In the past few years, with the double whammy of Google starting to index podcasts in 2019 and the huge and constant growth of podcast audiences, podcasts have become a major playing field for content marketing.
Some brands have gone a step further than most and created their own branded podcast. Not only are they making branded podcasts – they are doing it well, creating excellent content and increasing their reach through this medium.
If your brand doesn’t already have its own branded podcast, maybe it’s time to consider it.
Let's look into popular branded podcasts, their podcast content marketing, and what you can learn from them when making your own content marketing strategy and your own podcast.
Why Make a Branded Podcast?
Most brands go the simpler route – they just choose to pay one of the already established podcasts for ads.
However, having your own branded podcast is a much better investment than sponsorship. Sponsoring a podcast is great for short-term gain, but it means that you get exactly what you pay for and nothing more. Plus, as soon as you stop paying, that’s it.
Creating your own branded podcast is playing the long game. It might take a little bit of time to get established, but if you deliver quality content, do your SEO for podcast, and keep going for long enough, you will have a constant source of organic traffic.
A branded podcast that is aimed at your target audience and provides quality content is an excellent way to build brand awareness.
Finally, unlike with sponsorships, you have full control of the content and can tailor it to suit your needs.
Let’s learn from the best. Here are a few brands that have created their own podcasts and are absolutely slaying it.
The Penguin Podcast, Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House is a publishing house that’s been around forever. Well, not literally forever, but since 1927. In the world of business, almost a hundred years is as close to forever as you can get.
They are currently one of the five biggest publishers, and, if they get their way, they will become even bigger, by acquiring another major player – Simon & Schuster.
Penguin’s branding has always been on point – just think of their logo. That little penguin is one of the most recognisable logos in the world. It’s no wonder then, that they recognised the potential in branded podcasts early on.
The format of The Penguin Podcast is simple. Penguin has recognised the one unique advantage they have over everyone else and is running with it – access to famous authors.
Every episode of their branded podcasts is a 30 to 40-minute interview podcast with a writer – be it an award-winner, an up-and-comer, or a chart-topper.
Their podcast listeners know what to expect and they get it every single time. No wonder their podcast series is so successful.
Why it slays:
The Penguin Podcast comes out every two weeks and has been around since 2015. If its longevity is not recommendation enough, then consider the fact that it was a nominee for the best branded podcast at the 2022 Webby Awards.
Podcast listeners who love reading are interested in stories – so it makes sense they would be interested in what their favourite authors have to say. The podcast directly promotes Penguin Random House titles. As a marketing strategy, this branded podcasting move from Penguin is pretty brilliant.
Listen to the Penguin Podcast.
Command Line Heroes, Red Hat Software
Red Hat is one of the biggest players in the open source and Linux communities. And don’t be fooled, just because it’s open source, doesn’t mean there isn’t money in it. In 2019, IBM bought Red Hat for a mind-boggling 34 billion dollars.
As of now, their branded podcast Command Line Heroes has 9 extremely successful seasons. That's one good branded podcast series, right?
Each branded podcast episode is around 20 minutes long and tells success stories of how hackers and geeks are changing the face of technology, and the world as we know it.
Why it slays:
This show is a Shorty Award winner and a Webby Award nominee. Red Hat could have gone the obvious route and just made a standard tech news podcast, but instead, they did something different.
They decided to hook podcast listeners with stories – building modern lore around everyday heroes who walk among us.
This type of branded messaging is just genius. It's not one of those branded podcasts that blow their own horn at any cost, but subtly leave the spotlight to their audience.
By doing that, their branded messaging is even more effective by not really being that branded or overflowing with brand mentions.
Listen to the Command Line Heroes Podcast.
Duolingo Podcast, Duolingo
Duolingo is in the business of words, so of course, they are going to use words to promote the brand.
Their branded podcast comes out weekly and is available in several languages – depending on which one you are learning. The episodes are in the form of interesting and authentic stories based on people’s real-life experiences, so you get to learn a lot about the culture as well.
Why it slays:
Duolingo’s podcast just makes perfect sense. The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. They are offering their users, and anyone else who is interested in practicing a language, the opportunity to do just that.
Another thing that Duolingo is doing right is providing transcripts of their podcasts along with audio. Not only does this serve their listeners, because they can easily go over what they just learned and check out the words they didn’t quite understand, but it’s also a very smart piece of SEO optimising for podcasts.
By providing a transcript, Duolingo is making it easier for search engines to crawl their podcast.
Listen to the Duolingo Podcast.
Access and Opportunity, Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley is a huge name in the world of finance.
But what does a multinational financial company know about branded podcasts? Well, apparently, the answer is – a lot. Their branded podcasting game is flawless.
This Fortune 500 company has a branded podcast called Access & Opportunity. In 20 to 30-minute monthly episodes, the podcast hosts discuss the modern economic landscape, the world of finance, societal issues, and careers.
Why it slays:
Access & Opportunity has won audiences over with great branded content. The topics are well researched and thought-provoking. Complex issues get presented in ways that ordinary people can understand.
The quality of this branded podcast was recognised by the 2022 Webby Awards too, where it won in the Best Branded Podcast category.
Listen to the Access & Opportunity Podcast.
Kubernetes Podcast, Google
Google rarely misses. Chances are – if Google is doing it, then you should be, too. Following in Google’s footsteps is rarely something we mere mortals can do, but this is one example where this is actually possible.
In case you’re not familiar with it, Kubernetes has been one of the hottest buzzwords in the world of tech the past few years. Originally designed by Google, it’s an open-source system for automating software deployment and management. And now Google has an entire podcast dedicated to this technology.
Why it slays:
Kubernetes is hot stuff right now, and Google is not letting anyone forget about it. Even though the technology is open source and is now managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation – which is a Linux Foundation, Google still has a vested interest in Kubernetes since it sells Kubernetes services to enterprises.
Making a podcast dedicated to this technology is a savvy move – Google is reminding all potential clients that they did Kubernetes first and they’re doing it best. The podcast is a great way to keep the association between the names Kubernetes and Google fresh in everyone’s mind. Kubernetes branded podcasts are really slaying it.
And even though they don’t need any help with ranking, as always, Google is leading by example. The Kubernetes Podcast comes with transcripts for every episode.
Listen to the Kubernetes Podcast.
At the moment, branded podcasts have reached a sweet spot. They have been on a trajectory of steady growth, but many brands still haven’t recognised their full potential in terms of content marketing. That is why it’s the perfect time to position yourself as a player in this game and create your own brand podcast.
To stand out head and shoulders above the competition, don’t forget to do proper SEO for podcasts.
One of the best ways to do that is to create podcast transcripts of your episodes. You can upload them for better search result rankings, use them to turn audio files to video, or repurpose them as blog posts.
Subly can help you get the most out of your podcast journey and help you turn your audio to video in minutes. Don’t miss out!