My normal routine is to get up early in the morning and walk while my family sleeps. I spend my walking time listening to various podcasts. I didn’t do very much walking in the past six weeks, and my backlog of podcasts is longer than it’s ever been. At times, I was tempted to declare podcast bankruptcy, but instead I chose to preen the podcasts to which I subscribed.
Honestly, the main criteria I used when deciding to keep or dump a podcast was its advertising. I’d prefer if podcasts were like library books, free for the public. I understand why some are ad-supported, and its clear there are many different ways to do ads. I prefer for ads to have good levels and sound mixing, but low amounts of production. I want it to feel like its a conversation, not a pitch.
I think that Manton and Daniel on Core Intuition do the best job with podcast ads. There’s a little jingle before and after the ad, which helps me mentally follow along with the whole timeline of the episode. They read the blurb that’s prepared for them, and then they talk about the products. Since they actually use the products that they’re advertising, it’s a very comfortable and fluid experience. It flows naturally.
I don’t think that Rene Ritchie on Vector does as good of a job. Vector is a video podcast, but he also shares the audio feeds. He slides the ads in without a break or audio cue, which I find to be disjointed. I’m also not sure if he personally uses the products he’s advertising, which lowers the trust for me.
The podcasts from the Wall Street Journal are about as good as a mass-market podcast can do. There’s an opening ad, and an ad somewhere in the middle. Not always relevant, but voiced by the normal WSJ voiceover people, and always clearly marked.
The podcasts that I unsubscribed from had not just too many ads, or overly produced ads, but ads that didn’t even make sense. I was subscribed to a podcast on espionage, and they advertised for Sherry’s Berries. That kind of stuff drives me nuts.
Podcasts present a great medium for the sharing of knowledge and ideas, but the ad format can make or break a show. If you must do them, please only advertise for products that you use yourself and make it as conversational as possible. Talk about how you use the product and why you enjoy it. Make it authentic and natural.