SHOW NOTES

Creating valuable content is one of the hardest things that we do as entrepreneurs.

If you’re putting in the work to create that content, you should be leveraging it to the fullest extent.

In my opinion, podcasts are one of the best forms of content to build and nurture your audience. 

So today’s episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast is all about Leveraging Podcasts With Paid Ads!

Meta, right? 

I’m sharing everything you need to know about how to maximize the value of your podcast through paid ads, including:

  • What budget to put behind your podcast ads
  • How frequently you should promote episodes
  • How to strategically drive traffic to your podcast
  • The best creatives to test for podcast ads
  • What audiences you should target
  • How to leverage the audience you build from your podcast list

If you have a podcast (or are ready to start one soon) this one is a MUST listen.

You’re already doing the hardest part – creating that podcast content. Now it’s time to fully maximize its potential.

What strategies from this episode do you plan to implement for your own podcast? Share them with me over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh)!

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Emily Hirsh:

Hello everybody, hope you guys are doing amazing. I am crushing it this week. I’m in California, and also on top of that, I am just so excited by where my company is right now. I actually shared on social media a couple of weeks ago, maybe like a month ago now, but I started a new company, which for anyone following me, you know that’s a huge deal because I’m queen of one business, one focus, don’t get distracted. I think that derails so many people. The only reason I’ve finally started this new company, which I’m not sharing too much about it yet, is two things. One, my current company really runs without me, every department, every part of it. I could leave for a month tomorrow and it would fully run. I have an amazing leadership team that makes decisions on my behalf. Really what I am needed for at this point is just content, and if I batch that, if I do that strategically, I’m able to really step away.

That’s the only reason I have entertained starting a new company. I had a vision for something a couple of years ago, and it just hasn’t been the right time. Once we rolled out our updates to our agency services to our Ignite program that got it to a place where I could finally start this new company. But I also put it out there and I said, for this company, I’m not doing it without a partner, with a specific one and I needed a specific skillset that I do not have. I wanted someone who was more bought in than just an employee to do that skillset. So I put it out there and I was like, “maybe I’ll start the company. I need to find the right fit.” I did some networking and I put out that option and I found somebody. Found the perfect fit, partnered with them. We started the company about three or four weeks ago. 

So more to come on that, but I’ve been witnessing my current company, Hirsh Marketing just blossoming right now without me, and it’s amazing. I’ve had these really crazy experiences in the last week. I’ve been on a team meeting and I can’t fully explain to you what it is, but it’s like this feeling, this almost like out of body experience where I’m sitting on this meeting and even with our leadership team, I’m sitting on this meeting and I’m listening to them all talk. I give a little bit of input, but I’m really just there on mute. And I’m like, “I’m not even needed here. They are better than me. They are better at adding things and collaborating and they should just take these things and run.” 

It’s the coolest thing because I’m sitting there in a place where I used to have to drive a lot of things, and I used to have to, at least from a high level, be like this is what we should focus on, and this isn’t okay, and let me give my feedback here, but now my team does that before it even gets to me. It’s really fun to witness, and also, truly the company just does better when I’m at this level. I’m very excited about that. 

Today’s episode is all about leveraging a podcast with paid ads. I realized the other day, because I made this video for our clients. My team asked me to make a podcast about ads and best practices around the videos we need from them. I was like, “you know, I haven’t talked about this on my podcast.” I have a podcast and I’m coming up on 300 episodes, which is wild. I know a lot of you probably have a podcast. So I want to talk about our strategy for running ads to the podcast. 

First of all, I think podcasts are my number one content suggestion for building an audience. If you like to show up with audio, obviously that’s always a caveat. You don’t want to create something that you don’t want to create, but I think podcasts are a really great way to create content, nurture your audience, be consistent with that content and connect with them. I think audio is one of the number one ways people are going to consume content moving forward, and it’s such an intimate way to connect with people. It’s kind of meta. I’m on my podcast talking about this, but I love podcasts, right? 

So the goal with that though, is you can publish your podcast. You can get your downloads, you can promote it organically, you can promote it to your list, and you can grow your podcast. Hopefully you can maybe get on some guest podcasts and mention yours, and then you get more listeners and more downloads, but how do you really grow your podcast audience? 

I like to pair some ad spend with a podcast to grow that audience and to get more people listening to my podcast, but also just promoting the podcast in general. I always think when you’re already putting in the work of creating valuable content, which is one of the hardest things that we do. It’s for me what the most time goes into. My days, people ask me what I do – I’m either on meetings or I’m creating content. That’s all I do. So all the time I’m not on meetings, I’m creating content in some form. A lot of effort goes into creating content, so let’s get the most out of that content and out of the effort that we’re creating. 

