Podcast Influencer Marketing: Ultimate Guide

Podcast influencer marketing: what is it and how can you use it?

There’s a big shift happening in podcasting. Much like we saw the rise of the Instagram influencer, so too are we seeing the rise of the podcast influencer. 

What is podcast influencer marketing?

Let’s break it down:

There are podcasters who have audiences.

Businesses want to reach those audiences.

Podcasters want to monetise their audience.

Some of them monetise through selling their own products and services (i.e. podcast as content marketing), some of them sell paid subscriptions for the podcasts, and some of them run ads. 

The podcasts that run ads typically have huge audiences, and huge ad budgets directed to them. These budgets come from the likes of Ziprecruiter, Headspace, and the rest of the companies whose ads you’ve heard a million times on podcasts. And that’s typically all we’ve seen in terms of brand money going towards podcasters. Big brands working with big podcasts.

But what if a podcast doesn’t have a massive audience, but they do have an audience. And what if that audience is highly niched, highly relevant to the right brands, and highly trusting of the podcaster? Isn’t that a marketing channel that should be leveraged?

Yes. The answer is yes.

From Instagram influencers to podcast influencers

In essence, what I’m talking about is exactly the same as Instagram influencer marketing. But for podcasts.

On Instagram, we see influencers get $1000 from a niche brand to post about a product they like to their highly relevant audience who they have a great relationship with. These are the so-called “micro influencers”. They’re not Kim Kardashian, but they are still highly influential with their people. 

Not only that, we even see the big brands paying to get in front of these “smaller” audiences, and they just do more of it. Why?


People “know” the micro influencers better. Certainly better than they know the likes of Kim Kardashian, or an advertisement actor on NBC. These micro influencers seem like real people with whom you could have some sort of relationship with. And when people you have a relationship with recommend something, you tend to listen. And maybe you buy it. And that’s why influencer marketing is expected to be a $13.8 billion industry in 2021.

And now this will all happen with podcasts.

Podcasters are the newest form of influencer

I mean, they’ve always been influencers... in that they’ve always influenced.

But they’ve never been thought of as influencers in the marketing sense.

We haven’t really had niche brands (or big brands for that matter) paying niche podcasts to mention their product to their audiences. We’ve just had what’s been known as “podcast advertising”, which, as I said, is big brands paying big budgets, to big podcasts.

So what we’re seeing is a revolution in podcast marketing and monetisation.

Podcasters will have the opportunity to monetise their show in ways they haven’t previously.

Brands - large and small - will be able to reach highly engaged, highly trusting audiences at scale and for reasonable prices.

I’d also argue that the podcast host/listener relationship is much more intimate and trustful than the Instagrammer/follower relationship. Podcast listeners are highly engaged - people tend to listen to 80% or more of any episode, and they tend to be loyal to the podcasts they listen to and listen to many episodes. In some sense they come to “know” the host.

So the quality of brand mentions is significantly higher than that of almost any other channel. Especially when it is just that - a mention. Not an ad placement. But a genuine mention and/or recommendation of the brand, business, or product, that comes across as organic.

The beauty of this for marketing and PR professionals, is that it’s still in the early days. So it’s still underpriced. The competition has not reached anywhere near saturation, so you can still get great deals with podcasters. 

And podcasters are dying to hear from you, marketers, because they want to monetise.

Just like the early days of Google Adwords, or the early days of Instagram influencers for that matter, now is the time to start leveraging podcast influencer marketing.

So. Enough background. Let’s get into the details.

How do I implement a podcast influencer marketing strategy?

There are 5 things you need to think about to implement a podcast influencer marketing strategy:

  1. A goal - because you need to know how to structure your campaign and be able to measure its effectiveness
  2. Podcast data - because you need to find the most relevant podcasts for your brand
  3. An offer for the podcaster - because the podcaster needs a reason to mention your brand
  4. A format for the spot - because there’s a difference between a full product review and a 15 second ad read
  5. An offer for the audience - because the audience needs a reason to engage with your brand

Let’s go through these.

Goals and objectives for podcast influencer marketing

Why are you running an influencer campaign? What do you want to get out of it?

Usually in other marketing channels people say one of two things (or both):

  1. Awareness - getting your name out
  2. Conversions - getting people to buy your stuff right then and there

You might think “wouldn’t I always want people to just buy my stuff then and there?” 

The answer is “not necessarily”, because often people aren’t ready to buy then and there. They might need to come to trust you more before they buy, and they can’t do that until they know about you. 

