Are you up for a challenge? Here is one: why don’t you create your own branded podcast?
Podcasts are affordable, mobile and intimate… and they are here to stay. According to Edison Research, among podcast listeners, 30% of the time spent listening to audio sources is dedicated to podcasts.
This is a huge opportunity for brands and a lot of them have already taken the leap and started using podcasting as a way to boost their marketing strategy. Curious to see a great example? Check out Rise & Grind, a podcast by ZipRecruiter who started out by sponsoring a lot of podcasts before creating their own.
“Wow, this is cool! I should totally get my own branded podcast”
Of course launching a successful branded podcast isn’t a walk in the park. Creating a podcast is easy—the trickiest part is catching your audience’s attention and making sure they are actually consuming your content.
With this ultimate guide to branded podcasts, we will tell you everything you need to know to create, launch and sustain your own podcast. Buckle up!
Spoiler: Creating a video or audio podcast does not require a lot of technical skills. Check it out 👇
Why you should launch your own branded podcast 🔥
If you still need to be convinced that podcasts are a powerful marketing tool, here is some data that should change your mind.
In the US, 50% of all homes are podcast fans. That’s over 60 million homes in total.
In 2019, the total number of Americans aged 12+ who have ever listened to a podcast passed 50% for the first time.
The percentage of Americans who listen to online audio (defined as listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet) has doubled since 2012, growing from one-third of the population to two-thirds.
As a fully mobile format, podcasts are accessible to your audience anywhere and everywhere, especially from their smartphone. In the US, 65% of people use their smartphone or tablet to listen to podcasts.
Podcasts are a great way to generate additional revenue. Not only do they allow you to establish your brand as an expert in its field, they also allow for additional sales. Midroll is a great example here as they’ve realized 63% of their listeners had bought a product or service after listening to their podcast. Quite impressive if you ask us!
We hope we’ve managed to convince you to give launching your own branded podcast a try. Let’s see how to get started now.
Step 1: Finding a concept for your podcast 💡
The first step is obviously coming up with a powerful concept idea for your podcast.
Finding the right name for you podcast
Choosing the right name for your podcast is essential, as this name will and should reflect your editorial direction, your brand DNA and your field of expertise.
To make the right choice, keep in mind that the name of your podcast should:
- Be indicative of the topic you plan on covering. Potential listeners should get an idea of your podcast’s topic just from reading its title. As an example, a podcast called Wanderlust would be about travelling.
- Allow for a wide range of sub-topics to be covered. Avoid choosing a name that is too specific as it might limit you in terms of potential themes to discuss.
- Be original and easy to remember. You should preferably go for a name that is both short and impactful, all while representing your brand and its values. Avoid long, abstract names at all costs.
- Be unique. Obviously it would be a shame to go for a name that is already taken, so take a look at Apple Podcasts or Spotify and make sure the name you choose isn’t already a registered trademark.
Define your podcast’s topic
What will your podcast be about? What is the main topic you want to cover? What will be some of the episodes’ themes or titles? Find out what your answers to these questions are before going any further.
Need some inspiration? This list of 50 successful branded podcasts should help you see what topics usually perform well.
Our tip would be to go for a hot topic that still hasn’t really been analyzed in the media and/or to be the first to explore a concept linked to your company’s industry. Don’t forget to have fun though and be sure to cover concepts that are important to you and your brand.
If your company has a strong environmental policy, you could create a podcast that would showcase good practices and discuss concepts such as greenwashing all while giving other brands useful tips to care for the environment.
The goal here is to pick a topic that is wide enough to act as a central theme throughout every episode while you cover more niche sub-topics.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
To turn your first-time listeners into regular listeners and subscribers, selecting one specific sub-topic for each episode is essential.
Don’t forget to not tell your audience everything about your topic at once and make sure they keep coming back for more!
Think about the editorial format of your episodes
Once you’ve chosen a topic, you need to think about the ways you will cover it.
Here are some examples of popular editorial formats:
- Short reports
- Fiction / storytelling
- Audio magazine
- Talk show
The editorial format mostly depends on both your marketing goal and your target audience. The age of your audience, for example, is a key factor when it comes to deciding how to address them.
