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I’m fairly certain two recent prospects for my podcast consultancy won’t become clients. Both were businesses and had a budget, so they fit the broad criteria of the types of clients my firm serves. Both claimed to understand the long-haul nature of podcasting and knew it would be months or years before they saw meaningful results, as both were starting from scratch and didn’t have existing large audiences they could tap into for quick wins.
However, beyond a stellar potential guest lineup, neither could articulate anything unique that their podcast would bring to the world. And when I pointed out that the stellar potential guests they each mentioned were all frequent guests on other podcasts already, they became a lot less excited about podcasting.
I offered each of them a consulting agreement to help them identified the unique aspect of their podcast. Neither took me up on the offer, as I think I soured them on the prospect of podcasting.
Their loss, I reckon.
What Makes Your Podcast Tick?
What a stark contrast to what I saw yesterday at the IAB Podcast Upfront event. Every host that was on camera did an excellent job of answering the “tell me about your show” question, describing it in such a way to quickly make it seem quite interesting. The only exceptions I noted came from celebrities talking about their shows. But they’re celebrities and are often themselves the draw. So yeah, I’m going to check out the new Seth Rogan podcast for the same reason I tend to watch Seth Rogan movies. No pithy synopsis required!
But you and I? We’re not famous. We don’t have that luxury.
In my experience, a lot of podcast hosts out there don't know what their show is about. They know the mechanics, obviously. They know the pieces and the features that make up their show. But they don’t know what it is that makes their show special. Or at least they’re unable to properly articulate what makes their show special. They themselves fail to understand the why behind their podcast.
This article won’t magically give your podcast a brand identity. I’m here to convince you that you need one. The process of defining your show’s unique brand identity is… well, just that. It's a process. You can pay big branding firms to help you with it. But you can also find lots of solid resources and exercises online for DIY brand identity, many available for free.
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Who Is The Brand Identity For?
The biggest mistake I see podcasters make when starting to define the identity of their show is failing to understand the primary audience of that definition. Because as shocking as this may be, it’s not for your audience. At least, it’s not your audience you should first worry about.
This isn't an exercise that lets you write a better description of your podcast in various directories. Though I’ll grant you that your show very likely needs a better description and that this exercise will certainly help you get there.
Nor is this an exercise to help improve your media kit better or make your show more attractive to sponsors. Although, once again, better articulation of the uniqueness of your show will indeed allow you to improve your media kit and probably will get more sponsors.
First and foremost, this is an exercise for you.
Understanding your show’s brand identity allows you to have zero doubt the next time you sit down to work on your next episode or season. You’ll know—deeply and simply—what it is that makes your show unique and different from similar podcasts.
Understanding your podcast’s brand identity enables you to take a topic and an angle—two things I talk about frequently—and turn an episode or a season into something that is uniquely yours. Something that only you can deliver. Because many other podcasters can talk about the same topic and may even have a similar angle. But only you can deliver it in your unique way.
But only if you understand it.
Over time, you may find yourself drifting away from that brand identity. That happens, so you need to be vigilant about regular self-checkups to make sure you staying true to the core brand identity you've developed.
That’s difficult to do on your own, so you may need to call in a favor. I suggest communicating the “secret sauce” of your show to another podcaster whom you like and respect, but one who also listens to your podcast. Getting honest feedback is hard, because they may think you’re just fishing for compliments. So send them a link to this article so they know what’s going on. Maybe they’ll ask you to return the favor?
Nailing your brand identity isn’t something you’re going to accomplish today. Nor will you get it right the first time. It’s an iterative process, so go easy on yourself. And get some support from friends!
If you find this idea helpful, please go to BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra and buy me a virtual coffee. If you decided to purchase a membership (which just means I get a recurring coffee donation from you monthly) you’ll get a sneak peek of what's happening with Season Four of Podcast Pontifications by the end of this week!
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.