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18 July 2022

3 tips to deliver an incredible host-read ad

Want to improve your host reads ads? Look no further as we provide the best three tips to deliver them to perfection

What is a HRA?

A Host Read Advert (HRA), sometimes called a ‘Live Read’ is a commercial read and endorsed by the show presenter during a show.

They are not delivered as scripts to be read verbatim but rather provide ideas and talking points that help the promotion of products or services during the flow of conversation.

Whilst there is some freedom to get creative within HRA’s and the emphasis for hosts to “put their mark” on the content, there are also likely to be some key messages that MUST be delivered within the read ad.

What is the purpose of a HRA?

HRA’s are a valuable part of a podcasts commercial inventory and can command a premium in terms of cost to advertisers. Delivering good quality and impactful HRA’s can greatly improve your chance of an ongoing relationship with that brand, and being approached by more brands and advertisers in the future.

So getting them right can only benefit your podcast moving forward!

Here are some tips to help make sure you are making the most of the opportunity and remember, if you ever have any queries about what you are being asked to do please reach out to your Sport Social Podcast Network account manager.

1. Preparation!

Like with most content, preparation is the key to success!

It’s very easy to identify a HRA that has been picked up and read by the host for the first time – and it’s rarely good.

Take some time to read the brief in full and pick out the key points from the brief. You can then decide how you want to deliver the read!

It can often help to rewrite and bullet point the elements you want to highlight and the ‘must say’ key messages.

2. Make It Something Listeners Will Love

The best Host Read Adverts feel like part of the regular show and flow seamlessly.

Whist you have a commitment to the advertiser to deliver the key messages you also have a commitment to your audience to deliver great content and there is no reason why you can’t do both.

It’s key to know what your show’s tone of voice is. If your show is funny and irreverent, then the read should be done in the same tone whereas if it’s scripted and serious then the same applies.

You should always be respectful to the brand and the messaging but, at the same time the advertiser is buying into you and your relationship with the audience and so the content should feel as natural and ‘in keeping’ with the show as possible – everything is content.

3. You don’t have to love it

It’s tempting when you are delivering a HRA to say that the product is fantastic, even if you’ve never tried it – but you don’t have to!

Whilst you should never be negative about a product, being overly positive about every HRA you deliver will soon sound inauthentic to your audience.

It can help to imagine what problem the product or service MIGHT solve in your life or how you can imagine it helping you or someone you know in the future. That can often be just as powerful as just saying that you love a certain thing.

Keep in mind you may also need to do different versions of the read so think about how you might keep that feeling fresh with different angles, takes and examples rather than just saying; “Its great!”.

On some occasions an advertiser may ask for a ‘personal endorsement’ for a product. In this instance they will usually send you a sample before you record the read.

When delivering a premium campaign such as this, it is important to include “I” statements to demonstrate your endorsement and also to make sure that your opinion and experience is front and centre of the read.

Want to hear more?

You can hear two masters of the art of HRA’s talking about how to ensure great delivery on the Voiceworks: Sound Business podcast. Listen to Paul Sylvester (Content Director at Absolute Radio) and Tim Cocker (Host at Virgin Radio and The Egg-Chasers Podcast) sharing some top tips on delivering fantastic Host Read adverts here: https://pod.fo/e/12b41b

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