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Podcast Tips

3 things we learned from creating award-winning podcasts for PH and global brands

Jan 13, 2023
5 min
Ceej Tantengco

There are millions of podcasts out there. Many are “just friends talking,” and that’s okay. But for the world’s leading brands that want to use podcasts to connect with their audiences, “just friends talking” isn’t enough.

High production values, investing in storytelling, and careful sound design are the name of the game. Luxury conglomerate LVMH has “Tips to the Top,” a leadership podcast where female executives of Louis Vuitton and Bulgari share advice. Ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s – which has leaned into its values and endorsed progressive candidates over the years – has not one but TWO podcasts about racial justice in America.

Podcasts like that don’t happen by chance, but by strategy. In the Philippines, our team at PumaPodcast has made award-winning podcasts for top local brands like Smart, Ayala Land Estates and the Philippine Daily inquirer; and global brands like Nike and Under Armour. If you’re thinking of getting your own brand into podcasting, here are some of the things we’ve learned that you can apply, too:

1) Brand mentions are just the tip of the ​​iceberg

Any brand can get a popular celebrity to mention them in their podcast. But there are many other ways brands can approach podcasts.

You could buy out the canned commercial breaks of a podcast for a whole month – these are called programmatic ads. One step higher is the ad read, where the branded spiel is customized by the hosts and woven seamlessly into the podcast’s flow.

Another step higher would be sponsored episodes – where you collaborate with the podcast to choose a topic that aligns with your brand or campaign, and suggest guest speakers. Last year, Nike worked with our sports podcast “Go Hard Girls,” sponsoring an episode as part of the “Never Done” women’s basketball campaign. Nike held a panel discussion with leaders including Coach Mau Belen, the first female coach in the PBA. Our team was on location to record the discussion, and created a podcast that wove together the discussion’s highlights with voiceover from a sports journalist.

The higher the production value, the more value a podcast offers to its audience. This is why some brands invest in end-to-end production, or the creation of a whole new podcast from scratch to serve a target audience. While this requires the biggest investment, it also generates the most value for the brand.

2) The best branded podcasts aren’t pushing product

Let your TVCs and billboards take care of marketing your products. Podcasts are a key part of the integrated marketing ecosystem that offer something different: they can give the public a fresh way of interacting with your brand.

Without hard-selling a product, podcasts can instead be used to give your audience a positive experience – “Hey, that was so much fun to listen to!” – that they’ll relate to your brand.

For our end-to-end production for SMART Communications, we understood that most people only interact with their telcos when they have a billing or connection issue they need addressed. So we created “Philippinerds,” a podcast featuring deep dives into Pinoy pop culture, from the history of how K-Dramas first came to the Philippines to how video games bring us together. Of course, all of this pop culture consumption is made possible through telco innovation, and you can trust your audience to make the connection.

3) The best measure of success isn’t reach but engagement

A common misconception of people entering the podcast space for the first time is assuming podcasts = influencer marketing, and looking for equivalent metrics: number of impressions, number of users reached, and so on.

But this misses what’s uniquely valuable about podcasts: listeners have a deeply personal relationship to the podcasts they love. Good podcasts can command long stretches of a listener’s attention, when social media and even legacy websites are fighting over seconds of your time.

The question to ask when partnering with a podcast isn’t “How many listeners do you have?” but rather, “How engaged are your listeners?” The more useful metrics are retention rates (how many people finish an episode?), active listening numbers (for how many minutes does the average user listen to an episode?), and a podcast’s unique positioning.

We created a sponsored episode for TRUST (DKT Philippines) on our for-women, by-women sex podcast “Conservative Ako” that looked at the state of reproductive health in the Philippines 10 years after the RH Law was passed. While there are many popular male influencers with a sex-positive brand, TRUST saw the value in working with “Conservative Ako” because it’s the first show of its kind to cater specifically to women’s needs, and because a community of women respects Dr. Rica Cruz as a leader in researching and studying sex in the Philippines.

So to summarize, here’s what you need to know before getting into podcasting:

  • You can do way more than just brand mentions
  • You can use podcasts for brand-building instead of selling products
  • You can measure success through retention and active listening

Have fun podcasting!

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse at how we do things at PumaPodcast, we want to let you know that we’re hiring a business associate!

If you love podcasts, are an go-getter with big ideas, and get excited about new challenges, we’d love to hear from you. Send your resume, along with an answer to the question “What are 3 things you need to make effective branded content?” to bizteam@pumapodcast.com!

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