If you just count on organic traffic, it’s really hard to do that because it’s just slow to grow with the algorithms. With the way things are set up, you’re just going to get less traction. Typically, for our podcast, what we do is take that 5% to 10% of your monthly budget, which is our recommendation for your brand awareness and visibility. That’s step two of the Not For Lazy Marketers Process, and we put some ad spend behind it. This does two things. It hopefully will grow your podcast audience. It will grow the number of downloads and people listening to your podcasts, but it also is creating a retargeting audience, when done right, that you can use to retarget to other components of your funnel. 

There’s two ways you can do it. You could promote every episode that you put out. Let’s say you put out an episode every week. You could promote that episode, you could promote it for a week and then you could promote the new episode. Or, you can choose top episodes and just promote those for a little bit. There’s a couple of key things though. Number one, you typically want to refresh your content at a minimum of every month. So you can either go the route of having your content refresh every week with the weekly podcast you put out, or you could choose, let’s say four podcast episodes every month, and then you run all of those for a month.

We do the latter because I like to choose top episodes. I do twice a week podcasts. That’s too much to promote everyone. It just would be too much updating of all the ads to do that and it’s really not effective because then the ads don’t have a chance to actually optimize and gain momentum. So we choose, because I put out a lot of podcasts, we choose between four and six every month, top podcast episodes. Usually we go back to, so if we’re in June, we’d look at May. We choose the top four podcast episodes and then we’d run ads to that in June. So that’s what I prefer to do. 

Now, I still do like the strategy of every week. The thing is, if you choose that strategy, every episode needs to be super relevant for your ideal customer. Which at first glance you might be like, “oh, well duh that is.” But for me, sometimes I do an episode on why I quit social media, or I don’t know, what I learned when I lost power. Those episodes might not be as relevant to my ideal customer, but they are relevant to my audience, my following of people, you guys. So I’m choosing the top episodes to attract my ideal customer and that’s really important. I like to choose those top ones. I choose four to six at the beginning of every month, and then we run those ads for the full month. That gives time for optimization for the ads improvement, for building social proof on the ads, and getting the most traction out of them. 

But what you also don’t want to do is have your ads run for too long. You can’t set up a podcast ad and have it just run for like three or four months. It will get stale. Brand awareness and visibility ads you need to update at least once a month. You can update more than that, but at least once a month with the freshed content. That’s one of the keys with brand awareness and visibility ads is it needs to be freshed content. You can’t just create a video or something and have it run forever. So that’s how we choose the podcast episodes. 

Now how we actually promote them is we’re driving traffic to our podcast page on my website because that page is pixeled. Now iOS could cause issues with that, which is still kind of TBD because the iOS updates are going to impact those potentially, those pixel fires. For the most part with retargeting audiences, when you have the option, the best thing to do is use an email list, which you obviously can’t do. As of recording this, right now is still working for us. This strategy might shift in the future, but right now we run ads to the episode page and it’s like podcast dash episode 290 whatever. We run ads to that page, that page is pixeled, so that creates our audience in the backend of Facebook. That is still currently working. 

We have quite a good budget that runs through my podcast right now. We re-target that audience. It’s growing. We get about really great 14 cent landing page views to get to that audience. That’s one of the keys, because if you just run ads to, let’s say an iTunes page, or the download of your episode that’s on a third party like Libsyn, or iTunes, or Spotify, or something, you’re not going to have the data of that audience because you can’t put a pixel on that page. 

So iOS aside, you would not have the data on that audience, and that’s why going to a page that’s pixeled, you will have that audience. You will get that audience. Now, again, TBD on how iOS is going to impact that. I don’t think we’re going to know for the next few months. As of now, this strategy is still a great strategy. So we run it to that landing page, we’re driving traffic to a specific episode. That’s another important thing to note is we’re not saying like, “hey, come listen to my podcast, download my podcast, or subscribe to my podcast.” But every ad is hyper-focused in on one episode, one topic, one call to action. Okay. That’s also important to note.

Now as far as the ads, what does the best is we like to test two things. One is a clip from the actual podcast, an audio clip from the podcast that is pulled out, a very juicy clip that makes people want to go listen more. Also, I do a quick video. Usually it’s like one minute or less, and I’m just like, “Hey, I recorded this podcast on leveraging a podcast with paid ads.” Whatever I say, “go click and listen to it right now.” A lot of times those videos do the best for us in terms of results. So we typically always test that. 

