For advertisers, partnering with a magnetic podcast host can yield big opportunities—and more ways to interact with audiences.

When Ashley Flowers launched the podcast Crime Junkie with her cohost, Brit Prawat, she didn’t have designs on becoming one of the top shows in the ever-expanding podcast universe. “When we started, we were very small,” she says. “We had no following. And for six months, there were no advertisers—it was just us.”

Crime Junkie co-host Ashley Flowers recounts her journey into podcast advertising and discusses the close bond her listeners form with the brands that sponsor her show.

Flowers and Prawat kept recording episodes, treating each show as an opportunity to sit down with a best friend and dive into the macabre world of true crime. Flowers kept her day job in software sales and gave herself a year to get Crime Junkie on solid financial ground. “I burnt through my whole life savings starting the podcast,” she says. “We needed advertisers to keep it going and make it an actual sustainable business.”

Here’s a sneak peek of her discussing the role personality plays in developing podcasts that are successful with listeners and advertisers alike.

What was it like to start working with advertisers?

I had no experience with advertisers but, honestly, I think that gave us a leg up. I think it’s why so many of our advertisers have stuck with us for so long, and why our listeners are so responsive to our ads. I wasn’t used to someone paying me to say their name or use their product. If I was going to support a brand and recommend that brand to my listeners, it was really important for me to only be recommending stuff that I would spend my hard-earned money on when I was living paycheck to paycheck. That’s been my and Brit’s thinking since day one.

 Download the full e-book here to read Ashley's full interview.