The BBC recently aired a two part radio documentary called “Podcasting – the First Ten Years.” Produced by UK podcasters Helen Zaltzman & Olly Mann, co-hosts of Answer Me This!, the program looks at the medium’s birth and growth, profiling prominent producers from both sides of the pond.
In part two Zaltzman and Mann get into the close relationship between fans and host, and the important aspect of podcasters making a fair living creating their art, all while keeping shows free for listeners.
Zaltzmann and Mann take commercial sponsorships to finance Answer Me This! Based on their seven years of experience, Mann concludes, “What works best is not a conventional ad plunked into the middle of the show, but treating our commercial partners with the same kind of playfulness as the rest of our content.”
This echoes the advice of Midroll’s own Lex Friedman who recently authored two posts on the topic of podcast ad reads. He strongly counsels that “live host reads work best,” for podcast ads. “You should make the ad your own,” he tells podcasters.
Zaltzmann and Mann highlight WTF host Marc Maron for his own inimitable approach to ad reads. He definitely makes them his own.
Zaltzman says Maron, “will spend minutes on his podcast WTF rhapsodizing about his sponsors” in a fun and engaging way. Then they play a particularly fine specimen of Maron doing an advertisement for Stamps.com, in which he exhorts, “It’s time to put on your postal hat. Open your own post office. Do it!”
Chris Skinner, producer of comedian John Oliver’s The Bugle podcast, explains that, “A brand can earn massive loyalty as a result of doing a podcast. Podcasts have that extra one-on-one intimacy where people can fall in love with a particular person, or brand, or idea. As a commercial brand, to be associated with that, there’s an obvious payoff for you.”