How Third-Party Ads Could Harm Your Branded Podcast

You’ll want to avoid this content marketing pitfall.

We get it. You’re running a business and, like most folks in your position, you probably have big goals when it comes to your bottom line.

Producing a branded podcast is expensive, and many brands that try this medium find the revenue from third-party advertising hard to resist.

That said, this is an income stream we recommend all of our clients strategically take a pass on — no matter how popular their series becomes.

This recommendation might seem a bit controversial, we know. But once we break it down for you, we think you’ll see where we’re coming from.

Why you might want to avoid running third-party ads

It’s important to understand that when you debut a branded podcast, you’re asking for trust from members of a society that is — to put it lightly — increasingly skeptical.

These days, you don’t have to be a marketing pro to know nearly every trick in the book, and that most businesses are almost always trying to sell you something.

Bearing this in mind, you should expect (and prepare for) a certain level of hesitation when it comes to a podcast with a brand name attached.

New listeners may already expect a drawn-out promo for your business, and third-party ads can really tip them over the edge.

You should also be aware that, while brand mentions are generally brief, it’s common practice to highlight your business at the top, middle, and end of each episode.

When you toss in third-party ads, you suddenly find yourself interrupting your 20 to 30 episodes — and your listener’s experience — as often as every 5 minutes.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we can probably all agree that this isn’t what we would want as listeners, right?

So why would we want this for our audience?

And, perhaps more importantly, why would we expect this to work?

Content marketing is about building relationships and providing value. This is not something you accomplish with a 30-minute string of ads.

You want your listeners to take a chance on your series — despite their reasonable doubts — and you should be rewarding their trust with great content.

A show polluted with ads will take your listener from feelings of skepticism to total brand abandonment faster than you can say “And now, a word from our sponsor.”

Learn how to measure the ROI of your podcast. 

What you’ll get instead

If you focus on providing value, instead of immediate return, we think you’ll find the results are well worth the effort.

By creating a series that teaches, helps, or simply entertains, you’re building a real, reciprocal relationship with your audience.

They give you their time and attention, and you reward them with exceptional content.

Here are some examples of how your brand-consumer relationship might grow:

  • You establish your brand as an expert in its space, inspiring trust.

  • You build a human relationship that fosters emotional investment.

  • You identify value alignment by conveying your mission and purpose.

  • Or you fill a deeper need by providing help, camaraderie, and guidance.

Perhaps you do several of these things. If you do them well, you should find yourself with a growing audience that loves you for it.

You might be wondering how this benefits your business, and how it could possibly impact your bottom line.

When it comes to content marketing, we’re all about the long game.

The idea here is not that you build immediate revenue by maximizing the audience of your podcast, it’s that a growing audience will foster long-term reward.

When you build brand awareness, create committed relationships, establish expertise, and identify a value-aligned audience, you set your brand up for lasting success.

If a listener comes to your backcountry camping series for the latest and greatest on their new favorite hobby, who do you think they’ll hit up for their next lightweight tent?

If a listener laughs along with your host about the trials of parenting, what brand will they turn to for their organic toddler snacks?

If a listener cries to the stories of environmental tragedies shared by your guests, what brand will they trust to provide their eco-friendly home goods?

It’s really that simple. Build a relationship. Build trust. Stand out in a wildly competitive market, where you’re probably otherwise matched right down to the dollar.


Its all about mindset

We understand that a branded podcast is no small expense and might be difficult to sell to certain team members.

Without the instant gratification of immediate revenue, getting your team on board will be all about mindset.

To launch a successful branded podcast, your team should:

  • Believe in giving, and have faith in reciprocity.

  • Want to build a community around your business.

  • Understand what a value-aligned audience can do for your brand.

  • And look at your prospects as living, breathing people — not just potential sales.

If you can all get on board with these ideas, you’ll be well on your way to content marketing success.
To grow your understanding of what a branded podcast can do for your business, and how you can express this to your team, check out our Ultimate Guide to Podcast ROI.

Learn how to measure the ROI of your podcast.