Branded Podcasts – 4 ways to get budget sign-off

Well produced, well strategised and well marketed branded podcasts strengthen brand awareness, improve brand perception and make your brand stand out in a busy marketplace; they can also promote corporate social responsibility or bring internal teams closer together.

And as podcast consumption continues to rise and more and more brands are getting involved, it just takes one great idea.

But not everyone is a podcast listener, and you may need to empathise with any scepticism that some bosses may have to your ‘we should have a podcast’ callings. The right budget is a key factor to the success of any branded podcast (and in 2023 budgets can be a sensitive issue) so, as you make your case to those still on the fence, these are the things to keep in mind.

microphone with neon go sign
Photo by Teemu R

Inspire them with what a branded podcast could be

You don’t need a fully formed treatment of the podcast you want to pitch. After all, the course of your vision will probably change when you get a podcast agency involved and you start to develop a format together.

However, many of the uninitiated, still have a fairly rigid ‘person A talks to person B’ perspective of podcasting. Discussions about formats can be a start – will it be a chatty format or interview led, panel discussion, a magazine format, a narrative documentary, or something else? Will it be hosted by a known personality, if so who? Or do you have a podcast star right under your nose in the business. Wax lyrical to the decision makers about the different forms that branded podcasts take, between recording (or filming!), in-studio vs on location, and what sort of guests you could have. These are excellent prompts to showcase the diversity available.

As inspiration, and as a podcast fan, have a look through your podcast app at some of the podcasts you follow, and look through the podcast charts to see what sort of podcasts people are enjoying at the moment.Another great tool to help with this is the Audience Graph tool over at Rephonic. Inserting podcasts similar to the one you want to create can show comparable branded podcasts from competitors in your sector, and also unexpected links to shows from further afield.

Align the podcast with your audience and your company goals

The starting point for any branded podcast we make is the audience, and so there’s no point emphasising what a great job a podcast can do of getting your company messages across, without showing your boss you understand who the people are you want to reach. Those with the power to sign off budget will want to know they’re reaching the right people, find out the most up to date listener stats from the likes of Ofcom and RAJAR in the UK, or Edison Research’s Infinite Dial, and go into that meeting armed with cold hard data!

According to a 2022 Ofcom survey, 25% of UK adults listened to a podcast in the past month. Ofcom reports also show that listeners use podcasts for advice and learning 20% more than other media, while 56% of people say they speak to friends and family about what they heard on a podcast. One BBC study has shown that podcasts can generate an 89% increase in brand awareness and a 57% increase in brand consideration. A 2022 study by the CSA and Havas Paris found that 74% of listeners want to get to know brands better after hearing them on podcasts and 69% say that hearing about a brand on a podcast made them want to make a purchase.

You can, and should, always tailor your podcast to meet your goals and the wants and need states of your audience… but you have to have a good idea of where it might sit with your wider strategy before you send in the pitch.

Look at the numbers

A branded podcast isn’t a tick box for a business to say that they’ve done it, nor is it usually the right form of content for a short-lived campaign. Podcasts live on as a thriving content channel and well executed, a podcast can be a continuous and valuable addition to a company’s business strategy.

A boss may be impressed by figures before getting to that point, but they’re going to want to know where this fits in the budget. Be reasonable here. Don’t promise the moon. Come up with a realistic budget that doesn’t cut corners and present that as is. To get these numbers, look at the available internal resources, and have conversations with experts to approximate your overheads – but don’t forget promotion costs, you should be spending at least double your production budget on promotion (or even 3 or 5 times more!).

The key here is to have a solid idea of what branded podcast ROI looks like. There are more tools than ever before to measure podcast metrics – whether they’re subscribers gained, number of downloads, consumption rates or any other figure. Clever use of tech can give even greater insights, you can read more about podcast metrics here.

Your secret weapon… Book your boss on a podcast

Flattery may not get you everywhere in life, but there are a few good reasons for suggesting your boss or other thought leaders in your organisation get on a podcast for interview. Branded podcasts are already a respected way of improving authenticity, trust and positive associations to a brand, and if your boss has ideas of being a thought-leader in an area, they’re a great place to start. Having them appear on more established podcasts as a guest is also a chance for them to work with experienced podcasters and for your boss to see how exciting they can be – it’s a win-win!

If you’d like to speak more about launching branded podcast, get in touch, we’d love to chat!