Starting a Successful Branded Podcast

By: Tim O'Brien, APR
Mar. 1, 2020
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In January, MyPodcastReviews.com reported that there are over 800,000 podcasts. But of that number, only 41 percent are labeled “inactive,” and not even 50 percent of these have continued beyond an initial 10 episodes. 

After launching my branded podcast and consulting with clients about the development of their own shows, I’ve seen how, without proper planning, those stats could come to life. 

I’ve seen how others decide not to make a show at all, while still others stop producing the one they’ve started after concluding it wasn’t worth the effort. They may not have specifically decided podcasting was a waste of time in general, but for them, it didn’t seem like a workable endeavor. 

So, what can you do to make sure that the podcast you are thinking about producing is one that builds on your brand instead of just taking up time and space? Here are four steps to starting, and sticking with, the popular medium:  

1. Build a podcasting team and plan ahead.

When you scope out your podcast, make sure you’re not the one expected to do all the work. A common reason many communications tactics fail is because contingency plans aren’t in place to back up the individual with primary responsibility.

If you’re creating a podcast, then it’s critical to commit to a schedule your listeners can rely upon. Podcast listeners are notoriously adherent to habits and routines. If you don’t live up to your side of that bargain, then you will lose listeners, and getting them back is no small task.

To avoid this, create a team to ensure the podcast churns along according to schedule, or give someone on your team the assignment and the time to produce your organization’s podcast with reliability.

In my case, since I don’t have a team, I stay on track by “batching” — building a backlog of finished episodes — so that I have content ready to go in advance and never miss a week. 

2. Use your podcast as a hub for other content.

One of the major incentives for doing a podcast is that you generate a substantial amount of original content. This content can be repurposed into written blog posts, Q&A pieces and excerpts for social media in the forms of video, audio or other mediums. 

By starting with your podcast as a hub, you’re saving time and improving your own communications productivity.

3. Make sure your podcast fits your communications strategy.

It’s never a good idea to do anything just because your competitors are doing it. Equally, it’s not a good idea to embark on a podcast simply because you or someone in your organization likes to listen to them. If you decide to do a podcast, do it because that’s where you’ll find your key stakeholders.

If you know your stakeholders, and your communications research is telling you a podcast can be an effective means to connect, then you may be on to something. 

But before you make that decision, do your research to determine not only if your stakeholders listen to podcasts, but what types they like, what types they don’t like and how they prefer to listen.

4. Embrace the benefits of the medium.

While your podcast should support, and be consistent with, all other communications initiatives, its format offers many unique benefits and advantages. Therefore, it should not simply be the audio version of your organization’s blog, an audio track from a video, or a streamed workshop or panel discussion. 

The audio medium is personal, intimate and can be very powerful. A unique approach can make all the difference, and when that approach connects at a personal level, no one will wonder whether the investment of time and resources was worth it. 

photo credit: radioshop