Making sound branded podcasts

Alan Bennett outlines the value of well-made podcasts to Irish marketers

Should your company have a podcast? Perhaps. And, maybe more than one. Branded podcasts represent a potent avenue for businesses to engage with consumers in an intimate and authentic manner. Podcasts typically have a running time of at least 30 minutes, engagement is  high, and people tend to listen on their own, on headphones, an experience which can promote a close connection with the host and the brand sponsor.

In other media – be it TV, radio, out of home (OOH), print or social – it can feel, as a consumer, that you are overloaded with dozens of products for microseconds at a time, that you are being told things, talked at. Of course, such forms of communication have their advantages, but podcasts are different. They allow for big discussions, in-depth analysis, captivating stories. Listeners engage with podcasts, and consumers will engage brands.

Ireland is a landscape ripe with opportunities for companies to harness the power of storytelling through branded podcasts. The country  offers a unique backdrop for crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences. We love talking. We love eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. By leveraging Ireland’s storytelling heritage, companies can weave their brand narratives seamlessly into the fabric of engaging audio content.

In Under Construction with Chadwicks, former Munster and Ireland and Lions rugby player Donncha O’Callaghan interviews celebrities and industry insiders chat about trade, construction, and DIY. The show helped the brand build its online presence and was voted the Digital Media Awards best podcast in 2023.

Branded podcasts explore the history of a local product, share behind-the-scenes business stories, delve into the backgrounds of company founders. Ireland’s podcasting community offers a wealth of creative talent and expertise. Whether through narrative-driven series,  interviews, or discussions, branded podcasts allow businesses to carve out a space in the digital landscape, fostering brand loyalty and affinity along the way.

Over 40 per cent of Irish adults listen to podcasts every week and 53 per cent of podcast listeners say they listen to more now than they did a year ago, and a further 31 per cent say they expect to listen to more in the future. In an era defined by digital innovation and narrative-driven content, branded podcasts offer an avenue for businesses to stand out in the global marketplace.

Factors brand owners need to note when launching a podcast:

1. Know your target audience – what they listen to and what they want to hear?
2. Think about how the show will be consumed. Will it be audio only, will there be video clips for social media, or will it be a video podcast too, available on YouTube and elsewhere?
3. Make sure the podcast aligns with your brand, but don’t shy away from trying out new ideas or experimenting with topics or guests. It’s your show after all.
4. Develop a clear content plan outlining the themes, formats, and episode structure for your podcast. The aim is to keep listeners engaged while subtly promoting your brand.
5. Quality is key. Work with professionals for high-quality audio, engaging storytelling, and polished production values. These are essential for attracting and retaining listeners.
6. Try to foster a sense of community and engagement with your audience by encouraging listener feedback, questions, and comments.
7. Check your stats. Use analytics insights to refine your content strategy and optimise future episodes.
8. The job isn’t done when the podcast is launched. The podcast as a whole, and each individual episode, needs a comprehensive promotion and marketing plan to raise awareness and drive traffic to your podcast. Email marketing, social media, paid advertising, influencer partnerships, and cross-promotion with other podcasts to expand your audience reach should all be on the table when starting to plan a campaign.
9. Finally, commitment. Building a podcast takes time, effort, and consistency. Commit to producing regular episodes and evolving your content.

For details on some of the shows produced by The Podcast Studios click here

Alan Bennett is founder and CEO of Headstuff



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