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5 Experts Reveal Their Secrets

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5 Experts Reveal Their Secrets


Are you one of the 7.8 million Americans who commute to work every day? If so, I’m guessing you’ve listened to a podcast or two. You’re not alone. According to Infinite Dial, U.S. podcast audiences listen to an average of four to five podcasts per week.

The podcasting industry continues to grow YoY. In fact, Infinite Dial reports that, in 2021, 7 million more people were listening to podcasts than in 2020 alone.

That’s why it’s important to consider podcast advertising for your brand. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about podcast advertising — from top podcast advertising strategies to advertising rates and networks.

Podcast Expert Advertising Strategies

Before you get started with podcast advertising, consider this advice from the experts.

Use podcasting for brand awareness, not lead generation.

Rebekah Bek: As a UX writer for Ahrefs, Bek was put in charge of podcast sponsorships. She writes her advice for podcast advertising strategies in this Medium post. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Rather than being a tool for lead generation, podcast advertising is a tool for gaining exposure and brand awareness.
  • It’s not always about measurable ROI.
  • Organic, not scripted, mentions perform best.

Understand your audience may have eclectic tastes.

Midroll: Midroll, a company that matches advertisers with shows , gives their advice to advertisers. Here is the key takeaway:

  • It’s wise not to adhere too strictly to a category. Don’t assume that comedy audiences aren’t also entrepreneurs or that listeners to a sports podcast aren’t interested in a comedy special. You may be surprised at how broad and eclectic your audience tastes and needs are.

Ads read by the host perform better than third-party ads.

Jason Hoch: Former Chief Content Officer at HowStuffWorks, Hoch revealed what type of ads work best for their brand in an interview with DigiDay. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Ads read by the host perform better than scripted, third-party ads placed in the podcast.
  • Listeners feel like they are being shouted at with third-party ads.
  • Consider producing organic mentions for better results.

Test and measure the success of your campaigns.

Kurt Kaufer: Partner and CMO at Ad Results Media, a podcast advertising agency, Kaufer wrote a survival guide for podcast advertising in this Forbes post. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Measurement is the key to determining success in a podcast advertising campaign. Use promo codes, custom links, and post-checkout surveys to track success.
  • Be comfortable knowing not every ad will work at first and that a breadth of shows will need to be tested to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Measuring the success of your podcast campaigns is best done with a tool, like Casted, that gives you an overarching view of critical metrics. With the tool, you can access behavior metrics, demographic data, and traffic information that helps you understand your content’s true value. 

You don’t need to sponsor the biggest podcasts, you can reach the same people on smaller shows.

Sam Balter: Former podcast marketer at HubSpot, Balter wrote about his podcast advertising learnings in this post. Plus, I spoke with him about his top podcast advertising strategies. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Pre- and post-roll ad spots are generally cheaper than mid-roll and take less time. In addition, most ads have some sort of call-to-action that prompts listeners to go to a specific URL or use a discount code to get a discount.
  • Podcast popularity and listenership will only continue to rise and so will the opportunity to connect with people in a new and novel way.
  • When sponsoring podcasts, trust the host to deliver a message in their own voice.
  • It’s better to go for frequency than reach. Pick a podcasts where you can purchase three to five ads versus one on a large podcast.

Podcast Advertising Rates 2022

The amount you pay for podcast advertising will vary depending on the length and type of the ad.

It’s essential to know that podcasts offer different pricing structures. Ads are sold on a cost per mille (CPM) or cost per acquisition (CPA) rate. CPM is the cost you’ll pay per 1,000 impressions or downloads. CPA is the cost you’ll pay to acquire a customer. Most ads are priced on a CPM model.

The current average cost of podcast advertising is a CPM of about $25.

AdvertiseCast notes that the average CPM for 30-second ads is $18, and the average CPM for 60-second ads is $25.

podcast advertising cost 2022

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Podcast Advertising Networks

A podcast advertising network is an agency that connects companies or brands with respected podcasts on which to advertise. The goal is to take away the friction in podcast advertising by helping brands promote their products on podcasts and helping podcasters monetize their projects. A few examples include:

1. Midroll

Midroll, now part of SXM Media, is used by over 800 brands to buy ad spots on 300+ podcasts. With such a wide variety of shows, advertisers have the opportunity to use audience-based buying to ensure ads align with podcast topics most relevant to your brand, helping you accurately target relevant users and maximize reach.

Your ads can be pre-recorded or host read, the ladder being a valuable tool for generating brand trust as audiences trust hosts and see them as a valuable source of social proof. 

Midroll prices ads on a CPM model, so you pay based on the number of certified downloads each episode receives. Its website notes that prices can range from $18 to $50 CPM, with higher performing shows being more expensive. 