Or, maybe they trust you but they don't need your product or service right now - but you want to be the first business they think of when they’re ready. 

That’s where the awareness campaign comes in.

But in any case, the reason it’s important to know your objective is because it may change the direction you take with regard to some of the next steps (which I’ll get to).

Which podcasters you work with, what kind of placement, how much you pay etc. - these can all be different depending on whether you’re running an awareness or conversion campaign.

That said, the campaign might not be any different based on your objective. You might end up doing exactly the same thing for awareness and conversion campaigns. And if you’re new to influencer marketing in general, I’d actually say it probably should be like this, for simplicity’s sake.

Any placement you run should have some information about your brand (awareness), and should also have a call to action (conversion). 

The same people you want to make aware of your product are the same people who should ultimately buy it. 

And it’s not like a digital banner ad campaign where you only have a 250 x 300 pixel box to write a single piece of text and you need to be very specific about what you write based on your objective.

You’ll typically have at least 30-60 seconds to get a full message out (and maybe much more depending on the format), which means you can typically include some awareness-y type messages, as well as a call to action to buy something. There’s room for both.

Ok. So we’ve decided our goal. Now what?

Data for your podcast influencer marketing campaign

Podseeker was built specifically for this purpose. It’s very helpful for it. But I’ll come back to this.

Depending on your goals for your campaign, there are usually two main things you need do know about a given podcast before you reach out:

  1. What is this podcast about? (and what kind of person listens to it?)
  2. How many people listen to this podcast? (or at least what’s the ballpark figure)

AKA relevance and reach

If you know these two things, you’re off to a good start. But it will also be helpful to know other things, such as:

  • Is the podcast actively publishing episodes?
  • Is it a new show, or well established?
  • What’s the best way to get in touch with this podcast?
  • Do they influence people on other channels, such as social media?
  • Where is their audience primarily based?

If you have these, you’ll be able to run a really solid campaign.

So, how do you get this data? There are a few ways:

Using Google to find podcasts

This is probably the most common way people find podcasts to reach out to.

“Best podcasts about {topic}”

And then there might be 3-4 articles that cover that topic, and give you a list of the “best” podcasts for that topic.

There are problems with this:

  • You only get a tiny fraction of the podcasts - the person writing the article simply hasn’t found them all
  • Of the ones you do get, you tend to only get the really well known podcasts - you miss the “micro influencers”
  • What the “best” podcasts are very much depends on your brand - what works for one won’t necessarily work for another
  • You get no other data, except for the name of of the podcast and the broad topic it covers
  • No contact details - you’ll have to find them for yourself

All that being said, if you need a clunky way to get some data about a few well known podcasts, and you don’t mind missing out on the micro influencers, you can start with Google.

Using Apple Podcasts to find podcasts

Very similar to Google, and faces most of the same problems.

The one advantage Apple Podcasts will have is that it will return all of the podcasts that mention your keywords.


That’s also the disadvantage. It will only show you the podcasts that mention your keywords, exactly as written. And a lot of podcast titles have nothing to do with the content of the show… 

Imagine typing in “technology”. It’s conceivable to think of many podcasts that don’t explicitly use the term “technology”, but are in fact about technology. Maybe they say “AI” or “programming” or “internet of things” - but they don’t say “technology”. Those just won’t show up.

So it’s sub-optimal. It also carries the problems of having no data other than the podcast title and description, which is not super helpful.

“What is the best solution to this problem?!?!”, I hear you screaming from the rooftops.

There is a solution.

Using Podseeker to find podcasts

This is the best solution. Yes, I’m biased. And yes you have to pay for it. But it’s the best, because it was purpose built to solve this problem.

With Podseeker you can input a topic, podcast name, genre, publisher etc. and get back a list of all the podcasts that fall into that category.

Not only that, you can filter the results based on any of the following criteria:

  • Topic/genre/keywords
  • How many people are likely to listen to each episode?
  • How much is an ad spot likely to cost?
  • How frequently do they publish episodes?
  • How long have they been around for?
  • How many ratings do they have on Apple Podcasts?
  • Do they have social media channels?

And once you run the search, you’ll be able to see all of the aforementioned data points for any given podcast. 

You’ll also get the podcast’s contact details. There will at least be an email address. And with many of the more popular shows who have booking agents, producers etc. - we have you covered there too. There will be multiple ways to get in touch with any given podcast, including their social media handle if they have one.

And once you search for the podcasts, you can add them to a custom media list so all of the podcasts for a given campaign are in one place. From there, you can also export them to a CSV and input them into any other tools you might have on hand - CRM’s, email outreach tools - you name it.

