Participating in awards shows can be an excellent way of generating buzz for your podcast and expanding its reach. Put simply, award shows mean publicity, and publicity means more people learning about your show and potentially queuing it up on their devices. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind what podcast awards are out there, how and when they’re awarded, and what their eligibility criteria are.
Below you can find a list of podcast award competitions in which branded podcasts are eligible to compete. You can find other podcast award lists kicking around online, like this one from the Bello Collective and this one from We Edit Podcasts, but I haven’t yet seen one specifically for branded podcasts, so I figured I’d whip one up. The idea is to keep this list active and up-to-date, so if you notice any glaring omissions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to tell me what I’ve missed.
The People’s Choice Podcast Awards
Established in 2005 by Todd Cochrane of Podcast Connect Inc., The People’s Choice Podcast Awards bills itself as “the longest running premier podcast awards event in the podcasting space open to shows worldwide.” The popular award show, known to many as more simply the Podcast Awards, is a global even that hands out awards annually to the best podcasts as voted by the general public. All shows of 10 episodes or more, including branded podcasts, were eligible for nomination this year but consideration depends on prior registration, which involves a small fee. The 2020 nomination period was from July 1 to July 31, and the award ceremony is typically scheduled on or around September 30, to coincide with International Podcast Day.
Entry fee: Any show wishing to be considered for an award can register via the registration page for a $25 registration fee.
More information about The People’s Choice Podcast Awards and how to apply here.
The Discover Pods Awards (presented by Buzzsprout)
The Discover Pods Awards claim to be the “largest annual fan-voted podcast awards recognizing the very best in podcasting.” Last year’s event was the third annual installment of the award show and gave out awards in 18 different categories, from Best Overall Podcast to Most Innovative Podcast, and spanning numerous genres. I inquired about whether branded podcasts are eligible, and a rep confirmed that next year’s event, in 2021, will have a Branded Podcast category. Beyond that, the website simply states that a podcast must have “a freely accessible RSS feed” and to be actively “producing new episodes” in the past year to be nominated and considered. Unlike other award shows, Discover Pods Awards says it is “not pay-for-play” and entries are “completely free without any fine print.” Winners are chosen by listeners and fans, who are limited to one vote per email address.
Entry fee: Free
More information about the Discover Pods Awards and how to apply here.
The MarCom Awards were created to “honor excellence in marketing and communication while recognizing the creativity, hard work and generosity of industry professionals.”
Each year, about 6,000 print and digital entries are submitted from dozens of countries, the event says. The MarCom Awards are administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), an international organization founded in 1995 that consists of “several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, digital and web professionals.”
The competition is open to all individuals, companies and organizations involved in producing any marketing and communication materials for external or internal audiences, and includes multiple categories that consider branded podcasts.
Entry fee: Most entries are $95. Campaigns and specialty categories are $175. An entry can be entered in more than one category, but it is an additional fee for each category.
More information about the Marcom Awards and how to apply here.
Digiday Content Marketing Awards
Digiday is an online trade magazine for online media founded in 2008 by Nick Friese. The Digiday Content Marketing Awards exist to “recognize the companies and campaigns using content to modernize media and marketing,” according to its website.
Prizes were handed out in 20 categories at the 2020 Digiday Content Marketing Awards, including one for Best B2B Branded Content Series, one for Best B2C Branded Content Series, and one for Best Branded Podcast.
Entry fee: Last year, submissions by the “early deadline” cost $449, submissions by the “regular deadline” cost $549, and submissions by the “final deadline” cost $699.
More information about the Digiday Content Marketing Awards and how to apply here.
The Shorty Awards, commonly known as the Shortys, are an annual awards show that celebrate “the best of social media by recognizing the influencers, brands and organizations on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and more.” As its website states, the Shorty Awards are comprised of two competitions: an Influencer competition and a Brands & Organizations competition. The latter of these celebrates “the innovative and creative work professionals are executing in social media” and includes a “Branded Podcast” category, which “honors the most creative and effective use of a podcast by a brand, agency, or organization.”