The advertiser portal also gives you an overview of campaign metrics, helping you see important data like forecasted downloads and ad placement cost per show. 

podcast advertising network: midroll

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2. Podcast One

Podcast One sees more than 2.1 billion annual downloads and 350 different episodes produced weekly, making it a high-impact platform for podcast advertisers. 

It offers pre-recorded and live host endorsements, and you can use its geo-targeting and copy-split capabilities to ensure you target the right audiences and pick placements for your ads that are most relevant to your business. 

With PodcastOne, you also have the unique ability to use visual integrations for your ads in the form of a sponsorship splash, an ad banner, or a forced video ad.

3. Megaphone

Megaphone offers powerful podcast advertising tools with the Spotify Audience Network, helping you target the most relevant listeners that are likely to drive the most impact across a wide variety of podcasts. 

With the service, you can:

  • Reach listeners according to their interests, purchase behavior, and things like apps, devices, and platforms that they use.
  • Get actionable campaign insights that help you understand performance to ensure you have the right strategy.
  • Use dynamic ad insertion to populate ads when downloaded so messaging is fresh and relevant.

Contact Megaphone to obtain pricing information.

4. AdvertiseCast

AdvertiseCast boasts 2,300+ podcasts, a 150,000,000+ monthly listener reach, and 4,200+ available ad spots to choose from, making it a valuable tool for podcast advertisers as you can select target audiences that are the best fit for your business. 

You also have three different podcast ad opportunities to choose from: 

  • Baked-in host-read ads (its most popular option), where podcast hosts read your ads within the episode. Pricing is based on length (60 seconds or 30 seconds) and whether you select mid-roll or pre-roll placement. 
  • Dynamically inserted ads, which are pre-produced, pre-recorded and scheduled to be inserted into podcast content. Pricing is based on the average number of downloads in the first 30 days. 
  • Custom podcast ad units where you can be as creative as you’d like, like a social media plug for your profiles, a 10-second shout out, or a 90-second baked-in mid-roll ad. 

AdvertiseCast also offers an end-to-end ad campaign platform that you can use to manage your ads and view detailed metrics that help you understand campaign performance. You can also make use of the full service solution, where AdvertiseCast manages the process for you.

Podcast Advertising Statistics 2022

1. There are around 2,000,000 podcast shows and over 48 million podcast episodes as of April 2021. (PodcastInsights, 2021)

2. 75% of the US population is familiar with the term “podcasting,” which is up 5% since 2019. (Infinite Dial, 2020)

3. Half of Podcast ads lasted longer in 30 seconds in length. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

4. A survey of 300,000 listeners found that 63% of people bought something a host had prompted on their show. (AdvertiseCast)

5. Cost per mille (CPM) or cost per 1,000 listeners is the most common pricing method for podcasts. (AdvertiseCast, 2021)

6. Dynamically-inserted ads increased the share of revenues from 48% to 67%. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

7. Streaming audio and podcasting is projected to be one of the channels with the largest growth in 2022, with a 17.8% increase. (Inside Radio, 2021)

8. Host-read and pre-product ads increased share of revenues from 27% to 35%. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

9. Local advertising for streaming audio and podcasting will outperform targeted banner advertising and broadcast TV. (Inside Radio, 2021)

10. U.S. Podcast Ad Revenue is set to exceed 2 Billion by 2023. (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2021)

Podcast advertising is a marketing tactic that is continuing to grow. As a majority of people have listened to a podcast, and engagement rates are increasing, brands can no longer ignore podcast advertising.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.

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3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

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3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Whew! We made it to 2023! As we closed in on the end of the year in December, the finish line seemed awfully far away. Many marketers told me they were busier than ever. 

I myself was fielding calls for strategy help, working on business deals and managing the chaos all the way to the eve of Christmas Eve, something that rarely happens in my 20-plus-year career. 

Look back and celebrate, then move on

The first business for 2023 will be to step back, clear your head and take stock of all the great things you accomplished in 2022 despite the odds (i.e., coming out of COVID, going into a rebound and COVID round 2, moving into supply-chain shortages and other hiccups, facing down a potential recession) and how they affected the work you did to succeed.

And now it’s 2023. I hope you got your budget request approved and you’re ready to move ahead with a clean slate and new KPIs to hit. You’re probably wondering, “What can I do now to grow my program?

3 directional changes to grow your email program

Naturally, every marketer’s goals will be unique. We have different audiences, challenges, resources and goals. But I’m focusing on three major directional changes with my clients this year. Which of these could help you succeed this year?

1. Stop sending so many emails

Yeah, I know. That sounds strange coming from somebody who believes wholeheartedly in email and its power to build your business. But even I have my limits!

Email during this last holiday shopping season was insane. In my 20+ years in the email industry, I cannot remember a time, even during the lockdown days of COVID-19, when my inbox was so full. 

