Guest post by Heather Osgood, True Native Media
“My show is small, but I want podcast sponsors; how do I find them?” As a longtime podcast representation agency owner, I get this top question from podcasters looking to make money. While I agree that it is time to think about capitalizing on your content, I always ask this question in return: Is your podcast ready for sponsors?
If you can’t answer yes right away, then now is the time to stop, step back, and re-evaluate your podcast before trying to reach out to advertisers.
Your ultimate goal is to find, secure, and maintain long standing relationships with podcast sponsors. You can do this by following these seven simple steps:
- Create a business mindset.
- Assess the quality of your content.
- Understand your audience.
- Invest in yourself and your podcast.
- Determine your price.
- Create a sponsor outreach process.
- Join affiliate programs.
Create a Business Mindset
The first step to creating a business mindset for your podcast is to evaluate your show honestly.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself:
- Am I happy with the current state of my podcast?
- Am I putting in the most amount of effort I can into my podcast?
- Am I focused on growing my audience?
- Do I want a hobby or professional podcast?
- What are my goals for my podcast?
Shifting how you think about your podcast is the first step to financial success. Once you have determined the goals of your podcast, you can then work backward and make improvements to prepare for podcast sponsors.
Assess the Quality of Your Content
Brands want to work with influencers that align with business goals and brand messaging while bringing their own unique qualities to the table. So, next, your content needs to reflect the brand partnerships you hope to create.
Poor sound, lousy editing, and childlike cover art reflect an unprofessional content creator. Take a moment to ask yourself – would I pay for my content?
Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your podcast content.
- Am I publishing valuable content at the same time and day each week/month? Am I being consistent?
- How do my episodes sound? Is my guest’s volume the same as mine? What about my background noise?
- Do I have a format for my podcast? Where will I insert my ads, so they sound natural?
- Does my cover art show people exactly what my podcast is about?
These questions will help you improve the quality of your podcast and attract more podcast sponsors and listeners.
Understand Your Audience
When you attract more listeners with a quality podcast, more advertisers are looking to reach those people.
Companies know who purchases their products, and they’re looking to partner with podcasts that can deliver that audience. In my experience, hosts often guess about their audience demographic. But, companies need accurate data to make business decisions, so running a survey (with a giveaway incentive) is a great way to get deep insights into your audience.
Invest in Yourself and Your Podcast
Investing in a good mic is crucial, and studio space or a quiet environment that has sound-dampening equipment.
Two other services to invest in are a hosting platform like Podbean that can grow alongside your podcast and a production person. A skilled editor can make a listener subscribe in a flash and manage the ad schedule you will have to maintain.
I also recommend taking the time to build your business skills and understand the basics of entrepreneurship. There are tons of free resources available to help you level up, like YouTube or LinkedIn Learning. Many influential entrepreneurs offer free resources, webinars, and other educational assets that can get you started.
Determine Your Price
You have set your goals, improved your podcast production quality, and understand your audience. Now it’s time to set up your pricing and packages.
For smaller shows, I highly recommend packaging all your assets together and selling them as one to get a higher price and attract more sponsors.
Assets to add to your package can be:
- Podcast episodes
- Website sponsor page/banner
- Email newsletter
- Social media posts
- YouTube channel
Here is an example.
4 month partnership = $3,500
- 4 podcast ads (1 per month), 4 social posts (per month), 1 newsletter mention, and a website banner (for 4 months)
You will need a media kit containing the show cover art, description, and download numbers. It should also have information about the host, audience demographics, pricing, and packages. Make sure you add your contact details, so sponsors know how to reach you.
You can download a sample media kit the Podbean team created to give you examples, what to include, and more.
Create an Outreach Process for Podcast Sponsors
You are all set and ready to go, but who do you reach out to? I always recommend starting with your most favorite products/services that you use daily.
Make a list of brands and then use LinkedIn to find the person in charge of marketing. Send them a connection request and let them know you will be emailing them to follow up.
Follow the brands on social media and engage with their content. Send them a direct message, asking if they do partnerships. You can visit their website and search for the media contact and email them.
The key is to be bold, polite, and persistent. You will have to try several times before you get a response, so don’t give up.
Join Affiliate Programs
Finally, I highly recommend that smaller podcasts join affiliate programs to begin to build ad sales proof. Suppose you can show advertisers that your podcast makes money with affiliate programs. In that case, they are more likely to switch you over to a long-term partnership and high rates.
Another great option for podcasts of all sizes is to join the Podbean Advertising Marketplace. This allows you to tap into sponsors who buy ad slots across a variety of podcasts, making it easier to secure ad revenue even if your podcast is smaller and with little legwork. It is not exclusive, so you can also continue to seek your own sponsors.
In conclusion, once you have worked through the seven simple steps, you’ll be much more prepared to take that next step into monetizing your podcast with sponsors. “Is my podcast ready for advertisers?” is a question that may take some time to answer, but it will help you in the long run.