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Best Branded Podcasts & What You Can Learn From Them

Best Branded Podcasts & What You Can Learn From Them

Did you know that today’s consumers spend more time listening to podcasts than they do on social media? If you’re a brand that needs to expand your reach, branded podcasts can help you meet your goals.

But what are branded podcasts, and are they right for you?

In this article, we’ll cover what a branded podcast is and how it can help your company. We’ll then look at 7 successful company podcasts and see what they’re doing that’s working. Then, we’ll show you how to start a branded podcast of your own.


What Is a Branded Content Podcast?

You probably already know that a podcast is a form of audio content that listeners can subscribe to and listen to on-demand. A branded podcast (also known as a company podcast or enterprise podcast) is exactly the same as a regular podcast, but it is created by a brand.

If you hear this definition and immediately jump to the conclusion that a company podcast is just a weekly, 30-minute commercial for your organization, hold your horses! If you try to pump out only promotional content, no one will want to listen.

Instead, your branded content podcast should be just another arrow in your content marketing arsenal.

Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating useful, informational content that your audience will want to pay attention to (take this very blog post, for example). Such content provides value and builds an authentic relationship of trust with your audience—and when they do develop a need for your product, they’ll think of you first.

Why Are Podcasts Good for Brands?

If you’re familiar with the way podcasts work, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth your time or money to create a podcast of your own. Why not simply invest in traditional sponsorship deals with existing, popular shows?

While advertising can be a great way to market your company, it’s far from the only good option. One reason to consider a branded podcast is that you’ll be in charge of your own content; the whole show is something you own. You’re not renting space in someone else’s content channel. 

Building your own podcast means you can establish your brand as an authority in your space—not simply a company paying another podcast creator to promote your products. You can build a real connection with your audience and increase your brand awareness.

One great benefit of choosing a podcast as your content marketing tool is that podcasts can get very specific with the audience they choose. Unlike radio or TV, which is accessed by a wide swath of potential audience members, podcasts are sought out by people who are already interested in your niche.

Podcasts can also easily fit in with your other marketing tactics, be they blogging or a YouTube channel. By creating content that complements content you’ve already produced, your existing audience can help make up a beginning listenership for your new podcast. 

How Do You Measure the Success of a Branded Podcast?

While the idea of a branded podcast sounds great in theory, there are few successful company podcasts out there. The good news is that the market isn’t yet saturated, so if you manage to create a good branded podcast, you’ll likely be able to capture a large listener base. 

But the bad news is that it’s difficult to straddle the line successfully between promoting your brand and creating engaging, informative content that listeners will actually want to listen to on a regular basis.

If you want to beat that trend, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your podcast’s ROI and make sure you’re agile enough to learn and improve as needed.

So what makes a successful podcast?

To start, remember that you need to determine your own definition of success. Is it a certain number of subscribers or downloads? Is it a number of leads captured through podcast episodes?

Here are a few metrics to consider tracking:

  • Total downloads
  • Total subscribers
  • Quality of reviews 
  • Listen-through rate 
  • Target demographic group reached
  • Community growth through other channels, like Facebook groups
  • Website traffic
  • Number of leads
  • Number of purchases
  • Revenue generated from podcast listeners

Whatever metrics you choose, measuring your branded podcast’s success means looking at the engagement (and quality of engagement) of your show’s listeners. Your show will be successful if it provides real value to your target audience, so always start from that approach. 

7 Examples of Branded Podcasts

To get your ideas flowing (and show you what kinds of enterprise podcasts work), let’s look at seven of the most popular branded podcasts available. 

You’ll notice that there’s a wide variety of brand types represented here—so there’s potential for any brand to create a podcast, not just those in certain niches.

 

Trader Joe's indide podcast

Trader Joe’s: Inside Trader Joe’s

This show from grocery chain Trader Joe’s, which started in 2018, explores what it’s like to run a grocery store. It was originally intended as a 5-part series, but it was so popular that the show continued. Episodes cover seasonal shopping lists, tasting panels, and how staff picks the next addictive snacks to keep in stock. 

Why the show works:
It capitalizes on the proudly different brand identity of Trader Joe’s. Episodes are down-to-earth, practical, and informative. 

Why we eat, what we eat podcast

Blue Apron: Why We Eat What We Eat

Blue Apron is a meal kit subscription service that provides fresh, pre-packaged ingredients and unique recipes for cooking at home. Their podcast explores the psychology behind food trends and other food-related questions.

Why the show works:
Food is universal. Who isn’t interested in the why behind what they eat? And since Blue Apron specializes in fresh ingredients and new, trendy recipes, this type of content effortlessly ties into their brand messaging while still being infinitely interesting in its own right.

Lipstories podcast by Sephora

Sephora: #LIPSTORIES

This podcast is hosted by Girlboss Radio in partnership with Sephora. The episodes each feature a rotating lineup of guests who participate in discussions about self-image and their favorite memories in which they felt at their most empowered and beautiful. 

