How to create a winning podcast for your brand using audience intelligence

Published 30/05/2022
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Anyone exploring podcasting for their brand is looking to grow their audience, pull in more listeners, and create a durable strategy. Let’s dive into our exploration of how to leverage your audience data like the podcast pros.
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What do the Joe RoganCall Her Daddy, & Crime Junkie Podcasts all have in common? (Other than success). They leverage data to give their audiences exactly what they want.

  • Joe Rogan’s podcast has almost 2,000 episodes and his audience hasn’t died down
  • Crime Junkie has achieved over 500 million downloads in just three years
  • Call Her Daddy got a $60 million deal with Spotify this year

Why are these podcasts so successful? How can you join their ranks? These are the burning questions for every marketer hoping to launch a podcast. Anyone exploring podcasting for their brand is looking to grow their audience, pull in more listeners, and create a durable strategy. With that, we can all hope to last 2,000 episodes just like Joe.

Let’s dive into our exploration of how to leverage your audience data like the podcast pros.

What It Takes to Start A Podcast: The Basics

Before we take a look at the best performing podcasts out there, let’s cover what you need to start one up.

1. Identify Your Podcast Theme

For some brands, it’s easy to identify the right theme for your podcast. You want a theme that will position you as an expert in your field. Once you've decided on a theme, make sure it's sustainable. Come up with at least 20 individual episodes that stem from the theme. 

Audiense blog - How to know your podcast theme works cycle

If you can’t think of at least 20 episode ideas, your podcast might run out of steam before it generates any interest. Don’t fret! We have some inspiration to help you get started:

  • Cover the big pain points in your field. 
  • What are the most common questions from customers?
  • Does your industry have unfamiliar jargon or topics? 
  • Are there any repeat concerns or trends you’re seeing? 

Still struggling to come up with 20 ideas? Turn to your audience for answers. What do they care about? Explore their interests, activities, lifestyle, and beliefs to find inspiration.

2. Decide On Your Podcasting Format

You can host your podcast in a variety of different formats. Joe Rogan’s podcast has a loose interview style. Other podcast formats include news, educational, scripted non-fiction, and scripted fiction. 

Once you settle on a format, other stylistic choices will present themselves. If you’re hosting interviews, will you have a co-host, or are you flying solo? If you’re reading through a script, how will you break up each story into bite-sized segments? Will you have guests relevant to your topics coming in to engage more audiences? 

Your brand preferences will also help dictate the length, format, and general layout of each episode to ensure consistency. Make sure your podcast is aligned with your business persona to ensure a smooth transition for new and current audiences. Branding will also be an essential part of your description and cover art once you list your podcast on a platform.

3. Equipment, Tools, & Software

While it’s possible to record a podcast with the bare essentials, we don’t recommend diving into this with just your Android phone. Carefully consider your recording room and equipment, editing software, and other essentials. You want to create high-quality audio and a seamless storyline that allows you to edit around any mishaps that occur in the studio.

4. Content Distribution

Unless you have an exclusive deal with Spotify, like Call Her Daddy and the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE), you’ll need to figure out how to distribute your content. You can always post clips on your Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms, but you definitely have more options. Whether you opt for Google, Apple, or another podcast hosting platform, you can update your audience with new episodes via an RSS feed.

With these basics out of the way, it’s time to get on to the good stuff: what will actually make your podcast successful.

How the Top Podcasts Leverage Data to Create Consistently Growing & Loyal Audiences

From choosing guests to exploring topics that people truly care about, every choice you make for your podcast will influence its success. Finding out who your audience is and what sways them towards your products and services is the first step to ensuring growth and loyalty. Dive deep into how JRECall Her Daddy, and Crime Junkie each make decisions based on data-driven insight.

How to Choose Guests

The Joe Rogan Guest List

JRE’s most-watched podcast episode is an interview with Elon Musk from 2018. With over 49 million views, it beats the next closest episode by nearly 20 million! 

Other popular guests include Alex Jones, Edward Snowden, and Ben Shapiro. Each of these guests is a polarizing figure that seems to draw a crowd that’s just as likely to crucify them as they are to worship them. What does this say about the people interested in JRE?

Joe Rogan audience  Joe Rogan audience

You might be surprised to learn that the people who talk and post about Joe Rogan are a pretty polarized bunch. They’re a ⅔ split toward men and women, with age ranges from 13-to 50 listening in (although about 30% of those fall into the 18-24 category). They’re also generally analytical, helpful, and social-driven both by a desire to help others and stand as individuals. They all want to know more about the world to help guide their decisions.

Joe Rogan audience

In addition to their interests in a variety of topics and guests, these demographics also show a media affinity that is split between other highly liberal, intensely conservative, and patently unbiased shows and channels. Joe Rogan’s social media followers are nearly as likely to be watching BBC News as Fox News, with many leaning towards The Daily Show.

