The Superpower of Built-in Audiences for Brands and Universities

How is it that certain podcasts are able to launch to the top of the charts and attract a large and loyal fanbase while others seemed destined for mediocrity?

What is this classified top secret information that acts as rocket fuel for those who have it and lead boots for those who don’t? This blog is going to delve directly into how organizations can leverage their built-in audiences for podcast success.


There is an unmistakable advantage for those within a podcast network. What is a podcast network you ask? Castos defines a podcast network as, “a collection of podcasts that are produced, distributed or made available to advertisers through a single company, or network.” In other words, it’s an umbrella company that individual shows join to take advantage of certain benefits, especially when it comes to advertising.” Examples of podcast networks are, NPR, Gimlet, Panoply, How Stuff Works, Midroll/Stitcher, Audioboom. Podcasts within one of these networks automatically get a head start in the race to the top of the podcast charts. They Are all able to use their existing podcast to promote new shows to listeners.

Using a podcast network is preaching to the converted. You’re talking to your built-in audience, which is composed of dedicated podcast listeners. They’re more likely to convert into listeners of your new podcast than people who have never listened to a podcast before.


After the evidence we just provided about the immense advantage of Podcast Networks, it might seem hearsay to think that a brand or University would be able to outdo a podcast network’s power and influence on gaining listeners, but that is exactly what the data is telling us.

Owned channels include everything from websites, apps, mailing lists, and services to their physical locations. When you take stock of how many people a brand or university can reach through their owned channels, it’s easy to understand why many of them are able to build large and passionate audiences for their podcasts very quickly.

Unlike a podcast network, a large percentage of the people that brands and Universities can reach is not solely podcast listeners. By using their owned channels, a brand or University has the potential to be a major force in growing the podcast industry as a whole. they aren’t preaching to the converted, they are growing the pie. And Brands and Universities are in a powerful position, as they have the ability to give a listener their first-ever podcast experience. Just think about it, how many students past, present, and future does a large university currently send a newsletter to? How many people are already visiting the Universities website, app, etc. on a daily basis? Now, what if in those already distributed newsletters, the University promoted their new podcast? This ability gives an organization a superpower when gaining listeners. The hardest part of any new podcast or product for that matter is getting it in front of people. To create a comparison, say an inventor creates a new energy drink that is better than every current product out there, well there is only so much shelf space at the convenience or grocery store, so how does that inventor get his drink next to Redbull or Monster? That is going to be the hardest part when it comes to the growth of that company. Once it sits neatly next to the big names in your local store, they are already a success. Well, when it comes to podcasts, Universities already have the shelf space in every convenience, grocery, and corner store in the country, they already have the ear of millions of people.

Below is a list of brands using their built-in audience to advertise podcasts:

Tinder in-app advertisement

Tinder promoted their DTR podcast (produced with Gimlet Creative) inside the Tinder app. They came up with an amazing advertisement strategy where the podcast would appear as a “match” and if a user was to swipe right, it took them directly to the podcast. Instead of advertising their podcast on radio spots, or web banners, think how many more people Tinder can reach through their own app.

Trader Joe’s In-Store Podcast Promotion

Trader Joe’s has recently launched their own podcast, Inside Trader Joe’s. How do they advertise their show? In all of the ways, an established brand has the ability to do so. They have hand-drawn posters for the podcast in their physical storefronts and include an ad for it in their already established weekly newsletter, The fearless flyer.

Schwab’s Multi-Channel Podcast Promotion

Schwab promoted their Choiceology podcast across all of their owned channels; the Schwab website, app, email newsletters, digital signage in all Schwab physical locations, and even a full-page ad for the podcast in Schwab’s quarterly magazine.

Mozilla’s Firefox

The makers of Firefox web browser and creator of Pocket, a web curation software, pushed their new podcast, IRL across all available channels. For example when you open a new tab in the Firefox browser and through their highly subscribed Pocket emails. Just think about how many people they are reaching every single day.


The built-in audiences and “Ears” that an established brand has access to are insurmountable. It is like having a Superbowl commercial every day and without the pain of paying out the nose for every second of it. How one takes advantage of this shelf space (a call back to our earlier analogy) is a different story altogether though. What is evident is that with the right content, and marketing plan, brands, and Universities have the potential to have widely successful podcasts.

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