Does Your Brand Really Need a Podcast?

Podcasts are hot commodities for brands the world over. But before you dive into creating one for your credit union, consider this: Do you really need one? Here are three questions to help you determine the answer.

Who’s this podcast for?

You’ve got an idea for a podcast for your credit union. Like any other marketing strategy, it’s time to dive into the nitty gritty of demographics.

  • Create your avatar. Who’s your ideal listener? What topics, formats and episode lengths appeal most to them? Do you know if your avatar even listens to podcasts?
  • Do your research. What kinds of podcasts are other brands doing, in your industry and otherwise? What other shows already exist in the same category as your show? This goes beyond just looking at the “top twenty” charts. Does your team have the expertise needed for the research to have an impact?
  • What’s the goal? What you’re trying to achieve may influence your audience, and vice versa.
  • Define and refine your podcast with the help of a “blueprint” for the show’s intention, structure and production.

Let this audience discovery period inform what your show’s about—you may need to tweak the idea based on who you define as your audience. Once your target is set, it’s time to move on to the next question:

How will you define success?

Because you’re a brand with a bottom line to meet, the powers-that-be will want to see metrics. Providing the number of downloads is only a partial answer. It might feel passable now, but when it comes time to present to executive management, you’ll want to tell a more insightful story about the success (or shortcomings) of your show.

More insightful metrics may include:

  • How are listeners consuming your show? Review the platforms and operating systems. Does this information reveal unexpected trends? Are people listening to your show during work on a web browser or on-the-go on their phone? What time of day/week do they listen? And most importantly, do you know how to interpret that data?
  • Where are your listeners located? Podcasts can be listened to throughout the world. If you have a three-county field of membership, but 80% of your downloads are coming from the other side of the globe, how effective is your reach to your target audience? How will you fix that?
  • How do podcast downloads compare to video views? Create a video version of your podcast to capitalize on SEO and to get in front of your audience on additional platforms (like YouTube). Then compare the numbers. Does audio tend to outperform video? Or does it depend on the topic of the episode? Bonus: YouTube opens up a whole new realm of data to mine, such as how far people watch a video episode before stopping. Again, data is a powerful tool if you know how to use it. Will you be able to draw helpful conclusions from the information at your fingertips?
  • What content is performing best? Proactively seek trends in listenership based on content. You may be surprised to see which episodes perform best.
  • What are your listeners saying? Do they love your show? Are they offering good ideas for improvements? Do they have questions they’d like answered? Give them a space to speak their mind on social media. Prepare a social media strategy and a call-to-action at the end of your show to invite listeners to become part of the conversation. Again, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel—what are other shows doing that you can borrow from? There are plenty of shows out there, and you really should take the time to listen—if you’re not planning to outsource your podcast series.

So now you’ve got a great concept and know how you’ll define and report on the success of your show. That’s all you need, right?

Not so fast. There’s one crucial puzzle piece left:

Do you have the bandwidth for quality?

It’s not just about getting it done. From a single social media post to an international product launch campaign, creating branded content is about more than just getting it done—it’s about getting it done right. There’s no way around it: Your podcast needs a healthy budget of time.

Like, a lot of time.

Podcast quality standards have risen in the past few years, and with them, so have listener expectations. Do you have the bandwidth to meet or exceed them? Most credit union marketing teams are already at capacity. If you’re one of the few who aren’t, try this:

  • Check the well. How often will you release an episode? Does your show concept cast a wide enough net to provide content for a weekly show? Monthly? Dip your bucket into the well by listing out as many episode topics as you can in 15 minutes. If you feel like you’ve already exhausted the ideas, do you know what to do next?
  • Run a pre-emptive failure test. Save yourself a future headache by stripping away any false hope of success and digging into the dirt of why your podcast could fail. Ask yourself, “If three months from now this show has failed...why?” Your mindset will have been focused on reaching the finish line and likely missed oversights that could destroy the quality of your podcast.
  • Create a process. Build a production schedule out a few months in advance so you can allocate your time properly and show a clear picture of the process with your colleagues. This will also help save you from the brain drain that comes from creatively demanding, long-term projects like a podcast. What would your process look like?

Final Thoughts

Creating a podcast is simple. You could record one on your phone right now, upload it through an app, and boom, you’ve got a podcast. But creating one worth listening to is a major challenge. If your credit union is interested in producing a brand-building podcast that will engage listeners through insightful information and interesting conversations, we’d love to help make that happen. We invite you to contact us below to set up a discovery call with our team.

Doug Fraser
In addition to copywriting for Raoust+Partners, Doug Fraser is the producer and host of NPR’s What We Do and Podcast Movement’s The Pod Lab.

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