Podcasts are a rapidly growing marketing channel for brands. They’re diverse, popular, and are a great way to reach your target audience directly. There are a few ways to use podcasts to grow your brand, from hosting your own podcast to placing an ad on an existing one or appearing as a guest on a podcast.

Read on to discover how you can get started with an amazing new podcast advertising campaign today.


Know your audience, know your target podcast


Before you start preparing your podcast ad or guest spot, identify where you’ll be placing it. The key to podcast advertising success is by getting on the right podcast for the right audience.

Just as your social ad campaigns are targeted at those prospects most likely to convert, so too should your podcast advertising be targeted in the same way. This starts with understanding your audience.

You likely already have a comprehensive breakdown of your target demographics and the distinct buyer personas that they comprise. You’ll know their shared interests and personality types — this enables you to find the podcasts that they’ll be interested in.

You can also source this info through customer surveys. In exchange for discount code or freebie, get your customers to fill out a questionnaire that reveals what kind of podcasts they listen to, how often they listen, and so on.


Finding the right podcast for you


There are plenty of online podcast directories you can trawl to find your prospective host podcast. iTunes, Podbean, and Spotify are good sources, and you can filter by category and popularity. Find a podcast that aligns with your target audience and reach out to them for collaboration.

However, this process is, while cheap, quite laborious. An alternative is to reach out to a dedicated podcast ad network, such as Midroll. These agencies use comprehensive audience segmentation and podcast analysis to match brands with podcasters who are most likely to benefit them.

This step is crucial — the right podcast means the right audience, which in turn means a higher rate of success for your ad.


Types of podcast ads

There are several different types and formats of podcast advertising strategies available to you. Let’s break them down.


Paid ads

These are the most common type of ads, and comprise the following:


  • Host-read: these ads are read by the podcast host as an endorsement of your brand. The host (or hosts) is given a sample of your product or service and discusses their experience of it. These are often found on more personal podcasts such as true crime shows or comedy podcasts, and provide valuable social proof for your brand.


  • Announcer-read: on the other end of the spectrum are announcer-read ads. As the name suggests, these are read by a dedicated voiceover artist rather than the host. These kinds of ads are more often found on journalistic podcasts and are more scripted than host-read ads.


These ads can appear at three different stages in a podcast, with different prices for each. These include:


  • Pre-roll ads: these ads appear before a podcast starts and usually last for around 15-30 seconds. These are the second most valuable spots, as the listener is beginning to engage with the podcast. Accordingly, these are generally the second most expensive types of ads.


  • Mid-roll ads: these occur in the middle of the podcast. They generally last for between a minute to a minute and a half. As these happen right in the middle, listeners are at their most engaged, and subsequently, are less likely to skip them. This makes mid-roll ads the most valuable, and thus the most expensive.


  • Post-roll ads: appear at the end of a podcast and last for between 15-30 seconds. Consequently, these are the least valuable ads, as the listener’s engagement drops off.


Guest speaking


This is a little different from the paid ads listed here. Appearing as a guest on a podcast is a great way to get some natural exposure for your brand by piggybacking on the success of an existing podcast.

While paid ads are better geared for products or more commercial services, guest spots are good for general branding and professional services like consultancies. Guest speaking on podcasts is a great way to build your personal brandthey’re about you as a person, not just as a brand, so it feels natural and organic.

Guest spots are a great way to get attention for your brand in an organic way. The entire podcast becomes a platform for you to spread your marketing message, rather than just a few seconds in-between the content.


How to create a good podcast ad


Now you’ve identified your target audience, the corresponding podcast, and the kind of advertising you want to do, it’s time to start planning it. 


Paid ads


If you’re opting for a host-read ad, it’s important that you let them take the reins. You can’t force a host to explicitly say they love your product or service, but you can give them a few bullet points on what kind of features you’d like them to highlight.

Let the host talk about their experience of your brand on a personal level. Many hosts enjoy an intimate, trusting relationship with their listeners. As such, the host will know how to talk about your brand in a way that feels familiar to their audience.

If you’re writing an announcer-read ad, keep it tight. A strong hook is crucial here — if you can’t hook the listener straight away, then they’ll skip. Appeal to their pain points immediately e.g. “are you too tired to cook when you get home from work?” This gives the listener a reason to keep listening. Pique their interest and then build upon it.

A common tactic employed in both host- and announcer-read ads is to include a podcast-specific discount. This is accessible by creating a dedicated landing page on your website for the podcast in question with a vanity URL.

Alternatively, you could create a discount code that includes the podcast name, and then track how many people use that code afterward (more on both of these later).

If you or your host is reading out a website URL in your ad, remember to spell it out letter-by-letter. This ensures the listener can easily find the URL they need.

Many podcast directories, such as Podbean, offer dedicated services to let you create your ad. This makes it easy to craft a podcast ad, even if you’re a beginner.


Guest spots


If you opt for a guest spot, you’ll need a different tact. Reach out to your podcast host and build a relationship with them. You’ll have a natural conversation with your host, but it needs to be genuine — create a connection with them beforehand, and your guest spot will be all the more rewarding for it.

One essential thing you need as a guest speaker is a one-sheet, a short brief that you give to the podcast host prior to your appearance.

As Jessica Rhodes says on her own guest appearance on the Marketing Speak podcast, a one-sheet should have “your bio written in the third person, long enough so it gives all those bragging rights and the main points that build you up, but short enough where the host could easily read that as an introduction to their show.[…]

You want it to be in the third person. It has your bio interview topics, three to five topics.”

A one-sheet helps shape the interview, letting you talk about the things that matter for your brand. Your host can ask the right questions so you can tell their listeners what they need to know about your brand.


How do I measure the ROI of my podcast ad campaign?


Unfortunately, tracking the success of a podcast advertising campaign isn’t easy. You can’t track clicks like you can with online ads, so you’ll have to get creative.

One such method is through vanity URLs e.g. www.mywebsite.com/podcast. When a listener visits the URL, you can track and monitor any signups or conversions that take place using your analytics tool.

Another method is through the use of unique promo codes, e.g. PODCAST123. As mentioned earlier, this lets you track how many times a code is used so you can see how many conversions can be linked to the podcast ad.

Finally, another method is through the use of surveys. When you have new customers purchasing or signing-up for your product or service, ask them how they found out about your brand. This method isn’t as preferable as the other two as it won’t give you a 100% success rate, but it’s a good addition that is easy to implement.


Podcasts are the new kid on the marketing block, and you should take notice. They’re a great way to reach a whole new audience, getting your brand message straight to their listeners’ ears. Follow the tips above and start creating a stellar podcast advertising campaign that grows your brand well into 2019.


About our author:

Kayleigh Alexandra writes all about the entrepreneurial tips and hacks for Micro Startups, a site dedicated to giving through growth hacking. Stop by to read about the latest developments in the startup world, and take a moment to follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.


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