My grandparents love to reminisce about the days before the television where everyone would attentively gather around the stereo and listen to a show host entertain through storytelling. It seems like an ancient concept, right? Well, a similar, revamped concept known as podcasts is making a comeback with a much more extensive reach thanks to personal devices. Since 2004, podcasts audiences have flourished. There are over 750,000 podcasts with 30 million+ episodes, which provide content targeted at a wide range of audiences. 64% of Americans have listened to podcasts which makes podcasts a desirable advertising channel.
Why Magazines can Profit from Podcasts with Fewer Downloads than the Industry Standard
What does Amy Schumer, Shark Tank’s Daymond John, and Snoop Dogg have in common? Well, for starters, I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit watching them on T.V., but more importantly, they’ve built a successful podcast based on their brand.
As a magazine publisher, you can profit from hosting podcasts for that same reason. Having a brand means you won’t have to build an audience from scratch. Loyal subscribers may want to listen to their favorite magazine’s podcast at work, while driving, while working out, or in numerous circumstances where reading isn’t viable but listening is.
Even if your podcast isn’t downloaded enough to generate the proclivity to advertise solely from podcast popularity, you already have established relationships with advertisers who may be interested in multi-channel advertising.
Moreover, you have an advantage because magazine content seamlessly converts to podcast material. Whether the podcast features interviews with notable community leaders or recaps on city-famous events, this content is engaging. The icing on the cake and the most integral part of a podcast is a personable host who is a phenomenal story-teller.
Advertising via Podcasts
Have you ever listened to a podcast and heard the podcast host raving about a product? It happens often, and it is most likely an advertisement that fits seamlessly into the episode. This practice is native advertising and is called a live read. In addition to a live read, there is a recorded read advertisement that is recorded before the episode and played back during the podcast. There are a few different advertising opportunities presented through podcasts.
How Much to Charge for Ads
When listening to a popular podcast, the host will typically start with a short message from the sponsor. This is called a pre-roll advertisement. An episode sponsorship usually consists of a 15-second message pre-roll, 60-second mid-roll message, and a 30-second post-roll message. In the pre-roll advertisement, the host will say something like “The episode today is sponsored by Mirabel Technologies. Mirabel Technologies provided this message: …”The pre-roll advertisements typically go for $18 per 1000 CPMs or cost per thousand listens.
From the podcasts I’ve listened to, I’ve noticed that in many of the mid-roll advertisements, the host will talk about a product casually and make it seems as if they are stating their subjective opinion (live read advertisement). The mid-roll advertisements go for $25 per 1000 CPMs.
The last advertisement opportunity is a post-roll advertisement and goes for around $10 per CPM. The post-roll advertisement is presented before the last podcast topic is presented. Post-roll advertisements are either a live read or recorded read by the podcast host. They sound similar to mid-roll advertisements.
All of this data is based on the industry standard in podcasts, which assumes you have 50,000+ downloaders. This isn’t the case for most podcasts, especially starting their brand from scratch. It’s a tough feat to earn. Luckily, magazines have an established brand and advertisers to approach. These industry standard numbers can be used as a general target selling price for magazine podcast sponsorships.
The 1,2,3’s of Recording A Podcast
If you think you’d be interested in podcasting but don’t know where to begin, here are the basics of starting a podcast.
- Recording Equipment
• A High-quality microphone is paramount. Take a look at the 25 best podcast microphones to get an idea of your microphone options for the specifications you need.
• Headphones – pretty much any headphones without a built-in microphone will work here.
• Skype is an excellent tool to conduct interviews if your guest speaker isn’t on site.
• GarageBand and Adobe Audition are both easy to use recording and editing software. If it’s your first time using either of these programs, then it will take some practice to perfect. However, the platform is relatively simple to use.
• Once you record and edit your podcast, it needs to be uploaded to a podcast hosting platform. After the podcast is uploaded, the podcast hosting platform will make RSS (really simple syndication) feeds with your audio files. Then, you will send the RSS feeds to platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify where users can stream your podcast.
There are plenty of podcast hosting platforms to choose from. Brian Benton at Discover Pods made a diagram comparing some of the top podcast hosting platforms specifications. In order to choose a platform, estimate what you will need. Ex: how often/many podcasts you will be uploading, an estimate how many downloads you’ll have (bandwidth), and how much capital you’re willing to use for your podcasts. (See diagram below)
- Uploading the podcast from the podcast hosting platform to iTunes/Spotify
Double check that you properly filled out the required information for your podcast before uploading it to iTunes or Spotify otherwise it may get rejected.
Submit your RSS feed URL to iTunes Podcasts Connect. Once you submit, be patient. Apple can take up to two weeks to approve your podcast.
Make a Spotify for Podcasters account. Submit your RSS feed URL to Spotify. It typically takes less than 5 days to have your podcast approved by Spotify.
In addition, many of the podcast hosting platforms have buttons on the platform that, if clicked, will send the RSS feed URL directly to Spotify, iTunes, or a variety of other podcast platforms of your choice.
Additional Ways to Make A Profit from Podcasts
A popular technique to squeeze more revenue out of a podcast is occasionally having a live talk show. You can charge for tickets to the show as well as collect information on the people attending the show. According to Andy Bowers, a podcaster and chief content officer of Panoply Media, live shows allow advertisers to know specifically who is hearing their advertisement which can pique advertisers’ interest in buying ad time.
BBC History Magazine presents a podcast called Historyextra. The podcast host along with notable historians host live shows. Tickets to these shows cost 15 euros and the audience even has a chance to ask questions during a Q&A at the end of the show.
If live shows are a route you’re interested in, you can adjust your pricing model based on your audience.
Ways Magazine Publishers can Acquire Downloads
Start a Blog Complementing the Podcast Topics
Release a write-up on some of the key information presented in the podcast. Make people want to find out more by listening to the podcast.
San Diego Magazine’s podcast, Food, Drinks, and Culture, is paired with blog posts about the discussions in the podcasts. At the bottom of the post, there is a link to the podcast.
This is an avenue you can use to promote your podcasts and complement your magazine.
Social Media Clips
Post highlights of the podcast host and guests on social media. Mail Chimp does an exceptional job of promoting their podcasts and short videos on their Instagram account. Not only do they advertise the topic of their podcasts but give a brief clip to entice downloads. See the example below.
If you're using a lead segmentation software like Mirabel’s Marketing Manager, review your leads’ interests and send out an email blast telling them about checking out your most recent podcast that you think they’d like.
And of course… Print
Put it in the magazine!
Pitching to the Advertisers
Since podcasts are relatively new, emphasize how podcasts downloads are rapidly growing. Let the numbers speak for themselves. Send the infographic below. Lastly, let them know what efforts you're making to promote your podcast.