Blogs are great, aren’t they? We can read ideas from anyone, anywhere in the world. The only problem is that word ‘read’. Reading means using our eyes, so we are limited from doing other tasks at the same time. 

Podcasts are a different proposition, because the message is delivered straight between our ears, and can be enjoyed when out jogging, doing a morning commute, or even washing dishes. A podcast speaks directly to us, in an accessible manner and a recognisable tone of voice. It is educational, engaging, and entertaining – three essential qualities which get us listening, and create the desire to keep listening. It’s not surprising that the popularity of podcasts continues to explode.

Podcast potential

There is now a wide and varied range of podcasts, with many great examples, both nationally and internationally. According to Apple Podcast statistics there are nearly 2.5 million valid podcasts, with over 66 million episodes available, and around 500 new podcasts added every day. Together with other prominent players like Spotify and Google, Apple accounts for around 70% of all podcasts, which means there is plenty potential, and plenty supply. 

So, how do you reach the right listeners? What is the right strategy? How do you stand out from the pack? These are questions that every podcaster and brand should be asking themselves.

Making it effective

Podcasts allow brands to share their messages through rich storytelling, aligning with the brand’s mission. OK, but how do you create effective brand podcasts? Think of those three ‘e’ words: educational, engaging, and entertaining. Those qualities should all be contained in a podcast, but also in the contextual positioning of the podcast.

Where branded podcasts are most commonly published on the channels of the advertiser, often supported by a social media campaign, native podcasts takes podcasting to another level. 

Native podcasts go beyond the reach of branded podcasts and in doing so tackle the discoverability challenge. They are made from and for the DNA of the audience, while all the same being natively embedded in a trustworthy editorial context. This DNA match in combination with the the ecosystem of the publisherwill set the seal on a far-ranging distribution

Matching up the DNA

Inzicht/Envue is a native podcast about innovation and new business models by Tijd | Echo Connect, in conjunction with EY. On the webpage you’ll find photographs and illustration that intentionally tease you to want to listen to the 18-30 minute podcasts. The DNA of De Tijd/L’Echo readers is kept very much in mind, with pieces on innovation, entrepreneurial activity, and inspiring business leaders. It’s an ‘immersive’ format where the listener is transported to the centre of the action. This total experience has one main goal: ensuring strong engagement and ‘stickability’. You bring real value to them – the listeners perceive it as high quality information, when and where they want it. 

The virtuous circle

Another convincing example of native podcasting is Innovation Uncovered, by T Brand Studio – the native advertising arm of the New York Times – along with Invesco, one of America’s largest banks. ‘Innovation Uncovered’ is a six-part series about breakthroughs driving our culture today. The strategy was developed in the knowledge that affluent NY Times readers tend to over-index for topics like film, wine, sports and design. The resulting podcasts are promoted through the New York Times’ ecosystem in print ads in the NYT Magazine, so there is a strong virtuous circle pushing reader/listener engagement.

Your message, where you want it

What connects these examples is that the podcasters really know their audience, and are able to leverage the existing base and brand values of the parent organisations to provide a ready uptake. 

When we talk about shared DNA, that means listeners go to the podcasts because they have trust in the brand, but once there, the podcast content itself takes over. People listen with pleasure, without being concerned that they are part of a smoothly engineered brand campaign. They are listening to Native Podcasting.

(Blog post published on LinkedIn)