Why the show works:
This unique take on an interview format ties inspiring stories to the brand’s product. Each episode is relaxed, inspiring, and entertaining.

2 minutes of zen by Zendium

Zendium: 2 Minutes of Zen

This unique show is put on by Zendium, a natural toothpaste company. If you thought it wasn’t possible for something as boring as a toothpaste brand to create a popular podcast, think again! Zendium’s approach is to create short guided episodes that you can listen to while brushing your teeth, with activities ranging from meditation to wall-sits.

Why the show works:
The show doesn’t try to fit the standard podcast mold of 30- to 45-minute interviews or topical discussions. Instead, Zendium taps into its value proposition—that it is natural and promotes wellness—to create added value for its customers while they use Zendium’s product.  

The secret to victory by Gatorade

Gatorade: The Secret to Victory

This six-part series from sports-drink giant Gatorade interviewed some of the most successful sports personalities in the world, including Serena Williams and Peyton and Eli Manning. These in-depth discussions covered what motivates them in the good times and the bad, and how they use their losses to push them to even greater heights.

Why the show works: As a sports drink company, Gatorade tapped into the most popular aspect associated with its brand: sports personalities. The Secret to Victory combines the entertainment value of hearing larger-than-life celebrities in person, with inspiring messages that listeners can apply to their own lives.

Work in progress podcast by Slack

Slack: Work in Progress

Slack has experimented with branded podcasting before with its 2015 show Variety Pack, a 28-part comedic series exploring office culture and unique occupations. Work in Progress is a follow-up installment examining the complexities of daily work life and why people do the jobs they do.

Why the show works:
Slack is a software platform that attempts to make work-life simpler and more streamlined, so it makes sense that the company’s branded podcast content would cover the world of work. Listeners can hear interesting, highly relatable stories of fellow workers—and occasionally learn how Slack’s product might be able to help reduce some barriers to productivity. 

Rise and grind podcast by ZipRecruiter

ZipRecruiter: Rise and Grind

This interview podcast created by FUBU founder and Shark Tank investor Daymond John aims to learn how various entrepreneur guests do what they do. The show helps listeners learn various strategies to apply to their own ‘grind.’ Somewhere in the middle of each episode, John also conducts a short interview with a ZipRecruiter executive to provide more entrepreneurial wisdom.

Why the show works:
This podcast is a bit more upfront about its content marketing strategy than other branded podcasts, but it works because of the topic and audience. Listeners are looking to build their own business or brand, so they are willing to trust a brand that does its own promotion well. Also, John is an entertaining and charmingly inquisitive host—which is a must for interview-style shows. 

How Do I Create a Branded Podcast?

On the surface, producing a branded podcast for your company is much the same as the process for any other podcast:

But as a company—especially if you’re a big one—it’s easy to fall prey to the belief that a branded podcast is like any other marketing channel. This is absolutely not the case.

Launching a branded podcast
is not the same as an email campaign or blog article. It’s a long-term, owned media channel that will only flourish with an emphasis on long-term listener engagement and growth. 

Don’t focus on cheap promotional tactics; you’ll only gain a loyal podcast following if you find a way to align your brand message with your customers’ needs.  

And as the number of podcasts increases daily, it becomes ever more essential for your podcast creation team to focus on quality over quantity. Does your budget only allow for a six-part limited series? Better to choose that path than an ongoing, cheaply-produced audio show that no one will want to listen to. 

How Much Do Branded Podcasts Cost?

Ah, the age-old question: how much will this endeavor set me back?

Unfortunately, there’s no cut-and-dried answer. The cost of producing a podcast can vary widely, based on several factors including:

  • The strategy of the show (who is the audience? What are the show’s objectives?)
  • The format and length of each episode
  • How much research, writing, and planning each episode requires
  • Whether the host and/or guests are paid
  • Whether you invest in high-quality equipment and podcast recording software
  • Whether you outsource your cover art and music to professionals or design it in-house
  • How much you spend on distribution, marketing, and promotion

A corporate podcast is likely to be much more successful if you invest in high-quality production and distribution. While a podcast hobbyist might be able to get away with a bare-bones production at a few dollars per month, businesses can’t think that way. 

Instead, consider the ROI involved in creating a better listening experience for your potential audience.

It’s fair to estimate that a well-produced corporate podcast can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars per episode, when factoring in everything including researching, planning, recording, editing, publishing, and promoting the episode.

Branded Podcasts: A Marketing Channel with Endless Potential

Podcasts are exploding in popularity right now, though the branded podcast space is still far from saturated—meaning that if you’re looking for creative ways to increase your brand presence and following, a company podcast could be the perfect solution.

Every kind of organization, from small toothpaste brands to giant B2B tech companies, have connected with their audience by creating unique, valuable podcast content. What could a branded podcast do for you?

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