Joe Rogan audience

We also can’t deny that this group is passionate about sports, which may contribute to their interest in his repeat UFC guests. Joe Rogan’s audience also seems to be fans of his habit of inviting friends and former colleagues onto the show. From his UFC fight companions to infamous political names, he’s had over 900 guests on his show, with over a third making repeat appearances. 

Many of his repeat guests coincide with spikes in views and shares. Mike Tyson was on a very popular episode (#1227) in 2019 with over 18 million views just on YouTube, and he was back again in episode #1532 in 2020. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was on episode #1159 in 2018 and millions of streams later, he was back again in 2019. Sounds like Joe Rogan is listening to the data by bringing back his biggest guest draws. With a platform like Audiense, podcast hosts can also explore the demographic composition of potential guests to ensure these audiences have similar interests that would bring new listeners to the show. 

Who Wants to Call Her Daddy?

Like Joe Rogan, Alexandra Cooper also has a diverse group of guest stars. Because this is an emerging podcast, we can watch as Alexandra evolves with audience feedback to solidify what her show is all about. With her first episode back in 2018, Alexandra’s audience was split between males and females 40-60%, many of whom were fans of the Barstool platform and their focus on sports content. Nearly four years later, and after leaving Barstool, we’ve seen a big change in the data, with nearly 90% of her audience being female.

While most viewers are interested in the Call Her Daddy podcast for the casual banter, others are interested in the women’s empowerment movement and sex education. There’s definitely a crossover between Cooper’s audience and other progressive movements, as the top influencers in this sector include Cardi B, Stephanie Matto, Lil Nas X, Zendaya, and Tina Snow (Megan Thee Stallion) – all media personalities who push the boundaries of sex and sexuality.

Call Her Daddy audience

Some of the show’s most popular recent guests and topics, like Josie Canseco addressing self-love and body dysmorphia or Dr. Orna Guralnik talking about mental health, show a shift away from the male-centric choices Cooper and her partner made when they were still part of Barstools. Early episodes of the show revolved around discussions of how to slide into her DMs, the effects of sending a girl nudes, and a comparison of how your attractiveness level affects how hard you work in the bedroom.

No Guests Needed

Crime Junkie is the standout podcast in our analysis, as they fall into a genre that’s found success without guests. No interviews here – at Crime Junkie, you’re going on a true crime journey with the hosts, who alternate reading different parts of their scripted story. Interspersed between the tale are music, advertising, and occasional questions from Flower’s co-host, Brit Prawat, presumably on behalf of the listeners.

Who does this type of podcasting appeal to? Crime Junkie has a mostly female audience between the ages of 24 and 35. We can also assume, based on the influencers associated with this podcast’s followers, that the audience is socially aware, liberal, and sentimental.

Call Her Daddy audience

How to Find & Explore Topics People Actually Care About

These podcasts are so popular because they discuss topics that people care about. Whether it’s the politically divisive episodes from Joe Rogan or the taboo elements of Call Her Daddy, people want to know more.

All About Joe’s Interests

Joe Rogan tends to focus on topical issues, politics, and current events. His most popular episodes in 2021 include conversations with former CIA agent Mike Baker on China’s 2049 Plan with 7.8 million streams, Joe’s personal Covid experience and his experiment with Ivermectin with 6.1 million streams, and an episode exploring how the Taliban took over Afghanistan with 5.3 million streams. The crossover between the people listening to these episodes and Joe Rogan’s general audience is very similar. Most listeners are white, male conservatives who follow other conservative voices.

What Do Daddy Fans Want to Hear?

When it comes to Call Her Daddy, the topics may seem a little lighter, but they’re no less important to Alexandra’s audience. This podcast tends to vacillate between juicy gossip, sexual escapades, feuds, and drama – all guilty pleasures that people just can’t seem to ignore. 

While some episodes explore empowerment and feminism, the most popular episodes are about the drama of the host’s withdrawal from Barstool, her break with Sofia, and her feuds with Sean Avery and SoHo Karen. There is also some interest in learning more about sex and sexuality with podcast episodes featuring doctors, like Dr. Orna Guralnik, as well as the escapades of former Playboy Bunnies, like Holly Madison.

Are those listeners who tune in to episodes about drama the same ones who are interested in more educational episodes? Openness about mental health and sexuality is very on-trend today, and Call Her Daddy takes advantage of this growing space. However, looking at the streams associated with each of these episodes on YouTube, we can see that people are still drawn to drama and celebrities more than anything else. A discussion about depression and bisexuality garnered just 225k views, as opposed to the 1.8 million pulled in for an episode about the Tana Mongeau drama. 

