OK, so maybe having podcast sponsors won’t resolve all of your problems. Sponsorship’s can, however, dramatically improve your odds of keeping your show going. Considering that it costs money to produce a listenable show, finding funding should be high on your to-do list.
Want to know how to get podcast sponsors? Here are the most common techniques: You can build popularity and try to attract advertisers, boldly approach marketers proactively, or leverage your talent and publishing connections to find branding partners.
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This post has been updated in August 2021.
How to Get Podcast Sponsors Without Chasing Them Down
Running a podcast is a ton of work. From recording and polishing to publishing and monetizing, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
You won’t always have time to hunt for backers. These tried-and-true tactics could help bring that sweet marketing interest to you.
Join a Podcast Network
Podcast networks are groups of podcasts that work with a single managing company. Although the company might not outright employ all of the hosts, it handles many of the fundamentals, such as distribution and production. For instance, PodcastOne is notable for managing podcasts on behalf of several celebrities. Another network, Headgum, works with numerous YouTube personalities and comedians.
Podcast networks also take on most of the heavy lifting for their partners when it comes to the audio ads. This means they’ll hook shows up with brands that suit their style and tone. Some may even help you produce the ads in a standardized format. In other words, you’ll have to do far less work than you might if you went the solo route.
The downside to this approach is that you can’t just waltz into a podcast network’s office and demand membership. Instead, you’ll usually have to achieve enough notoriety to catch a publisher’s attention.
Hmmm, how can you accomplish this? For starters:
Publish Your Podcast on a Hosting Network That Grows Your Audience
Although most novices publish their programs on Apple Podcasts, this shouldn’t be your entire game plan. It’s usually wisest to distribute your show on multiple venues. This strategy may increase the size of your listening audience, and that can improve your likelihood of getting sponsors.
You never know who might be tuning in at any given moment — or where they prefer to listen. Spread your voice across multiple channels to raise your odds of finding a receptive listener. If that listener happens to be a small business owner or brand manager, then you’ve already done half of the work.
Publish Related Web Content to Increase Your Visibility
Having a multi-channel publishing strategy isn’t just beneficial for audio content. It can also improve listener retention by establishing you as an authoritative source of information. Advertisers would then see your power to make them look good by association.
Distributing related web content, such as blogs, can also increase the likelihood that someone might find your podcast via other means. For instance, Stacey Higginbotham’s Stacey on IoT is well-known among tech-savvy listeners. It’s also pretty popular with readers who tune in for the hosts’ insights about everything from smart homes to CES conferences. Notably, this show went from a smaller affair to one that routinely accepts sponsorship’s from major tech companies and now has more than 250 episodes in the tank.
How to Get Podcast Sponsors Proactively
Unsure whether the sit-back-and-wait approach will work for your niche? It isn’t for everyone, but not to worry. These alternatives may be more appropriate for the go-getter types — as well as those struggling to get over the initial hump.
Approach a Brand That Might Need Publicity
Finding brands directly is a smart idea, but it’s not 100-percent guaranteed. For instance, you might approach a company that simply isn’t on the market for a podcast sponsorship deal.
Barring situations like the above, reaching out to companies is usually a good use of your time. In addition to potentially landing you a deal, it can help you learn what to expect from interacting with brands.
One good way to raise your likelihood of a successful approach is to do your homework. Before reaching out to a company, find out whether they already sponsor podcasts. If they do, then look into those shows to see how you stack up. If you have far fewer listeners, a less-stellar track record, or only a few episodes, then you might want to put a pin in your outreach plans. In such cases, waiting to get in touch could be the wisest choice.
If you discover a brand that doesn’t seem to sponsor any podcasts, don’t assume that means they won’t support yours. After all, podcast ads are widely recognized as a smart way to promote brands. It could just be that they haven’t found the ideal partner yet, so your inquiry might be highly welcome.
Find a Brand That Sponsors Podcasts in Your Niche
Another way to minimize wasted time is to target brands that are in your field. For instance, you might not get far with a vegan food company if your show was exclusively about the history of slaughterhouse architecture.
