Biggest Branded Podcasts

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Branded Podcast Production Best Practices

The best practices to produce a branded podcast are to own a topic and tell a story, use the correct tone of voice, and invest in audio quality. The three are focused on successfully delivering to the customer an experience that educates, entertains, and connects with the audience. The ultimate objective is to deliver the "call to action" imperceptibly to the costumer.

Own a Topic and Tell a Story

  • Educate customers, entertain them, and pique their curiosity that must be the main objective of a branded podcast, promotion of the brand must be minimal. The customer will be "hooked" by hearing and watching authentic stories, likable hosts, and fresh insights.
  • Taking care of these factors helps when building a dedicated audience that, throughout the show, eventually becomes genuinely interested in what your company has to offer. The art is in delivering the "call to action" imperceptibly to the costumer.

Application in Branded Podcast Production

  • Typically, the brands like Blue Apron apply this best practice mixing investigative reporting with storytelling to provide fresh insights, besides in their podcast "Why We Eat What We Eat" they benefit from a host with a bit of influencer power: Cathy Erway, renowned food writer, and blogger.
  • Inviting trusted and renowned guests, including CEOs from some of the largest companies in the world and experts in the niche topic of the podcast, will create trust in the customer.
  • Select a niche topic and build a complete overview of it. For example, if the brand sells antivirus software, the podcast can include subjects like how easy it is getting hacked today. It can even include a reference to pop culture where this situation is shown. That would be excellent.
  • The ultimate objective is to present the brand as a provider for solutions. Inviting experts into the discussion helps to present the brand as helpful, honest, and dedicated. A brand that costumers can trust.

Use the Correct Tone of Voice

  • Determine the kind of audience to whom the podcast is aimed to like children, parents, millennials, professionals in a specific area, the general public, etc. Based on this preliminary study, the narrator/host voice must be selected; consider whose tone of voice matches the brand’s emotional context.

Application in Branded Podcast Production

  • Brands like Tinder, typically apply this practice focusing on having an excellent relatability, this is a strength to their podcast called: DTR. Also, the host's female tone of voice used on their podcast is pleasant, sensual to the ears, and invites the audience to engage until the end.
  • Take into consideration that low-pitched voices promote trust, whereas voices in a higher register formulate a more lighthearted appeal. Children or young voices spark sympathy and enthusiasm, while older voices promote family-oriented attributes such as advice, wisdom, and authority.
  • In the podcast production, both the guest and the host must prepare the speech and create guidelines about this topic before jumping cold into production. This is done to ensure that the correct tone of voice will transmit the ideal message on each part of the podcast.
  • After pilot podcast production, but before releasing it to the audience, it is important to run a testing phase letting a small sample (100-300 costumers) of your audience listen to the podcast to know their reactions and thoughts about it. Based on the feedback, you can make adjustments to the podcast.

Invest in Audio Quality

  • High quality, which in audio’s context equals perfect ease of listening and a sense of naturalness, promotes positive judgment and response to the content presented. Conversely, lousy quality has the exact opposite outcome and diminishes credibility to the podcast.
  • The ultimate objective of having high quality in a branded podcast is to provide to the customer an intimate venue for listening and a smooth passage of branded information, where the listeners perceive themselves almost as a part of the conversation.

Application in Branded Podcast Production

  • This practice is typically applied using the best audio equipment possible to achieve the high-quality sound requirement, as an example for this the McAfee brand in their podcast titled "Hackable." High-quality audio equipment was used to get this recording. It can be heard in episode 1 of their podcast.
  • In short, use external microphones, edit the conversation audio professionally, ensure the audio levels are consistent and that the music and sound effects used are high-quality. This will assure the branded podcast an open pathway to remain in the costumer´s interest until the end.

Research Strategy

Your research team began the process at trusted and specialized websites like Target Marketing, Adweek, and Skyword, they are experts in the brand marketing ecosystem. It is important to note that the best practices listed in this report were based on the article written by Mikko Matikka, marketing and content manager at Audiodraft, a global audio branding service. It was necessary to verify the provided data with trusted information found at the websites mentioned above. The article found in the Ibbonline website was backed up directly by the "branded podcast genius" Carolyn Walker, CEO and managing partner at Response Marketing. Lastly, on the websites of Creative Gimlet Media and YouTube, some brand podcast episodes are provided where the podcast production practices are applied.
Part
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2019 Biggest Branded Podcasts-Part 2

The next 5 biggest branded podcasts in 2019 based on monthly audience in the US were found to be Pardon My Take, Call Her Daddy, Planet Money, TED Radio Hour and Hidden Brain. More information on the 5 podcasts are provided below and the criteria for their selection as the next 5 biggest podcasts is explained in the research strategy section.

