10 Branded Podcasts All Marketers Should Know

September 30, 2020

Podcasts are our jam, specifically, branded podcasts. On a day-to-day basis that’s what we live and breathe as we’re creating new shows for companies like Axway, RBC, and Field Trip Health. So it’s no surprise that over the years we’ve gathered some personal favourites. 

Branded podcasts are unique compared to shows created by podcast networks like Gimlet and Wondery, or indie podcasters. Why? You have to find a very careful balance between representing your brand, showing it off, and hitting your company goals, while making sure that the entire thing doesn’t come off as sales-y or an incredibly long infomercial. 

Branded podcasting is an art, and we’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favourite branded podcasts that we think have found a great balance. 


  1. Hackable?


Description: 

We see lots of movies and TV shows that show how hackers can infiltrate our lives with just a few keystrokes. But is it real? We’re here to find out. Malicious cat photos, sketchy Wi-Fi networks, rogue rentals, all-knowing webcams - those are just a few topics tackled in Hackable?, where hackers shed light on just how secure we really are.

What We Love About Hackable?

This series takes an investigative approach to, well… hacking. Not only is the content super interesting and engaging (because who doesn’t like to learn how systems and brands are hacked and stories around that?), but all the personalities on the show are incredibly relatable and intriguing. Hackable? is powered by McAfee, a global computer security software company, but nowhere within the show does it self-promote (except for at the very end of an episode where McAfee typically advertises some sort of promotion). The actual content of Hackable? though is incredibly relatable to what McAfee does and we can assume that at least some listeners are the perfect target audience for McAfee's security solutions. 


  1. Rise and Grind


Description: 

We all get the same 24 hours. It’s about how you use them. How you approach your obstacles and opportunities to find success. As a follow up to his book of the same name, Daymond John (star of ABC’s Shark Tank, Founder & CEO of FUBU) conducts candid interviews featuring the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, Wendy Williams, Tyler the Creator, Nely Galan, and more. These entrepreneurs, musicians, and athletes share the secrets they use to outperform, outwork, and outhustle their way to the top — just like he did.

What We Love About Rise and Grind

This show provides in-depth and interesting conversations around success. One of our favourite things about this series is the overall personality of it. The host, Daymond John, does an amazing job at making the interviews feel more like a discussion rather than a formal interview. We’ve found that most of the time, when a podcast is strictly an interview format, the listeners don’t get an opportunity to build a connection with the host since they’re just asking questions. This is not the case for Daymond -- he really lets audiences get to know him and his personality. Daymond also adds a great level of humour and relatability into the series. The best part? ZipRecruiter isn’t self promoting through the episodes, but the show serves as amazing content for them to put their name behind, shining a positive light on the brand. 

 

  1. #LIPSTORIES


Description: 

Presented by the Girlboss Radio Network in partnership with Sephora Collection, #LIPSTORIES is guided by charismatic and friendly host, Kristina Zias, who is joined by a rotating cast of guests for relaxed, fun, and honest chats about self-image and how we can all be a little more confident. Guests recount their favorite memories—from childhood to today—where they felt beautiful, powerful, or like their best selves.

What We Love About #LIPSTORIES

Overall this is an incredible ‘feel good’ podcast. The conversations are so honest, open, transparent and authentic. Self love and body positivity is truly a great message for Sephora to be backing. The guests never talk about makeup, even though that’s what Sephora is selling to consumers. But that’s what makes this series great -- it talks about beauty from all walks of life and promotes beauty from within, leaving listeners feeling empowered, motivated, and creating a positive correlation with Sephora. 


  1. .future 


Description: 

The future isn’t random. It’s the result of the choices that we make now. .future focuses on technologies and industries that will define the next decade and beyond. Host Cristina Quinn, a science and technology reporter, dives into everything from Minecraft to cyber warfare. You can wait for the future to happen to you or engage with it right now and ahead of the curve on .future— a branded podcast from Microsoft, produced in partnership with Gimlet.

