With 5 years of professional Social Media marketing experience, Terran has developed and managed social media strategies across a multitude of industries in both B2C and B2B.
Since 2012, podcasts have been growing, both in popularity and as a strong engine for advertising dollars. There are a huge number of podcast listeners that did not like podcasts in 2012 that are now avid listeners. With podcasting becoming a hobby turned career for a lot of people in the past several years, advertisers have started seeing their ROI increase, resulting in advertisers putting even more money into the pot. Whether you’re a brand looking to start a podcast or sponsor one, you need to get involved in the craze that is podcasting.
Hello everyone and welcome to how to build an audio brand via podcasting. I’m Terran Benedict’s and let’s just get started. Who am I? Well, I work at Anvil media as the social media specialist and Account Executive. I am also an avid podcast enthusiast, I have written several blog articles, and I’ve listed those out here as well, which you might find useful. I really got into podcasting probably about two years ago. I’ve started my own podcast and I’m starting a couple more this summer. I’ve gone through the pains and struggles myself. Along the way I’ve done a lot of research I’ve made a lot of connections and learned firsthand what it takes to start a podcast, as well as the marketing side of it all.
So, why podcasting you might be asking? Well podcast listeners, they’re very hyper engaged. Studies have shown that they listen to the sponsored ads in podcast, and they actually follow up and they’re very high in conversion rates as well. 80% of podcast listeners they listen to all or most of each episode. They consume an average of seven shows per week, that’s anywhere between three and a half to seven hours 44% of the U.S. population listened to a podcast and almost 30% of the podcast listens monthly. This number continues to grow and when you think about 30% of the population listening monthly out of the forty four percent that listened, that’s a huge chunk of people who have listened, that continue to listen. And 50% of homes are podcast fans, homes have podcast fans in them, so, that’s over 16 million homes that your brand can reach monthly. That’s why you should be podcasting.
So, if you’re considering starting the podcast for your brand, some questions you should ask yourself: Does your audience listen to podcasts? Do you have valuable information to share now? Like I said, over almost 30% of the U.S. population are listening to podcasts, so, there is a huge likelihood that a portion of your audience is listening to podcasts monthly, possibly even weekly. Does your brand care enough about itself to talk about products and services or industry related news on a regular basis? Because you need to do it on a regular basis, you need to fill a show. Whether that’s 30 minutes or an hour you need to fill that time every week or every other week or monthly, however, the cadence you put on your podcast needs to be done consistently.
Are you looking to build a relationship between your brand and your audience? Do you want your brand to have a voice? This podcast can act as that voice. A podcast actually puts a legitimate voice to your brand so that’s something huge to consider if you’re considering starting to podcast. Do you want to take the time to learn the technical details of podcasting and if not are you willing to pay someone to handle the technical details for you? As somebody who has had to live through the struggles of the learning curve that goes along with all the technical details of this, I can say that if you can afford it get somebody who knows what they’re doing, do that. Because you’re going to have to learn a lot, and if you have somebody who already knows what they’re doing, less mistakes are going to be made and less headaches are going to be had.
So, why are people listening to podcasts? Well, if we look at the people who are listening they’ll describe podcasts as more authentic because these are real people. Whether they’re celebrities or just an average Joe or an average Jane, these are real people hosting these podcasts. Whereas YouTube vloggers used to be seen this way as authentic, they’re now just seen as gimmicky and attention hungry. So. podcasts have these experts that are gaining followers based on their expertise, not just some whacky thumbnail they choose or based on their looks or the fact that they’re jumping on social trends. So, moreover it’s a great source of inspiration for people staying educated on topics that interest them or even just for increasing their interest level during mundane tasks.
So, let’s get into understanding podcasters because if we’re going to work with them or if we’re going to be them we need to understand them. Why are people starting these podcasts? Well the short and simple of it is because they have stories to tell. These are natural storytellers, they have information they want to share and they want to become thought leaders on certain topics. They want to start an online community, to connect with like-minded people. But, overall the main thing is that they just want to share knowledge and experience. These people want to talk! They probably talk too much just like I’m doing right now probably.
