How to Develop a

Cohesive Podcast Narrative for Your Brand?

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Pikkal founder Graham Brown shares how to develop a cohesive podcast narrative for your brand.

Podcast Maps by Graham Brown is your map to navigate through the increasingly competitive world of podcasting. According to latest data, there are 1 billion million people listening to Podcasts every week. The competition is getting fierce. Doing what you did last year won't work anymore. You need a guide.

These are the topics I cover in Podcast Maps
1) Podcast Analytics
2) Podcast Market Data & Penetration
3) Podcast SEO
4) Podcast Rankings
5) Podcast Audience Numbers
6) Podcast Audience Growth Strategies
7) Social Audio
8) Audio 2.0
9) The impact of Artificial Intelligence on Audio
10) Podcast Guesting and Thought Leadership

Graham Brown 00:05
Sometime ago, I was giving a presentation to a group of startup founders, and I was talking about narratives and storytelling. After the presentation, one of the startup founders approached me. He looked a little bit confused and he said, "I don't want to tell a story. I want to tell the truth." To which I replied, "If you don't tell a story I won't know what your truth is." In a world where people increasingly want to know our truth, who want to see through organizations and understand the thoughts and the conversations of the people inside them, knowing how to create engaging narratives is becoming more important than ever. The most engaging narratives are not found in PowerPoint and bullet points. So, what is a narrative?

Graham Brown 00:54

A narrative is a story. It's a series of connected events. That's why all stories whether it's in Netflix or in a book are told in chapters in episodes. Think about a book. Why did you pick that book up in the bookstore? Well, you look at the cover. You turn it over and look at the back, the blurb as they call it in the industry. That blurb is super important. It defines the reason why you're going to pick that book up and read it. So in the bookstore, you open the book and you start reading a few pages. This process is no different from how people consume podcasts today. They find a podcast on Apple podcast or Spotify. They listen to it and then if you're lucky they subscribe. Now, if you go back to the Gutenberg Printing Press. The book publishing industry is over 500 years old. 

Graham Brown 01:45

However podcasting is young and new, and that means they haven't quite learned by trial and error. What works and what doesn't yet. Although in the last couple of years, podcasting models have evolved fast. The most successful podcast today have learnt the best of what works from the world of Netflix, book publishing and music and right at the top of that list of things that work in the world of publishing is narrative. Remember that last book that you picked up and read or that Netflix documentary you watched, how did it present the content? Was it dry fact and bullet points or was it a journey? Now content can come in both forms but I bet the journey is the one that's going to keep you coming back and turning the pages. 

Graham Brown 02:33
Think about how Malcolm Gladwell or Seth Godin reads compared to let's say your average white paper and even in the beginning of this section, I gave you a small human story. Remember the startup founder that came to me after the presentation. It was an anecdote, an apocryphal tale. But we've been doing this as a species for thousands of years. To convey meaning to lead audiences and to create positive change.

If you want to grow your audience today as a podcast, you must have a good content narrative. In the context of a book or watching a Netflix episode, it's the reason why I'm going to stick around and consume the next episode. Podcast designed without a good narrative may succeed in getting an audience to one specific episode, but fail to convert that audience into subscribers over repeat listeners. And the reason is, is that episode one has nothing to do with episode two and episode three. There's only so much of your time, per audience's attention that you can take for granted these days. 

Graham Brown 03:45
You can build a compelling narrative for a corporate brand. McKinsey's Future of Asia podcasts, for example, has a strong through story. The core theme is the future of Asia, as it says on the podcast itself. Within that the macro trends of the Asian century from the rise of Asians middle classes to the evolution of its dynamic startup ecosystems. A good narrative should also lead a category. In marketing terms, this is simply called a category narrative. Sometimes it's called a strategic narrative. Think of how red bull, for example, rather than playing in this soda category decided to define the category of energy drinks. Think of how defined and ultimately led its category with its no software narrative. 

Graham Brown 04:43

I'm pleased to be working with UTI, an India investment bank, which wants to define its category narrative. The podcast we're creating with UTI is the story of India and a key objective for UTI is to redefine that story, to tell it in a positive way to show clients and partners about the outsize returns potential in India. This isn't a story of Bollywood and Curry, but a story of entrepreneurship of the world's largest youth population embracing the future and a digital first, digitally enabled, talent pool. Great storytellers know how to tell stories. It's a skill. It can be learned and it's one of the things that we work with our clients on.

Graham Brown 05:36
One of the things we've learned as an agency over the years is a good ear for understanding how to take an idea and turn it into an engaging story. That doesn't mean fabrication of fact, but it means delivering content fact and information in a meaningful and engaging way. Think of, for example, the effectiveness of creating change with a story like flattening the curve. That's a story. It's not once upon a time, but like all stories, it involves change. Think of the different results that we would have achieved in public health care policy if flattening the curve was presented as a PowerPoint presentation.

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