Find The Right Host Voice

So you’ve decided to make a custom podcast. (Good choice!) Podcasts are ideal for connecting more intimately with consumers and expanding upon your brand message through engaging content delivered by an appealing, exciting personality.

But how do you find the right voice?

What factors will determine who is best fit to deliver your brand’s message? And how might you make a realistic choice for your campaign when talent fees vary widely from personality to personality?


In selecting a host for your custom podcast, first ask yourself a few questions about your intended audience: What are the demographics (age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.) you wish to reach? Is this host relevant among your key audience? Is the host popular enough to bring their own audience along for the ride?

When IBM was looking to create a show about business innovators challenging traditional ways of working, they partnered with Ruby to create Smart Talks. Journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell was chosen to host the show based on his interview skills and ability to connect with guests, as well as his relevance to IBM’s target audience.

Similarly, when Trojan partnered worked with Ruby to create the comedic show, The Pleasure is Ours -- which hilariously debunks bad advice and terrible life tips -- we hired YouTube comedian Cody Ko to host the first season. A young millennial known for his snarky style and largely Gen Z male fan base, Cody was able to appeal to Trojan’s key market. (Season two, hosted by the cast of Comedy Central’s Workaholics, is out now!)

In selecting a host for your custom podcast, first ask yourself a few questions about your intended audience: What are the demographics (age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.) you wish to reach? Is this host relevant among your key audience? Is the host popular enough to bring their own audience along for the ride?

The ideal podcast host needs to be able to connect with your desired demographic and speak to them in a relatable way. For example, there’s no sense in casting a Baby Boomer when your target audience is Gen Z. Selecting the wrong host will also make the podcast harder to market and less appealing to your desired audience. And with hundreds of thousands of podcasts available, consumers can easily choose another podcast that speaks more directly to them.


Now that you have your target audience in mind, you’ll want to select a host that philosophically aligns with your brand. Dig into the host’s background and confirm that their social media content and public statements don’t contradict your brand’s values and goals. For an obvious example, if your podcast is about creating opportunities for the LGBT+ community, you’ll obviously want to confirm that the host has never made a homophobic statement that contradicts the very goals of the podcast.

You’ll also want to consider the podcast’s subject matter, selecting a host who is knowledgeable in the space. An uninformed host will put far too much pressure on your production team to research and write every word your host speaks, which will delay delivery and could burn out everyone involved. Additionally, conversations with featured guests may sound unnatural and inauthentic. Choose someone who can easily talk about the subject and genuinely converse with the guests.

From a marketing standpoint, it will also be difficult to attract an audience if the host is not relevant to the category the podcast is meant to cover. For example, a famous actor -- while universally beloved and popular amongst a massive social following -- will do little for a podcast about financial literacy if that actor has little to no knowledge of the subject. They will have trouble authentically conveying any of the more nuanced pieces of advice to be offered. Additionally, they will unlikely be able to personally contribute anything within a discussion, and in podcasting, such ad-libs are crucial in making the conversation feel organic in scripted guest interviews. This will be felt by listeners and critics alike.

A prime example of hosting gone wrong is when BBC selected singer and former X-Factor judge Cheryl -- a white artist -- to host their You, Me & R&B podcast. The podcast focuses on a genre of music created by and often performed by Black artists, but its host was misaligned with the history of the music. BBC received a lot of public criticism for the host selection, with many expressing that the decision was tone-deaf.

On the other hand, actor and comedian Rob Riggle was recently announced as the host of season two of iHeartMedia’s Veterans You Should Know podcast. Before he launched a career in Hollywood, Riggle was a United States Marine. With his personal experience in the armed forces, he was able to authentically connect to the guests who shared their experiences as veterans. The conversation is genuine, and Rob could relate the discussions to his own personal experiences. And with Riggle being known for his appearances in projects like Modern Family, The Hangover, and Saturday Night Live, he can attract a wide audience as well. (Season two launches this Veterans Day, on November 11, 2021!)


Lastly, if you want your podcast to be profitable or a worthwhile investment, you can’t forget about your budget! Ruby has a unique business model in which our Custom Podcast clients don’t pay for anything related to production or talent. (Yes, you read that correctly!) iHeart absorbs all of the production costs and talent fees, with every dollar of your investment going toward promoting the show and building a dedicated audience. The podcasting space has become quite crowded -- but with our model, your show will reach as many people as humanly possible.

Of course, even with iHeart taking care of talent fees, it is important that the host selected aligns with the scale of your podcast. For example, going after a one-named celebrity like Oprah or Bono as your host will likely come with supplementary fees attached, given that there is no market limit for the talent of such a caliber.


Podcasting is a fun and great way to connect to your customers and build your brand. Keeping your target audience, brand alignment, goals, and budget in mind when selecting your host is a great start to creating your desired show. The host will be a key element of reaching your audience and the quality of content produced to attract as many listeners as possible. And partnering with the largest podcast publisher, our team of producers, engineers, marketers, PR leads, and more will ensure you’ve produced the best possible podcast with a guarantee to reach your desired audience.

The results