So, let’s get onto the next slide. The average cost of equipment is huge because this really helps you understand the mindset of these podcast people. They’re putting their own money into buying this equipment, so, they are committed to what they’re doing and they’re going to work hard to make sure it’s successful. They’re investing in themselves. They have to pay for hosting fees whether that’s through a website that they pay annually or third-party hosting sites, which are typically paid monthly. Then you have equipment costs. You need to pay for the microphone, for sound mixers and you pay for adapters and all the cords, everything that goes along with it. You need to pay for editing software and of course they’re also paying with their time and effort. This can cost anywhere between $75 to $500 just to get started and then they’re paying monthly costs, that could range from anywhere as little as $20 a month to a $100 a month. These people really do understand what they’re getting themselves into and they’re fully into it. If your brand voice matches their voice, then they’re going to work hard for you, and present your content to their audience in the most engaging ways because that’s what they do.
How do brands and podcasts work together? We’ve kind of already touched on this but just to reiterate why podcasts need sponsorships is because they’re paying a lot of money, and it costs money to improve the production value over time. All podcasters dream of podcasting for a living. They want that to be their full-time job. There are podcasters who do earn enough money that they can just do that for work and dedicate a hundred percent of their professional time to their show, which makes it that much better. Podcasters do work a lot too. There are some podcast hosts out there that work 80 hours a week and that’s their full-time job, and they love it. They work hard and they never stop. So, the goal of a sponsor should really be to position themselves to the audience as a savior, in some form or fashion because, essentially you are keeping the show broadcasting. You’re improving the production value or at least keeping it high, and you’re making sure that content is rolling out consistently. And of course, the sponsor should be seen as a savior to the host of the podcast themselves because helping them turn their hobby into a full-time job.
Is podcast sponsoring right for your brand? Here’s some more questions to ask yourself; Does your audience listen to podcasts? Are there podcasts out there that align with your brand? The answer is yes because there are so many different types of podcasts out there. Just look around and you’re going to find a podcast that fits your key demographic and the values that your brand holds dear. Can your brand offer value in a sponsored ad on a podcast in some form of a discount or free shipping? If you can give value to these listeners they’re going to want to pay attention and that’s the point. Does your brand want to build a relationship with it audience? This is a way where you can build a relationship through that podcast itself. You’re a part of this entertainment that they frequent, that they check in on weekly or monthly, you’re a part of that. Do you want your brand voice to share with that podcast? Essentially, you have to see it like this, if you have your own podcast that’s the voice for your brand. If you’re sponsoring on a podcast you’re essentially making that podcast, to that audience at least, your voice. That’s your brand voice, so, you have to really consider that when you’re choosing what podcasts to sponsor because you’re making this podcast the voice for your brand. Do you want to reap the benefits of podcast and without actually having to produce a weekly show yourself? If all these answers are yes then I think you’re right for sponsoring. Before we get into the best practices we’re sponsoring let’s get into how to actually start and maintain your own podcast so that you know where your money is going.
How do you create your own podcast? There’s a lot of things that into it but first you have to define your purpose and goals. What is the goal of this podcast? Are you just trying to increase brand awareness? Is this for educational purposes? Do you want to support or empower the community or certain movement? The structure of your podcast has to support those goals. The content has to focus on your purpose at all times. So, what are the goals for your podcast? Are you trying to break into new audiences? Are you trying to increase the size and value of your online network? Are you trying to increase the traffic to your website or create more personal relationships with your customer base? These are definitely big things that you have to decide on before you can move forward to the next part which is selecting a host.
You need to select someone to be the voice of your brand. I’ve already talked about this, this is a huge portion. You need to decide if they’re going to do this podcast solo or if they’re going to have a co-host on it. If you have a co-host then possibly you want them to build momentum off of each other and keep a conversation lively. You have to make sure that they have good chemistry in order for this to be possible. Do you want this host to be an interviewer? Do you want them to interview partners or industry leaders that come onto your show? This person needs to be a good speaker, they need to enunciate everything and keep their voice level without sounding too monotone. The better the speaker, the more attentive the audience will be so you want somebody who’s a good public speaker plain and simple. Even though they’re not going to actually be out in public, they need to be able to keep a conversation going to not stutter and use “ums,” which I know I’m guilty of that. This person should also know your brand well. This is huge whether or not they’re supposed to be the expert they do need to know your brand or your service to a certain degree. They can be a novice on your brand or they can be the expert if they’re the person who’s answering the questions. They need to be the person who’s at least knowing what questions to ask.