What We Love About .future

.future does a deep dive into what technology and industries can look like in the future. This series takes an investigative approach, where the host takes listeners along a journey that searches to either learn more about a topic or answer a question. The format of the show is incredibly engaging for listeners to tune in to and by bringing different perspectives and experts into each episode, the audience is always left curious who they’ll hear from next. It’s definitely a step away from your regular interview style podcast and that’s why we love this series. 


  1. Why We Eat What We Eat 


Description:

Most Americans now have more choices when it comes to food than any other group of people in the history of the world. We are so, so lucky to live in a time and place when we get to choose between feasting on fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market… and ordering a meat lover’s pizza delivered right to our door. With such a ridiculous abundance of options, how do we actually decide what’s for dinner? On Why We Eat What We Eat, host Cathy Erway investigates the unseen forces that shape our eating habits. They tackle a kale conspiracy, how to get your kids to quit being so picky, visiting the epicenter of the potluck scene, and more.

What We Love About Why We Eat What We Eat

We don’t just love this show because we’re all so passionate about food, but also because the actual content of the podcast is super clever. Blue Apron is an ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service and the topic of this series relates perfectly. But again, there is no self-promotion -- the series doesn’t focus on talking about recipes and different ingredients customers should try. Instead it takes an investigative approach to food to find out why we eat what we eat and where different food comes from around the world. 


  1. Vanguard 


Description:

How unexplored communities and unexpected subcultures make money today.

What We Love About Vanguard

The conversations on this series are incredibly important and relevant in today's world. Vanguard explores how underrepresented cultures and communities are creating businesses and making money. The guests vary quite widely, making each episode so unique in the type of conversation had. Shopify is an ecommerce solution but we love that they’re focusing on raising awareness and building content around this topic, even if it doesn’t relate to what their core business is doing. 


  1. Three and a Half Degrees


Description:

Our ability to connect has never been stronger. In the past, the only way to connect with others was in person or through less immediate channels. Today, technology has created endless opportunities for people to connect. Instantaneous communication has enabled the world to become closer than we ever imagined and it’s sparked a fundamental change in culture. We’re no longer six degrees apart – technology has squeezed this distance from person to person. Today, we are separated by three and a half degrees. This podcast explores the benefits, opportunities and challenges of this new proximity; bringing together unexpected pairings of business leaders, mavericks and entrepreneurs who share surprising parallels in values, visions, experiences and ideas.

Hosted by David Fischer, Facebook’s VP of business and marketing partnership, this journey of exploring connections aims to bring the world closer together through common lessons as we set out to build new businesses, paradigms, products and movements in today’s ever connected age.

What We Love About Three and a Half Degrees

This show created by Facebook has been a staple podcast when it comes to branded content. The topic of the entire series relates so well to what the company does but with a unique twist. Three and a Half Degrees dives into how people have connected with one another through various experiences that have flourished into powerful partnerships and pairings. Why this relates so well to Facebook is because at it’s core, Facebook is about connecting people. No matter where you are in the world, you can connect and communicate with anyone, as long as you have a Facebook account. Facebook has changed our lives when it comes to connection so it makes sense that the entire podcast is about unique partnerships and connections that have been built. 


  1. Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson 


Description:

Trailblazers tells the unexpected stories of digital disruption. Walter Isaacson, digital revolution expert, explores the unknown drama behind some of the world’s biggest digital disruptions, the daring trailblazers willing to think differently, and the lessons learned along the way. Brought to you by Dell Technologies.

What We Love About Trailblazers

Trailblazers is another investigative podcast. In this series the host does an amazing job at taking listeners through a journey to uncover some of the challenges behind the digital disruptions that have shifted our world. Each episode has multiple guests join in to make sure that listeners are getting a full picture of whatever technology is the focus of the discussion. What we love about this series is that the different industries that Trailblazers dive in to are incredibly unique and not always the first space we think of when we hear the word “disruption”. Some examples include: beer, water, wellness, and their last episode - podcasts! 


