The phenomenal rise of podcasting means that businesses - mega and micro - are lining up to run ad campaigns on successful podcasts. It doesn't matter if you're selling B2B, retail, e-commerce or digital products. Podcast influencers are on the rise, and innovative brands know that now's the time to align with these stars.
But, out of the more than two million podcasts in the world, how do you sift through them all to find the podcast influencer who'll deliver the best results for you?
Rephonic's valuable database and search tools give you everything you need to succeed in your research and outreach to the best podcasters for your brand.
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What is an influencer?
Influencers are people with a following who guide or sway their fans in some way. Influencers have been around since the dawn of time. But recent years have seen the rise of a new breed of influencers on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and more. These creators earn money by promoting a brand, product or service to their fans.
Influencer marketing involves including an ad in a YouTube video - or making a whole episode of sponsored content, perhaps doing a review or an unboxing.
A blogger might write a blog post about a product they use and love, including an affiliate link to help readers buy instantly.
An Instagram fashion influencer posts a stunning photo of herself in a gorgeous dress, and the dress sells out online within a week. Or a travel vlogger raves about a unique island experience - and people immediately add it to their vacation plans.
Nowadays, we have podcast influencers too. Or are they influential podcasters? What's the difference?
Influencers with podcasts vs influential podcasters
There are several kinds of influencers in the podcasting world, including:
- Social media influencers.
- Thought leaders
- Influential podcast hosts
Many social media influencers also host podcasts. An influencer's image is usually carefully curated on their main platform, but hosting a podcast frees them to discuss broader issues that also matter to their fans.
One example is beauty influencer Natalie Barbu, who has more than 1 million fans on YouTube. But in her podcast, The Real Reel, Natalie talks to her guests about her "real" life instead of the "highlight reels" that make up her social media profiles.
Thought leaders are people who've made it big and now share their insights on a podcast. They use their influence to gather other thought leaders as their guests. Listeners of these podcasts tend to be well-informed and interested in the wider world.
Examples of thought leader podcasters include Michael Stelzner (Social Media Marketing), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder), and Julia Guillard (former Prime Minister of Australia).
On the other hand, influential podcasters are podcasting pros. Podcasting is their primary form of content creation, driving their target audience directly to their business, which offers courses, books, individual coaching, etc.
Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income Podcast), Amy Porterfield (Online Marketing Made Easy) and Laura Pennington (Advanced Freelancing) are all examples of influential podcasters in the marketing and freelancing fields.
Podcast influencer marketing is a clever strategy because:
Podcasts are popular - and growing by the day.
Podcast fans love listening to podcasts because they're so convenient. Anywhere you can take a mobile, a podcast goes too.
People listen to podcasts while lazing on the beach, walking in the park and working out in the gym. Fans tune in on their daily commute and while they're preparing dinner or cleaning the house.
Most importantly, when you find a podcast you like, many listeners become avid fans. After listening to hours of audio conversation, they feel connected and trust the host's views and recommendations.
It will grow your business in so many ways
If a podcast host uses and likes your brand and products, their endorsement can lead listeners right into your sales funnel.
In fact, according to Midroll, in 2018-19, 60% of the listeners surveyed said they'd bought something after hearing about it on a podcast.
That trust rubs off on your brand in other, more subtle ways too. As listeners go about the day, you're in their ear, right alongside their favorite podcast host. You become a regular part of their day - so that when they have a problem, your brand springs to mind as a potential solution.
An ad campaign with the right podcast will undoubtedly increase awareness of your brand. And, because podcast episodes are evergreen, new listeners will hear it every time they binge listen to the back catalog.
Podcast listeners tend to be relatively affluent, too, with money to spend on the products that fix their pain points, whether they're business-related or personal problems.
It all depends on matching your business with the podcasts and influencers that speak to "your people."
How to find podcast influencers
It's not exactly easy to find your perfect match. There wouldn't be so many videos, interviews, and blog posts about the subject if it were a simple task. So, let's dive into the nitty-gritty.
How DO you find the right podcast influencer to partner with you on a successful marketing campaign?
1. Identify the type of influencer you're looking for
One way to classify podcast influencers is by their listener numbers, aka podcast download numbers. Insiders often describe them as "nano", "micro", "macro" or "mega'. So, let's dive in and see what those labels mean for your podcast ad campaign.
Nano influencers (1K - 10K followers)
These people run small but mighty podcasts. They may not have enormous listener numbers, but their followers are highly engaged. Nano influencers are enthusiastic and highly vocal about the products and brands they love, but they won't work with just anyone.
How does Rephonic help you to narrow down Nano influencers?
Check a podcast’s listener, engagement and social media stats to see how active and engaged their followers are.
Micro influencers (10K - 100K)
Micro-influencers focus on their niche. They relate superbly to their target audience, and they're usually movers and shakers in that world.
Their audience is keen to listen to and act on their advice.
How does Rephonic help you to find Micro influencers?
A great way to find Micro-influencers is to do a search on Rephonic for topics related to your niche that you might typically search as hashtags (#), for example, 'budget travel'. Then check out their podcast data to see engagement, listeners per episode. If you like the numbers, click on the episodes link to listen. You'll get a feel for the vibe and whether it fits with your brand image.
