There has been a steady upsurge of podcasting ever since the early 2000s and a slew of advertising campaigns that followed. Podcasts are touted as the future of radio, and judging by the rising popularity of the former and the decline of the latter, it looks to be true.

Now, to sum up, podcasting: it’s basically audio series available online sometimes free, sometimes paid. It’s a great on-demand offspring of traditional radio but without the inherent difficulty of amateurs breaking in seeing as how it’s readily possible for anyone with audio recording and editing to the podcast.

There are a few advantages of podcasting to traditional radio, chief among them being the sheer variety of podcasts available due to its more grass-roots origins. With this sheer variety comes a wide spectrum of listeners as well that would make perfect targets for an ad campaign.

Now I cannot emphasize enough doing research about which podcast one wishes to advertise and partner with. Smaller, relatively unknown podcasters are usually self-funded and just do it in their spare time while at the other end of the spectrum there are the ones who have already been sponsored by next to everyone and are operating at a fully professional level.

Usually, if you’re a new up-and-comer to online marketing and you want to go down the podcasting sponsorship route, the smaller ones are the best way to go. A small Google trends search will usually show how popular a show or series is and the same is true for podcasts.

The goal with the patronage of a certain small-time-guy is to be the one to push him over the edge from amateur to the professional podcaster. This more or less ensures an increase in attention for you and the gratitude of listeners.

A lot can be gained by the proper choice of who to sponsor and when to do it. There are many older podcasts out there who’ve already built strong and productive relationships with their long-time sponsors.

A few more words to the wise is that there are large-scale advertisers who are specifically working with podcasters who jump on every opportunity to scoop up a popular podcast. A great example of this is when Mailchimp, an online email marketing service, landed a spot as a major contributor to the creation of Radiotopia, a group of podcasts that banded together to share both listeners and content.

As a whole, the industry looks only to expand if the ever-increasing number of podcasts on iTunes is anything to be believed. Much growth can be garnered with a timely sponsorship and continued patronage of the right podcast.