‘Not every brand needs a podcast’ said Ada Enechi, head of culture at BuzzFeed UK, during a panel discussion at the Publisher Podcast Summit earlier this month, and it’s true. Despite the influx of brand and publisher podcasts coming out at the moment, it isn’t always the right choice. You don’t have to follow the pack but if you feel that you can offer your readers more or something different through a podcast, then what do you need to consider to make sure that it conforms with your brand? Below are some tips from an expert panel to help your podcast fit in with your current portfolio.
Finding your voice
Podcasts offer a great opportunity for brands to demonstrate their tone of voice and create more of a connection with their audience. Ada Enechi felt that the black community was not well represented when it came to podcasting, despite lots of black people listening to podcasts. To help give the community more of a voice and better representation, Ada launched the weekly podcast Seasoned Sessions to discuss black news and trending topics.
Christopher Phin, former head of podcasts at DC Thomson, spoke about how this can be a chance for brands to break free from their usual brand voice and tell stories in a different way. A podcast shouldn’t be just a carbon copy of your print or online offering. It’s a chance to elevate and enfranchise different voices and this can be very powerful when done through the medium of podcasting.
Speaking your opinion
Journalists have a tough job constantly trying to hit word counts and deadlines and get the approval of their editors. A podcast enables them to speak their opinion and Ada believes it is empowering for journalists. In print or online, journalists are confined by how much they can talk about a topic or subject whereas a podcast allows them to explore it more in depth.
It also helps the audience to get to know the people behind the brands. You might get an idea for someone’s personality by what they write but hearing their voice and letting them express themselves shows them as humans. Christopher mentioned a journalist that covered both Dundee FC and Dundee United for his job. In print, he had to be objective when reporting on both their matches. However, in the podcast, he was allowed to say which club he supported and this helped the audience to understand him and his angle better and gave him more freedom of expression.
Listening to your audience
The most successful brand podcasts are normally those that listen to their audience. Jendella Benson, head of editorial at Black Ballad, stressed the need to keep your audience at the centre. At the end of the day the podcast is for them, so you need to make sure that it is really speaking to them. This can be done by focusing on a specific community or being at the forefront of a particular topic. Jendella’s podcast The Survival Guide is about motherhood and parenting for black women and because this was such a relatable experience, it reached an audience not just in Britain but in France and Germany too.
When going through that audience identification and finding out who is listening to your podcast and the community or topic you are targeting, you also need to think about where and when your audience will be consuming it. Christopher highlighted that you need to consider how you will fit into their day. Will it be during their commute? Will it be while they are at work? Will it be when they are out for a run? If you can figure this out or give your audience a reason to listen to your podcast during that time, it will help them to feel more connected.