September 2nd 2016

Will Branded Podcasts Succeed Where Branded Blogs Failed?

Posted by Will Shadbolt

A decade ago, branded blogs seemed like the next big thing in marketing. After all, it was a way of presenting more personal stories to audiences and establishing closer connections to consumers. But maintaining an audience who would keep coming back proved difficult, and if the brand had nothing noteworthy to say, it didn't matter how polished their content was. 

Could branded podcasts avoid these pitfalls? 

Though blogs are still an important part of the digital age, podcasts are steadily becoming more and more popular. 21% of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to at least one podcast in the last month. That marks a 17% increase from 2015. Some have theorized that their recent surge is due to the hectic lifestyles of millennials. Last year, 70% of podcasts were downloaded on to mobile devices, giving credence to the idea that people who are always on the go or don't have the time to read long blog posts are listening in. A feeling of authenticity could also be helping. On podcasts, you can hear the speaker's voice and emotions, much more personal than a written blog.

Most brands are trying to work with large podcast companies. These bring not only skill and audio production as well as equipment, but also preexisting networks and shows that already have large audiences. These can then promote branded content or give advice on what material these brands should use. Matt Lieber, the president of Gimlet Media, one such podcast company, was quoted in Adweek as saying, "No one wants to hear a 30-minute eBay commercial, but there is a large audience that's interested in a show about starting a business in 2016 and what the elements of that are." 

Although eBay did not state how many times their podcasts had been downloaded, it was over 200% of their goal. There are six episodes which focus on different parts of beginning a business with no typical ads for eBay. Instead, every episode had to bring up eBay but in a more natural way. This often resulted in sharing real stories about small companies that were able to grow using eBay. Another season is already being discussed with Gimlet Media. 

The road goes both ways, too. One podcast, entitled Lore and created by Aaron Mahnke, will be brought to television by a Walking Dead producer. The series details scary folklore from the New England area. Although some stories might be mythic, they are all obtained from historical documents. The show, beginning in 2017, will take an anthology approach to its stories, showing multiple each episode. Will this sort of show end up being a one-time thing? Or will more podcasts be brought to television? It may all depend on how branded podcasts do. Should they prove to be more enduring then branded blogs, we may start seeing more shows and stars who had their start in podcasting.

Looking to work with audio equipment? Or get your brand out there via voice? Giovatto Advertising does extensive audio and radio work. Our in-house studio keeps costs down. Or, if you're looking to get your own voice out there, we're always taking voice actor auditions. And with our "Source-Connect" software, if you're selected you can send us recordings over the internet. Whether you're looking to get your services on the airwaves or your voice, be sure to contact Giovatto today!



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