Winners are chosen by way of public vote and scoring done by the Real Time Academy, a diverse group of industry leaders and experts that was formed to shape the criteria and rules of the Shorty Awards and help select winners and honorees.
More information about the Shorty Awards and how to apply here.
The Shorty Social Good Awards
A recent offshoot of the popular Shorty Awards, the Shorty Social Good Awards is an international awards program that recognizes “the impactful work organizations are doing to make the world a better place.” Its website says the event was created to “raise global awareness around the positive impact brands, agencies and nonprofits can have on society.”
The Shorty Social Good Awards includes a a Best Branded Podcast category, which “honors the most creative and effective use of a podcast by a brand, agency, or organization,” and a “Best Use of Podcast Category,” which “honors the most creative and effective use of podcast to create compelling and shareable messages, initiatives or projects to reach a social good objective.” According to its website, “any organization, including agencies, brands, networks, services, non-profits, etc., to enter corporate social responsibility and sustainability campaigns that organizational and marketing teams have worked so hard to realize.”
Entry fee: Submissions by this year’s early deadline cost $299, submissions by the regular deadline cost $399, and submissions by the late deadline cost $599.
More information about the Shorty Social Good Awards and how to apply here.
The Webby Awards
Established in 1996, the Webby Awards advertise themselves as “the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet” and are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) — a 2000+ member judging body comprised of “leading Internet experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities,” as well as “former Webby Winners, Nominees and other Internet professionals.”
A “Podcast” category was added to the Webby Awards in 2006, and the awards now include a “Best Branded Podcast or Segment” category. Webby Winners are selected by the IADAS and by online public vote during The Webby People’s Voice Awards. The competition is “open to all organizations and individuals involved in the process of designing, building, managing, maintaining, marketing or promoting digital work,” as per its website.
Entry fee: The website doesn’t specify exactly what the entry fee is (the call for entry for 2020 is now closed), but I called to check and was told that last year single entries cost between $365–395 USD, depending on when you submitted your application. Campaigns, meanwhile, went from $545–625 USD.
More information about The Webby Awards and nomination process here.
The Lovie Awards
The Lovie Awards are the European version of the Webbys and their stated mission is “to recognise the unique and resonant nature of the European Internet community — from Europe’s top web and creative networks and content publishers, to cultural and political organisations and individual creators.” Now in its eight year, the event claims to be “the most prestigious, and the only, truly pan-European awards honouring online excellence.” Like the Webbys, the event includes a “Best Branded Podcast or Segment” category for “the most engaging, entertaining, and/or informative podcast created on behalf of a brand or organisation.”
Entry fee: For podcast submissions, the early entry fee is €275 EUR, the final entry fee is €315 EUR and the so-called “grace period” entry fee for submissions after the final entry deadline is €325 EUR.
More information about The Lovie Awards and how to apply here.
Publisher Podcast Awards
The Publisher Podcast Awards are a “celebration of the podcasting success of publishers and media organisations, whether they’ve been in the podcasting space a while, or have just launched their first one.” Created and hosted by the folks behind the Media Voices Podcast, the UK-based award show is only open to publishing companies that have “publishing and content creation as their primary business, and who publish content in at least one other medium” besides podcasting.
Entries for the 2021 Publisher Podcast Awards will be accepted starting in September this year and among the categories for 2021 are “Best B2B podcast” and “Best Sponsored Podcast” (formerly Best Branded Podcast).
Entry fee: Entry is free for all, but the awards ceremony is in the U.K. and travel and accommodation are not covered.
More info about the Publisher Podcast Awards and how to apply here.
Adweek Podcast of the Year Awards
The Adweek Podcast of the Year Awards were established in 2019 and celebrate “the most outstanding podcasts and podcast professionals across a wide range of categories.” The awards are judged by leaders and rising stars in the podcasting world, alongside senior editors and knowledgeable podcast commentators from Adweek.
20 prizes are handed out across a range of categories, including for “Podcast Episode of the Year,” “Best Marketing Podcast,” and “Best Branded Podcast.”
