Like much of the world, I was a Serial addict.
Gripped by a podcast that became a global phenomenon in the latter stages of 2014, picking up an audience of millions in just a couple of months as it followed the investigation of a real life convicted murderer and a possible miscarriage of justice.
Why mention it?
1. You really should listen. It’s a sublime piece of audio production and storytelling.
And as Serial's popularity went through the roof suddenly audible, Squarespace (incidentally a web company I only know about because of their long time sponsorship of the Answer Me This podcast) and others lined up to be associated with it.
Yes, sponsorship is a marketing tactic as old as time, but that's because it really is effective.
This could be you too.
I mean, sure if you’re after a global digital audience, this could literally be you - contact the makers of Serial, sign the cheque for series 2.
But what I mean is… you don’t have to be the one that is creating the content.
Just like Mailchimp, you can capitalise on sponsoring somebody else’s.
Find a podcast whose audience is your audience.
There is pretty much a podcast for every industry and every interest on iTunes and it doesn’t matter if the podcast isn’t huge audience wise, what matters is that it’s a good fit.
Have a listen and if you enjoy the podcast and like what they’re doing, why not support it? Contact the producers… you won’t pay a huge amount for a podcast that isn’t raking in a huge audience, most will be glad to have your interest if they’re currently unsponsored.
Podcasts can provide reliable audience data (unlike TV, radio and press): it may be a smaller audience, but it'll be engaged and it'll be targeted.
Podcasts tend to be listened to without 'fast forwarding' through the ads (unlike TV and press): your message will be heard, no doubt about it. But remember, it's all about brand awareness.
Don't expect a massive spike in profits immediately you jump on board and above all, stick with it - the best effect is drawn from repetition.
Everyone who has heard Serial from the beginning will tell you Mailchimp’s name, in fact they’ll doubtless know their tagline 'Send Better Email' and be able to lip-sync the voices that say the company’s name at the start of each episode.
Rather aptly, for a post was inspired by Serial, I think sponsoring a podcast has got to be a marketing technique worth investigating for any business.
Upddate - February 2016
Since writing this piece podcasts have the sponsorship of them have boomed. Sponsoring a podcast you'll find companies from small ambitious start ups to the might of Ford.
And I too have my own podcast sponsored. The particular company I chose to go with contacted me, liking the quality of the show and recognising that my audience was also their intended audience.
So, who's your audience?