So it’s a pretty nifty tool if you ask me. Like I said, it’s purpose built for podcast influencer marketing (as well as podcast advertising, and podcast PR - which are kind of related). 

We have a free trial, you can check it out here. You’ll get great data.


Alrighty. So you’ve got your handy list of relevant podcasts you want to reach out to. Now what?

An offer for the podcaster

Ultimately, you need to offer something to the audience of the podcaster. But before you can do that, you need to get access to the podcaster themselves, so you can access their audience.

For that, you’ll need to offer them something.

Typically, this is going to be cold, hard cash. Much the same as an Instagram influencer.

But that’s maybe not the only thing you can offer. Maybe you run a software business and you can offer a free annual subscription. Or you have an eCommerce store and can offer a certain amount of free products.

But generally speaking, podcast influencers want to monetise their show, meaning they want money.

That said, it’s important to note that podcasters need to be careful not to erode trust with their audiences by mentioning products that won’t benefit their audience; products that they don’t truly believe in. So it’s by no means a given that a podcaster will work with you if you offer them money, just FYI. Having a highly relevant product/service that is trustworthy is going to serve you well.

So, given that, how should you approach them? 

Here’s an email template you can use (and some commentary below it). I’ll use myself and Podseeker for the example, but obviously adapt for yourself:


Subject: Thoughts on New Media Marketing podcast

Hi John,

My name’s Simon and I’m the founder of Podseeker - love what you’re doing with the New Media Marketing podcast! 

I thought there might be an opportunity for us to work together since we have overlapping audiences.

Would you be interested in having Podseeker sponsor some of your up coming episodes? Let me know if you’re open to it and we can go from there.




Commentary on the above:

  • The email subject line mentions their podcast and suggests I have something to say about it - which podcasters are very sensitive to
  • It’s short and to the point
  • The “ask” is low friction. I’m not asking for an answer on working together right away - just a yes or no if this is even something worth talking about

Is it the world’s most perfect email? Yes.

Kidding. Probably not. But it will definitely work to a certain degree. And as I mentioned, podcasters are pretty keen to monetise their shows in general, so in most cases they should be pleased to hear from you.

Once they reply, it’s up to you and the podcaster what that sponsorship might look like and how much you should pay. 

I’ll get to the payment side of things in a minute, let’s talk about what an actual sponsorship might look like. 

Formats for podcast influencer marketing

In theory, you can make up any kind of format you want if the podcaster is cool with it. Or, the podcaster might have thoughts or a method of their own.

But in general, a podcast sponsorship is usually going to take one of three forms:

  1. Ad read
  2. Commentary/mention/review of your product
  3. Guest appearance

Ad read

This is what most people think of when they think of podcast advertising or sponsorship, and you’ve no doubt heard plenty of these before (if you listen to podcasts).

You (or the host) writes something up to say about your product or service, and the host reads it. It can be at the start (pre-roll), the middle (mid-roll), or the end (post-roll).

The benefit is with an ad read is you can write exactly what you want the host to say. The downside is that inauthenticity of the written down-ness comes through. It’s interpreted as an “ad”, and something to be met with skepticism.

They’re a tool in the tool kit and they can definitely be effective. They may serve your purpose, or they may not.

Commentary/mention/review of your product

This could take many forms, but you could sort of think of this as an ad read that isn’t pre-scripted by you. The podcaster just reviews, mentions or comments on the product in their own words. They may do this as a separate segment, or they may just casually drop it in along the way. You’ll likely discuss what that might look like, and you might even discuss which things will be highlighted and which things won’t.

But the point here is to introduce some more authenticity into the mix rather than a fully scripted ad read.

Again, it’s a possible tool which may or may not serve your purpose.

Guest appearance

The cream of the crop. You get the audience’s ear for the duration of the episode.

The difference here is that you won’t have that much of an opportunity to hard-pitch your product in the same way as an ad read or product review. But that’s ok. You’ll create a lot of good will this way by providing value and expertise, and in general, the results will be better.

The downside is that this also requires your time (or at least someone’s time) to actually do the guest appearance, as well as the preparation for it. So I guess it doesn’t scale as well, but that’s the price you pay. It will likely cost more.

Sometimes you can appear as a guest on a podcast for free. And by “free” I mean you offer up your valuable expertise on an episode in exchange for exposure to their audience. That would be known as podcast PR (which Podseeker is also built for).

But sometimes the podcaster may need a little extra incentive to have you on as a guest, in which case they will charge you money.

