How to Create a Top Branded Podcast with Chris O’Keeffe from JAR Audio


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Want to know what goes into making a top branded podcast?
"If you can continually deliver on that stuff without hitting them with a hard sell, you have an audience. And that's different than a customer, right? But with time, you can evolve some of that audience into customers, and it's getting easier and easier to tell the ROI"
Chris O'Keeffe is an Executive Producer with JAR Audio, a full-service branded podcast agency. Chris has over 7 years of experience in the audio industry, and has worked on a variety of projects, from audio dramas to branded podcasts.
This is Chris' story...
I'm Chris O'Keeffe from JAR Audio, and today I'm here to talk about branded podcasting. Branded content differs from a hard sell in that it's all about storytelling and building relationships over the long term. This medium is still new, so there are a lot of skills that are transferable from other industries. For example, at JAR Audio, we work with brands to create custom branded podcasts. We start with strategy and then move on to creation, production, marketing, and reporting. It's important to have a robust mix of marketing approaches, but storytelling is something completely different. If you can entertain or educate without asking for anything in return, you have an audience. And with time, you can evolve some of that audience into customers.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. What goes into making a top branded podcast, including market research, production and content strategy?
2. How can audio storytelling be used to build relationships and achieve marketing goals?
3. What are some examples of branded podcasts that have been particularly successful?

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Chapter Summaries:
[00:00:01] - Podbean's Podcasting smarter is the official podcast from Podbean. Today's episode features an interview with Chris O'Keeffe from JAR Audio. JAR Audio creates branded podcasts for brands such as Lush, Royal Bank of Canada, Lululemon, and more.
[00:01:04] - JAR Audio is a full service branded podcast agency that works with brands to build custom branded podcasts. It's a traditional agency model. Except instead of making creative campaigns or websites or commercials, jar Audio makes podcasts amazing. The company has a full marketing team that launches the podcast and promotes it and reports on it.
[00:02:27] - Chris explains how he got into the podcasting industry. He is a writer and his writing partner wanted to create an audio drama in 2018. They invited industry people from Vox, Ringer and Gimlet to spend a weekend with them to create it. He helped launch and develop a show called "Disgraceland".
[00:05:36] - In addition to building a career in podcasting, Chris also worked in content strategy and content marketing. He believes in value-driven content, going for telling, not selling, building relationships over the long term. He thinks the battle is being the sort of battle for understanding the value of audio storytelling.
[00:09:33] - JAR Audio has worked with big brands such as Expedia, Amazon, T Mobile, Lush, Amex, British Columbia Institute of Technology and the Port of Vancouver. For RBC, they have a show called Disruptors, which has been a runaway hit. T-Mobile built trust with its audience by informing them about its products and services. T-Mobile works with a lot of journalists and takes a journalistic lens to its content marketing. It's important to have the brand strategy and the comms goals and the strategic goals overlaid with that and in tension with that.
[00:17:53] - Branded podcasts can be either a panel discussion or a one-on-one interview with a host, or a hybrid format like a Radiolab with more rich sound design and a scripted section. "The Message" from GE is a great example of a branded podcast. Brand podcasting is achievable for brands as the cost is lower than television production. Hosted ads are getting more traction than ads that are read externally because people trust the host. It's an exciting time for brands to be able to tell stories specifically of their brand in an entertaining way and share their brand values. Branded content is changing quickly and it's exciting for the industry.
[00:24:35] - In the podcasting landscape, how can companies differentiate their brand story? There is a lot of content out there that's branded podcasts or podcasts that are sponsored. It doesn't have to be JAR audio but you should find a partner in the industry. You can't create a show in a vacuum.
[00:26:32] - The discovery phase of a podcast is a combination of art and science. It's a number of foundational workshops, creative ideation planning, competitor analysis, data analysis and creative support. Branding is a big part of the discovery phase and it's important to manage expectations of success.
[00:30:52] - Marketing is important in the development of a brand-driven podcast. It's important to focus on the product rather than the brand. When it comes to branding, podcast marketing is important to get the best ROI on every dollar you spend. The best way to grow a podcast audience is to create a unique brand.
[00:32:44] - JAR is a full service branded agency. Chris believes in focusing on content first and building trust with the audience. He is a big product person and believes that the best way to market a product is to make a better product and work hard on your product.
[00:35:11] - In terms of companies seeing return on investment, they are seeing it.
[00:37:29] - The ROI story is different. For each show and for each industry, there's a suite of tools and metrics that help clearly tell that story.
[00:38:36] - Chris wants to work with brands that are not scared to have a point of view on social issues and environmental issues. Patagonia is one of his favorite brands now because of the stands that they've made. Chris is excited for the future of branded storytelling.
[00:42:46] - Chris recommends working with experts who understand the space and starting exploration. Now. Chris' email is If you want to talk directly about anything that they've spoken about today or disagree with him.
[00:44:52] - Chris believes the podcasting industry is going to grow for at least the next half decade.
Other episodes you'll enjoy:

How to Make Impactful Branded Podcasts: Live Replay with Napier B2B on Brand Storytelling, Repurposing Content and Finding Your Audience

How Law Firm White & Case is Using Podcasting to Make an Impact Reaching Legal Recruits

Branded Audio: The Best Marketing Tool You’re Probably Missing - LIVE REPLAY

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