What type of content do you want your podcast to have? You need to make sure that you have proper supports in place to amplify and maximize the value of the content you’re providing. Are you going to have guests on this podcast? If that’s the case you need to make sure that you have episodes completely laid out and scheduled well advance to interview them. You need to also have backup plans if they end up committing to an interview a month from now, then two weeks before they tell they can’t make it. You need to have a plan B and preferably a plan C as well. Do you want to have co-hosts on this show? Do you want it to be more of a conversation or do you want it to be more of an interview setting? Plan these things out before you even pick up a microphone.
Next you need to decide on the show description. I say description before title because you need to write out exactly what your show is going to be about using rich keyword descriptions first. Make sure that it’s a paragraph that really runs down exactly what your show is going to be about so that people who look at it will know exactly what you expect, and when they decide to listen to an episode they’re not caught off guard. After you’ve done that then you come up with your show title and take your time on this because you really don’t want to just pick anything. Pick something that’s brandable and something that’s keyword rich because iTunes really is a big search engine. It’s the most popular place people are listening to podcasts so if they’re searching up something about, I don’t know street art. They’re not going to be looking up your podcast. They’re not going to discover your podcast if your title doesn’t say something along those lines or include those keywords. If you decide to name your podcast, let’s say ‘Painter’s Alley,’ you’re not going to be discovered for your street art because nobody’s searching that up. These are things to consider so you can make sure to be discoverable through your title.
Next, you need to outline your episode. This is easy, you’ve already decided what your show is going to be, you’ve decided your goals, so, now you just need to create an introduction that’s consistent. Give an overview of your episode and you can play with the outlines of your episodes. None of them have to be standard or exactly the same but you should cover what topics you want in your outline and you should cover your closing thoughts and your sign-off. Your sign-off should include where people can find you on social media or have some sort of call to action for people and then you’ll want to test two or three episodes before launching anything. You podcast needs to be it needs to be as well done as possible before you start broadcasting it everywhere, it’s not going to be perfect right out of the gate but you need to make sure that you’re not putting something out there that you’re going to absolutely hate or want to take down if a couple weeks. So, test out episodes before launching, two or three is a good number to hit.
You’re going to want to decide on a logo and you want to make sure it’s brandable. You need something that’s going to stick in people’s minds for iTunes. Make your logo 1400×1400 pixels, and this is true for any podcatcher, which is a place where people listen to podcasts, such as, iTunes and Spotify. You’ll want to make sure your logo will actually tell a story about what your podcast is going to be about. If they can see your logo and they expect that it’s going to be creative and upbeat then they’re going to expect a creative and upbeat podcast. If it doesn’t match the podcast tone itself then it’s not a good logo. Make sure that visually you’re prepping people for your podcast.
Schedule and plan your episodes a month in advance, I may even say plan two months in advance if you can. If you can stockpile episodes to plan for when your speakers are taking vacation time then that’s great too. Additionally, you might even just want to have an episode in your back pocket every week, especially if you’re doing interview episodes because if those fall through then you need something to put out there that’s going to be quality content, not something you had to rush last-minute.
I’m going to cover three different price points for equipment setups. The first one is the cost-effective setup or as I like to call it, ‘the dirt cheap’ setup. This podcast is not going to break the bank but it is going to give you good sounding audio at a good price so first you want to take a cardboard box, then take cheap foam squares and line the inside of that box, putting the microphone inside of there. This will help get rid of all that background noise. Then you want to make sure you get a condenser microphone. You can actually find a good one for about twenty or thirty dollars on Amazon, one of the Neewer brand microphones. Any cheap microphone stand will be fine and then make sure you have the proper cords to plug into your laptop and whatnot. Lastly, download a free version of audacity for your recording and editing purposes. This will reduce the echo and white noise that you’ll get through your recordings and it will improve the sound quality. You’re going to sound fine, the limitations of this though are that it will get awkward if you have somebody that you’re interviewing is in the studio and you’re both talking into boxes, it just feels a little off.
