Thinking Differently Around Dynamic Content for Podcasts
yes, ads are great and all, but dynamic insertion offers so much more
A lot of podcasters, myself included, use dynamic content insertion to make their podcast episodes more “engaging”. Usually, these are for sponsor messages or ads, and are placed at the start/end of the episode, or somewhere in the middle.
While this is great, and can help you monetize your show, it also offers so many other opportunities - so let’s take a look at some.
First, a quick primer on what it actually is. From podcast host Captivate (where I’m Head of Podcaster Support & Experience) comes this definition of dynamic ad and content insertion:
In short: with dynamic content and ad insertion, or DAI, podcasters more easily make edits to new and existing episodes, to make sure the content is up to date, without having to record the whole episode from scratch.
Simply put, you can create new and update old episodes with fresh content at any time, and it’ll be updated across all the episodes you choose to update. Perfect for keeping old episodes fresh and relevant.
So, with that in mind, here are some ways to think a little bit beyond the usual sponsor message/ad insert.
Promote Internal Promos and Offers
While it’s easy to think of ads or sponsor messages as external revenue options (and they are), it’s just as effective to insert “internal” ads. These can be used for a number of options:
driving newsletter sign ups
promoting reviews of your podcast
selling premium content
announcements and news
This is exactly what I do for Pod Chat. As well as my external sponsor (thanks Podnews!) I also use dynamic content to advise listeners that they can get an ad-free, early access version of the show. Here’s that example:
As you can hear, it’s a simple, quick message that shares what the benefits are, and where to find them.
I also use dynamic content to give listeners a subtle heads up to review the show if they enjoy it. Here’s that example:
Again, I keep it short and simple, and make this a fun one with a play on words around the gift of reviewing.
In both examples, I use a custom short link that makes it super easy to say in the episode (as opposed to the full URL), and these also let me track any clicks to see how effective they are.
Both of these have helped in growing my premium audience as well as increasing reviews of the show, all from a simple audio piece less than a minute long.
Promote Older Episodes and Guests
Another great way to use dynamic content is to promote older episodes that may have dropped off in listenership, or the guests that have appeared on your show more than once.
Not only can this help previous episodes get fresh listeners, but it can add more context to a conversation that’s happening on your latest episode.
I did this on another show I used to host, where I took a break at the time for mental health reasons. As I was explaining the reasoning behind taking a break, I inserted a snippet from a conversation I had with my wife on her podcast about when I was first diagnosed with mental health issues (and apologies for the reduced sound quality, this was recorded in less than ideal surroundings). The insert is around the 48 seconds mark.
As you can hear, it helps give a bit of background as to my journey with mental health, and why I needed to step away from the show I was hosting at the time, due to some of the topics being discussed.
For shows where you have repeating guests, using dynamic content is great for referring to previous appearances.
I haven’t had any repeating guests on Pod Chat yet, but when I do one of the ways I’ll be using dynamic content is to include a soundbite from a previous conversation. So, if the new episode discusses Topic X, and Guest Y had an opinion on that in our earlier chat, I’ll maybe ask my question along the lines of, “Last time you were on, we talked about Topic X and you had this to say”, at which point I’ll dynamically add a mid-roll piece of content with that exact soundbite from the older episode.
It’s a simple yet pretty cool way to add more context to the current conversation, while driving interest in the previous one.
Offer Reminders of Upcoming Events
It’s not just content you can use dynamic insertion to promote - it’s also perfect for live events and appearances, and you can drum up excitement and interest for this.
Let’s say you’re an author, and you use your podcast to sell your books and talk about the writing process, the character development, etc. To help sell your books, you do a lot of book signings.
Or, let’s say you’re a comic book artist and your show is about your career in comic books, and some of the big name publications you’ve been involved with. You appear at conventions to meet fans, sign autographs, etc.
Dynamic content would be great to promote these events, and when you’ll be in town.
Or, you’re appearing on a live stream event and you want to promote interest ahead of time, along with ticket sales (if applicable). Again, you can promote this via dynamic content.
Better still, if the event is around a certain topic, you could just add the dynamic content to episodes that discuss this topic, as opposed to your whole back catalogue, making the connection to the audience even stronger.
And, because it’s dynamic, you simply remove or replace with something different once the event is over, to ensure nothing is out of date.
The Possibilities Are Endless
These are just three examples of how to use dynamic content insertion beyond the usual ads and sponsor messages. There are many more options, including:
teasers of upcoming episodes/seasons
updating stories/facts for news podcasts
social activism messages
call out to listeners
adding a disclaimer when a previous guest is caught up in a controversial topic
Really, the opportunities for what you can do with dynamic content are pretty limitless. It’s down to you how to use, and when - the more creative, the better for your audience and your podcast overall.
And if you need any ideas, here’s a useful Twitter thread from Arielle Nissenblatt on this very topic (click on through to get the full conversation):
Most of all, have fun out there and think creatively - and I’d love to hear about some of the ways you’re using dynamic content to add value to your podcast!