How To Make The Most Of Your Sponsored Spots

A few weeks ago we discussed choosing the best placement for advertisements in your podcasts. But of course, there’s a lot more to a successful sponsored campaign than where the ad actually lives. In this post we’ve compiled four pro tips to help you nail those sponsored ads.

1) Make It Personal.

“The power of podcast advertising is the power of the endorsement,” explains Heather Osgood, CEO of True Native Media, an agency that connects podcasters with advertisers. “The best scenario is a live endorsement ad,” in which the host talks about his or her personal experience with the product or service. Osgood admits, however, that it’s not always possible or practical to personally experience every sponsor’s goods. “If the product or service can’t be sampled by a host, then a live-read ad is best,” she says. As for canned (pre-produced) ads? “True Native Media has not run any canned ads to date,” Osgood says. “Canned ads would only make sense if the ad were dynamically inserted across a number of different podcasts.”

2) Go Above and Beyond.

If you’re working with an advertising network, anything you offer on top of your endorsement or ad might not lead to more dollars…right away, at least. “Most advertisers are thrilled to receive posts on social platforms, but they are not typically interested in paying additional for that reach,” explains Osgood. But that doesn’t mean that going the extra mile won’t pay back in the future. If you’re selling your own sponsor spots and have a decent social media reach, you may be able to interest an advertiser in an integrated campaign that incorporates your podcast, show notes post, website banner ads, and/or social media amplification. And at the very least, giving a little extra effort to your current sponsors might make them more eager to work with you in the future. “I think an effective podcast sponsorship is a three-pronged strategy: banners, text mention in show notes with a hyperlink, plus the host-endorsed spot, followed up with at least 1 weekly social mention with proper disclosure (#ad or #spon),” says Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry. “That way the listener ideally hears the ad, sees the banner, and reads the ad in the show notes, and it’s reinforced with the social reminder.” And if your ad is an affiliate, going the extra mile to promote the brand carefully will net you larger sales.

Bottom line: you have a platform, so why not use it to its fullest extent?

3) Package Thoughtfully. 

While your network may offer you ads that require only a midroll placement, it never hurts to quickly remind your listeners about the sponsor at the end of the show. And briefly teasing the sponsor at the beginning of the show may also help the message stick. “The ideal sponsorship package will include a quick preroll thank you to the sponsor, a midroll 60-second ad, and an endroll thank you,” says Cochrane.

 4) Think About Your Audience First.

Remember that all of the above are only guidelines, and sometimes rules are made to be broken. Maybe the tone of your particular show lends itself more to a snarky review or parody than an earnest endorsement. Maybe your show is so engrossing that a midroll break would be jarring, or so quick-moving that 60 seconds would seem like an eternity. And just because every other podcaster in the world seems to be working with a particular brand, ask yourself: is YOUR particular audience likely to be interested in Casper mattresses or a plug for Squarespace? When done thoughtfully, podcast advertising can offer the best of all worlds: honest and helpful information, presented in an authentic and appealing way, which also happens to earn you money! If you aren’t sure what kinds of products or services your audience might like, survey them to find out. And remember: focusing on adding value for your audience before anything else is the most surefire way to find success with sponsorship.

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