Next, we have the average set up this is the ‘Semi-Pro’ set up what you do is you get a higher quality condenser microphone around $50 to $70. Get a good sound mixer that has multiple audio ports for different microphones. Get the microphone stand and this time instead of putting a box in front of you, take cardboard, spray adhesive and then you put foam squares on top of that to create your own noise absorbing panels to hang on the wall. No need to buy these $150 panels, you can make your own for about $25. Make sure that you have the proper cords to plug into your laptop and everything like that. Pay about $20 a month for Adobe Audition, this will be your recording and editing software. This setup is where you get a little increased post-production value. This is going to be good for giving you the ability to customize and control your audio, sound effects, music and it just it’ll sound better. It’ll also be a more open and welcoming recording space if you have guests on the show.
Now, if you’re trying to get real fancy, this is the ‘high-end’ set up. This is where your microphone is definitely going to cost you over $100. You could buy something that’s a $250 yeti microphone and you’re going to want to make sure that you have a top-notch sound mixer. You’ll want to have those foam panels, you’re going to want to have adobe audition for audio recording and editing. This is a this is definitely something where you would want someone who knows what they’re doing handling all of your equipment. And you would have a legitimate studio dedicated just for recording purposes.
But what about editing? I mentioned editing software but how do you edit the podcast? So, the two programs I mentioned, one is free and one cost twenty dollars a month. Audacity is free, it’s an open-source program. It’s been around forever and it keeps coming out with updates. There are so many forums and tutorials online about how to use it and how to troubleshoot things but it does have its limitations Adobe Creative Cloud has Adobe Audition, which is a much more advanced editing software and it has presets built in so that you really just have to drag and drop stacks of effects and it cleans up your audio for you. It just makes the whole editing process that much quicker and with less headaches.
Now podcast hosting vs broadcasting. Well, what’s the difference? A hosting site and a podcatcher, such as iTunes, are very different. You don’t upload directly to iTunes, you upload directly to a hosting site for distribution. If you’re not using your website, you might use something like buzzsprout. This is something you pay monthly and you have a data allowance. You upload audio files which are then distributed to different podcasts, such as iTunes, stitcher radio, Spotify and whatnot. This is where you perform all your optimizations to your channels so you have all those show titles, episode titles, descriptions–all of that’s up to date and then you send your RSS feed to all these podcatchers. That’s where people actually view and download your episodes. The best hosting options we have out there are really libsyn, blueberry, SoundCloud and buzzsprout. All of these are really good choices and it really depends on what your monthly budget would be. These are all different data allowance price points, so, for instance with Libsyn for $5 a month you’re able to upload about two hours of audio. If that’s really all you’re going to be uploading then that’s a $5 a month hosting fee that you can pay. As for the best podcatchers out there, when it comes to iOS users its iTunes. For Android users, they might listen on a few different podcasts, such as Stitcher Radio, Podcast Addict, Dog Catcher, Podcast Player and things like that. These four right here that I have images of—iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and Spotify are the top ones that you should be on.
Next let’s talk about how to archive podcasts for free. How do we archive podcasts and why are we doing this? Well, you may have limited hosting data on these sites so if you reach that max data and they won’t allow you to upload any new episodes unless you remove other episodes. Then you’re losing those episodes forever and that’s not something you want because that’s good content for SEO that you’re missing out on right there. You want to go to YouTube and repurpose these audio files into video files and upload them onto YouTube. YouTube has an SEO ranking of a hundred in Google search, meaning that if your content is optimized it’s very likely to show up in relevant search queries. You don’t need to actually film your podcast sessions behind the scenes stuff, although this is a popular tactic that a lot of people use and they do get a lot of engagement. That’s an option but it does take more production value. All you need to do is select a thumbnail image and set that as the visual for the video, and then just underlay your audio track. That’s it! Optimize that video, include links back to your podcast on iTunes and Stitcher and everything else, your website link, products and anything else.