  1. IRL - Online Life is Real Life 


Description:

Our online life is real life. We walk, talk, work, LOL and even love on the Internet – but we don’t always treat it like real life. Host Manoush Zomorodi explores this disconnect with stories from the wilds of the Web, and gets to the bottom of online issues that affect us all. Whether it’s privacy breaches, closed platforms, hacking, fake news, or cyber bullying, we the people have the power to change the course of the Internet, keeping it ethical, safe, weird, and wonderful for everyone. IRL is an original podcast from Firefox, the tech company backed by Mozilla that believes privacy isn’t a policy. It’s a right.

What We Love About IRL

Firefox is a free and open-source web browser. While the brand is focused on digital experiences, interestingly enough, the IRL podcast is all about when the internet can get out of hand. What we think is clever about the topic of the podcast is that by discussing the dangers and security around the internet, it makes listeners see Firefox as a more trusted browser since they’ve established thought leadership around this conversation. 


  1. if/else


Description:

A career in technology is full of choices. if/else is here to help you make smart ones. In each episode, they bring on a software developer who needs to make an if/else choice. From important technical decisions to sticky career challenges, they cover the hard and soft skills you need for a sustainable and rewarding career in tech… at any stage of your career. Hosted by Mayuko Inoue, if/else is an original podcast from CTO.ai, the makers of The Ops Platform.

What We Love About if/else

Overall this show is just super interesting. Powered by CTO.ai, if/else takes a neutral stance on topics that are heavily debated in our society today. Throughout each episode the host will have guests that discuss the pros and cons around what’s being debated. Ultimately, it is up to the listener to decide which side they want to take on a topic. The goal is to help listeners better understand the tech industry and be equipped to have a career in tech. 

 


Platform
Price
Pro’s
Con's
Anchor

Free

  • Easy to use
  • Automatically distributes your podcast to major platforms.
  • Embed media player.
  • Great if podcasting is a
    side hobby
  • Very basic editing
  • Since it’s a free tool, you don’t have full control over the monetization of your podcast.
  • Not the right platform for people taking podcasting seriously
Buzzsprout

Free for 2 hours of content per month

$12 for 3 hours per month

$18+ for 6 hours and up

  • Very user-friendly
  • Caters to both long term and beginner podcasters
  • Advanced analytics
  • Easy distribution of your episodes
  • They measure their size requirements to hours not megabytes
  • Bonus: get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for any paid hosting plan!
  • Advanced features like dynamic ad insertion need some work
Libsyn

$5/month for Monthly Storage 50mb

  • Oldest podcast hosting site.
  • Easy distribution to major platforms and great for scaling once your podcast gets bigger.
  • Hosted over 35,000 podcasts.
  • An iTunes Podcast partner.
  • Allows you to publish your podcast to specific directories.
  • Embed media player.
  • Price is based on storage
  • 50mb storage for $5 won’t be enough if you are publishing weekly so you’ll end up with a higher price point
Podbean

Unlimited audio package: $9/month

Storage space:

Unlimited

  • Great support & customer service features
  • Unlimited audio.
  • Pages are easy to customize
  • Can schedule podcast release dates.
  • Easy to use.
  • Uploads and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions are automatic to Spotify.
  • Embed media player.
  • Simple Analytics
  • Analytics aren’t as advanced as other platforms
  • Upload and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions take a day to change on iTunes.
  • Not an iTunes podcast partner.
  • The process to send a podcast to iTunes is more tedious. But, you will still be able to get on the platform.
Blubrry

Classic

$5/month

Monthly Storage

50mb

  • Podcast Wordpress plugin and management.
  • If you want to record a new introduction or conclusion, add in a sponsored ad or upload a new version of a podcast, it doesn't count towards your storage usage per month.
  • Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month
  • Prices are based on storage.
  • Usability is okay.
SimpleCast

Starting: $15/month

Recommendation: $35/month

Monthly Storage: Unlimited

  • Hosts your audio files no matter what the size!
  • Dynamic insertion for podcast ads or edits.
  • Incredibly detailed analytics including number of episodes completed and listener location tracking.
  • Embed media player.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great distribution! Easy access to all major podcast platforms.
  • Customizable podcast
    website.
  • Prices are slightly higher than other platforms, but well worth it especially if you have a branded company podcast!