An audio magazine will be ideal if you wish to report on technical concepts while addressing industry experts, while a talk show style podcast will do well among a younger audience that is looking for entertainment.
Define your podcast’s length and frequency
As a marketer, you are aware of the fact that publishing new content regularly is key. Well, the same rule applies to podcasts!
Similarly, it is essential that you only release quality content, so take a moment to think about how much time you are able to invest in your podcast before deciding on its length and frequency.
Regardless of the frequency you end up choosing (daily, weekly, monthly…), you will need to stick to it to prove your professionalism. Launching a podcast is telling your audience they can expect more episodes and it would be a shame to disappoint them.
Here are the 6 main frequencies for podcasts:
- Season stacking (all episodes are published simultaneously)
Regarding your podcast’s length, know that 83% of all podcasts are less than 30 minute long. Always keep in mind that length and quality are two independent factors. While it can make perfect sense to record a two-hour episode on a very complex topic, some topics can be covered efficiently within just 15 minutes. The choice of your editorial format will also influence the length of your podcast.
Find a co-host (optional)
Podcasts are a very intimate format. If you pay attention, you’ll quickly notice that a lot of branded podcasts involve just two voices, especially considering that interviews are such a popular podcast format.
However, feel free to be the sole voice of your branded podcast or to have five simultaneous guests. It all depends on your concept! Just know that having a co-host means having access to more input and ideas and that your conversations might make your podcast more engaging.
If one of your coworkers or partners is the ideal co-host, now’s a good time to ask them if they would be up for it!
Step 2: Preparing your podcast 📝
Now that you know what your podcast is going to be about, let’s move on to step 2: preparing your podcast ahead of recording.
Write a thorough script
Just like you wouldn’t hold a presentation without preparing it first, you should not start recording your podcast without having written a script.
Your script will help you avoid forgetting to mention something and will allow you to talk more eloquently.
A good script should include:
- A detailed, chronological outline of your episode (introduction, welcome message, topics to cover, conclusion etc.)
- If relevant, a list of your interview questions
- A list of your own narrative parts (personal anecdotes, transitions etc.) to optimize your storytelling and make sure your podcast takes its listeners on a structured journey.
This is also your chance to research your topic, define your keywords and explain the most complex concepts you will cover. You should put yourself in the shoes of your listeners and think of the questions they might have while listening. Be sure to include as much useful, detailed and relevant information as possible, such as facts and data.
Don’t forget to keep things interesting and avoid turning your podcast into a snoozefest. Be straightforward and to the point when writing your script as this will make your podcast easier to follow too.
Create an aesthetically pleasing cover image
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression and the cover image is going to be the first thing potential listeners look at when finding your podcast. Apple Podcast tends to give more exposure to podcasts that have a quality cover image, so don’t miss out on that opportunity because of poor design.
Here are some tips to create an impactful podcast cover image:
- Choose a visual that evokes your podcast’s topic. It should be eye-catching all while telling potential listeners what your podcast will be about.
- Do not write more than 4 words on your cover. Less is more!
- Avoid images of microphones, headphones or any audio equipment at all costs. Be creative!
- Make sure your cover image is easy to read, even as a thumbnail.
- Keep your cover image in tune with your other brand assets. It should reflect your brand DNA too.
If you find Photoshop and Illustrator too intimidating, Canva is a great free tool you can use instead.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
If you are hoping to get featured on Apple Podcast, make sure you respect the platform’s technical specs:
- Square image
- 3000 x 3000 pixels
- Resolution: 72 dpi
- .png or .jpeg file
- RGB color model
Record your podcast’s intro and outro
Adding signature sound effects to your podcast will make it both impactful all while branding it and making it more engaging.
Every podcast episode should have an intro jingle as well as an outro that should include:
- A voice-over (how about yours?) that will introduce the episode, mention your podcast’s tagline and introduce your guests (if applicable). Remember you can always hire someone on Fiverr if you don’t feel comfortable doing that yourself.
- Some background music to set the mood and make your intro more lively. Here, you can either purchase a music license through a website such as PremiumBeat or search for royalty-free music on dedicated platforms (Incompetech, Free Music Archive…).
Gather the necessary podcast equipment
It might seem difficult to pick the right podcasting tools as a beginner, but just 3 or 4 of them are enough to record a professional-sounding podcast. You should know that these tools are absolutely affordable too! 🤑
Your first step here is to find recording software and audio editing software.
Here is what we can recommend:
- Free software: GarageBand (Mac only) and Audacity (Mac & PC) are both ideal for beginners
- Paid software: Adobe Audition ($20.99 per month), Hindenburg ($95 per month)
You can also choose to use an online podcasting tool such as Alitu ($28 per month). This tool aims to optimize your production process and allows you to easily add a jingle while offering some basic mastering.
You will also need to get a podcasting kit that includes:
- A USB microphone: It is key to recording audio for a high-quality podcast. Our tip here is to invest in a good microphone from the get-go, such as the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB that you will be able to use for many, many years.
- Headphones: They will help you get audio feedback of your own voice and that of your guests while recording. For optimal audio performance, we recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x headphones.
- A sound windscreen: This will shield you against unwanted stray sounds. We recommend getting this one from Heil.
- A camera (if you are making a videocast).
Depending on your budget, you could also invest in a mixer, a microphone boom or a USB sound card if using a XLR microphone, which is not USB compatible.
Step 3: Recording and editing your podcast 🎙️
Script? Done. Jingles? Done. Equipment? Done too.
Alright, let’s dive right in now. It’s time to record and edit your podcast!
Recording a professional podcast
Now that you’ve got your script ready, opened your audio software and connected all your equipment, it is time to start recording.
But first, here are some useful tips from us:
- Always position your microphone 2 to 4 inches away from your mouth. You can then adjust the distance depending on your audio feedback.
- Stay away from the microphone when you aren’t talking to avoid unwanted noise.
- Keep a glass of water ready in case your throat gets dry.
- Keep an eye on your script but do not read it. Get used to bringing up your ideas in a casual and spontaneous way. This will make your podcast sound much more authentic.
- Breathe! Everything’s going to be alright. And if you do make a mistake, you can always edit it out.
You are now ready to press “Record” and start having fun. Congratulations!
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
Dear beginners, know that a lot of online tutorials are available to help you get the hang of things, and especially your software:
Generally speaking, if recording solo, you will simply need to select the “Audio podcast” track and click “Record”. If multiple hosts are involved, just add more tracks using the “Record Enable” option, then click “Record”.
You can use Skype to record your sound and/or your video remotely. However, we suggest using a service that is dedicated to remote podcast recording, such as Squadcast, Ecamm or Pamela.
Once you are done recording, be sure to:
- Save your audio files as something like “PodcastName-Episode-1-Topic”
- Export your audio files to .mp3 to reduce the volume of your recording
- Select a constant bitrate of 128 kb/s to increase audio quality
- Choose a sample frequency of 44,1 MHz
One more tip: make sure you record every element of your podcast on a separate track (introduction, interview, ads etc.). This will make editing your podcast much easier! 🙏
Editing your podcast
Now that you are done recording your first episode, it’s time for some post production work to edit it. Ready?
The two main skills you will need here are creativity and a good sense of rhythm. You want your podcast to catch and sustain the attention of your target audience.
Here are some tips for you:
- Play with the vocal equalizer settings to improve sound quality and adjust the volume.
- Get rid of unnecessary pauses and silences as well as stray sounds.
- Make sure to only keep what is essential. Edit the rest out!
- Rephrase or simplify your guest’s answers if necessary, for example by adding narrative elements.
- Structure your podcast using music.
Lastly, don’t forget to mention the name of your brand at the very beginning of your episode so your listeners know who is behind their new favorite podcast.
Now that you’re done editing, remember to add ID3 tags when saving your file, as they will be useful to send information about your podcast to MP3 players. Include the title of the episode, the name of your podcast, its category and anything else you think would be useful.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
Just a little reminder… This is what every professional podcast should include:
- A teaser
- An intro jingle
- A welcome message
- One or several ads
- An interview or a testimonial
- A call to action (“Don’t forget to follow us on Spotify!”)
- An end jingle
Time to get started!
Step 4: Launching your podcast 🚀
Welcome to the last step: publishing and promoting your branded podcast!