When you’re hosting your own podcast you want to be on social media. You’re going to want to go to Facebook and Twitter and just share directly. Share those links to those episodes directly. Most likely your iTunes links are going to be the ones you share on Instagram. Share a preview or an announcement of the latest episode, a behind the scenes picture and video, definitely in your stories and possibly in your posts as well. This gives you more engaging content to share with your audience. Instagram and Twitter are very good places for people to discover your podcast. On YouTube, as we just mentioned you’re going to repurpose those videos but you’re also going to want to create a playlist for them. Date them by year or topic, whichever one you find is more helpful for you from an organization standpoint. On Pinterest you’re going to want to share those videos of the podcast, include some call to actions to tell people to subscribe to you on iTunes. For Google+ be sure to share the podcast episodes directly same as Facebook and Twitter. Lastly, share on LinkedIn. If you’re a professional podcaster, go ahead and share a blog post that you write around an episode. Always include a call to action to tell people if they want more information about something to listen to your episode. You’re going to want to share just related topics as well and tell people that if they want to know more of your thoughts on this topic to check out your podcast. To boost the visibility we can’t forget about hashtags in regards to Instagram and Twitter so you’re going to want to look up and use some popular hashtags. Some popular ones for podcasts are literally just #podcast #podcastguests, those are popular hashtags to use that are searched up often. You’re going to want to add in a branded hashtag for your podcast and then you’re going to want to add in any other hashtags that relate back to the content within that episode. Finally for social media, you’re going to want to boost some posts as well put like $10 behind an episode just to increase the impressions and listens on that particular episode. Set up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn ads which can specifically target your audience. If you can host the podcast on your website then that’s a great way for you to set up some pay-per-conversions. Instead of pay-per-click you can set up a pixel on your site and track when a person has actually listened to your podcast.
When it comes to other ways to promote your podcast cross-promotion is a great idea teaming up with another podcast that overlaps in terms of your audience. What you can do here is actually check out another podcast, see that this is the type of audience that listens to their podcast and determine what type of value you can bring that audience. Once you’ve figured out what your mutual benefits are for both your podcast and this other podcast, you can reach out and present that partnership opportunity. Some things to keep in mind for this though is to make sure you get analytics from this other podcast. You need to know how their listeners interact with this podcast and you also need to share your own analytics as well. Determine what this other podcast can actually provide you in return. Are you looking to break into new markets? Do you see this partnership leading to that? Be able to track your progress and results with this partnership. This is where coupon codes and link tracking come in handy.
Finally, how to sponsor a podcast! If you don’t want to start your own podcast, you want to sponsor one. Here’s how you do it–go to Midroll. Midroll is a third-party advertising company. They match advertisers with podcasters. Their goal is to let the podcasters, these content creators focus, on their shows and then give advertisers the benefit of working with a professional sales team. I can speak from experience, having worked with social media influencers for three years, a week-long discussion with a salesperson will take at least a month if you’re talking directly to the content creator. A sales person will actually understand what’s going into a contract, what’s happening. A content creator often just doesn’t understand how things work. They often will ask for too much, they won’t pay attention to deals within the contract–it can be a whole mess. So, working with a third-party company like Midroll, it ensures that you’re getting quality advertisement and that you have control over what’s actually happening. One thing to mention about this is that Midroll uses a cost-per-thousand download model called a CPM. For example, a CPM of $25 for a spot on a show with 10,000 downloads per episode will cost you $250. That’s 10,000 people who are downloading episodes every single time one is released, so, $250 to reach 10,000 people. Moreover, with $25 CPM for 100,000 downloads would be $2,500.
Some best practices to keep in mind…first off, make your host your advocate. If you have a product or service it’s important to let the host try it out for free to get that real experience. When someone is speaking from experience you can tell they’re actually remembering things and you can feel the authenticity in their voice. Keep in mind anyone can read off a piece of paper but if you have sponsored ad spots from people that have real experience then they can possibly ad-lib a little bit, with guidelines of course. Someone who understands your brand will just end up making it so much better in the end.
Next one, is to have great ad copy. Don’t just pitch 150 word ads. Tell a story in the great ad copy you provide the podcast host and it will make it so much easier for them to sell and to help your brand. If you can give your podcast hosts some creative space to work within your ad, which I very much recommend, you can give them guidelines for adlibbing. They can end up making your ad spot a part of the show instead of just a break from the show to talk about their sponsor. Oftentimes, with this example right here some podcasts will have co-hosts rift off each other about certain ads, sharing their personal experiences with the product and personalize your ad. When the ad becomes a part of the show, listeners don’t want to miss out.
