Selling podcasts to brands: Why you're asking the wrong questions
How do you sell podcasts? Same way you sell anything: find your prospect, learn about their pain and make it easy for them to solve it with your product.
But what sort of pain do podcasts fix?
The podcast is more than just a broadcast platform. It is audience-first self-curated content. So the pain we're looking at is not simply that of the brands buying audio, but that of their audience, to point out the obvious.
Podcasting is a high-engagement media platform that can be highly targeted towards specific groups of people by their preferences for trends, information, subject-matter, which is influenced by demographics and behaviour.
Podcasts are a lifestyle medium, meaning they are consumed in a time and place chosen by the listener at their convenience, to enhance their experience of any given moment or inform future ones.
They are also an emotional medium. People seek these to fix pain or find solutions. For example, entertainment for boredom or relaxation, information to better equip them for an anxiety situation or interaction, or to amplify the effectiveness of other tasks, such as going to sleep, cleaning, working out.
For these reasons strategy for podcasting should always start with a clear idea of:
1. The intended audience and their habits
2. The change you would like to create with your content.
In this way, a podcast-led strategy is the perfect peach that makes you walk through the orchard. Except in the real world, the orchards are the wealth of content available to consumers and the peach is the panacea to their particular pain.
A perfectly marketed podcast can offer maximum value and quality to the consumer, creating feelings and subsequent behaviours about the provider (in this case the brand or person paying for it).
But in order to get your audience to walk through the orchard you need to 1) tell them it is there 2) show them the way with as many entry points as possible 3) make it easy for them to get to the right peach and 4) maybe sure they damn well trust the gatekeeper.
This means that people who don’t really need or want the peach will be able to go off in different directions, maybe looking for apples and pears. Which is fine, because you do peaches, and you want peach-lovers in your orchard only.
Fruit aside, a successful audience funnel to direct and hone the most concentrated and passionate customers to your content portal (in this case, podcast) means you will then be speaking at length to people who are incredibly engaged and who have already bought in. This is a dream platform to speak to your target audience about the things you want them to know, and a dream opportunity to influence their behaviour.
So I think the question for producers is not "how do you sell podcasts?". The question is "how can you help brands deliver an irresistible platform where they can have maximum trust and engagement with their target audience."