At its core, every “build your brand” strategy has the same simple goal: Make a lasting connection with your audience. In essence, that’s what any strong brand has done. They have found a way to connect what they do with what you do. They have found a way to align who they are and what they stand for with your beliefs and personal ethos.
But what does a strong brand look like in the podcasting sphere? A podcast with a strong podcast brand can usually be identified by a healthy loyal listener base and an audience that is as passionate and committed to the show as the host! They’re telling everyone they know to subscribe, they’re interacting on all the social media platforms the host uses to promote their show and grow their reach, they’re attending live or virtual events, and they’re leaving ratings and reviews on places like Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, and GoodPods.
In short, a podcast with a strong brand is one that has connected their message to a thriving podcast community, who work together with the host to help the show continually achieve new milestones, reach new listeners, and share their unique message far and wide.
Undoubtedly, this is the goal of every podcaster, but exactly how is this accomplished? It all boils down to understanding and applying key branding principles to your podcast. As I mentioned in the beginning, a strong brand has found a way to create deep, meaningful connections between themselves and their customers, and in the case of podcasts, their listeners. Now, a word of warning, this does take time! But the payoff of having created a strong podcast brand with a thriving, energetic, excited community around your show will make it all more than worth it!
So let’s get down to business.
Operation: Build and Strengthen Your Podcast Brand is really a two-phase plan. You will first need to start with strategies that will help you build your podcast brand, and then you can apply those Phase 2 strategies that will help strengthen your brand in the minds of your audience.
Let’s start with Phase 1: The three steps you need to take to start building your podcast brand…
1. Determine Your Podcast Mission
Your brand building strategy really begins long before you ever sit down and hit record on your first episode. It starts in those early stages when you’re dreaming up your concept, doing thorough research on your topic, and locking down your niche. This strategy can be summed up by one phrase, “Know your why.” If you know why you are starting your podcast, and you have a strong conviction of and connection to that why, you will have a clear understanding of what you want your podcast to accomplish. This will then determine the core values of your show. Your podcast mission will be your guide for every decision you make about your show, like a roadmap (or your Google Maps app, does anyone use actual roadmaps any more?) showing you the steps you need to take in order to reach your final destination. Make sure that your mission statement includes both the value you want to give your audience as well as how you want to add that value, as this understanding will enable you to make those vital connections with your audience with each episode or piece of content you create.
2. Establish Your Podcast Vision
Once you have determined your mission, you can then turn your attention to establishing your podcast vision. When you dream about your podcast, and by extension, your podcast audience, what does it look like? How do you see your podcast meeting the needs of your audience? Your podcast vision is really just your podcast mission in action, but a clear vision will help you execute your mission with greater accuracy. And by keeping your podcast vision in mind, you will be able to take the steps necessary to fulfil you mission. Your podcast vision will ensure that with every episode you create, each topic you discuss, or with every guest you share the mic with, you’re taking another step in the right direction towards your goal. And with each step you take focussed on that vision, your podcast brand will be strengthened.
3. Know Your Podcast Audience
The third strategy in Phase 1 is knowing your podcast audience. If you want to build and strengthen your podcast brand in the minds of your audience, then it follows that you need to know the mind of your audience. Simply put, you need to know exactly who the listeners are that you are targeting with your message. And this part of the plan will be all the more effective if you can get really specific! This means thinking holistically about your audience to really understand their behaviors, what they need, what they want, and then, all-importantly, how you can position your podcast and your brand as a whole to meet those needs. A strong podcast brand identity, above all, must be one your listeners relate to and identify with, as it is these feelings that form those connections between you and your audience and which form the foundation of your podcast community.
Pro Tip: If you started your podcast journey without all this forethought – you wanted to share your thoughts and so you just jumped right in and started a podcast – that’s totally okay! You can still build a successful podcast brand! You just need to backtrack a little bit. Take some time now to put Strategies 1 through 3 into place. Write your mission statement, figure out your vision, and clearly define your audience before you record another episode. Figure out where and how you want to take your show, what you want to give your audience, and then make the little adjustments and tweaks that may need to be made to align the current state of your podcast with your newfound heading.
