Brand Sustainability in Podcasting

It all gets back to our conversation’s original question - how is podcast advertising influencer marketing?

As advertisers, you know how valuable influencers are. If you’re able to find an influencer whose brand aligns perfectly with yours, you might have just found yourself a long and happy friendship. 


But finding the right influencer isn’t always as easy as it seems. The influencer world is highly saturated, but as an advertiser, you need to find the influencer who most authentically aligns with your brand’s message. Choosing the wrong one can be detrimental to any ad campaigns you were planning on running. Plus, once you find the right one, you still have to work with them to develop the right message for your brand to ensure your brand’s sustainability. 


Advertisers, this one is for you. True Native Media founder Heather Osgood sat down with VP of Audio Insights at Ad Results Media, Lindsay Smith, to discuss how influencer marketing can help improve your brand’s sustainability. 

I work with podcasts; why do I need influencer marketing?

Traditional social media influencers know how to connect with their audience through their visual content, but podcast influencers know how to connect and create trust with their audience through their audio content.

While most dominant on Instagram, influencers come in all mediums – and a podcast host is a podcast influencer. 


Podcast influencers are in a unique position because, in a way, a podcast is just storytelling. But the best podcast hosts are not just telling a story, they’re telling a story in a way that seems like they’re engaging you as a friend. This trust created between the podcast host, and their audience is what makes podcasting the immersive medium it is. 


The trust the influencers built between themselves and their audience is the new way of advertising. If you are able to find an influencer who aligns with your brand’s message, the result is an authentic and engaging ad read that is informative, creative, and oftentimes humorous as well. 


By using influencers, you don’t have to create trust in your brand from scratch. The influencer already has an audience that trusts them, and when they talk about their authentic experience using your product, their audience will come to trust your brand as well. 

What makes up a good ad?

Lindsay and her team listen to thousands of ads a week to ensure their quality, so if you’ve been looking for a way to step up your ad game, you’re in the right place. 


Yes, the influencer is ultimately the one deciding how the ad will be read because it is their show, after all, but it’s not uncommon for a brand to send an influencer creative notes. Also, as we said before, the influencer world is highly saturated at the moment. The particular influencer you’re working with might be new to the ad read world and might need some of your guidance. As advertisers, it’s your job to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.  


Arguably the most important part of your ad is the first few seconds. It’s important that there is a good segue that still feels authentic to the influencer to ensure your ad’s success. Ask your influencer not to start the ad read by saying things like, “and now we’re going to thank our sponsors,” or “it’s time for an ad break.” Phrases like these cue your listeners to stop listening for the next 60 seconds. 


The reason influencer marketing is so successful is that it’s authentic. Instead of creating a break in the content by cueing their audience this is now an ad read, ask the influencer to start by sharing their experience with the product. 

[Audiences are] tuning in to listen to hosts and talents that they trust. And they are trusting that experience that these hosts are having with the product they’re endorsing.

Next, don’t be scared to let the influencer’s funny side show through. Leave room in the ad script for them to add their own jokes, or leave room for improve where hosts can naturally rift off each other. You’re working with this influencer because of their personality, and you want your ad to come off as natural. 


As Lindsay says, an authentic and humorous ad read is a golden combination. 

Can’t I just tell my influencer what to say?

Well, yes and no. 

One of the most wonderful parts of podcast advertising is this influencer marketing, organic and authentic ad read that we always talk about being so valuable. But on the flip side, when you leave the ad read to the host’s voice, there are issues that kind of come up… Not every host can do everything correctly 100% of the time.

It’s not uncommon to send talking points for an influencer ad read, and almost all talking points include a portion that needs to be read word for word to ensure compliance with the law. 


But the reason influencer ad reads taking the advertising world by storm is because of their authenticity. By providing the host with a script for them to say, you are taking that authenticity away – and the audience will be able to tell. 


That isn’t to say you can’t offer creative direction – some hosts might even ask for it. As tempting as it may be to take control, it’s best to offer direction while ultimately letting the influencer take the steering wheel. They know their audience best and will know the best ways to engage with them.

How do I navigate brand sustainability or safety?

Brand safety is a huge concern in today’s day and age. If you have any presence on social media, you know the underlying fear of being “canceled.” One wrong move, like working with the wrong influencer, could be detrimental to your brand’s image. 


While this question is often posed as a question of safety for the brand’s image, Lindsay prefers to think of it as brand sustainability – because what’s “unsafe” for one brand might not be unsafe for yours. It’s all about sustaining the brand’s image in the long term. 


It’s important to always have brand sustainability in the back of your head while working with influencers because their platform is based on their voice. They want to use their voice to speak their mind. And they have every right too – which is why you need to make sure they align with your brand’s message. 


A brand promoting an educational subscription box for moms and their toddlers wouldn’t want to advertise with an influencer whose show caters around their wild stories from Friday night. In this case, the core values of the brand are not aligned with the influencer and would not result in brand sustainability.

Help! A year ago, the influencer aligned with my brand’s message, and now they don’t. What do I do?

Podcast influencers are people first, and people change their minds all the time. 


Let’s say you did your homework and found the perfect influencer. Their podcast is seeing great numbers, and they align with every point of your brand’s core messaging. It seems like a match made in Heaven. 


Then, 6 or 12 months down the line, their content does a complete 180 and no longer aligns with your brand’s core values, but your ad is still in those episodes from last year. 


Well, there’s no need to panic. Thanks to dynamic ad insertion, it’s relatively easy to remove an ad post-production. But before you reach out to the influencer about removal, take a step back and really look at the podcast. Look at the show and demographics to determine if removing the ad is the best step for you and your brand. If you decide it needs to be removed, you should feel empowered to do so. 


If you’re new to the world of podcast advertising, influencer marketing can seem overwhelming. As more and more minds get into the space, more software and AI technology is beginning to crop up. But remember, the reason host ad reads do as well as they do is because of the human touch and trust the influencers provide to them. 

The podcasting world is still new, and the way advertisers and podcasters work together is always evolving. To run your business effectively, make sure you stay up to date on your podcast data and what advertisers are looking for.

If you are interested in buying podcast ads but have no idea where to start, read this article, Podcast Advertising Best Practices Every Marketer Should Know, and contact us at


If you find this content helpful, you will enjoy this article: 4 Ways Advertisers Buy Podcast Ads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *