I have a confession, I’m in love with podcasts. Branded podcasts to be specific. So in love I’ve started consulting with major brands and small businesses, by helping them create their own and suggesting engaging content ideas. I’m having a blast. I wanted to create this post to showcase some of the best examples of branded podcasts that are out today.
The largest form of advertising for podcasts, in general, are “live reads.” However, live reads are still typical and listeners can still fast forward or completely ignore them. What makes branded audio content great is they allow brands to create an entire experience. Without slamming a sales message in their face at every turn.
Every branded podcast is created and negotiated differently. Some are fiction or non-fiction narratives. Some are round table discussions. Some interview experts and interesting people. Brands also occasionally team up with popular podcast networks to leverage their already engaged audience and style of creative.
Open For Business by eBay
My good friend John Henry serves as the host of this podcast, but that’s not the only reason it’s great. For this podcast, eBay teamed up with the folks at Gimlet Media to produced this masterpiece which brings you behind the scenes of how great business are built from the ground up. The series covers everything from how to hire to finding out how to price your product. What makes this podcast stand out is the production and the narrative style story telling. It goes beyond the interview. No question why it topped the iTunes charts.
HUNT the TRUTH by Microsoft
To drum up excitement for the next Halo release, Microsoft created a narrative based podcast based in the Halo universe. It ended up being a surprise hit, and people were actually upset that the storyline in the podcast didn’t connect with the actual game. Microsoft released two seasons so far and it’s safe to say there will be a season 3. This is a trend more game publishers are sure to follow. It keeps gamers engaged week to week leading up to a release date. The podcast won a best of award for iTunes and generated over 5.5 million listens.
The Message by GE
The Message is a fictional Sci-Fi podcast collaboration between GE and Slate Magazine. It follows a storyline and has its own universe similar to Hunt the Truth. The Message actually reached #1 on iTunes which was a first for these types of podcasts.
Color Full Lives by State Farm
Color Full Lives is a podcast that features popular women hosts from well-known podcasts. State Farm collaborated with Loud Speakers Network to produce the show in the same style and to attract the same audience as other LSN shows. LSN is the largest urban podcast network. The show brings you behind the scenes to a talk between girlfriends. They discuss sex, relationships, social media, and more.
Variety Pack by Slack
Slack decided they wanted to do a podcast. The Slack software is mostly used by teams and offices so they wanted to stick to what they know best. Their podcast is about building great teams at work, culture, innovation and everything in-between. The Slack Variety pack podcast is an example of when a small business or startup decides to utilize content marketing for themselves. Major brands aren’t the only ones who can benefit.
5 tips on creating your own branded podcasts
- Do not advertise like a madman. The common theme with most successful branded audio content, they have a mission. The goal is to create content for a specific audience and deliver the best possible experience. The brands win just by the association alone. A drop here and there is acceptable.
- Stories win. Tell stories. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction focus on telling great stories that captivate your audience. Be sure to stay on topic and within your niche.
- Collaborate. Brands collaborate with podcasts hosts and networks that already know what they are doing. Your marketing department may have cool ideas, but the best bet is to go to the pros and leverage their audience if you choose to do so.
- Run Seasons. Producing a podcast should be a lot like producing a show. Don’t aim to do a podcast that runs every week, all year. That may be overkill for a brand. Run your shows in 6 to 10 episode seasons that come back every quarter or every year. Also, it gives you a reason to keep re-announcing something to generate press. If you are always around, it stops becoming news.
- Engage with your audience. Have them sign up for special giveaways, VIP content, or discounts. This can be simply a landing page where they can enter their name and email address in exchange for something cool. This gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with your audience beyond the podcast, and also a way to capture leads. The trick is it has to be something they really want.
I hope the example branded podcasts from and tips gave you enough inspiration to start recording your own podcast for your brand or small business. If you need help feel free to reach out, my team and I will get you started!
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