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Supercharging Podcast Sponsorship Copy

As an audio-only advertising agency, we use four, distinct audio platforms to reach our clients’ customers and prospects.  

The oldest, AM/FM, is still the most popular on both the local and national levels.  But the fastest-growing platform for both listenership and advertiser revenue is Podcasts, self-contained programs that generate over 500,000,000 streams and downloads every month in the U.S.  Over half the population has listened to a podcast and active podcast listeners devour an average of seven podcasts every week!

Be mindful that podcast listening can occur while driving, on commuter trains, at work, during gym time; pretty much anytime and anywhere, given audio’s portability and ubiquity. Get inside the mind of a podcast listener to understand their perspective and lifestyle as you create words to inspire them.

On traditional radio, the listener’s “itchy trigger finger” makes it essential to grab their attention within the first few seconds of the commercial, lest they mentally tune out or physically change stations.  With podcasts, where listeners usually have a bond with the program and its host(s), you have a little more leeway to establish a premise and make a connection. So, if the host voices your message, there’s a “stay tuned” factor in play, because listeners want to hear what he or she will say next.  

Focus on just one or two benefits that will keep the listener’s attention and generate interest.  Don’t overwhelm them with a laundry list of things they cannot possibly remember. 

Next comes the offer.  Make it appealing and add an urgent, easy-to-remember call to action that will inspire an immediate response versus an “I’ll get to it whenever” attitude.   If you can phrase the offer so that it’s something special “just for listeners to this podcast,” you’ve rewarded your prospects with membership to an exclusive club.  This may help boost your response rate.  

Consider the content of the podcast and know that the creative and presentation style is in the hands of the podcast host, to whom their fan base actively chooses to listen to for an hour or more every week.  Surrender creative control over every detail and let your talent do what they do best.

The host knows what their listeners like and what they want to hear.  A canned script will rarely sound genuine. So, it’s important to educate hosts and/or their producers on the product or service they’ll be promoting, along with suggestions on what can and cannot be said.  

Beyond that, the best thing to do is to provide bullet points that the hosts can use to craft their own read, in their own words.  They may not use any. They may use several. Beyond the mandatory call to action, offer and show-specific URL or promo code, give voice talent the freedom to speak to their loyal listeners and connect the way they always do.   

Test different copy points.  Perhaps different offers. Measure and optimize, just as you would with any other medium.  If all goes well, you’ll find enough wins to keep the acquisitions and sales flowing. 

 Barbra Tabnick is President of The Radio Agency, a national advertising agency 100% focused on creating and managing advertising campaigns through the medium of sound. You can reach her at [email protected].