The 2020 award winners will be announced in print and online at Adweek.com in November.
Entry fee: Submissions by the early deadline this year cost $199 USD, submissions by the regular deadline cost $249 USD, and submissions by the extended deadline cost $299 USD.
More info about the Adweek Podcast of the Year Awards and how to apply here.
Podcast Academy’s Golden Mics (to debut in 2021)
The Podcast Academy (not to be confused with the Academy of Podcasters, a similarly-named but separate organization formed back in 2015) is a new membership-based, not-for-profit organization of independent podcasters and industry professionals dedicated to “elevating awareness and excitement for podcasts as a major media category and advancing knowledge and relationships in and around the business.” The new academy will host its first annual awards program, formally known as the Golden Mics, in early 2021 in Los Angeles and will start accepting nominations this fall. I emailed the organization to ask if branded podcasts will be eligible for awards and they replied that they are still “working on the categories and specifics,” which I took as a “maybe.”
More info about the Golden Mics and how to apply here.
The British Podcast Awards
Established in 2017, the British Podcast Awards were created to celebrate and help promote UK-based podcasts and podcasters. The competition spans 19 categories, including a “Branded Podcast” category, and is open to all British podcasters, “from big brands to bedroom publishers, charities to comedians.” All podcasts made in the U.K. can be submitted for consideration for the price of a small entry fee. A panel of independent judges said to be “representative of the industry’s breadth and diversity” selects the nominees and winners in all categories except the “Listener’s Choice” category, which is won by popular vote. Winners are announced at the British Podcast Awards Ceremony.
Entry fee: Submitting an independent podcast (where the podcast’s turnover is less than £100,000 per year) costs £25 + VAT and submitting a corporate podcast (if its part of a business/corporate entity, OR is an independent podcaster that earns more than £100,000 per year) costs £75 + VAT. Fees are paid per entry, per category, and you can submit as many entries as you wish up to three per podcast series.
More info about the British Podcast Awards and how to apply here.
The Australian Podcast Awards
The Australian Podcast Awards is billed as “an annual celebration of the quality and breadth of Australian podcast content.” As with the British Podcast Awards, submissions are made by the podcaster, and an entry fee is required. This year, entries will open on September 1st 2020 and will close on September 25th 2020, and a “branded podcast” category is included among the categories.
Entry fee: Independent podcasters (where the podcast’s turnover is less than $200,000 per year) are charged $40+GST per submission. Corporate podcasts (if its part of a business/corporate entity, OR is an independent podcaster that earns more than $200,000 per year) are charged $150+GST per submission. Fees are paid per entry, per category, and you can make as many entries as you wish up to three per podcast series.
More info about the Australian Podcast Awards and how to apply here.
The Gracies were established in 1975 and recognize “exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment,” as well as individuals “who have made inspirational contributions to the industry.” Named after the late Gracie Allen, the awards program focuses on women “who are making positive change and who further the discussion of what a fulfilling career in media looks like.” Its categories are broken up into TV categories, Radio Categories and Interactive Media categories, and I was told via email that branded podcasts can be submitted.
Entry fee: The early bird fee for national/syndicated submissions is $245 USD and the regular deadline fee is $295 USD. Local and student applicants pay a discounted fee.
More info about The Gracie Awards and how to apply here.
iHeartRadio Podcast Awards
The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards are a new addition to the podcast awards circuit. Established in 2019, the annual award show hands out awards in 30 categories, including one for “Best Branded Podcast.” This year’s event was held in Los Angeles back in January. The event was streamed live on YouTube and audio broadcast on iHeart stations across the country.
Looking over the event’s website, you’ll find little about the nomination process and how winners are decided, which is, well, odd. James Cridland helped judge the event in 2019 and wrote about this lack of transparency, which stirred up a fair bit of controversy in the podcasting world, last November. Even as a judge that year, Cridland says he had no say whatsoever in deciding who got nominated.
More information about the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards and past winners here.