There is some leeway for interpretation here, as the vehicle for the topics (the guests) can have a massive effect on viewership. An educational episode led by Miley Cyrus got similar high viewership as the Tana Mongeau episode with 1.4 million views, while a drama-filled episode about quitting Barstool Sports that didn’t have any guests got a much lower number of streams in comparison with only 700K.

Episodes All About the Never Ever Solved

Finally, we have Crime Junkie – a third vertical in the podcasting world that is far removed from both Joe Rogan and Alexandra Cooper. With a focus on stories with a suspect, but no resolution, a whopping 55% of their podcast episodes feature unsolved cases. More often than not, listeners are left without closure regarding the story they just heard.

How Partnerships & Sponsorships Fuel Listens & Downloads

Each of these podcasts regularly advertises products and businesses that help sponsor them. While many of these advertisers are simply massive companies taking advantage of a new market, like Capital One, Audible, and Etsy, others seem tailored for the audience demographics.

Joe Rogan Affiliates

Joe Rogan sponsors include many general audience companies, from Zoom to CashApp, but they also promote mostly male- and sports-focused brands. You’ll find Harry’s, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Theragun, MVMT Watches, Roka Sunglasses / Eyewear, and Butcher Box are all part of the Joe Rogan sphere.

Call Her Daddy Affiliates

Like Joe Rogan, Alexandra Cooper has also found some sponsors that align with her viewer’s interests. She signed a huge deal with Adam & Eve in 2021 because they felt that her bold voice of female sexual empowerment made her the ideal brand ambassador. Since she’s signed with Spotify, the advertisers associated with her streams are even more closely based on her audience, as Spotify chooses advertisers based on user data, including age, gender, location, preferred apps, device usage, and so much more.

Crime Junkie Affiliates

They are another female-skewed audience, but one with very different interests than those streaming Call Her Daddy; the evidence is in the sponsorships. Looking at the advertisers on the Crime Junkie site, you can see that in addition to the massive conglomerates that advertise across all podcasts regardless of demographics, like Norton and Progressive, you also see a slant towards advertisers that suit this audience. Pampers, Modern Fertility, Blue Nile, Better Help, and even Total Wine are those that align with a largely female listenership.

What Does All This Data Actually Say?

57% of internet users in the U.S. now listen to podcasts, with YouTube and Spotify surpassing Apple as the most popular podcast services for the first time in 2021. Now, 76% of Spotify’s subscribers listen to podcasts – not just music.

Seeing these numbers, you’re probably thinking that you’re missing out big by not taking advantage of this market…and you’re right. But how are you going to gain a foothold in an incredibly saturated market?

Follow Your Audiences

Your audiences speak without words. Instead, they let you know what they want through their decisions. When an audience has been following a brand, person, or story for long enough, they become a community that speaks out on social media – singing your praises or tearing you down with an avalanche of tweets, posts, and reels.

Check your podcast data frequently. Which episodes had the highest viewership? Was the spike due to the topic, the release time of your episode, the distribution of your podcast, or something else?

Be Human

You can evoke a lot of compassion through the power of your stories. Part of what makes all these podcasts so successful is that they’re unafraid to be human and make mistakes. They’re not some faceless corporation, they’re showing audiences an intimate look into their everyday lives, who their friends are, and what they care about.

Share Your Secrets, Bare Your Soul

So many businesses fail because they’re afraid that competitors will steal secrets and ideas to grab the same customers first. In today’s world, that’s simply not true! Your secrets and behind-the-scenes moments are the most authentic version of your business. They make people trust you and improve your relationships with customers.

People want to buy from companies that they know and like. Building trust with genuine interactions and moments in your podcast will only benefit your business.

Key Takeaways

Does a business have a soul? Well, the people behind it definitely do. When it comes to podcasting, identifying with your audience is the key, and learning who they are is the first step. If you know who you’re targeting, but don’t know who’s actually interacting with your media, you’re losing out on connecting with others, and that’s what the popular podcasts above do so well.

  • Discover insight into your audiences when you explore affinity audiences, interests, and browsing habits with Audiense
  • Ensure customers identify with your business by building a podcast with a focus on human interest
  • Pay attention to the content, stories, and people that resonate with your audiences and create more episodes that focus on similar topics
  • Take advantage of every marketing channel at your disposal, including podcasting, so you can reach audiences in their native environments

Use a podcast to focus on your product, build trust with your community, and develop a personality that your audiences want to connect with. Don’t miss out on connecting with your audience when you start with Audiense free today to get a jump on developing the type of content your followers want to see.

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About The Author

Audiense is the world’s pioneering Audience Intelligence platform, helping marketers and consumer researchers to be innovative and develop relevant audience-centric strategies through proprietary social consumer segmentation.

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