Are you a good fit with this influencer?
Nano and micro-influencers will turn down ads or sponsorship if they don't personally use the products or if the brand doesn't align with their values. They focus on being authentic, so it's against their ethos to promote a brand they're not sure their followers will love.
However, if your brand aligns with a Nano or micro-influencer, they'll charge less for an ad campaign than some of the "bigger" podcasts, and they're often interested in suitable guest pitches, too, if you want to take your outreach a step further.
Macro influencers (100K - 1 million)
These influencers have probably been content creators on other platforms, but they've also been podcasting for quite some time. They'll bring your brand to a wider audience - great if you're looking for a broad demographic, like "teenage boys" or "millennial women."
On the flip side, if your ad campaign targets "young female entrepreneurs," you're better off with a Micro or Nano influencer in that niche.
You can expect to pay considerably more to run ads with these influencers, and their shows will have set advert formats that you'll have to comply with. Use Macro influencers if your audience is also highly engaged on the same platform (e.g., YouTube), and therefore likely to be impressed that you're on their podcast.
Mega influencers ( 1 million+ followers)
These guys are likely celebrities in their own right. Think A-listers like Kylie Jenner and Will Smith (so famous they have podcasts about them, rather than hosting podcasts themselves.) Or podcasters like Joe Rogan, whose net worth is around $100 million.
Mega influencers have millions of followers and listeners, but they're not as passionate about audience relationships and are unlikely to feel a personal connection.
It costs a lot to advertise with mega influencer podcasts, and you've got to be mega influential yourself to get a guest spot on their show.
Find out if they use your products (perhaps they've tweeted about it) and approach them through that.
Advertise with mega influencers if your goal is to increase brand awareness over a large audience.
If you're a small brand looking to increase your exposure, consider offering value before approaching macro or mega influencers for a marketing campaign. Make thoughtful comments on their preferred SM or DM to provide help if you notice that they have a problem you could solve. Mega influencers often have gatekeepers (agents, secretaries, bodyguards, managers), so you'll deal with employees, not the star themselves.
2. Do your research
There are several different ways to research podcast influencers, but Rephonic is with you every step of the way.
- How well do you know your target audience? What are their likes and dislikes, problems/pain points, interests, businesses, demographics, and so on.
- Know your campaign goals, Will you focus on increasing product sales or brand awareness? Are you launching a new product or trying to attract a different audience?
- What types of ads will suit your campaign? Will they be pre-recorded or host-read? Pre-roll or mid-roll? Dynamically inserted over several episodes or baked into one?
- Finally, what’s your budget for this campaign? The amount you have to spend will affect who you can afford to pitch and the ads you want to use.
Once you’re clear on these goals you can start to look for the best podcast influencers to suit your campaign needs.
Check your existing connections
Look within your customer database and for positive comments and reviews. Do any of them also have a podcast?
Podcasters who already use and love your products may be the best to start because listeners can tell when their favorite podcast hosts are being genuine or just promoting something for the money.
Use the Spotify and Apple charts
Another way to find suitable shows is to search through the podcast charts. Apple and Spotify have searchable categories too, and will often suggest podcasts once they know your preferences.
However, this is a somewhat "hit and miss" approach. Even when you find a likely-looking show, you don't get much data through the podcast app charts to help you decide.
Hire an agency
Yes, there are plenty of agencies out there who will do the work for you. However, you need to factor that into your advertising budget because their high fees will add to your overall costs.
Use Rephonic to find the perfect podcast influencers for your brand
Did you find some possibilities among your existing customers? Do you already have some names in mind?
You can then research the podcasts further using Rephonic to see stats, find and listen to episodes etc.
It's easy to discover podcasters with audiences that match your target demographics by using our search filters.
Here's an expert tip - refine your search using categories and filtering by Active.
Many podcasts are inactive, i.e. episodes are still available to listen to (evergreen content) but no new episodes are being recorded. This could be because the podcaster has stopped altogether or the show may simply be between seasons.
You only want to target podcasts that are currently recording.
Here's how to maximize your search by using Rephonic
- Start with the search bar. You can search by podcast topic, title, publisher or even pop a keyword or phrase into "Episodes" and see what comes up.
- Filter your search. Rephonic has 13 different filters you can apply to your initial results. Narrow them down by gender, category, language, listener numbers, how often they publish episodes and more.
- Check social media following. Important for contact links and to see how engaged their followers are on other channels.
- Check audience engagement stats - Rephonic sifts through all the publicly available data to develop their audience engagement rating. And, if you want to see fan reviews, our Feedback section links straight to their channel in each of the apps.
Podcast influencer campaigns are most successful when they form a part of your overall marketing strategy.
Decide on your campaign goals. Do you want increased sales? Brand awareness? to launch a product? Or do you have another purpose in mind?
Know your audience - and what they're searching for. Are you targeting an engaged niche or a wide demographic?
Align your expectations with the audience and with your budget. Biggest is not necessarily best for your campaign, so consider everything before you pitch.
Don't choose just one podcaster. Naturally, you'll need to run your campaign with a few different podcasts, and it will take some time to get things perfect, just as it does with TV, radio, YouTube or Instagram ads or sponsorships.
Use Rephonic to help your search every step of the way. Start your search with a free trial today.