How to start with podcast advertising when you are a small show

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In the latest episode of Audry talks Audio, Niklas talked to Heather Osgood, founder of True Native Media. A boutique podcast representation agency specialized in podcast advertising. One of the most important takeaways was that size does matter; for a podcaster to start advertising, you need to have around 1,000 downloads per episode in 30 days to even start thinking about podcast advertising. But we know a lot of us are smaller than that.

Where do you start? Is there a way to make money with your podcast when you’re a smaller fish in the ocean?

Heather explains:

“What I typically recommend is that if you are a smaller show, you start with affiliate advertising. Many brands nowadays have affiliate opportunities, so there are programs that you can go to and sign up for. Think brands like Amazon or Audible. But make sure to pick something where you feel like you can talk passionately about their product.

There are two reasons why it’s good for smaller podcasters to start with affiliate ads.


  1. Learn how to create ad reads.
    It is difficult to create a good ad read. If you’ve never done an ad read before, you’re going not to know where to start. And you’re not going to know how your audience will respond to it. With affiliate advertising, what it does. It allows the host to get good at creating ad reads.
  2. Get to see the results.
    One of the most important parts of affiliate advertising is that you get to see the results. When you choose to run ads for a company, and you decide on a budget per ad, they’re not going to share with you how many people converted from your campaign. You might have had 10, but it could also be a thousand people (depending on your audience, of course).

With affiliate programs, you’ll get paid every time you sell something. So it allows you to see how many sales you got per advertiser. And when I did this kind of ad, I got two sales, and when I did another, I got ten conversions. It allows you to play around with what works. That gives you ammunition to go to an advertiser and say, you know what? We partnered with this company. And we were able to get this kind of conversion rate for them. And that is excellent ammunition to convince someone else than to advertise with.

List your show on a platform.

Something you can try as well when you’re smaller is listing your show on a platform like advertised cast or popcorn. There are a handful of those marketplaces out there where you just go, and you list your show.

I would not expect to get a ton of business from those types of platforms. You may, and you may not. But there’s nothing wrong with listing your show. The worst thing that could happen is nothing. And you’re not going to be in any different position than you are now.

And that’s it.

When we’re talking about dynamic ad inserts, we’re also talking about shows with a much larger audience. So if you’re just talking about host read ads for smaller podcasts, the strategies above are the best strategies that I have.”

Listen to the full episode below: 

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