It’s usually well worth it if the podcast has a highly relevant audience, and it’s especially worth it if the product or service you offer is high-ticket and requires a lot of trust to be built before a purchase is made.

How much should you pay the podcaster?

The real answer is that it depends.

The factors that will change this are the format (i.e. a full episode guest feature will cost you much more than a 30 second ad read), the “influence” of the show (i.e. some shows have much more sway over their audience than others), how long the placement is, how many episodes you run across etc. etc. So this is always going to come down to a conversation between you and the podcaster.

That being said: 

For a 30 second ad read, it should run you $20 per 1000 listens, aka $20 “CPM”. If the show gets 10,000 listeners per episode, that should cost you $200 per 30 second ad on one episode.

So start from there to get you in the ballpark. After that it’s all about working with the podcaster to negotiate what’s fair. Longer formats? Pay more. Buying bulk spots across multiple episodes? Pay less. 


Ok. Now that you’re in with the podcaster, what do you do?

An offer for the audience

We talked a lot about the format of the “spot” above (i.e. ad read vs guest appearance etc.), so I won’t cover that again here.

This is more about what the content of that spot will be. 

Now, this is going to vary greatly depending on the format. 

If you’re doing a paid guest appearance, you’re going to want to give a lot of free advice that helps solve the same problem your product or service solves. 

If you’re doing an ad read, you’ll want to discuss your product in a lot more depth, and put on the “hard sell” a bit more (but not too hard).

So in some sense, the medium is the message. And I’m not going to tell you exactly what you should offer, because you know your audience and what would be a reasonable offer far better than I ever could.

That said, in almost all cases, you’re going to want to direct people somewhere to get an incentivised offer. Something a little extra that you usually don’t give away - otherwise you provide no incentive for people to take that offer (which can be tracked and measured) vs your standard offer.

If you run a SaaS, maybe it’s an extended free trial for listeners of XYZ podcast. If you sell health products, maybe it’s 20% off your first purchase.

Whatever the case may be, you’ll need to create some kind of tracking mechanism. That way you’ll know how many visitors/sign ups/buyers etc. actually came from a given podcast influencer spot. This is very important, because if you can see which spots are working really well, you can continue working with those influencers. 

If you don’t measure, you have no data as to which podcast spots are working, so you’ll be throwing money away if you decide to repeat and scale the initiative down the road.

One way to track the offer would be to offer a specific coupon code that people can enter at your checkout, and then you only ever mention that coupon code on a specific podcast (e.g. “enter code ‘serial’ to get 20% off your first purchase”). Then you can see how many people used that code, and therefore came from that podcast.

Another way is to use a link redirect service (such as Pretty Links if you use Wordpress) to set up a unique URL that redirects to your landing page, and counts the number of times your unique link URL is visited.

For example, I could set up a redirect link like podseeker.co/serial that would redirect to a landing page with an extended free trial offer. I would then make sure that link is only ever mentioned on the Serial podcast spot, and then I can count how many visitors went to that URL and were therefore sent from that podcast.

If you know what you’re doing when it comes to analytics (or you know a good technical marketer), you could then also set up tracking to see how many people actually went on to sign up/fill out your form on your landing page after being redirected from your unique link.

If you don’t know how to do this yourself, and you don’t know a good technical marketer, you will definitely be able to find someone on Upwork who could help with this for a reasonable price. 

It’s all about understanding what works, so you can do more of it.

On that note...

Scale it up

If something works, do it again.

That means that when you work with an influencer, put some effort into the relationship. Don’t think of this as a “I’m paying you the money so do what I want” kind of thing. That will not serve you (or the podcaster, obviously).

It’s very possible there’s an influencer out there that can be key to your rapid growth if you work with them productively - and you don’t want to screw that up.

So do right by them. Negotiate fairly. Send them some free stuff if you can.

And if what they do works for you (based on your tracking), and it makes you more money than you spent with them, then keep working with them. Run more spots. Expand the partnership.

And for the podcasters who don’t yield any results, well you can stop working with them, and redirect that money to the more productive influencers. Just like any other channel.

But the key point is that this isn’t like a Facebook ad campaign where they will take your money no matter what. The relationship matters, so make sure you nurture it.


That concludes the guide, I hope you found it helpful! 

If you have any questions on anything at all, please do send me an email directly and I promise to respond: simon@podseeker.co

Also, like I said, Podseeker is software made for podcast influencer marketing data, so feel free to take it for a free trial and I trust it will be helpful.

All the best for now,


Simon Thompson

PR and marketing professional with 10+ years experience.