3 Things to Keep in Mind When Beginning Podcast Advertising

Savvy brands are finally listening—they see that podcasting is a winning way to reach consumers. Podcast listeners are young, diverse, and engaged with the content. And at SXM Media, we’re ready, willing, and excited to get your brand on board. After your initial “aha” moment, you realize you want to advertise on podcasts, but now what? 

1. Go in With a Strategy in Mind

To a lot of new advertisers, podcasting is just a concept. They’ve heard of podcasts, and they want in. However, just like advertising on TV or digital media, it’s not that simple. 

“We’re seeing interest and excitement around podcasts. But a medium isn’t an idea,” Taylor Palmer, Associate Director of Podcast Creator Strategy for SXM Media, said at October’s Advertising Week New York panel. “We need to take a step back and explain what your options actually are.” 

Podcasting is a medium representing millions of on-demand audio shows. Since no single advertiser could cover that much ground, you need a strategy for podcast advertising. What is the product you’re marketing? What are your campaign objectives? Who’s your target audience? What are your brand values? These are just a few of our questions (and we break it all down even further for you

here).

2. Don’t Rule Out the Less Glamorous-Sounding Options

We couldn’t be happier when advertisers are excited about podcasting—we just want you to be excited about the right things. In fact, some advertisers kick off conversations with bold proclamations, like, “I want to start my own branded podcast,” or “I want to advertise on Conan O’Brien’s podcast.” We like to go back to the basics and lay out all your available options, especially since we can’t overlook a brand’s budget. 

 “We need to have a happy medium here. We assess what exactly your goals are and why you are interested in what you’re interested in,” Palmer said.

 Let’s start with original branded podcasts. We know they sound sexy, but Palmer said they aren’t always the best approach. From development and scripting to production and distribution, branded podcasts are huge undertakings. Starting from whole cloth is not necessarily the most efficient way to harness podcasting, Palmer said.

Similarly, when brand executives ask to advertise on a specific podcast or with a celebrity host, Palmer urges them to step back. There might be another podcaster out there who is better aligned. It could be more cost effective to spread a campaign out across several podcasts, rather than doubling down on one of the most popular (and most expensive) podcasts.

All that being said, talk to us and rest assured that we’ll point you in the right direction. 

“There are other things out there you can do in the podcast space to activate your brand in a meaningful way,” Palmer said. Getting clients to see that, he said, sometimes just takes some extra work. “When you really scratch through the veneer a little, sometimes you can find a brand that needs a little extra help moving in another direction.”

3. Move in the Right Direction for Your Brand

So, what are some other options? Palmer urges clients to consider a few ideas:

  • Partner with an existing podcast that aligns with your values and draws your target audience.

  • Work with a podcast host who doubles as a brand ambassador to endorse your brand and voice host-read ads.

  • Sponsor a single podcast episode to showcase your brand in an exclusive environment, like Buick’s recent sponsorship of a

    special Office Ladies episode.

  • Create an amazing audience experience where users can participate in their favorite podcast. For example, we worked on a campaign with the Office Ladies and State Farm, where fans could send in voice memos to the hosts. “You could just hear the excitement in people’s voices when they’re playing their voice memo on the podcast—because they’re there; they’re a part of their favorite podcast,” said Palmer.

There’s no blueprint for podcast advertising. But there is a common goal: Marry your brand with the very best podcast content and hosts.  

“With the experience and expertise that we have, we can help guide someone in the right direction to make the best possible version of a campaign,” Palmer said.

Developing a strategy takes time, investment, and vision. At SXM Media, we’re experts in helping brands find the podcast advertising solutions best suited to their needs. We roll up our sleeves and get to work. To get started,

contact us today.