Next 5 biggest branded podcasts in 2019 based on US Unique Monthly Audience

  • Pardon My Take, published by Barstool Sports, was ranked 6th in a monthly Podcast Industry Ranking published by Podtrac for the month of September 2019. It delivers the most accurate sports take. Pardon My Take has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts based on nearly 61,000 reviews.
  • Call Her Daddy, published by Barstool Sports, was ranked 7th in the September 2019 publication. It addresses "relationships, sex, the New York social scene, embarrassing moments and more". Call Her Daddy has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts based on 74,200 reviews.
  • Planet Money, published by NPR, ranked 8th as per the Podtrac publication. It discusses the global economy, helping listeners keep up to date with it. Planet Money has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on Apple Podcasts based on 19,500 reviews.
  • TED Radio Hour, published by NPR, was ranked 9th. It "explores the emotions, insights, and discoveries that make us human". TED Radio Hour has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts based on 14,500 reviews.
  • Hidden Brain, published by NPR, was ranked 10th in the September ranking publication. The podcast "uses science and narrative to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships". Hidden Brain has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts based on 21,500 reviews.

Other useful findings

  • Below are 5 company branded podcasts that "feature essential topics like company branded media, social media engagement tips, design news, and personal branding" according to MerlinOne.
  • Casting Call is a company branded podcast formed by Gimlet Creative and Squarespace. The show is a podcast talent show where a panel of radio professionals choose the next big name in podcasting from a pool of talented finalists.
  • The Distance is a podcast by Basecamp that "gives listeners an inside peek at exactly what it takes to head-up a long-running business, spanning a variety of unique industries".
  • Flipping the Game is a podcast created by Reebok Classic and Gimlet Creative that "features the trials and triumphs of women's roles in the sneaker business".
  • Fortune Favors the Bold is a podcast partnership between Gimlet Creative and MasterCard that "looks into how our society regards money and sets out to explore and expose the ‘rules’ we all take for granted and then look at how they are being broken—and how we’re breaking through to new opportunities for millions of people in the process".
  • Future is a Microsoft-branded podcast that gives listeners "predictions and insights on how technological advances will continue to form our destinies".
  • In Your Dreams is a podcast formed by Casper and host Chris Gethard. It "focuses in on the science of sleep, particularly dreaming".

Research Strategy

To find the next five biggest podcasts in 2019, the research team searched into media analytics websites. The most up-to-date information was obtained from Podtrac which published a ranking based on Podtrac measurement data for US Unique Monthly Audience (UMA). This is the number of audience who listened to the show in a given month, where individuals are only counted once regardless of whether they listened to multiple episodes of a podcast in a month. The findings were verified against other sources like Apple Podcast Charts and industry news websites like Digital Trends where the high ranking of the identified podcasts was confirmed.
Part
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Part
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2019 Biggest Branded Podcasts-Part 1

The five biggest branded podcasts in 2019 by monthly listenership were The Daily, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know, Up First, and The Ben Shapiro Show. Details of each have been provided below as well as a research strategy.

Top 2019 Podcasts By Unique Monthly Listeners

  • The Daily, published by The New York Times, was ranked number 1 in September 2019. This is a two-minute-long daily news update that airs on weekdays.
  • This American Life, published by This American Life/Serial, was ranked number 2 in September 2019. This is a collection of interesting stories that are engaging and comedic.
  • Stuff You Should Know, published by iHeartRadio, was ranked number 3 in September 2019. This is an educational podcast about common subjects and how things work.
  • Up First, published by NPR, was ranked number 4 in September 2019. This is a ten-minute daily podcast that covers news from politics to pop culture.
  • The Ben Shapiro Show, published by Daily Wire, was ranked number 5 in September 2019. This is a straight-forward no-nonsense news show that is presented in a comprehensive, conservative way.

Top Podcast Publishers By Listener Volume

Research Strategy

In order to find the biggest podcasts in 2019, we began our search by scouring media analytics databases like Podtrac. Through this search, we were able to find the listenership of podcasts for September 2019. We continued to cross-reference the findings from this source with other published sources. Through this method, we were able to confirm that these podcasts were also highly ranked in popularity as well as listenership.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "For the monthly Top Podcasts Ranking, UMA is the number of audience members who listened to the show in the given month. Individuals may listen to multiple episodes of a podcast in a month but are only counted once in the UMA metric."
Quotes
  • "On "Pardon My Take," Big Cat & PFT Commenter deliver the loudest and most correct sports takes in the history of the spoken word. "
Quotes
  • "Follow along vlogger Alexandra Cooper and best friend Sofia Franklyn as the duo dives into the explicit details of their life in NYC. In their 20s, the two exploit the f*ck out of their lives, making you feel a hell of a lot better about yours. Relationships, sex, the NY social scene, embarrassing moments, and more are all addressed here on CALL HER DADDY."
Quotes
  • "The economy explained. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening"
Quotes
  • "The TED Radio Hour is a narrative journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create."
Quotes
  • "Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships."
Quotes
  • "According to Barstool, “Pardon My Take” averages between 750,000 and 1.5 million listeners per episode and can reach two million listens for shows with celebrity guests."