We usually test an image, audio clip, and a video in dynamic creative and we see which one does best for each episode. So each episode is a separate campaign that you’re promoting with your daily budget that you’re running. At least I would say if you had to choose one way is create that video using your phone, quickly record a quick little clip about what you’re teaching in the podcast episode, why they need to go listen to it right now. Make it juicy. Make it information that they can’t find anywhere else. Really focus in on that and send that back to the podcast landing page. That’s what we see do the best around the podcast ads themselves. 

For the most part, you should be targeting cold traffic because the goal with your brand awareness and visibility is to get new people paying attention to your content, paying attention to your brand and engaging with you in some way. So we target these to cold traffic, 5% to 10%, our ad budget, and we’re building our audience. We’re building people that are hopefully subscribing to the podcast and growing that brand awareness audience. 

I will say the one downside that I hope in the future maybe the podcasting technology can fix is I wish that I had the stats of downloads, and I could see this ad resulted in this many downloads. But because you lose that going to, I use Libsyn, but the stats on the backend are just not great and you can’t get those types of downloads. That’s the only downside is I can’t see the people who actually downloaded my podcast and then retarget those people. The audience you’re creating are the people who are going to your podcast landing page. Now they might listen to that podcast player on my page. They might read the transcript or read the description, but they’re still ending up in that audience. It’s just not a guarantee that they actually listened and subscribed to my podcast. I hope that someday the capabilities of podcast tracking improves, and you can get that information with your Facebook ads. 

Then the final piece of this strategy to add is what do you do with these audiences you’re building? You should take the audiences that you build by promoting your podcast and retarget them to the top of your funnel. So that could be your webinar, that could be your lead magnet, that could be your product. If you have an e-commerce brand and whatever that main offer is, that top of funnel, you should consistently use these audiences and you can even use different variations of these audiences. One of our top audiences is people who have visited one of my podcasts landing pages in the last seven days. 

One little side note hack. So we use hirshmarketing.com/podcast, and then it will be like dash episode dash 290. That means the audience of hirshmarketing.com/podcast will include everybody who’s been on any podcast page because it includes that in the URL. That way you don’t have to update your audience with every single episode, if you keep to that naming theme. So we have hirsh marketing.com/podcast, people who have visited in the last 180 days, 30 days, seven days. Obviously the people who have visited in the last seven days are a very hot audience. That’s a great audience to immediately turn around and re-target and get them taking action at the top of your funnel. That audience is great and I would do some different variations. I would also use those audiences for lookalike audiences because that data is really hot and awesome. 

Okay, so to summarize: Number one, I love podcasts. Highly recommend them as a form of content that you can connect with your audience. Number two, if you’re putting the effort into creating your podcast already, then why not take that to the next level and really get more people listening to it? My suggestion is either promoting a weekly podcast that you put out, promoting it for the week and then replacing it with the next week’s podcast. Or, choosing four to six podcasts every month, promoting those episode pages and driving traffic straight to those episode pages, making sure you’re choosing episodes that are for sure going to attract your ideal customer. Our top episodes are different than what else is out there, our hot topics, whatever it is, but they’re going to attract your ideal customer.

You’re targeting cold traffic. You’re wanting new people, people who are not in your audience to go listen to that podcast. That’s what you want to pay for. The best ads are small video clips of you talking about the episode, less than a minute, go listen, or clips from your podcast, super easy audio clips. You just want to get people to want to go listen to the information on the podcast. They click, they go to the landing page. They either, from there, usually your landing page, you have the player on it or they can click go download it on iTunes. So they now are in your retargeting audience. You can now use that audience and different variations of that audience to both retarget and create lookalike audiences out of. 

So that is how we leverage a podcast with paid ads. We do this as a strategy ourselves. We actually just increased our ad budget, and I briefly mentioned this, but I’ll mention it again. The ad objective we are using is landing page views. So we’re sending people to our podcast landing page, we want them to get there. Our cost per landing page views anywhere from 14 to 16 cents. You ideally want it under a dollar. Ours is excellent, which is awesome. You want that landing page view probably under cost of $1. 

That is how we leverage a podcast with paid ads. I hope for some of you that this was helpful. You can obviously take this information and also transfer it over to brand awareness and visibility in general. Whether that’s a blog for you or a video for you, whatever it is that you’re consistently showing up of. Step two of the Not For Lazy Marketers Process is brand awareness and visibility and getting new people to consume your content, growing your audience, because it pays off every single time. Thanks so much for listening today guys, I’ll see you next time.

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