Branded Podcasts: Identifying The Right Host

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(By Tim O’Brien) For most podcasters, choosing the host is easy. Usually it’s the creator or team of creators themselves who host the podcast.

But for branded podcasts, the factors that go into deciding who should host a podcast range from sound and technique, to affordability and accessibility.

Let’s say you’re a major brand that can afford top-quality production facilities, the marketing firepower to amplify your podcast across all major channels, and get the guests or content needed to produce a first-class, sustainable podcast.

If you’re fortunate enough to be in that position, chances are you have your pick of hosts, and you also have the luxury of deciding whether the voice of your brand should be male or female, bold or laid back, folksy or a little more formal. If you have the luxury to choose your “voice,” the key is to consider what kind of voice and personality the audience will respond best to, not simply one that you like.

That’s one end of the spectrum.

The other end of the branded podcast scale could be a trade association that is looking to produce a regular podcast with the people and resources on hand. If that sounds like you, then you may have to choose your host based on entirely different criteria, that may start with who you have on staff who is willing and able to take on podcast host duties.

Is that person competent in all the skillsets required to host, and possibly produce, the podcast? Does she or he have the time to keep the podcast going? How much direction do they need? And, how much team preparation will be involved for each episode?

Ideally, you’d want the host you pick to be able to do more than simply provide a vocal sound to your brand. At the very least, you’d want your host to be a contributor into the collaborative process of planning out each episode and the podcast itself. You want someone with solid vocal presence and a good interviewer. You may want your host to be both voice and producer.

Regardless of the size, frequency, and purpose of your branded podcasts, there are other factors to consider, all depending on time, budgets, and podcast strategies. Can your host edit audio as well? Can the host travel to interviews and events? Should the podcast itself be scripted and narrated, or unscripted and interview-based, or some hybrid of the two?

Each of these questions can help determine exactly what kind of host you need for your branded podcast.

I prepared a one-pager on the “Five Steps a Brand Can Take to Create its Podcasting Story.” Please feel free to get in touch with me to get your copy.

Tim O’Brien founded Pittsburgh-based O’Brien Communications and is the creator of the Shaping Opinion Podcast, an award-winning branded podcast. He consults with clients on branded podcasts. To get in touch with Tim, call 412.854.8845, timobrien@timobrienpr.com, or on Twitter: @OBrienPR

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