Leveraging podcasts as a part of your marketing strategy

Written by Portia Scott, guest contributor

When I started my podcast in 2019, there were approximately 750,000 podcasts. As of January 2021, there are 1,950,000 podcasts! Leveraging podcasts as a marketing tool is an opportunity to get in front of a new audience and potential customers. You can listen to podcasts wherever you go, which makes listening to podcasts easier to consume.

According to Edison Research, "54% of podcast listeners said they are more likely to consider the brands they hear advertised on podcasts, compared to 7% who say they are less likely." Leveraging podcasts as a marketing strategy provides an opportunity for your organization to get in front of a new and engaged audience. There are a couple of ways to use podcasts as part of your marketing strategy. You can use paid advertising or consider being a guest on a podcast.

Unlock advertising opportunities

Most podcast advertisements are host-read ads. The podcast host will read an ad with verbiage from you about your product, service, or offer. Another significant aspect of host-read ads is the host creates the copy for a more authentic and tailored message. The cost to advertise varies because there are several factors to consider, like the audience's size; obviously, podcasts with larger audiences like NPR or the Joe Rogan Experience cost more to advertise than a podcast with a smaller audience. Other factors may include ad placement or how often the ad will run.

  1. You don't have to figure it out alone. There are companies that can help you advertise on various podcasts based on a target audience, budget, and goals. These companies include podsearchad.com, gsmcpodcastnetwork.com, and podcorn.com. Each company offers several different options and packages to help maximize your budget and goals.
  2. If you have a smaller budget allocated to your podcast strategy or want to try it out before putting a large budget into the effort, you can do it yourself. If you have a relationship with a podcaster or listen to a podcast that you would be interested in advertising with, contact the podcast host directly. Independent podcasts, which are not part of a podcast network, generally have smaller fees but still allow you to get in front of a new audience and build partnerships. The podcasting community is pretty small and building relationships within the podcast community can help get your brand and message in front of a diverse audience.
  3. Before you approach a company, podcast network or podcast host, do your research to understand the cost, duration of the ad and clear objective for this strategy.
  • Be clear about your target audience or complementary audiences. This will ensure the podcast is aligned with your product, service or message. 
  • Find out if the ad rate is based on a CPM "cost per mille or per thousand" or CPA "cost per acquisition" model. The CPM model has a rate associated with the number of downloads per million or thousand.  The CPA model has a rate based on its cost to acquire a customer for a campaign. Understanding the cost of your ad will help you decide whether or not you want this service done for you or maybe delegate it to your marketing team to save cost.
  • Ask about ad placement. Ads are either read before, during or at the end of an episode. This is important because, based on the podcast's analytics, you can tell when the majority of their listeners fade or how long they listen to an episode and decide when you want your ad read. Ad placement can also affect pricing.
  • Consider offering a discount code to the listeners as part of the ad. And with 90% of consumers using coupons, the discount code can be an excellent way for you to acquire new customers and increase the ROI of your podcast ad.1 

How to grow your brand by being a podcast guest

Podcast hosts are always looking for guests to be on their show because they want to provide value to their audiences through the lens of different perspectives and experts within their industry or topic. Podcast hosts are more than willing to share their audience with a brand or organization that aligns with the show's topic and mission. Customers buy and support brands and organizations that they know, like and trust. Being a guest on a podcast provides an opportunity for you to tell your story, talk about your organization, products, services and add value to an audience eager to consume content within your industry and niche. Most podcast interviews range from 30-60 minutes, which is quite a lot of time to nurture a new audience and engage with a current audience.

Research podcasts aligned with your business

Identify podcasts that focus on your industry's topics and have an audience aligned with your products, service, or mission. For diverse small business owners or nonprofits, it’s valuable to consider diverse audiences as an added factor. For example, a veteran owned business may fit well with a podcast that focuses on reaching veterans.

  1. Podchaser.com offers services that will pair you with a podcaster looking for guests.
  2. If you don't want a paid service, podsearch.com is a great resource to search for podcasts that you would like to be featured as a guest. You can search by keyword or categories. The search feature allows you to narrow in on podcasts within your industry, niche or subject matter expertise.
  3. Once you have done your search, read the podcast descriptions to see which ones fit your brand. This is just a start, but the podcast description will provide you with a little more information about the podcast and give you an idea about their mission and the audience they serve.

Listen to different podcast hosts

Once you have found a few podcasts that interest you, listen to a couple of episodes. It's great that you like the podcast's name, the industry and the audience they serve, but there is one essential element; the host. Listening to the episode gives you an idea of who the host is, their background, interview style, and podcast format.

It's essential to listen to a couple of episodes so you can decide if this podcast is a possible fit before reaching out to the podcast host. Knowing that you have listened to the podcast will be a value proposition in your pitch email. It’s more than just getting in front of a new audience, you want to be intentional about showing up in front of the right audience. This is especially true for diverse organizations.   

Reach out to podcast hosts or networks

You can thank me later for recommending that you listen to the podcast before reaching out. When reaching out to a podcast host, you want to include a few key points.

  1. Don't start with how amazing you, your organization or your products are and why you should be a guest. I'm sure you are amazing, but it's nice to let the host know that you listened to the podcast and what you enjoy about the podcast topic or mission. 
  2. Provide a key takeaway or important topic that you enjoyed or were able to learn from an episode.
  3. After you have included what you like about the podcast, you can talk about why you would be a great guest, but don't make it feel like a sales email. Podcast hosts are very possessive about their audiences and want to provide great content, not just another guest. Explain the value that you can add to the audience or topic.
  4. Offer a discount code for your product or service to their audience.
  5. Podcast hosts also want to increase their reach, so offer to post the episode on your social media platforms. This is a great way to share audiences.

Measurement of success

As small business owners and nonprofits, we understand that we can’t manage what we can’t track. Accurately measuring attrition rates for your podcast strategy can be harder to track without a specific call to action, discount code or URL dedicated to the campaign. Below are a few suggestions to incorporate in your strategy to identify new customers acquired as part of the campaign.

  1. Using a discount specifically for podcast advertisement as mentioned above, will allow you to track how often that coupon was used. This will provide data specifically for that podcast and how the audience responded to the ad or your podcast episode.
  2. Create a call to action for the brand awareness campaigns that will allow the listeners to connect with you. Use a specific URL that will allow listeners to sign up for your email list or provide a keyword to sign up for text messaging.
  • Provide the listeners with a value-added digital product (ebook or free class) if they sign up for your email list.
  • More than 95% of text messages are read within five minutes of receipt. Ask the listeners to join your text community using a keyword for information, product updates, and coupon codes.

Leveraging podcasts as a marketing strategy can help you get your brand story, products and services into the ears of new and diverse audiences. Podcasts are growing by the day and so are the audiences. There is a podcast with your audience waiting for you.

Related Items

1. "Chasing Value: The Mind of the Modern Shopper" infographic. Vericast®/Valassis, Valassis.com, 2021.

Portia Scott and Portia Scott Media, LLC are not affiliated with the Voya family of companies. Portia Scott Media, LLC has received compensation from Voya for participation in educational programing supporting Voya’s Just Right Advantage Program.

Products and services offered through the Voya® family of companies.