Attention recording! Step by step to the perfect branded podcast

Attention recording! Step by step to the perfect branded podcast

Month: September
Year: 2021

Especially in the pandemic, the already increasingly popular medium podcast became an absolute hype. So it’s no wonder that companies are now also integrating the communication medium into their marketing mix as an ideal branding tool – and in a far more sophisticated way than via the classic pre-roll.
From a PR perspective in particular, the podcast is an excellent medium for sharing brand messages, exciting insights and valuable tips with the target group.how this works, we explain step by step using the example of our client, the vacation home online marketplace FeWo-direkt, with whom we created the podcast “Mit Kind und Koffer”
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Step 1 – Determine topic and target group

The first consideration was the target audience. Do we make a podcast for the media or rather for consumers? Depending on the decision, this will affect the entire approach to the production, starting with the partners, the interviewees and the content topics, up to the accompanying marketing and PR measures. We decided on the target group “families who like to spend their holidays in a vacation home”.

Learning:

1. The target group should be defined in advance. The sharper the definition, the easier all further steps and the identification of topics will be.

Step 2 – Find competent partners & snappy formats

For the technical implementation and production, we addressed the digital city magazine “MitVergnügen”, whose employees have already been producing such successful podcasts as “Hotel Matze”, “Familienrat”, “Beziehungsrat”, “Heute in 5 Jahren – der Zukunftspodcast” for several years.  When it came to the topic of travel, MitVergnügen was able to demonstrate expertise with their brand extension “Reisevergnügen”. 

Together, we proceeded to define the format and decided on casual conversations between the editor-in-chief of Reisevergnügen, Charlott Tornow, and the book author & family expert Nora Imlau.

Learnings:

1. Loose conversations are better suited for podcasts than stiff interviews.

2. Competent partners with technical know-how and production experience are essential.

Step 3 – Searching for a title, creating guidelines and getting to know the interviewees

After an intensive brainstorming session, we decided on the podcast title “Mit Kind und Koffer” (With child and suitcase). Afterwards, we were able to mutually determine the topics for the individual episodes. For the beginning, we limited ourselves to a season with four episodes. Each episode was supposed to have a clear structure, deal with a specific topic and feature a conversation between host Charlotte and Nora Imlau. The client was able to specify the topics they wanted. In the end, we agreed on a more general first episode, followed by conversations about vacations with babies and toddlers, vacations with teenagers and vacations with grandparents.

Rough guidelines for the 20-to 30-minute conversations were prepared. That way, all participants knew in advance what was going to be discussed without the conversations seeming too scripted and thus inauthentic later on. 

Learnings:

1. The podcast title should be short and meaningful at the same time, so that it is immediately clear what it’s all about.

2. Conversation guidelines with questions and bullet points for the answers make it easier to record and prevent people from getting bogged down or the conversation coming to a dead stop. In addition, the customer can name the topics that are most important to him in advance.

3. With a pre-announcement of the podcast via social media, potential listeners can be invited to send questions. In this way, you create the first interested followers.

4. The interviewees should not only be suitable in terms of content, it is also ideal if they already have a certain level of recognition (influencers, authors, journalists, scientists…) in order to bring along their followers as potential listeners.

5. Preliminary interviews are important so that the interviewees can get used to each other and get to know one another. Later on, the episodes will seem much more natural.

Step 4 – Compose music, design the logo and get some good technology. 

In the next step, we had MitVergnügen compose a title melody that would fit the theme and tenor of the podcast. The logo was developed on the basis of a brand photo of the client.  Due to the lockdown, it was unfortunately not possible for Nora Imlau to travel to the podcast studio in Berlin. Normally, however, this makes sense for the atmosphere of the conversation and for technical reasons. To save time, the recordings of the four episodes were scheduled for two consecutive days. 

Learnings:

1. An own title melody gives the podcast a recognition value. GEMA-free music is possible, but quickly sounds arbitrary.

2. For the title picture/logo, simple graphics or icons are better than photos. Company logos should not be used.

3. When branding, both visually and in terms of content, it is best to act as restrained as possible.

4. Everyone should have the same technical requirements; a professional recording studio is not a must, but it makes post-production work easier.

5. It’s recommended to record 10 minutes longer in order to have enough material for post-production and to cut less successful parts.

Step 5 – Postproduction and setting up the channel

After the recording was completed, the episodes went into post-production at MitVergnügen. A teaser was produced, the lead-in for the episodes was recorded, the misspeaks and filler words were cut from the conversations, and the acoustic artifacts were removed. Finally, the client was able to approve the finished episodes before publication. This prevented misinformation in the content. Afterwards, the MitVergnügen employees set up the channel on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Learnings:

1. Every podcast needs a short, approximately 2-minute teaser that sets the direction and content.

2. Rough mistakes or too many “uhms” can be cut out in post-production.

3. Setting up a new channel takes about two days. What can be heard on Spotify and Apple Podcast will automatically run on other podcast platforms later.

Step 6 – The episodes are published and accompanied by media activities

In a two-week rhythm, the pre-produced episodes were launched live on Fridays and accompanied with social media activities – both by MitVergnügen and Reisevergnügen as well as with influencer and media cooperations via FeWo-direkt. A press release was also written for the first episode. Since podcasts are a long-lived medium and the content is still quite relevant today, references to the podcast are made in all external communication (e.g. boilerplates, emails, etc.). 

Learnings:

1. With a new podcast, it makes sense to put a few episodes live right at the start of the season – two or three. After that, further episodes should be published at weekly intervals. This creates better loyalty among listeners and ensures that they remember the podcast.

2. Podcasts grow slowly. The first episode will always have the most listeners. But the more often and longer you feed the podcast with new episodes, the better for the numbers.

3. Social media accompaniment is important. The more influencers with a wide reach link to the podcast via “swipe-up”, the better. It’s best to promote each episode individually. The budget for social media support should be similar to the budget for the entire podcast production.

Our conclusion – let’s do it again!

Podcasts offer many possibilities – also for PR. However, one should not expect huge media attention; podcasts mainly pay off in terms of brand awareness. Although the number of podcasts is continuously increasing and the competition is growing, brands can definitely still occupy certain niches. However, branding should be used very discreetly and with a lot of sensitivity. For “Mit Kind und Koffer” FeWo-direkt has taken a kind of pioneering position in the industry. So there are no more obstacles to a further season of the podcast. We are already looking forward to it!