With over 60 million (and growing) Americans regularly tuning in to podcasts, marketers are increasingly leveraging the platform as a simple and cost-effective way to promote their brands.
However, with dozens of sales networks representing over 850,000 active shows, buying options can, at least initially, seem overwhelming.
To help streamline your efforts, here are some guidelines for creating strong alignment between your brand and new customers.
Know Your Target Audience
Choosing the right podcast, whether a single show or multiple titles, is not as simple as picking the most popular one on the iTunes store. You have to narrow it down to shows that align with your target demographics' interests. And while content endemic to your brand (e.g., kitchen products on a cooking show) can be helpful, it’s not always necessary. Ultimately, it’s the audience alignment that matters most.
So if you don't know exactly who to target, try following this outline. You have to determine the exact message you're trying to promote. Next, ask yourself why your current (and future) customers approve of your product or service. Figure out the primary interest of both of these groups and you have your target audience.
Depending on the size of your current clientele, this might be a challenge. If your customer base is too large, focus on finding a podcast that caters to a specific demographic. Let's say your audience is primarily composed of female listeners. Look for podcast publishers that host shows catering to this group and start from there.
Identify Your Selling Point
Even if your current brand isn't very mainstream, you still need to create a unique message to attract customers. An exclusive offer will attract users to directly engage with your product or service. While browsing your website, the user might also become interested in other services that weren't even mentioned in the sponsorship message. Also, particularly when leveraging host read spots, be flexible on copy, avoiding scripted, “cookie cutter” language from one show to the next. Providing hosts some key talking points but allowing them to communicate those points in their own words, has the ability to create the heightened sense of authenticity driving consumer action and ROI.
Beyond that and because everyone loves to save money, offering a discount code is a good incentive for most people. You could also focus on special company practices, like 24/7 virtual support. However, some users will need a little more convincing before they make a purchase.
You can send the podcast host a coupon code and have them talk about the product with first-hand experience. The host of the true crime podcast Sword and Scale frequently endorses Blue Apron, a prepared meal service. The host mentions the name of the company throughout the podcast as well as how easy it is to cook the meals.
Conducting Customer Research
We know most people listen to podcasts, but which ones are your customers' favorites? Find out by putting a link to a survey on your company's social media page or in an online newsletter. You can also offer a unique coupon code or gift as a reward for completing the survey.
Putting your sponsor message in a show that most of your customers already listen to guarantees you the highest engagement and ROI. However, it's also important to make sure that the podcast you choose also aligns with your company's mission. This is the best way to ensure that you don't alienate future customers.
Conducting Podcast Research
Once you have a list of podcasts your audience enjoys, start to individually examine each of these programs. In particular, pay attention to how the host reads copy and conveys it to their listeners. In general, you want to pick someone who seems knowledgeable or enthusiastic about the product endorsed and will only bolster the previous comments towards the power of host read spots.
Case in point and when working with a show like the Adam and Dr. Drew podcast, it might help immensely to have a medical professional's approval. Some hosts also mention using the product while doing routine tasks like cleaning the house or shopping online. Hearing an example of your product or service in action could entice listeners to make a purchase.
Reaching Out to the Podcast Team
Once you have a podcast (or more) in mind, contact each podcast team to discuss a potential sponsorship. The team will determine whether your service would be a good fit for the podcast's current listener base. The team will also work with you to develop healthy and successful marketing goals.
If your brand is determined not to be a good fit, the station may still be able to help you. They can connect you to another show on the same network that better aligns with your goals.
Using Media Partners to Choose a Podcast for Marketing
To ensure the success of your campaign, you need to match your product or service with the right listeners. If you're stuck, a good podcast partner can help your business or organization meet its marketing goals. Feel free to visit our online blog to learn more about podcast sponsorship.