I’m not the only one who noticed. Your customers also perceived that their inboxes were getting blasted to the North Pole. And they complained about it, as the Washington Post reported (“Retailers fire off more emails than ever trying to get you to shop“).

I didn’t run any numbers to measure volume, isolate cadences or track frequency curves. But every time I turned around, I saw emails pouring into my inbox. 

My advice for everyone on frequency: If you throttled up during the holiday, now it’s time to throttle back.

This should be a regularly scheduled move. But it’s important to make sure your executives understand that higher email frequency, volume and cadence aren’t the new email norm. 

If you commit to this heavier schedule, you’ll drive yourself crazy and push your audience away, to other brands or social media.

If you did increase cadence, what did it do for you? You might have hit your numbers, but consider the long-term costs: 

  • More unsubscribes.
  • More spam complaints.
  • Deliverability problems.
  • Lower revenue per email. 

Take what you learned from your holiday cadence as an opportunity to discover whether it’s a workable strategy or only as a “break glass in case of emergency” move.

My advice? Slow down. Return to your regular volume, frequency and cadence. Think of your customers and their reactions to being inundated with emails over 60 days.

2. Stop spamming

In that Washington Post article I mentioned earlier, I was encouraged that it cited one of my email gripes — visiting websites and then getting emails without granting permission first. 

I could have given the Post a salty quote about my experiences with SafeOpt and predatory email experiences (“Business stress is no excuse to spam“) for visitors to its clients’ websites. 

Successful email marketers believe in the sanctity of permission. That permission-based practice is what you want to be involved in. Buying a list means you don’t hire a company to sell you one, whether it’s a data broker or a tech provider like SafeOpt. 

Spamming people doesn’t work in the long term. Sure, I’ve heard stories from people who say they use purchased lists or companies like SafeOpt and it makes them money. But that’s a singular view of the impact. 

Email is the only marketing channel where you can do it wrong but still make money. But does that make it right? 

The problem with the “it made us money” argument is that there’s nowhere to go after that. Are you measuring how many customers you lost because you spammed them or the hits your sender reputation took? 

You might hit a short-term goal but lose the long-term battle. When you become known as an unreliable sender, you risk losing access to your customers’ inboxes.

Aside from the permission violation, emailing visitors after they leave your site is a wasted effort for three reasons:

  • A visit is not the same as intent. You don’t know why they landed on your site. Maybe they typed your URL as a mistake or discovered immediately that your brand wasn’t what they wanted. Chasing them with emails won’t bring them back.
  • You aren’t measuring interest. Did they visit multiple pages or check out your “About” or FAQ pages? As with intent, just landing on a page doesn’t signal interest.
  • They didn’t give you their email address. If they had interest or intent, they would want to connect with your brand. No email address, no permission.

Good email practice holds that email performs best when it’s permission-based. Most ESPs and ISPs operate on that principle, as do many email laws and regulations.

But even in the U.S., where opt-out email is still legal, that doesn’t mean you should send an email without permission just because somebody landed on your website.

3. Do one new thing

Many email marketers will start the year with a list of 15 things they want to do over the next two months. I try to temper those exuberant visions by focusing on achievable goals with this question: 

“What one thing could you do this year that could make a great difference in your email program’s success?”

When I started a job as head of strategy for Acxiom, I wanted to come up with a long list of goals to impress my new boss. I showed it to my mentor, the great David Baker and he said, “Can you guarantee that you can do all of these things and not just do them but hit them out of the park?”

Hmmmm…

“That’s why you don’t put down that many goals,” he said. “Go in with just one. When that one is done, come up with the next one. Then do another. If you propose five projects, your boss will assume you will do five projects. If you don’t, it just means you didn’t get it done.”

That was some of the best advice I’ve ever received and I pass it on to you. 

Come up with one goal, project or change that will drive your program forward. Take it to your boss and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do this year.”

To find that one project, look at your martech and then review MarTech’s six most popular articles from 2022 for expert advice.

You’ll find plenty of ideas and tips to help you nail down your one big idea to drive growth and bring success. But be realistic. You don’t know what events could affect your operations. 

Drive your email program forward in 2023

The new year has barely begun, but I had a little trouble getting motivated to take on what’s shaping up to be a beast of a year. You, too?

I enjoyed my time off over the holidays. Got in some golf with my dad and his buddies, ate great food and took time to step back and appreciate the phenomenal people I work with and our amazing industry. 

What gets me going at last? Reaching out to my team, friends and you. Much of my motivation comes from fellow marketers — what you need, what you worry about and what I can do to help you succeed. 

If you’re on the struggle bus with me, borrow some motivation from your coworkers and teammates, so we can gather together 12 months from now and toast each other for making it through another year. 

It’s time to strap on your marketer helmet and hit the starter. Here’s to another great year together. Let’s get the job done!


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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Ryan Phelan

As the co-founder of RPEOrigin.com, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.

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