% higher recall compared to surrounding content. Therefore, a subtle nod towards your brand can be more effective than overt advertising messages. After all, a lot of people don’t want heavy advertising thrown into their face – they would prefer a much more laid-back approach.
A BIG opportunity for brands
It’s common knowledge that the intimacy of podcasts is unlike any other mediums. Brands can create a conversation and connection with their listeners through their podcasts. In the same study by the BBC, they found that branded podcasts lift:
- Brand Awareness by 89%
- Brand Consideration by 57%
- Brand Favourability by 24%
- Purchase Intent by 14%
So, how does this help you to achieve your brand’s objectives?
Simply put, branded content is part of a longer-term brand building campaign. You won’t see an immediate impact against your short-term sales targets, but over time, you will see a positive shift in the brand metrics including awareness and consideration. To do this, you need to create engaging content that your audience finds valuable.
So, what makes a good branded podcast?
A recent NPR study suggests that consumers need to be exposed to your brand 25-30 times before taking action. That’s a pretty huge figure! Therefore, it’s extremely important that you can integrate your brand into their lives. If you are repeatedly serving them the same message and wondering why they don’t convert, then it’s highly likely that your brand has become an irritant for them rather than a welcome addition within their consumption of content.
The plethora of content available to consumers these days is extraordinary and therefore the content created needs to be adding value in order for your consumers to invest their most valuable resource: time, with you.
To do this, you need to lean on the core foundations of what makes a fantastic podcast in the first place:
- fantastic storytelling
- engaging hosts and content
- incredible sound design
- fascinating conversations
In other words, the best content is something that the audience wants to listen to and tell their friends about. If the quality isn’t up to scratch then you might succeed in getting people to listen to one episode, but it will be difficult to hold their attention and keep them coming back for more.
The same goes for branded podcasts. Subtly integrating your brand into the show is where the value lies, and therefore it should not feel like they are being overtly sold to. Effectively, if they like what you are saying, they are more likely to want to keep listening and/or engaging with your brand.
The very best branded podcasts inspire, inform or entertain their audience and barely mention the brand at all. This light-touch approach adds value and will help to build the brand over time.
An engaged audience
Another reason why you might want to consider stepping into podcasting is that the engagement rate is so much higher than video content.
While videos engage audiences for about 2 mins (i.e. 70% audience is still watching at this point and then quickly drop off) podcasts maintain the audience for 28 mins and deliver an 85% completion rate of the content. Going by these figures, you can clearly see who wins between podcast and video.
Not only this, but the cost to create high-quality video content for your brand is much higher than pure audio.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a video vs. podcasting battle – the two things often overlap. For example, we love putting our shows on our YouTube channel, as do many other podcasters. But the point is, podcasts are versatile. They still enable you to reap the benefits of video, but they also open you up to new opportunities which often come with extremely promising results.
Perhaps you’re warming up to the idea of a branded podcast (that’s great news!). It’s now time for you to start thinking about how you would plan, create and launch your podcast.