Why Your 2022 Influencer Strategy Needs Podcasters

November 22, 2021

By Erica Koehler, Senior Strategist, Strategy

In marketing, influencers are often synonymous with big social channels like Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok, but did anyone notice podcasts entering the room? Screen fatigue and boredom during the pandemic pushed consumers of all ages to turn to podcasts for entertainment. Fast forward to today, there are more weekly podcast listeners in America than there are people who have Netflix accounts. With influential hosts, engaged communities, and content versatility, there’s no question that podcasts should be in your 2022 influencer strategy.

Audio Ads are More Impactful

The simplest way for your brand to work with podcasts is through audio ad placements. I bet you’re wondering how an ad placement during a podcast episode is different from a radio spot. It comes down to how listeners interact with each channel. On digital audio platforms (like Spotify or Apple Music), listeners can self-select music or podcasts that resonate with them in that moment which creates a much more engaging experience. In fact, Spotify has found that their user experience drives higher engagement than TV, Radio, Social, and Digital Video.

Okay, consumers are actively listening to podcast content, so what? One Spotify study shows nearly all of a listener’s engaged brain activity carries over to ads which led to brands seeing 19% higher brand impact on Spotify ads compared to other channels.

Pro Tip: Make your ad dollars work even harder for you by having the host talk about your product or service themselves versus plugging in a pre-recorded spot. This approach feels more like a personalized recommendation to listeners similar to how an Instagram influencer would make a recommendation to their followers. They are tuning in for the hosts, after all.

Podcasters Create Community

After spending hours of listening time every month, fans start to feel like they’re with friends when they’re listening to a show. The connection is so strong, in fact, that fans are creating Facebook groups to connect with other listeners, attending live shows, creating fan art, buying show merch, and hosting meet-ups with fellow listeners.

Highly-engaged audiences such as these are a marketer’s dream because partnership options are not limited to ad placements during an episode. To have a bigger impact in the community, brands can co-create unique, genuine experiences for the listeners that, in turn, build resonance for your brand.

Pro Tip: Like with any other influencer campaign, resonance is built on authenticity. Do your research about the community to make the experience authentic to the fans as well as the brand.

Podcasts Have More Content Versatility

If you think podcasts are audio-only, you’d be wrong. Some of the big players have been publishing recordings of their episodes to YouTube for years. However, today’s content landscape continues to push toward video, and podcasts are not an exception. It’s becoming a norm for podcasts to increase reach and create more engagement touchpoints for their community by sharing snackable show clips to Instagram and TikTok. Spotify has even recognized this change, and they have expanded their capabilities to incorporate video into the platform experience for select podcasts (for now).

Pro Tip: As a brand looking to partner with a podcast, consider ways to utilize their entire ecosystem — audio, social, digital, and events. Not only does this give more options for a creative partnership, but it also gives your brand increased exposure to stay top of mind with the community.

Creative Inspiration to Get You Started

If this article has piqued your interest, but you don’t know where to start, you can take some inspiration from these brands who are already venturing into podcasts.

TNT x My Favorite Murder

When it came to promoting their new true crime drama about the unsolved case of the Black Dahlia Murderer, TNT partnered with one of the top true crime podcasts to help raise awareness and excitement leading up to the premier. As part of the campaign, My Favorite Murder hosted a live show where the hosts covered the facts and theories about the case, and encouraged viewers to tune into the show once it premiered. The recording of the show was then shared as a bonus episode for all fans to enjoy. This integration is one to be admired for its ability to enable engagement through live participation, and create long-form content that was in line with the audiences’ interests.

BetterHelp x Victory The Podcast

BetterHelp’s podcast advertising strategy reflects their purpose as a company which is to normalize mental health. The brand utilizes hosts to bring a vulnerability to the message by talking about their own experiences in order to normalize seeking care. Because mental health can impact anyone BetterHelp has deployed the largest podcast ad budget of 2021 across a large variety of genres to reach those who may not already be looking into the help they need. For instance, Victory the Podcast discusses the HBO hit series Entourage, and attracts largely male listeners who may not be as open to seeking help. In BetterHelp promotions, the hosts (and stars of Entourage) talk about their own struggles with stress and anxiety to create an approachable environment where listeners may be persuaded to hear the recommendation for accessible help.

ZipRecruiter x And That’s Why We Drink

When the podcast And That’s Why We Drink began to grow, the hosts started searching for an assistant to help run things behind the scenes. With the help of ZipRecruiter the hosts quickly found the help they needed, and had a great experience to share during their in-episode promotions for the brand. When promoting ZipRecruiter in an episode the hosts and their new assistant were able to share their review of the tool from each of their perspectives. This added element helped the mid-read ad feel genuine and like a true review rather than a script delivered straight from the brand.

In conclusion, it should be clear by now that podcasters are the future of influencer content.

Pro Tip: Add podcasts to your 2022 influencer plans before they become the next Instagram.

Erica Koehler is a senior strategist based in TMA’s Dallas hub.