**We interrupt this regularly scheduled content to bring you a blog about podcast advertising...**
Seriously though, have you ever thought about opening your B2B podcast up to sponsorships and/or ads? I know for some people this brings up feelings of discomfort...not wanting to look like a sellout or being inauthentic. But incorporating ads and sponsorships (the right way) actually adds value to your audience, while opening you up to new partnership opportunities or revenue streams so you can continue bringing your A-game to clients and prospects.
The trick is to handle advertising in a way that complements your show instead of compromising the content (or your brand’s mission or values).
Let’s take a look at the benefits, considerations, and best practices for navigating ads and sponsorships for your B2B podcast.
B2B Podcast Advertising: The Benefits
What’s the value of seeking sponsorships for your show, you ask? B2B podcasting ads provide a number of benefits, including:
Added value for listeners/customers
Sponsored content can benefit listeners in the form of exclusive offers, additional thought leadership, access to new and noteworthy services, shows, and products, and more.
Plus, if your sponsors are partners of your brand, it opens listeners up to your entire ecosystem of business value.
Investment in building a better show
Smart business owners take what they earn and reinvest it back into their business. The same is true for your show. Monetizing your B2B podcast provides new revenue streams to infuse back into the show’s production to create a better listening experience. This might mean outsourcing production or purchasing new equipment, which gives you more time and resources to focus on producing the best content for your listeners.
Sponsorships and ads don’t have to involve money. Instead, consider creating an in-kind contract that provides other perks:
- Co-promotion opportunities
- Access to email lists
- Access to the partner’s platform
Elevating your brand
Know when your show has really hit the big time? When recognizable brands want to advertise with you. Sponsorships bring credibility to your show by inviting big names that your listeners know, love, and trust. By attaching your brand with other high profile brands, you're adding an additional layer of credibility.
Before You Incorporate B2B Podcast Advertisements...
If you’re thinking of adding sponsorships or ads to your brand podcast, consider these important questions first:
Is monetization your main priority?
No judgment here — B2B podcast monetization isn’t a bad thing. It can absolutely be part of your strategy. But making it your sole priority could be cause for reconsideration, as focusing too much on creating a monetary stream might cause you to make decisions that don’t serve your audience. If you haven’t already, start by defining the why for your podcast and understanding what overall goals or purpose you’re trying to achieve.
How will adding a sponsor impact your goals?
At Casted, we’re big believers in setting goals for podcasts and never implementing something new just for the heck of it. Before you start selling ad space on your podcast, it’s important to identify what you’re looking to accomplish. This could include:
- Establishing a new revenue stream
- Improving show production
- Greater audience reach
- Bringing more education/value to listeners
Knowing your goals will help you attract the right advertisers and keep your show from turning into something it’s not.
Are podcasts a worthwhile advertising channel?
Podcasts are unique to other advertising channels because they include an audience of captivated listeners who care deeply about something. And because they’re so dedicated, they’re more likely to share your message (or your advertiser’s) if they believe it’s a quality product or service.
There’s tremendous value in podcast advertising — for both showrunners and advertisers. Not only is ad spending expected to hit $354 million by the end of 2020, but 54% of podcast consumers now say they’re more likely to consider the brands they hear advertised on podcasts.
What types of companies are you willing to give space to?
Just as you examine audience demographics for the publications, conferences, and channels your brand advertises on, it’s important to consider the typical customers of brands you bring on your show. If you don’t feel there’s mutual gain or an opportunity to co-market, it might be a lackluster partnership that could result in disengaged listeners and lost revenue for your advertiser.
Prepare Your Show for Sponsorship
If you’ve carefully considered opening your show up to advertisements, there are several best practices you implement before the requests start pouring in.
Create an ideal sponsor profile.
Consider the types of companies you’re interested in working with and what you expect out of each partnership. Are there any brands you won’t work with? Explore partner attributes (and potential challenges) like:
- Certain industries (Do they complement your industry?)
- Audience demographics (Do they align with your own?)
- Audience size (Is the partner audience the same or larger than yours?)
- Social following (Are there enough new people to attract?)
- Email lists (Are there opportunities for worthwhile list swapping?)
Identify your audience size.
Ad sales across any channel are typically based on audience exposure. Without knowing your audience size, it will be difficult to know how much to charge your sponsors.
Just remember — the number of episode downloads may not be a surefire metric for gauging audience size. How do your listeners consume your podcasts? Look across all your hosting platforms and consider all kinds of valuable metrics like number of subscribers, average time listened, or ratings/reviews.
Plan how much to charge for your advertising slots.
According to HubSpot (and one of our favorites, Sam Balter), the formula for cost of sponsorship is pretty standard:
(# of downloads per episode / 1000) x CPM* = cost of sponsoring one episode
*cost per thousand impressions
But sponsorships can be as little or as much as you choose to charge. At the end of the day, it’s another brand tapping into your audience, so it’s okay to be picky (and maybe even a little demanding!).
You’ve taken the time to build this audience and grow a relationship and valuable connection with them. You deserve to set limits and expectations for engaging with them.
Outline expectations for in-kind partnerships.
Even if you’re trading sponsorship spots for dollars, there’s still some opportunity to tap into co-marketing opportunities. There may not be an exact formula like there is for setting a price, but you can still use your audience size to gauge exposure to and dissemination of sponsored marketing content.
Before new partners ask, be ready with an outline of what you’ll expect from co-marketing engagements, including:
- Sponsorship/ad time on their podcast
- Being a guest on their podcast
- Social posts per sponsored episode
- Access to the partner’s platform
- Content about your podcast on their site
- Promotion of your podcast across their network
- Email list exchanges
Advertising and sponsorships are a great next step for growing your B2B podcast. If you’re ready, start building a plan for your podcast advertising strategy, and let your partners know you’re open to sponsorship opportunities.
The best part? Casted can help you manage it all in one unified platform. Align your campaigns and promotional tactics, while tracking revenue and podcast metrics to see the true impact of your show. We’re committed to helping you gain true return on your efforts through easier content access, amplification, and attribution. Give us a shout to see for yourself!