What makes a podcast appealing to a brand? The content? The host? The out-of-this-world artwork?
Trying to figure out what attracts brands and get them wanting more can be a bit of a daunting task for podcasters. We’re here to help ease that worry and provide you with advice from our Advertising experts.
We found that above all else, brands care most about audience fit, the host’s authenticity, and overall performance. Read on to learn more!
What brands care about when launching a campaign
Brands look at three main things when considering a show for a campaign: Relevance, Reach, and Resonance. Otherwise known as the three R’s of Content Marketing, these terms should help guide you in snagging that coveted Host-Read Ad.
Relevance – This refers to the podcast’s (or host’s) ability to share content relevant to the brand’s business/industry, or reaches the main target demographic.
For example, a brand hoping to entice business professionals might look for financial podcasts or business-centric shows to run campaigns on.
Relevance isn’t the only important factor, though! Brands also consider a show’s Reach.
Reach – This simply refers to the audience size of the show. How many people can be reached through an ad on this host’s show? Brands want to make sure that they’re able to reach a large number of people in the desired demographic(s).
The final piece of the puzzle is how well a host, and their recommendations, resonate with their audience.
Resonance – This refers to the level of engagement the host(s) can generate for the brand through their ad read. Here’s where authenticity and trust really come into play. Brands seek out hosts who have a strong relationship with their audience.
Keep the three R’s in mind when deciding to jump into the world of Host-Read Ads.
What brands weigh when deciding to renew a campaign
Let’s say you just scored your first Host-Read Ad (congrats, by the way!) and you want to knock it out of the park. Brands often consider their first campaign with you as a sort of test before they commit to renewing. It’s good to keep in mind that brands pay the closest attention to performance and authenticity. What do we mean by performance and authenticity, though?
Performance, in this case, relates to the hard metrics of the ad read. How many of your listeners took up the call to action and visited the brand’s website? And how many of those listeners made a purchase? Brands are very interested in knowing how effective your ad read is for your audience. They want lifetime customers who keep coming back for more.
They also want to know how engaged your audience was with the brand and your recommendations. Did they interact with you on social media? Did you receive any comments from listeners who tried out the product themselves? Understanding how much your audience enjoyed the brand and its product is key for renewals.
Authenticity of the ad read itself is another important pillar to brands. Did you try the product, or do a bit of research, before recording? Did you genuinely enjoy the product and make that known to your audience? Did you relate the brand/product back to your own life and/or show content?
Essentially, did you read the ad word-for-word, or add a bit of your own experience to the mix? As we discovered in our interviews with some of our top-performing podcasters, speaking to your own experience with the brand/product elevates the ad to a whole new level.
Expert tips to improve your performance and authenticity
Now that you know what brands look for, let’s talk about how to improve your chances of scoring a renewal!
With performance, you know that brands care most about how many listeners visit their website and how many make a purchase. Here are some tips from our Advertising experts to better increase those conversions:
1) Share your discount code & vanity URL on other platforms. This may seem so obvious but it’s still important to remember to do it! While you reach a large part of your audience through the ad read itself, there are still more that can be reached through the power of social media or your email newsletter. Sharing your discount code and vanity URLs on other platforms helps to push your audience to check out the brand. Audiences on social media find it much easier to click a button than remember both a website and code. (Which they might forget!)
We also know that many people multitask while listening to shows. So, seeing the discount code and vanity URLs in their social feeds helps to remind them to check out that brand they heard from you!
2) Ensure that your ad is authentic by actually using the product in your everyday life! Your audience trusts you to speak your mind, so don’t be afraid to share your thoughts.
We also recommend avoiding saying “This episode is sponsored by” or anything similar as it can sometimes cause listeners to click the fast-forward button. Keep the ad in the same tone as the rest of your episode for the best flow (and entertainment!)
Another way to keep your ad authentic is to be upfront about why you’re doing ads anyways. Let your listeners know that supporting the brand supports you in turn. All of the great content you provide for your listeners and the growth of your show is supplemented by ad deals and their success.
3) Know what the brand is measuring when it comes to a successful campaign. Understanding the brand’s goal for the campaign allows you to be more strategic in your performance. For example, let’s say the brand wants to drive traffic to their website. Knowing this allows you to be more thoughtful in placing the promo code/vanity URLs in your episode descriptions. You can also make your call-to-action specifically about visiting the website, encouraging your listeners to check it out.
Understanding what the brand sees as successful for a campaign allows you to tailor the experience to match those metrics.
4) Create added value through multiple platforms. Social media is always great, but what about more creative ways to bring value to the campaign? There are so many ways you can add value to the campaign (and entice the brand to renew with you.) One of those ways is doing a quick shoutout in your pre-roll about your sponsor! The more you talk about the brand in different parts of your show, the stickier it will be for your audience. Like a tune they can’t get out of their head. You can use the custom audio feature on RedCircle and upload a quick little promo about the sponsor.
Other things to keep in mind to increase your chances of renewals
While improving your performance and authenticity are excellent ways to nab renewals, there are plenty of other things to make you more appealing to brands. Our Advertising experts recommend:
1) Keep your CPM in an appropriate range for your show. The lower your CPM, the more likely it is to drive stronger performance. In turn, this gives you a better chance of getting renewals in the future, which leads to more money in the long term. Additionally, brands typically choose the top 3-5 shows to renew. So, if you decrease your CPMs by just $2, your likelihood of making the cutoff can drastically increase.
2) Keep the script updated! It’s important to keep your ad reads up-to-date and fresh! Make sure to be on the lookout for new scripts for each flight, or reach out to our team if you would like to update yours.
3) Check in on your performance yourself. When you get an ad deal or renewal, you might feel a bit in the dark about whether or not your ad read is performing. That’s because there are hundreds of campaigns going on at the same time, so the brands aren’t always providing feedback to us. If you’re curious about whether or not your podcast is performing well compared to other podcasters, just ask our team! We can gather as much insight as possible for you, and that shows the brands that you are wanting to do the best that you can. Just knowing how you compare can help you make small tweaks to your ad process and stand out against other podcasters.
Any of these tips work for you? Or maybe you have your own tried-and-true methods. We’d love to hear more! Send us a message in our Help Center!
And check out our other resources on Host-Reads ads!
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