Hosting your podcast
Fun fact: Did you know that podcasts are not hosted directly on Spotify or Apple Podcast?
Actually, these platforms are simply making content available via their own app. This file transfer system is called an RSS feed. Once set up, your podcast’s own RSS feed will automatically distribute your latest episode to all dedicated platforms.
Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise to know that you will find an online hosting solution, or else your podcast might just never get heard.
Aside from some small differences regarding pricing and storage, these podcast hosting services are all fairly similar.
Here are some of their benefits:
- Fast download speed and fast loading times when streaming
- Mobile-friendly podcast listening
- Easy WordPress and YouTube integration
- Audience data
- The option to add notes to your podcast, such as a transcript or links to additional resources
- Monetization options by adding audio ads to your podcast
To select the right podcast host, you will need to know how many episodes you will be releasing each month. For example, if you are releasing 4 1-hour episodes per month (50Mb each), you will need at least 200Mb of storage per month. Of course this is just an estimate and you will need to look for the solution that best fits your needs.
Make sure you get unlimited bandwidth and slightly more storage than you need. In this case, more is more 😉
Sharing your podcast on the right podcast apps
Now that your episodes are hosted online, you need to submit your RSS feeds to the main podcast apps. Don’t worry, this is easy!
You just have to:
- Copy your RSS feed from the “RSS Feed” tab of your podcast host
- Paste your RSS feed to the podcast submission forms (we’ll get back to that right after)
And voilà! Your podcast has officially been published.
Here are some of the podcast apps you might want to use aside from the main ones: Deezer, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud etc.
The main 4 podcasting apps are:
Apple Podcasts (iTunes): It is the number 1 podcast platform and gathers over 900k podcasts in total. Just add your RSS feed to Podcasts Connect to be added to their directory.
Spotify: The number two app with around 700k podcasts. Spotify is an essential streaming platform that should not be overlooked. You can submit your episodes here: Spotify for Podcasters.
Google Podcasts: It was launched in 2018 but still isn’t very popular among podcast creators. However, it is tremendously helpful when it comes to boosting the SEO of your podcast. Just head to the Google Podcasts app.
Stitcher: This platform has 8 million users and 65k podcasts. Your podcast should definitely be on there too. You can register here: Podcast Creators.
In case you are releasing a videocast, YouTube is definitely the main platform you should consider. Our tip is just to avoid static images or audiograms when posting on YouTube, as this will obviously not make your video very engaging. Instead, consider filming yourself while recording the podcast!
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
These are the 3 key rules that will make sure your podcast is as impactful as possible:
- Come up with an engaging title containing the name of your company, the number of the episode and a very short summary.
- Add a short description of your episode. Make sure to include links (download link, website, social media pages etc.)
- Select the right category for your podcast.
All good? Awesome! Now’s the time to promote your podcast online.
Before starting with the promotion of your podcast, we recommend waiting until 3 to 5 episodes have been released, as this will give your audience a better overview of your content, all while making them want to come back for more.
Using traditional communication channels to promote your podcast
You can already be proud of yourself as the hardest part is now behind you.
If you’ve closely followed our advice, your podcast should make a successful debut on the dedicated podcast platforms.
To increase the reach of your branded podcast, remember to promote it using your usual communication channels, such as:
- Your website, for example by writing a dedicated blog post or publishing your podcast’s transcript
- Your social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn), for example through a videocast, a short video summary or an audiogram
- Your PR channels, by launching a media relations campaign targeting journalists, influencers and other podcasters
- Your newsletter to promote your podcast to your email lists
- Word of mouth: as you know, your friends and coworkers are your best ambassadors. Tell them about your podcast and focus on how they can benefit from listening to it.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
Video is still a key format to communicate online, so be sure to create short video teasers for your podcast to have video content that can be shared on social media.
Just pick a strong part of your podcast, add engaging images and don’t forget to integrate subtitles so people can follow your video even if it autoplays on mute.
If you are looking for an online video making tool that is easy to use, give PlayPlay a try! You can use it for free for 7 days, which will give you enough time to see how easy to use it is 😇
You are now ready to create and launch a successful branded podcast. Now, who’s already thinking about season 2? 😛