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Have you ever thought about starting a podcast for your brand? With an estimated 120 million podcast listeners in the U.S. forecast to surpass 160 million in 2023, according to Statista, there is endless open opportunity to connect with audiences. Whether you’re on the fence about starting a podcast, all-in for the idea, or considering it for the first time right this moment, here’s a roadmap to get your wheels turning on your podcast.

Start with Your Listener In Mind 

In an ideal world, when you speak into that mic, who is on the other side listening to your podcast? Having a clear-cut vision of who your audience is guides all areas of your brand podcast and allows you to create content that keeps your listener tuned in and ultimately provides value to them. Developing listener personas, in addition to your brand’s audience personas, will help you focus in on the podcast sphere. There are two major benefits to having listener personas, Podcasting Professor and Learning & Development Expert Heidi Kirby shares. Number one, it allows you to focus the conversations that you have on your podcast. Number two, It helps you choose the guests that you host on your podcast. In both instances, your listeners are your guiding light, because the goal is to resonate with them. Here are the questions to ask when creating these podcast listener personas: 

  • Age, demographic, location, occupation – what factors make up their identity? 
  • Hobbies and interests – what do they do in their spare time? 
  • What their goal is in listening to your podcast – do they want to be entertained, informed, inspired? 

Decide Your Podcast Format 

There are a wide variety of podcast styles and genres that you can use to format your podcast. Some ideas include interview style, round table discussions, co-host conversation format, storytelling inspired, bite-sized formats and even monologue style. How you structure your podcast will be informed by your target audience and what your topic is. Keeping your goal and audience in mind will aid in your format selection. For example, as a learning and development expert, Kirby hosts other experts on her podcast, “The BLOC (Building Learning and Organizational Culture).” The format that she uses is conversational – when creating her podcast, she wanted the audience to feel like they were listening in on a conversation between friends. The outcome of this podcast has been growth in her network and increased opportunity to help organizations improve their learning culture. 

Known for its sound quality and behind-the-scenes look at the organization, the “Inside Trader Joe’s” podcast has amassed a large following as brand advocates jumped on board to become brand listeners. Like the very idea to create the podcast in April 2018, Trader Joe’s strong suit is that they’re attuned to their audience. The most-recent episode illustrates this as they discuss “food hacks” inspired by the customer-created hashtag #TraderJoesHacks. 

Establish Your Signature Podcast Tone

Hand in hand with your podcast format is your podcast tone or delivery of the podcast. For example, when you want to decompress after work, you might turn on “LeVar Burton Reads” and get lost in his soothing voice with light background noises as he reads you a story. If you want something pop culture and entertaining, you may click to the casual tone of “The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe.” To be inspired and informed with the stories of how entrepreneurs created their brands, you may click to the documentary-style “How I Built This with Guy Raz.” 

What we’re getting at is that the delivery of the host should match what your podcast is about and the purpose it serves. It’s not about changing who your host is as a person, Kirby says, it’s about placing them in that specific situation or state of mind. For example, your “meeting voice” is different from your “presentation voice,” “parent voice,” or the voice you use when speaking with friends. The goal is to have the voice sound natural. “There’s a nice thing about authenticity when you’re listening to a podcast,” Kirby states. “The listener may be looking to be a part of that conversation – even if they’re just on the periphery of it – or they may be looking to learn something new, but don’t want to feel like a professor is lecturing them. You want an authentic host voice that matches the overall tone of the podcast.” Like Trader Joe’s, some brands use their internal team to host and voice their podcasts. Before selling her company, Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso was the spokesperson for it and thus led the podcast by the same name. This move can help humanize your brand and encourage audiences to further connect with the brand. 

Prepare for Launch

Once you’ve decided upon and outlined your target audience, podcast format and podcast tone, it’s time to get the ball rolling! To ensure consistency and longevity of your brand podcast, brainstorm a list of episode topics and potential guests with your team so that you always know what’s going to come next. While your first podcast episode recording is exciting, Kirby recommends holding off on launch until you have a bulk of episodes recorded. Once this is complete, you can work on teasing the launch of your podcast and building anticipation. Utilizing social media to interact with your audience and get feedback on episode topics they’d like to see is another way for them to feel included in the decision making process and more attached to the podcast itself. Saving major announcements to release on the podcast first can also encourage listens from existing customers, while drawing in new ones. Acting as an evergreen piece of material, podcasts can also be transcribed and included on your website as means to draw additional SEO keywords. If you capture video while recording or behind-the-scenes footage, you have content to feed the video-loving social media algorithms as well! Once the time comes and your first few episodes have gone live, you’ll have listener data to consult. With this additional information, you’ll be able to gain an understanding of who your podcast is actually reaching and tailor your podcasts even further. 

Thinking about giving your brand podcast the green light? Orange Label has an in-house recording studio and the marketing services to get your podcast recorded, edited and launched to your audience! Learn more about our podcast resources and let us help you make (sound) waves.

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