Positing PodBranding: How to Build Credibility, Connections, and Coin through Audio Content



Josh Weiss, Associate Director for the Program on Negotiation at Harvard worked with The Otter Group to produce a podcast called, Negotiating Tip of The Week. The series has been running since April 2005 and now features over 50 podcast episodes on a wide range of topics. The show has had over 280,000 downloads and has been listed on the top 50 business podcasts of iTunes for over four months. “Podcasting has enabled me to reach a much more vast and broad audience than the people who take my courses or trainings,” says Weiss. I feel like I’m getting to people who don’t see themselves as negotiators but who negotiate all the time.”

Authors are learning how to utilize PodBranding to differentiate their books in an overly cluttered marketplace. “I was real excited about the prospect of connecting my voice with my existing 20,000 newsletter readers. I think podcasting takes the personal element we are used to in face-to-face interactions and brings it to prospects in a way that was previously not possible for Internet advertisers,” explains Michael Stelzner, author of Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged who is providing a content rich 30-minute audio interview to people who buy his book.

He’s also featuring an Audio Interview as an adjunct to his September newsletter that features music, multiple voices, and teasers about articles to help drive traffic to his content/site: “In the case of both my newsletter and my book, it has bonded me and my readers even closer together. This is something that goes well beyond the written word. It is all about that affinity that only can be communicated through sound.”


“Lovely,” you’re thinking. “Fuzzy emotional ties and supposed credibility don’t show up too clearly on a balance sheet.” Fair enough.

First off, let’s talk savings. Kathleen Gilory, CEO of the Otter Group (mentioned above) had this nugget of information to report about a recent podcasting initiative she created for a client:

We’ve been working on an innovation program for a global financial services firm for the past six years. It was relatively easy to convince the client to try podcasting because prior to this year we had been distributing our course materials in a big black binder that included hard copy lecture notes and DVD videos of the learning materials. And this year, instead of doing that we gave every participant a video iPod. Doing this actually cost us $200 less per person to use the iPod than for the binders, and that was just for duplication costs.

(On a quick environmental side note, Wal-Mart recently reported that those big black binders also tend to be the main component in most major landfills. Hmmm…Video iPod and a $200 savings, or spine-wrenching eco-trash. Your call).

Advertising in existing shows is becoming one of the quickest ways for companies to make money via podcasts without having to produce a show themselves. Gregory Galant, CEO of RadioTail, a service that provides automatic ad insertion services, notes that, “thousands of podcasts have proven themselves excellent media outlets by focusing on a niche and building a strong relationship with their audiences. Due to the subscription nature of podcasting these audiences are measurable and predicable so you can target your campaign with laser-like focus, track your results and get a great ROI.”

See? You don’t even have to reinvent the wheel. Just spin it.


In regards to marketing, providing interactive and fun ways to showcase your content isn’t really just cool—it’s a requirement. PodBranding allows you to establish a relationship with listeners through content-rich, entertaining programs that highlight your firm and distinguish you from competitors. Audio elicits an instant and emotional connection and can make or save you money if created for the benefit of the listener more than the producer.

In conclusion, a conundrum:

If your message has no one to hear it, then does it make a sound?

Nope. In a forest or anywhere else. Trees, and the rest of your audience are listening to your competitors. And your message is falling on deafened ears.


  1. This item by Mr. Havens on Podbranding basically has it right on all points.

    However, until and unless podcasting as a medium has the ability to “separate” itself (to use the third party attribution in the Havens item) from other media, in particular radio and television broadcasting — Podbranding as an integral part of the media mix will find it difficult to find audiences on a regular and systematic basis.

    The reason for this is because Podcasting to this day has no “overall” content organizing apparatus in place, where listeners and viewers, especially in connection with brand-related content, can in effect “tune in” to this or that podcast “aggregation” of thematically organized content, as is the case with radio and television.

    It is true, of course, that certain “podcasting” entities on the public Internet intend for their own brands to become focal points for podcasts in the general sense. But, such entities nonetheless do not constitute an overall organizing apparatus, (or way to find different podcasts regardless of the website that lists them).

    For radio, the organizing equivalent is frequency assigned stations that focus on this or that content “format”; and, for television vertical channels, all of them on cable.

    Ironically, Podcasting as a “medium” actually does have the ability in the technical sense to organize all podcasts, in so-called master channels to which brand names are assigned in the form of, for example, .

    Hundreds of such product and service “brand channels” are available to podcasters on a network of product and service-specific master channels – that are actually called “pods”, and which were laid across the public Internet, for exactly that purpose, brand name specificity in content thematic channels, beginning as far back 1998-99.

    The problem (for podcasting and podcasters) is that (apparently) nobody in the podcasting community seems to realize that the equivalent of thematically consistent radio and television networks is available to anyone who requests access to an appropriate “pod” to which the name of the brand-related podcast is attached as in, for example, , , and so on and so forth across almost the entire spectrum of everyday common consumer products and services.

    Derick Harris
    Cyber ID
    Volcano, Hawaii

  2. I would agree that we have only scratched the surface of “podbranding”. The human voice reaches people on several levels including emotional, personal, primal and intellectual that is very difficult to convey in writing.

    While written word has strengths in being a well constructed stream of consciousness laid out in a pre-planned format. However, the spoken word in a podcast “speaks” to the person that is far more personally engaging.

    In response to Mr. Harris’s post, I agree that podcasting channels need to emerge that better align podcasts into more thematic and well focused websites than simply an all encompassing directory like Odeo, etc.

    My concept is called PodcastBuffet.com and is a network of affiliated websites that are each dedicated to a very specific niches such as yogapodcasts.com, indiefilmpodcasts.com, etc. The reasoning is that the advertisers will in essence have a “one-stop-shop” for all of their podcast ad insertion needs. They will have access to specific podcasts relevant to their target audience as well as the websites themselves which will offer traditional banner ads, product intros, etc.

    I have explored some of these concepts in a column I write for called, “Podcast Predictions” at VitalPodcasts.com. Check out “Podcast Advertising Models”, “Business Applications” and “College Lectures” where I basically break down how podcast lectures will emerge as a ned digital content category and could be a huge windfall for all major universities (and the professors/lecturers)and will be one of the hottest topics in the world of podcasting in 2007.

    In response to

    The comment by Derick harris is right on


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