Here's a great report on the experience of Travelocity on seeking out and sponsoring appropriate-content podcasts. Actually there's now a spectrum of possible podcast sponsorship models, including John Furrier's PodTech and my own BriefingsDirect.
I tend to take the sponsorship to a more granular level -- sponsorship of individual podcasts or series of podcasts -- that mimics a traditional industry analyst briefing. IT vendors and users have often paid directly or indirectly to do briefings with analysts that cover their space. Now, for less than the cost of typical analyst service subscriptions, they can sponsor a series of briefings, benefit from the expert and balanced moderation by analysts, have it recorded as a podcast, gain license to distribute the podcast, gain a full transcript of the discussion, and enjoy the benefits of the analyst blogging on the high points of the briefing.
Advertisers, in addition to IT evangelists, are beginning to see the value, too. As Pete Lerma points out:
According to a recent PQ Media study, podcast ad spending is projected to grow at an astounding compound annual rate of 154 percent over the next few years, outpacing even other alternative ad options, like blog and RSS advertising. John Keehler, our strategist behind the sponsorship initiative, believes these types of advertising will have significant impact beyond merely generating brand awareness.
"Through sponsors like Travelocity," Keehler said, "big fish and even not-so-big fish podcasters can focus on doing what they do best: providing free, informative, and entertaining content for their listeners. And that benefits everyone."
What's intriguing about Travelocity's experience is that the model for sponsored expert-moderated and/or produced podcast content can be extended far beyond the IT arena, where it has been pioneered. Any topic or vertical industry is ripe for applying the sponsored B2B informational podcast model.
Indeed, I am now working to decide which verticals or business topics to go to next, now that I've got a strong footing in IT. As usual, I'm open to suggestions. Let me know the topic or industry you'd like to sponsor -- or better yet, listen to -- and I'll try the BriefingsDirect model there too.