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How to Craft the Perfect Podcast Ad Copy

October 16, 2017
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At this point, you know how to find the perfect podcast opportunity for your brand, how much they cost, and how to measure how the ad spot is performing. The next step in the process is learning how to create the perfect podcast ad copy that will resonate with both listeners and the host, as well as drive conversion.

Podcast ads give you the unique opportunity to reach a niche audience and persuade that audience to take action through an organic endorsement from the host.

Types Of Ad Spots

There are a few different types of ad spots that all entail different messaging points based on the length and the point in which they appear in the episode. To recap, let’s go over the types of ad spots you can purchase in a podcast: pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll.

  • Pre-roll: this is typically a 15-30-second ad spot at the beginning of the episode. The pre-roll goes really quickly and usually involves a simple intro to your brand and the CTA. This ad spot then flows nicely into the mid-roll spot if it’s included in the ad package, which it more often than not is.
  • Mid-roll: this is typically a 30-60-second ad spot in the middle of the episode. Most podcast ad spots include mid-roll as part of the advertising package, so it’s important to make sure your mid-roll is catered to the audience and includes the messaging that you need to convey in order for listeners to take action. Telling a story and doing your research on the host and what this brand would mean to them helps make this ad spot more compelling and less salesy. The mid-roll spot should include your CTA called out at least twice, once in the beginning and then again at the end, to make sure you capture as many listeners as possible.
  • Post-roll: this is typically a 30-60-second ad spot in the end of the episode. This is your last chance to include your main messaging points and CTA.

Types Of Podcast Ad Copy

There are two types of podcast ad copy that you can provide network producers or the host themself, depending on who is coordinating the ad spot.

The first type of copy is adlib. Adlib means you’re offering main messaging points but the host has freedom to add his or her own thoughts and tie in the product or service to their life more. We always recommend going with an adlib style, as it’s preferred by most hosts and comes across as more authentic to the listener. Creating an adlib script is also easier when scaling the number of podcasts you’re advertising on because you don’t have to come up with a word-for-word script. While you should be catering the messaging points to the host, it also allows you to pick and choose what they share. We suggest having an arsenal of all key messaging points and then selecting which ones make the most sense for that specific podcast. Then, they can add any personal recommendation or thoughts on the brand.

The second type of copy is script. This is just as it sounds; it’s a verbatim script of exactly what you want them to read. If your client requires a script or you don’t trust the host to create a compelling adlib ad spot, make sure you use the script as a chance to weave in a story and put yourself in the host’s shoes. For instance, if the host is a mom, add in an anecdotal mom story that ties into your brand that they’ve probably experienced. Other moms are probably listening and will relate and it makes it seem less like the host is reading off a script.

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Three Things You Need To Include In The Copy

Depending on the length of the ad spot, you can play around with what to include in your ad copy. Try to include as much of the below in a full podcast episode.

  • To kick off the ad, you should include a brief intro to your product or service. This should highlight your main offering. This should appear in pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ad spots.
  • Two or three main messaging points that are critical to your brand. This should come in the mid-roll and post-roll and highlight your key differentiating factors and what the listener needs to know to purchase. Ideally, if you’re using an adlib style, the mid-roll will be up for interpretation and can be anecdotal based on the host’s experience with the product or service.
  • A CTA:  this should include a coupon code, the percentage discount you’re offering, where to purchase, and your website. The CTA should be included in the beginning, middle, and end of the  ad spot. If you’re doing pre-roll, make sure to include the CTA once. If you’re doing mid-roll, make sure to include the CTA at least twice. Same goes for post-roll. Your CTA is how you’re going to drive conversion to be able to measure the performance of your podcast ad spot, besides just impressions.

Related: How to Measure Your Podcast Performance

How To Format Your Ad Copy Deliverable

When you’re working with a host or a podcast network, they’ll request your ad copy anywhere from three weeks before the show date to one week before the show date. Make sure you leave enough room between writing the first version of the ad copy and getting it proofed by the client in order to meet all deadlines. Our PR department recommends getting the copy over before the deadline if the network or host needs to change anything. Depending on the style of ad copy, you’ll send over copy that is formatted either for adlib or script. We typically share this in a word document so it can be easily edited as needed by the host.