In addition to researching the types of services that prospective sponsors offer, always look into their corporate cultures and values. Remember that sponsorship works both ways. The brands you associate yourself with reflect upon your show.
Imagine that you were a big fan of a podcast about world peace and nuclear disarmament. How would you feel about learning that a global defense contractor backed the show? At the very least, you’d probably seek out an alternative nonviolent listening menu.
As this simple case illustrates, associations can work for you or against you as a content creator, so tread cautiously. Also, don’t be discouraged if you find what seems like an ideal sponsor only to discover that they already back your podcasting competitors. This could still be an opportunity to strike up a partnership — as long as you bring something new to the table.
How to Improve Your Odds of Getting — and Keeping — Podcast Sponsors
Brands don’t really want to sponsor podcasts unless they get some business value that boosts their profitability out of the exchange. Fortunately, the standards aren’t always as high as they are with other types of digital content.
Sponsorship lenience can manifest in a few ways. For example, since the audience is smaller, your sponsors might not care as much about things like vulgar language as they would when searching for TV shows to advertise on. They’re also likely to provide their own ads and be more lenient about how you sound — although having a good narrator voice won’t lose you any points.
Put Your Best Work Forward
Picture yourself in a brand manager’s position. Now, suppose that some random internet person spams your inbox SHOUTING about how great their show is and asking for a big deal.
How do you respond? If you’re like many marketing managers, you might not even reply. No matter how busy you are, however, you’re more likely to get back in touch if you can hear a sample of the goods first.
As a podcaster, this usually means picking one or two exemplary shows that include your best content. By making it easy for your recipient to get a feel for your work, you can cut through a lot of their resistance.
An even more cunning plan might involve cutting up some of your shows into pieces. Create a highlight reel that strings these clips together and reveals the kind of emotive content you have to offer.
Highlight reels are also particularly helpful when they focus on a single topic that pertains to the brand. If you get a marketer laughing or crying along, then your inquiry might resonate more. You’ll do even better if you include clips of you reading mid-roll ads, although you might not want to share samples where you’re advertising on behalf of your target podcast sponsor’s competitor.
Understand the Arcane Language of Marketing Worth
Setting fair sponsorship prices can be hard. What should you demand for each audio ad spot? Here are some standard rates provided by Income School:
- Pre-roll ads typically net you $18.
- Mid-roll ads are worth about $23 to $25.
Bear in mind that these figures are per every 1,000 downloads your show gets in one month. In other words, you might make far more if lots of people tune in. It’s also worth considering that these rates are significantly higher than what you’d receive as a terrestrial radio host.
The key takeaway here is that you need to price yourself fairly enough to keep advertisers from feeling like you’re cheating them. Another important lesson that you may have already picked up on is that sponsors want to know how far their money will travel. Sharing your listener statistics is probably a good idea, so include these numbers in your initial approach email.
Improve the Quality of Your Content
We saved this one for last because it’s the most important. Your podcast needs to sound good. Otherwise, how are you going to convince advertisers that you’ll make them look good?
This doesn’t mean that you should start practicing your grammar or taking elocution courses. Although these self-improvement strategies probably won’t hurt, aesthetically pleasing podcast sound goes beyond having a great host. It takes the right recording equipment, engaging pacing, and professional-level audio mastering practices.
One good strategy for improving the overall sound and feel of your podcasts involves hiring a professional voiceover artist to do your ad reads. In addition to helping you save your vocal cords after hours on the air, this can make your work feel more polished. It could also make things seem easier for brands since they know they’ll be able to get professional work that meets their tone and sound specifications. You might have even noticed that most big-name shows leave their intros and outros to the experts.
You Now Know How to Get Podcast Sponsorship’s
Podcast sponsorship’s earn content creators significant amounts of money. Even better, you don’t necessarily have to do all of the hard work yourself — you might find a network that helps shoulder the burden. As long as you produce an engaging show and are willing to invest in the quality of your content, you can find great marketing partners. Now go out there and create something that people love — It’s the surest way to get the ball rolling.
Start your own podcast today with Bunny Studio!