About 30 years ago, do you know where one of the best places to market to people was? Their car.
The very first thing they did after they got into their car in the morning was turn on the radio. And chances are that it remained on for their entire commute to work, both back and forth. This offered advertisers a captive audience (literally, if the driver was on the highway!) Back then, radio ads were smart and inventive. Frankly, some of the most effective and brilliant marketing campaigns of all time were on the radio.
But then around 15 years ago, things started to change. People stopped listening to the radio as much when they headed to work. Instead, they would put on music from the MP3 player. Not a whole lot of opportunities to advertise your business on an iPod (well, unless you’re Apple). Recently though, the tide has begun to turn back. People are again listening to audio in their cars, but instead of tuning into their local radio station; they’re listening to podcasts.
The Advent of Podcasting
Podcasts have mostly supplanted the role radio used to play in our lives. Podcasts types range from interviews with celebrities to political talk radio to just two guys talking about nothing in particular. Podcasting, like radio, is absolutely free but unlike radio, it gives you the freedom to listen to what you want whenever you want. And it is only getting more and more popular!
But wait! If podcasting is free, then how do the hosts earn money? The same way that radio did: sponsors and ads!
If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, I bet that you are familiar with, about 30 minutes in, the host saying, “But let me tell you about SquareSpace…” or, “…SkillShare.” There are some of the most prominent players in the podcast marketing arena, but they don’t hold a monopoly. Your small business can get into podcast advertising, so long as you are willing to invest some time, effort, and money.
What Podcast Ads Are Like
Podcast ads work a little differently than radio ads did. After all, rather than broadcasting for hours on end like the radio, podcasts have a definite beginning and end. So, where do you want to put the ads?
Most podcasters avoid putting them at the start, and for good reason. They want their audience to get hooked on the content, so they don’t want to throw marketing at them right away. It’s just like how you don’t want to put all of your marketing language at the beginning of a blog. Most ads appear midway through a podcast, as the audience is invested by this point and unlikely to fast forward through or skip them.
What Kind of Ads Can You Put into a Podcast?
Podcasting ads usually fall into two categories.
The first is the much more traditional “commercial” style of marketing. The hosts of the show cut away to be replaced by a spokesperson talking about a specific product or service. These ads can be creative and innovative, really trying to capture the audience’s attention. The trick here is to match the tone and style of the advertisement with the podcast. You don’t want your marketing to be jarring; you want the people listening to, well, keep on listening!
Another kind of podcast marketing is when the host delivers your ad themselves. This is a persuasive form of marketing because the host is usually speaking from their own experience, rather than reading from a script. The sponsor might give them some talking points, but the words are entirely their own. In other words, it’s authentic. On top of this, as its the host of the podcast who is delivering the ad, there is no jarring disconnect between segments. The content flows into the ad and then back into the content.
Sounds Great, How Can I Get Started?
First, you need to find a podcast where you want to advertise your business/services. You want one that with a subject that aligns with your type of small business, as those are the customers you want. If you run a business specializing in mental health coaching, you want to sponsor a podcast about mental health rather than one about movies or cooking.
Next, you need to contact the creator of the podcast. Like with all forms of media, there are different tiers of podcasters. There are the shows just starting out who are actively looking for sponsors. There are the shows in the middle who have some reliable sponsors but are often looking for more. And then there are the big guns who already have huge sponsors (Here is where you usually hear ads for Squarespace). If you’re a small business, that last category is probably out of your budget, but the first two might be a perfect fit!
If you feel a little awkward approaching a podcast host regarding sponsorship, I would be happy to do it for you. I can do the research and find the podcasts that are the best fit for your business. These hosts are usually very knowledgeable about podcasting marketing and may use technical jargon and other industry terms. To be blunt, I speak their language!
Once we find you a podcast or two who is interested in being sponsored, we can get started figuring out the type of advertisement. If you want a pre-recorded ad that you say yourself, I can help you with a professionally-written script that will contain all of your talking points. Alternatively, if the host will be delivering your message themselves, I can provide them with a list of active talking points that will stick with the listener.
I love podcasts! They are fantastic on long drives, for walks, or even for a nice relaxing bath. I personally don’t mind there being advertisements in my podcasts, especially if they don’t really interrupt the listening experience. If you’d like to get started advertising with podcasts, please contact me today! And hey, if you’ve ever thought about starting up your own podcast to highlight your experience and expertise, I can help with that too!