Next, want to make sure you track everything. Offer coupon codes or use custom, trackable URLs. I would also recommend that you create a checkout survey if you’re selling products online. Have a checkout survey in tandem to verify where your customers heard of you and where they came from. Lastly, you want to test and evaluate. Be sure to track and compare different ad spots to see what works better before you give up on any ad spot on a podcast, especially when it shares a key demographic with your brand. Try tweaking your ad copy a little bit and test again. You’re also going to want to listen to how the host is actually reading your ad because you may realize that the host is being too stiff with the ad spot and they’re not actually making it personal. Have a conversation with this host about their experience with your product. Are they not really testing out? Why not? This might give you good feedback for improving ad copy next time, as well as choosing a podcast host.
A good example of a sponsorship is Nature Box. They found the podcast called ‘If I Were You.’ Nature Box is a snack subscription service that does well with busy Millennials that don’t necessarily have time to prep their own snacks. If I Were You is a comedic advice podcast that many Millennials tune into to hear two unqualified jokesters give somewhat helpful but, always humorous advice. For their ads for these guys, Nature Box sends them details of a special offer, a tagline and a coupon code. The two hosts will then share those details, make some jokes, talk about the snacks they’re currently getting in their subscription boxes, and then share the coding details again. The ad just becomes a part of the show. They can make more jokes, ad-lib, improvise and the listeners just don’t want to miss out on this because this truly is a part of the entertainment value.
A couple of case studies and ROI from other businesses for you. Midroll offers some case studies on their website showing they’re great ROI for different businesses that work through them. Igloo Software is a company with a digital workplace platform. Back in 2013, before podcasts were really picking up speed, they saw 7% of their software opportunities coming directly from podcasts. But the big thing is that 21% of the opportunity value of all these leads were making the decision to purchase based on the podcast ads that they heard. Almost a quarter of the leads that were coming in, this pipeline value made their decision to buy based on the podcast ad. Next, let’s look at Foot cardigan. They claim that between 15 and 20 percent of all their sales opportunities are coming directly from podcast ads. Another great case study here is Talenti. They surveyed 608 Gastropod and Spilled Milk listeners, two podcasts that they advertise on, and they found that 71% of them said that they were much more likely to buy Talenti after hearing the ad. Also, 74% of those listeners were able to recall which of the 25 gelato flavors were featured in the ad that they heard.
So, are you ready to get started in podcasting? Please, let me know if you have any questions and thank you. These slides will be sent to you after we’re done here, please utilize the chat if you have any questions for me and I will answer those now.
I have a question here, “are certain genres of podcasts better to advertise on than others?” Yes, I would actually say that given research, the best podcast to advertise on are actually comedic podcasts because when people are happy they’re more likely to buy, plain and simple. When you have people who are making light of the ad, not being pushy but also not making fun of the products, people are happier and? more open to making purchase.
Another question I have here, “do sponsored ads for B2B products work on podcasts?” Yes, they do. That first case study I showed a couple slides back, Igloo Software, they’re a B2B product that saw almost a quarter of their pipeline value coming directly from podcast ads. So, it is a great opportunity even if you’re a B2B product or service because people are listening to these podcasts and people work at these other businesses. If they’ve heard of you, they like you and they feel like they know your brand voice and values already through the podcast then they’re more likely to follow through and convert.
There is one more question I have here I’ll answer this one and then we’ll wrap it up. “How does one make a living being a podcaster? Do you have specific resources you could offer about how to do this?” Yes, you can contact us at Anvil and we can get involved in giving you a breakdown of all of that. How does someone make a living being a podcaster? Well, it’s really from sponsorship opportunities. What happens is that when brands sponsor your podcast they not only cover the cost of the podcast but also for your time as well. So, if you get multiple sponsorships on your podcast you’re starting to make money there and if you have enough people who are actually listening to your podcast and downloading, you can make am living. Just as I mentioned earlier about the CPM that Midroll has, if it’s $25 CPM for all of those downloads for 100,000 people then that sponsor is paying $2,500 for that ad and you’re getting a big percentage of that being that it’s your podcast. Midroll also takes a percentage but that’s how you end up making a living as a podcaster. All right great, well thank you all for joining me and listening to me talk and talk. These slides will be sent out to you right after this presentation. Take care everybody, thank you.
If you need help setting up your own podcast or advertising on another brand’s podcast, contact Anvil today!