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Last month, I attended Podcast Movement in Anaheim, CA, joined by TWiT.tv founder Leo Laporte and Jerry Wagley, Creative Director at TWiT.tv. Podcasting conferences are a wonderful opportunity to meet with fellow podcasters and agencies we work with – in many cases for the first time! If you were unable to attend this year’s Podcast Movement, be sure to sign up for next year’s conference and check out other conferences happening this year.

Podcasting continues to rise and several panel discussions focused on monetization and podcast advertising, creating a perfect opportunity for industry professionals to share best practices.

Podcasters often inquire about the process and ad-model established at TWiT.tv, and I am happy to share what works for our networks. Listed below are a few of the frequently asked questions we receive regarding podcast advertising.

Please feel free to reach out with additional questions at @ArtisanalLLC.

Am I ready for sponsorship?

Advertisers want audience reach, and the most successful podcast sales are for shows with over 50K downloads per episode. The smaller the reach, the harder the sell. Podcasters should have a minimum of 25K downloads per episode before considering sponsorship. In short, if you want to have a successful ad-supported podcast, focus on growing your audience and sales will follow.

How often should I record and publish my podcast?

We have found that weekly over daily, bi-weekly, and monthly podcasts are more successful. However, reliability is key. Set a publishing date and time and keep to it.

How do I decide on sponsorship rates?

Once you are ready for sponsorship, be sure to create a rate card and offer the same rate across the board. Do not update your rates more than once a year unless there are major changes in downloads.

Your CPM, or cost per mille, is the cost for one thousand views/impressions. The total price paid is calculated by multiplying the CPM rate by the number of impressions divided by one thousand. For example, if the CPM is $15 and there are ten thousand impressions, the total price paid per show/episode is $150.

Cost per acquisition (CPA) or cost per conversion (CPC), will require the advertiser to pay for a specific acquisition i.e. a sale, click, or sign up.

How should I decide what advertisers to work with?

It’s essential to take the time and carefully vet all potential sponsors before signing them on. Do their products and services make sense for your audience? Is this a product you are familiar with? Do you have current sponsors with similar product or services? It goes without saying: do your research and never book competitors. Always put your content and your audience first.

How many ads should I have per episode?

Our ad model consists of two host-read ads per advertiser because the unaided recall is 80% greater than a single ad read. We recommend two ads, a short billboard and a 1-2 minute long interstitial ad, over one interstitial or pre-roll ad. We also recommend fewer ads per episode for increased effectiveness – no more than one ad per half hour.

Should I pre-record ads or do them live?

We highly recommend live, authentic host-read ads as your listeners want to hear product and service recommendations directly from the people they trust. Remain true to your show and let your personality shine through the ad read – don’t just read the script.

Something else to consider: live ad reads give co-hosts and guests an opportunity to chime in and share their experience with the product/service. So be sure to take a conversational tone, but always disclose an ad read.

Most importantly, honesty is key; do not endorse a product or service unless you’ve used it and genuinely recommend it.