If you’re sharing adlib copy, it should be presented as a bulleted list that flows through the ad with the most important information at the top. While adlib copy can be made more conversational and tweaked by the host, you also want to ensure things like your website and CTA are included as well as your top messaging points and differentiating factors. In adlib copy, the information that absolutely needs to be included should be highlighted in yellow. You can indicate at the top of the ad copy that all text in yellow must be included in the ad spot. This ensures that while the host is making the ad their own, they are not neglecting to include what you need shared and helps avoid any confusion of what may or may not be an important point to make.

If you’re sharing script ad copy, you can send it in paragraph format. It’s more digestible when you write shorter paragraphs that are easy to understand and not too verbose. Since the host won’t be including any of their own information, make sure that you tell a story and write the script from the perspective of the host, rather than from the perspective of the brand advertising itself.

RelatedHow Much Does Podcast Advertising Cost?

In both script and adlib copy, you would break out the ad copy by ad spot. If you have a 15-second pre-roll, include that ad copy first with the header for pre-roll. If you have a 30-second mid-roll spot, include the header for mid-roll and then the ad copy for the mid-roll spot. And finally, include a post-roll header followed by the ad copy for a post-roll spot. Remember to include the CTA in each of these ad spots, even if you have more than one ad spot in the full episode; repetition is important!

Other Things To Keep In Mind

Think about the tone of the podcast. If it’s quirky, try to put some flare into the ad copy and have fun with it. If it’s serious, keep your ad copy more simple. In general, podcasts are conversational and personal, so a scripted and dry ad spot is probably going to be either tuned out or fast forwarded through.

Don’t be too salesy, but don’t forget to include your CTA. Podcast ad spots aren’t jingles and should sound organic and natural, like something the host is giving a genuine endorsement for. While you don’t want to shove a sales point down the listeners’ throats, you also want to remember to highlight the CTA multiple times in the ad spot to make sure it’s heard. Think more “this is why I love it” from the host’s perspective and less “you need to buy this now” from the brand’s perspective.

Related: Why You Should Invest in Podcast Advertising

Think about what the audience would want to learn about for your product or service. For example, if you’re highlighting something like food, what does everyone want to know first and foremost? How it tastes! You should include messaging on how the product tastes amazing and give a sensory appeal. If you’re advertising clothes, what do people want to learn about? Probably the fit and the quality feel, so you should include that messaging in your ad copy.

Wrapping Up

The last thing I always like to hone in on is that if you’re in podcast advertising you should be a podcast listener! Listening to podcasts and hearing other brands’ ad spots is the best way to learn how to craft ad copy. You’ll learn quickly who is doing it well and who is not. This is a unique opportunity for you to seek out podcasts you would actually enjoy and learn something new as well as hear how competitors or non-direct competitors are using podcasts to reach a target audience. It’s hard to come up with ad copy if you’ve never heard a podcast, but it’s much easier when you’ve heard different styles and even more so if you’ve actually converted from a podcast ad. That’s where the wheels really start turning and you can see what actually led you to take that next step.

Before you advertise on a podcast, the first step in vetting that podcast is to listen to an episode yourself and assess the tone, audience it caters to, and how the current ads they are running are presented. If these all align with your brand, then it’s a great sign you should explore advertising opportunities. If not, you should look at other podcasts that are a perfect fit.

Related: What Podcast Should You Advertise On?

Podcast advertising is at its root a brand-building channel, while some podcast hosts do have the ability to really persuade listeners and move the needle for your brand. If you’re thinking of getting some awareness through podcast advertising, start with a few episodes over a series of weeks with more than one podcast, then compare to see how they match up against each other based on the number of impressions and which one drove conversion. If you’re not seeing the performance you were looking for, try adjusting your ad copy! Good luck!




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