Related read: How to Start a Podcast 2020 Edition
Now that we have the three pillars of building your podcast brand in place, we can now move onto Phase Two: The strategies you will need to implement to help you strengthen your podcast brand.
4. Establish Your Podcast Brand Voice
The first strategy of Phase 2 is establishing your podcast brand voice. I’m not talking about your actual voice here (although, we do cover how to improve that voice in this post. We always have your back!), I’m talking about your unique voice that will give your show it’s personality. Think about what makes your point of view on your topic unique. What’s important here is that you find your authentic voice. Don’t try to copy another podcast host, or try molding yourself to what you think your listeners want. Be yourself! Allow yourself the freedom and the space to be true to who you are, let your personality shine through, and your brand voice will begin to take shape. Extend this “voice” to all aspects of your brand – your website, your Instagram account, and even your Pinterest boards. Let your listeners really get to know you, and they will then be able to connect with you and your brand. And remember, you can really get creative here! You want to be uniquely you, and there’s no one better qualified to do that than you!
5. Magnify Your Brand Presence
Once you’ve got your podcast mission and vision solidified, and you’ve firmly established the unique voice of your podcast brand, you’re ready to tackle Strategy #5, magnifying your brand presence. This strategy revolves around developing some strong marketing strategies that focus on getting your podcast brand out there. You want as many people as possible to hear your podcast episodes, connect with your message, and resonate with your unique voice. And there are so many ways you can do this! From guest appearances on podcasts that align with your brand, joining and participating in niche-focused groups or communities, or by utilizing all that social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have to offer, there are so many diverse ways you can get your message out there and really magnify your brand. But whatever you do, whichever show you co-host, or whoever you invite on as a guest, your top priority is to ensure that these choices line up with your overall mission and vision, as this is what will ensure that you are magnifying your podcast brand, and solidifying that brand in the minds of all who interact with your content.
Related read: How To Use TikTok to Promote Your Podcast
6. Strive For Consistency
Now that your brand is starting to take shape, the next strategy you need to implement is consistently creating and sharing on-brand content. And this refers to both the content you share on your podcast as well as the content you share on any other social media platform that you’re using to expand your reach and grow your podcast audience. Each time you put out your unique content that showcases your unique “voice”, you’re strengthening your brand in the minds of your listeners. Each piece of content is another piece of confirmation that they love what you share, what you stand for, and what you have to offer, and that they want a front row seat for your podcasting adventure.
7. Strengthen and Nurture Your Community
Our last strategy for strengthening your podcast brand dovetails nicely off of Strategy Number 6. Now that your audience knows that they want to be a part of your community as they love your voice (both literal and figurative!) and love what you have to offer, you now have to strengthen and nurture your community. Remember, your audience is really the lifeblood of your show. And they should be one of the main factors motivating you to keep putting out high-quality episodes, full of your valuable content. But it’s not enough to just put out episodes from a distance. If you want a strong podcast brand, you need to have a strong podcast community, and this only happens if you create opportunities for connections between you and your listeners. You want to give your listeners the best experience whenever they interact with anything connected to your brand. Whether that’s creating opportunities for more interaction between you and your listeners, perhaps through your social channels, or by giving them even more great content through email newsletters, or even giving the chance to meet-up with you, whether that’s via a virtual podcast event, or letting them watch a live-recording of your podcast, the only limit to ways you can strengthen and nurture your community is your creativity. But whatever you do, as long as you ensure that it aligns with your podcast vision and mission, your podcast brand will be strengthened, your community will really come “alive”, and your podcast will continue to reach new heights!
Understanding your brand is an important part of helping your podcast “make it” in the industry. A good understanding of your brand allows you to align your show to the right audience, but that understanding also enables you to seek out and land the right sponsors for your show, or the right brands to partner with. Applying these steps to build and strengthen your podcast brand will help you and your show reach new heights, reach new audiences, and set you on your path towards podcasting success. Your unique brand will open many new doors and make new opportunities available to you that you may never have had the chance to take before. Follow these strategies for crafting and building of an identifiable podcast brand and you’ll soon be surrounded by a loyal community cheering you on as you reach for your goals and achieve your dreams.