How to record great podcast ads using Anchor Sponsorships

Tips and best practices to make sure your ads are clear, effective, and genuine. So you can make more money AND create an awesome podcast.

So you turned on Sponsorships for your podcast and got matched with a great sponsor. Now what?

We built Sponsorships to make podcast advertising easy for everyone. Beyond having a really simple system, this means making sure every podcaster is empowered to retain his or her creative freedom while also making really effective ads that benefit everyone. That’s why Sponsorships uses host-read podcast ads, which are proven to be more effective than any other type of digital advertising and give podcasters the opportunity to tailor the message so it fits their own tone and style.

But we know it can be daunting to record a really good ad — one that’s effective enough for you to get paid as much as possible, while also coming across as natural and creative. With that in mind, here are some things we’ve found work well for podcast advertising and can help you make the most of Sponsorships.

Give yourself some background

Once you get your match and see the script, pause and learn about your sponsor so you’ll be able to speak naturally about their products and services. Click through to the company’s website and check out their social channels, and think about how you might (or already do!) use the product in your own life.

Make it authentic

Think about what it’s like to listen to podcast ads. Which ones do you skip? Which ones grab you and make you want to keep listening? Which ones have led you to products you want to buy or use? The ad is part of your podcast and it’s in your voice, so make it your own, and think about how it fits into the rest of your show. Your ad read itself should sound as natural as possible. Don’t be afraid to stray from the script and rephrase things as you would say them yourself. Throw in your own impressions of the product, or personal anecdotes related to the problems it solves.

For some people, it can be helpful to write your own script based on the one the sponsor gives you, so you have a guideline to follow while recording that’s unique to you and your show. Just be sure to keep it light, flowing, and conversational, and avoid sounding obviously scripted (unless, of course, that’s the tone of your show).

Be strategic with your placement

When placing the ad slot into your episodes, think about how and where it will land. If you place ads in the middle of your show (which is called a midroll, and is required for Sponsorships ads in episodes longer than 10 minutes), try to find a natural breakpoint. If you upload your podcast and it’s all one segment in the episode builder, you can use our split tool right in the app to create a break for your ad spot.

Keep in mind that ad spots are dynamic, so rather than choosing the placement of a specific ad, you’re placing a segment that will automatically fill with ads from whatever campaigns you’re running at the time (this allows you to keep generating revenue from old episodes, because they’ll still be able to run new ad campaigns). If you have multiple sponsors, the one with the highest CPM will always be prioritized.

Give it a strong setup

When recording the rest of your episode, think about how you set it up so the listener knows they’re hearing an ad, but it still flows with the cadence of your show. Maybe you want to say something like “we’ll be right back,” or maybe you want to create a cliffhanger to return to after the ad. However you cut to the break, remember to keep the setup neutral and free of specific sponsor references, as your ads will change with each campaign you’re running.

Have a clear call-to-action

Keep your call-to-action very clear and distinct, so if your listeners want to act on your ad, it’s extremely easy for them to do so. If there’s a promo code or URL, repeat it two or three times, and spell it if that would help clarify (also, double check before recording to make sure you have the correct spelling for any promos or websites!). Consider saying the call-to-action at the beginning of the ad, in addition to the end, to maximize its impact.

Transparency is key

Being honest with your listeners about why you’re advertising in the first place can go a long way in establishing credibility and authenticity. It may help if your audience understands that the ads are part of what makes your podcast possible in the first place. So it’s OK to thank the sponsor for supporting the show!

In just a week since launching Sponsorships, we’ve already heard some amazing and unique ads recorded by Anchor creators. If you’re in need of some inspiration, here are some of our favorite examples. We can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

Haven’t started your own podcast yet? Check out our handy How to Start a Podcast guide for tips and tricks on how to make something awesome with Anchor. And as always, we’d love to hear your feedback, via email or on Twitter.