Just a quick tip here.
One of my commenters, Dr Savi, makes a comment here, and mentions the right way to insert advertising (or more likely sponsorship messages) into corporate podcasts.
It's interesting because whilst I've said elsewhere that there's no need to reinvent the wheel (use interviews- they work on radio, tell a story- it works on radio etc...), the positioning of messages is very different from radio.
On radio and TV, sponsor messages appear at the beginning and end, and as "bumpers" between programme content and commercial breaks.
In podcasts, this doesn't work at all!
A sponsor message at the beginning tends to set the audience's expectations towards a hard sell, which is very sad if you've put lots of effort and money into an informative programme.
Worse still, at the end of a podcast, your message is lost. Completely. I believe that just as most people will not go to the trouble of fast-forwarding through a twenty-second promo, they will absolutely switch off and move to something else as soon as the end-theme and credits start to roll. So a corporate message at the end will generally lose 70%+ of the audience.
A minority of listeners may well be glued to their Ipods jogging through the park, but as over 60% of listeners are sat at their PC's, it takes only a click for them to miss your hard-won messaging opportunity.
The hard rule here is: don't leave anything important to the back end of your podcast, and certainly not once the outro theme has begun!
So what's the answer?
My intuition says, do anything production-oriented in the middle. In the middle of your show, you've already established your editorial credentials enough to warrant the listener continuing to listen; and they will be aware that there's more good stuff to come.
Additionally, if you want to get a promo in fast at the front end, perhaps do it in an unobtrusive way with a presenter-read comment rather than an overblown production promo. That way the brand profile is neatly dovetailed into the content, and can be presented positively. "Today's edition of Build a Better Widget, with the support of Widgets Inc, looks at how Widgets can help around the home" is a much softer sell and won't alienate the audience.
And of course, soft-sell works in a podcast- unlike online advertising, your promo doesn't have to compete for attention with lots of other stuff on-screen.
- Don't overblow your front-end promotion- it will alienate your audience
- And don't do anything at the back end (at least, not expecting results) - the off button is still your enemy!