How to Craft the Perfect Podcast Ad
Welcome to The Yard, a blog by Backyard Media that explains the podcast industry and podcast advertising.
"And now a quick break to hear from one of our sponsors...". Many a podcast ad starts like this: halfway through an episode, the host takes a breather and spends a few moments introducing a sponsor, and then shares a story about why they like the product. It's seamless, coming from the same voice that listeners have already been hearing.
We've discussed previously what a podcast ad is and what a podcast ad campaign can look like, but sponsors often have questions about the content of the podcast ads themselves. Podcasts are a fundamentally different medium compared to traditional media (radio, TV) as well as other types of digital content (online video and streaming TV). As such, sponsors need to craft their messaging differently to enjoy the full benefits of marketing to podcast listeners. Here are some ways that sponsors can ensure their podcast ads sound great and are maximally effective for a podcast audience.
1. Allow the podcast host to try out the product or service and develop their own understanding of its benefits.
Before any ad is recorded, the sponsor should connect with the host of the podcast they want to work with (for Backyard Media podcast partners, we will facilitate this connection). As a majority of podcast ads are host-read (and we explain why in this post here), it's vital that any podcast host reading a sponsor message understands the product she's endorsing. When possible, sponsors should offer the host a trial of their product or service. This way a host can take the time to try it out and understand the product as a customer would.
More importantly, first-hand experience with a product allows the host to draw upon personal experience during the ad. Listeners trust podcast hosts and value their opinions, so if a host can provide a sincere personal reason for why they appreciate a product, the podcast ad is that much better for it.
2. Provide an ad script that is short, impactful, and leans into the culture of the show.
When sponsors decide they want the podcast host to stick to an ad script, the script should hit the most important features while also staying relatively short - most podcast ads are 30-60 seconds, with some being as short as 15 seconds. Note that a podcast ad isn't simply about porting over messaging from other marketing campaigns. A sponsor should also consider the type of show the ad is appearing on.
For instance, is the podcast about productivity tips for freelancers? In that case, sponsors should identify any features that save time or add convenience and add that to their script. If the podcast is science-based, then they should insert research or studies done to demonstrate the product's effectiveness. If the sponsor has any charitable aspects to their business (e.g. donating a product when X number are sold), that can be a highlight of the company's culture and give listeners of religious shows or shows about local communities in particular another reason to consider buying.
Finally, ad scripts should feel like the host had a part in writing them. While this likely won't be the case, it's important that the wording of the ad not feel out of place with the tone of the podcast's content. Many comedy podcasts or podcasts where the host maintains a lighthearted demeanor benefit from podcast ad scripts that make jokes or are otherwise humorous. We know that listeners view a podcast ad as integrated into a show's content. So the more the ad's language matches the language of that content, the more solidified that connection becomes.
3. Trust the host's judgement and provide a list of messaging points for them to hit.
Another option for sponsors is to trust the host's judgement by providing a short list of must-hit messaging points instead of an ad script. Podcast hosts know their audience and have spent hours crafting their own voice. More importantly, audiences have spent hours listening to that voice and have a sense of how the show should sound. When a podcast host pitches a product in their own words, the ad is indistinguishable from the sound of the rest of the show.
Take a listen from a recent host-lead ad read by our partner First Mondays, a podcast that provides an inside look into current Supreme Court cases:
Notice that hosts Ian and Dan manage to hit a number of selling point for Helix mattresses while discussing a number of personal reasons why those points are important to them. They also lean on their rapport with one another, mirroring the sound of the show's regular content.
Sponsors who give a host the freedom to craft their ad must be sure to follow step #1 - give the host a chance to try their product. Any host-led ad will be necessarily dependent upon personal experience and anecdotes, and if the host hasn't tried the sponsor's product, listeners will be able to tell. For sponsors, this path can be easier than providing an ad script in that they don't need to try and match the tone of the show. The podcast host will naturally do that in the course of the ad.
These are some of the primary ways in which sponsors can start building the perfect podcast ad and achieve an even higher ROI for their marketing dollars. Backyard Media works with all new sponsors to ensure that their ads will sound great on any of our partner podcasts.
Ready to get started with advertising on Backyard Media podcasts? Contact us here.
Backyard Media is a marketplace for podcast advertising. We connect content creators of all shapes and sizes with awesome sponsors, providing them with the resources they need to do what they do best. Everyone wins.