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Why Brands should consider their own Podcast

Written by Paulo Dias.

Financial services brands have dominated the branded podcast industry over the past few years. With bigger budgets, resources, rolling content and built in audiences through mailing lists etc, it makes sense.

But how can brands from other sectors start making their own podcasts? Why should they? And the crucial question - how many listeners can you expect?

Why do brands get into podcasting?

I split it into two simple reasons - either you know a lot about your industry and want to position yourself as absolute experts or you’re really cool people and want everyone to know that you’re cool to work with.

It really shouldn’t be more complicated than that - pick which one you are and it will help guide a lot of your tone, your style, your guests and the platform that you use.

Whichever way you go, remember, your podcast isn’t and probably will never be your business - it’s our business - your podcast is a marketing tool. Like an emailer, a webinar, a billboard. It is not what will make you money but it will help make your core business money.

With this in mind, give your podcast a clear reason. Is it a CRM tool? A branding tool, a piece of internal communication? Or is it a smarter way to interact with your brokers or reps on the road?

A branded podcast will not make money as a podcast, but it can make business sense.

How many listeners can I expect?

I apply a simple metric. What is your most popular way of communicating with clients? Is it a mail list or social media? Do you use Whatsapp for business really well? Once you pick one of those, what is the audience size on that platform and how is the engagement? Then look to convert about 1% of those people who regularly engage.

For a branded podcast, that should be your starting point. You’re not going to be on Apple’s charts or any Spotify recommend lists, and you shouldn't be.

Activate your existing audience and convert them to an audio platform and then into a paying customer. Audio is growing in popularity and over the next 3 years, people will want to hear from the businesses they do business with.

Brands who’ve received the Ultimate treatment

Old Mutual World LIVE

A mammoth task at the time which we feel set the benchmark for branded podcasts. Old Mutual were looking for a more meaningful way of interacting with their clients and wanted to leverage their sponsorship across road running, mountain biking, wine festivals and awards.

We gave them Old Mutual LIVE - a pop up online radio station which would broadcast live from the events Old Mutual sponsored, that then allowed us to launch standalone podcasts in each sector.

Using top class broadcasters as hosts we produced consistent and excellent podcasts for Old Mutual clients. The podcasts were shared on a number of platforms, but our highest engagement came from the Old Mutual newsletters, showcasing that we were achieving what we set out to do.

Talking Fedhealthy

Fedhealth were driving a lot of engagement through their member portal, and producing mountains of content for their members every month in the categories of child care, nutrition and fitness, specifically running.

To add variety to the content we were tasked with converting the written material into podcasts for people who preferred to listen than read.

Picking out the topics of the most popular written articles, we interviewed nutritionists, dieticians, biokineticists, personal trainers, lactation consultants and child psychologists - and created charismatic, short (as we assumed we were talking to a new podcast audience) and insightful podcasts that brought the medium to a new audience while keeping them in the Fedhealth ecosystem for their information.

Gautrain Talks

The Gautrain project was a massive undertaking involving people from all around the world. Books could be written about it, but instead they just did a podcast.

Gautrain Talks is an internal podcast series made by and for the staff at the Gautrain which covers key areas of the Gautrain Project from infrastructure to finance to I.T.

It’s used as an induction tool and as you can imagine, is more engaging than reading a manual.

Oh That Word - A Carat Podcast

A media agency who are always raising the bar have put their mouths where their money is with Oh That Word, an internal podcast that unpacks commonly used phrases in marketing.

It draws on the expertise within the business - showcasing their knowledge in the industry - but also shows the team as cool people you want to work with.

They have also accessed world class marketing people like Mark Ritson and is a way of educating their staff all across Africa and creating a culture around the agency. It is a top class piece of content and a premier use of a podcast for business.

The Huggies Baby Mama

New mothers are overwhelmed with information ahead of, during and after child birth. Along with this they need to balance the guidance given by well meaning, older and more traditional relatives with western medicine and advice.

We created The Huggies Baby Mama podcast - a Zulu language podcast as it was crucial to us to speak to people in their language. Hosted by SA’s radio queen, Dudu Khoza, it featured experts from the Huggies education stable to give mothers the best advice from the two worlds mentioned earlier.

The podcast was also aimed at new podcast listeners, so in all promotion we never mentioned the word ‘’podcast’’. Links were posted by Dudu Khoza on her social media and it was promoted in her daytime radio show.

Despite launching the week of Lockdown, the podcast tracked well against all the metrics we usually measure podcasts by and in a different time we would have had a really successful campaign.

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