Finding Success in Podcasting (And, Why Brand Storytellers Have the Advantage)
Jonas Woost, Director of Strategy, Pacific Content
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Success in podcasting, of course, starts with a great story. Any brand that wants to have a successful audio storytelling strategy needs to tell stories that audiences actually want to listen to. We like to refer to those kinds of stories as 'gifts to your audience.’ Those are not the stories that you simply want to tell because it fits your business objectives but the stories that audiences will actively seek out and voluntarily choose, out of the millions of podcasts available to them.
However, in order for your brand to meet its business goal through podcasting, you need more than an amazing creative direction. Creating the right strategy to put the podcast in front of the right people is just as important. 'Build it and they will come’ content does not work—especially not in podcasting.
Discoverability is a big issue for most people in this business and the recent growth of the audio space doesn’t help as there are many more shows available to the audience now. And an original podcast by a brand isn’t only competing with other podcasts by brands, but with all the podcasts out there.
I like to say that Podcasting is Netflix and YouTube combined, only in audio form. You have a huge range of different types of audio stories, some highly produced, other very grassroots. They all have their place in the audio ecosystem but finding the right audience within that broad range is tricky.
However, there is very good news for brands in podcasting: you happened to be perfectly positioned to create success with what we call Audience Development Superpowers:
Big brands have large existing audiences. The kind of audience that most independent podcasters would love to have. Think of your network. Your reach. Turning customers, partners, employees, and other stakeholders into listeners is a great way to ride into the podcast charts and start a word-of-mouth referral campaign. Unlike most podcasters, you are not starting from zero when starting a new show.
Internal expertise and resources. Brands have marketing departments, social media experts, CRM systems, external agencies, and many other resources. Having teams available to help promote a podcast is a game-changer and critical to creating podcast success. This is the stuff that most podcasters dream of.
A content ecosystem. A successful podcast is part of an integrated brand storytelling ecosystem. Brands can use other storytelling vehicles or brand marketing assets like videos and blog posts, to plug and promote the podcast. Typically it goes both ways, too.
Recognition and reputation. A known name and brand can stand out in a crowded marketplace. A brand’s reputation is its first introduction to a potential, quizzical listener.
Using all your existing Brand Superpowers is the key to finding an audience and ultimately your brand's podcast success.
The Meaning of Success
I've been using the term success multiple times. How success is defined varies from brand to brand but the tools that can be used to measure impact are the same. Podcast measurement has come a long way over the last few years and the times where reach (listeners, downloads) is the only way to measure impact are long gone. Podcasting is an engagement medium. Success is measured through KPIs like audience retention and brand sentiment. Do listeners like your show?
You may already know this if you have a podcast. If not, what’s keeping you from exploring audio storytelling, and developing and engaging with your own audience through podcasting?
I’d like to hear about it.
Do you have questions you'd like to ask about brand-funded podcasts? Submit questions here to have them answered in a future article!
About Jonas Woost
Jonas is a digital media and entertainment executive with a passion for innovating in the digital content ecosystem. His work has received a number of awards and in 2019 he was named one of BC’s 40 under 40. Between 2015 and 2019, Jonas was the Executive Producer for Original Content & STORYHIVE at TELUS. He helped one of the biggest Canadian telecommunication companies tell impactful and engaging stories while at the same time supporting Western Canada’s community of filmmakers.
Previously Jonas was with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) where he ran CBC Music, which was one of the most successful digital music services in Canada, attracting 1.2 million visitors every month. Before moving to Canada in 2010, Jonas was the Head of Music at the London-based digital music start-up Last.fm. He was in charge of all negotiations and relationships with music owners when CBS acquired Last.fm for US$280 million in 2007.