Advertising is one of the best ways to make money from a podcast. It’s one of the most common ways to make money from a podcast. Advertising allows you to get paid for each podcast you produce, earning much more per visitor than you would from web advertising.
In order to get advertisers interested in your site, you need to have a podcast that gets at least a moderate amount of traffic. Unlike AdSense, where just anyone can get started even with next to no traffic, most podcast advertising deals tend to be with at least somewhat established podcasts.
Your website needs to look professional and your brand needs to be positive. Advertisers and sponsors will advertise in part because they want the exposure and the traffic, but also in part because they respect your brand and want to be linked to your podcast.
And remember: Unlike standard ads which are put up and taken down over time, an audio inserted into a podcast generally lasts forever. Advertisers love that.
Here’s what you need to know about landing advertising deals and keeping advertisers happy.
Where Do You Find Advertisers?
There are a few main places you can find potential advertisers.
First, look within your own industry. Look for people who have money and might benefit from exposure to your audience. Start to build a relationship with them as early as possible, even if you’re not ready to ask them to advertise yet.
There isn’t a real directory of potential advertisers. Instead, you have to do some thinking about who to reach out to.
Look within your own network. Are there people who already love your work that might want to be associated with your company? Start a conversation with them about potential advertising opportunities.
Look through your Twitter feed. Look for people who’ve commented a lot on your content or retweeted your content frequently. See if they’re tied to any company that might become an advertiser.
Download shows from all your competitors, as well as all the other shows in your industry. Listen for what sponsors and advertisers other shows have. Contact those advertisers and let them know you’re open for advertising as well.
Mention advertising and sponsorship opportunities in your show. Don’t do it every show, just every two or three shows so potential advertisers who listen to your podcast will know about the advertising opportunity. Make sure you phrase it as an opportunity and whatever you do, don’t sound like you’re desperate for advertisers. It’s simply an opportunity you want to inform them about.
These are just some of the places you can look. Because there’s no set place to look, you always have to keep your eyes open. A lot of sales will happen through relationships, so always keep an eye out for influential people you can connect with.
Create a Podcast Advertising Page
On your website should be a podcast advertising page with all the details about advertising. On this page, include:
- Audience numbers. This is one of the things your audience cares about most. Include your website’s traffic, your downloads per episode and your subscriber counts.
- Talk about your demographics. Who tends to listen to your podcast? What are their age ranges? Are they die hard fans or just anyone in your industry? Are they hard to reach through other kinds of media?
- Talk about your brand. How is your website and your podcast perceived in your industry? People advertise and sponsor websites that they’re proud to be associated with.
- Unique things about your audience. What sets your audience apart? For example, if your audience has proven that they’re willing to try new products, make sure you mention that on your advertiser page.
- Publishing schedule. How often do you publish? How often will the advertiser’s ad be inserted in the show?
- Prices. Consider mentioning prices, though many podcasters choose to withhold this information until they’re on the phone with a potential advertiser. You can also just put up web advertising prices and leave podcast advertising prices for an actual conversation.
- Contact information. Make it easy for advertisers to contact you by giving them your email and your phone number.
How Much Should You Charge Advertisers?
As a rule of thumb, you can expect to charge between 2 cents and 5 cents per download for a 30 second advertising spot. The actual rate you charge depends on a few things:
- When in the podcast is the advertisement played? Ads played in the beginning of the show are more valuable, because everyone hears the ad. Ads in the middle or the end of the show are less valuable because a certain percentage of your audience won’t get to that part of the show.
- If you (the podcaster) read the ad rather than the advertiser, you can often charge a little more for that.
- The length of the ad. The longer the ad, the more you can ask for.
- Your brand and your audience. The more established your brand and the larger your audience, the more you’ll be able to ask for per-download.
For example, let’s say you average 10,000 downloads for the average show. You’re charging 3.5 cents per download, which brings in $350 per advertiser, per download. If you have two advertisers per show and one show a week, that’s $2,800 a month.
These are just rules of thumb. You can also charge on a monthly basis or charge a flat fee per episode produced. The 2 to 5 cent guideline is just a starting point for you to set your prices. You can also start low, with the understanding that as your show gains popularity prices may rise.
Different Types of Podcast Ads
There are quite a few different ways you can promote an advertiser on your podcast. These are the most popular types.
- Audio provided by advertiser. Your advertiser simply records their own audio segment and gives it to you. You insert it in the beginning, middle or end of your podcast.
- You read the promotion for your advertiser. This helps build your advertiser’s credibility, because your audience already trusts you. Your advertiser might choose to write the script for you, or you can both co-write the script for the best results.
- A “brought to you by” segment. You might have a specific part of your show be “brought to you by” the sponsor. For instance, let’s say you run a science experiment podcast. Right before you embark on the experiment, you’d say something like “This experiment is brought to you by XYZ company.”
- A simple sound bite. Instead of a 20 to 30 second ad, your advertiser might simply want a 3 to 5 second ad saying something like “XYZ podcast sponsored by ABC.” This allows them to pay a lot less for air time, while getting their brand exposure out to a lot of people.
- Advertising on your website. Instead of having their audio inserted into your podcast, they can advertise on your podcast website instead.
In addition to these five types of ads, there’s one more type that deserves special mention. That’s the response driven affiliate advertisement.
Affiliate Advertisements on Podcasting
Did you know that you can do affiliate marketing or performance-based marketing through podcasting?
The easiest way this is done is through coupon codes. The ad in your podcast will say something like “This podcast brought to you by XYZ. To receive a free ______ product from XYZ, go to XYZ.com and enter the code 1234ABCD.”
Audible.com does this brilliantly. They advertise on prominent shows like NPR and offer a free audio book download to their subscribers. Each podcast gets their own unique coupon code, which allows Audible to track where each sale comes from.
Often time’s the payment from these kinds of programs is blended. That means you get a certain amount per download, plus a commission fee for every purchase made from your visitors.
Unlike web affiliate programs, getting on these kinds of affiliate programs requires you to actually pick up the phone and build a real advertising relationship with your advertisers. It’s a more involved deal than just generating a link online.
Ask for the “biz dev” (business development) department when you call, if you’re calling a larger company.
Help Your Advertisers Succeed
Advertising on your podcast should be a win/win deal for your advertisers. If they’re not getting a good deal, if they’re not seeing a return on their money, if they can’t track their results, if they aren’t sure that advertising with you is a great deal – Then eventually, they’re going to cancel their advertising deal.
It’s your job to help your advertisers succeed. How do you do that?
- Help them track their results. Use coupon codes, as described above, to give them concrete numbers how their ROI.
- Survey your audience. Use online survey tools to ask them about products and services they want, as well as products and services they like or don’t like. Include your advertiser’s brand in your survey. Use this information to help inform your advertisers about ways they could improve their ads or their offerings.
- Help them record great ads. Ads recorded by you will almost always have more of an impact than ads recorded by your advertiser.
- Vary up their ads. Your audience will get used to an ad after hearing it a few times. Help your advertiser get more attention by rotating ads or varying the ad up every couple months.
- Help hone their ads. Is the message right? Does it strike your audience’s emotional cords? How could it be improved? Use your knowledge of your audience to help your advertisers succeed.
- Talk to your advertisers. Are they happy? Are they getting the results they want? If your advertisers are getting disgruntled, you should find out as soon as possible. Don’t wait until they’re ready to cancel to talk to them. Stay in contact and make sure your advertisers are happy at all times.
You now know where to find advertisers, what information to give them, how to price your ads, the different ad formats you can use and how to keep your advertisers happy. That covers everything you need to know to use your podcast to generate a consistent stream of income.