I recently found a sponsor for my podcast, who has agreed to sponsor the show for the entire year at the price we decided on. I’ve decided to accept their sponsorship for at least 6 months and then re-evaluate. Who knows how much my audience will grow or decrease by then?
Before I get into some ways to find a sponsor for your podcast, I want to say that having multiple “platforms” has greatly helped me find a sponsor. If I didn’t have the blog that accompanies my podcast, then it would have been more difficult to find someone to support my podcast out of the many options that they could choose from. This is why you should start building your blog, email list, and social media following as soon as possible!
1. Connect with businesses that already listen to podcasts.
Selling advertisers on this new “podcasting” medium is difficult enough. If you can connect with businesses that already listen to and understand the value of podcasts, then it will be easier to convince them to support yours.
It’s also easier if you connect with businesses that listen to podcasts in your particular industry. This way, they will be able to qualitatively tell whether or not your episodes are better than your competitors. In addition, their more likely to intimately understand the purchasing power and needs of the audience you are serving.
2. Focus on individuals, not corporate brands.
When you’re going about trying to garner up sponsorship interest, it’s easy to target companies as a whole. However, don’t forget that it’s the people in these companies who actually make things happen, whether that’s influencing the direction of the businesses or deciding on how that company allocates its marketing budget.
Rather than trying to convince everyone in a particular organization that your podcast has merit and is worthy of investment, just focus on the few people needed to actually push the proposal forward. You’re never going to get everyone on your side, and it’s also unlikely that everyone in the business listens to podcasts!
Developing relationships with individual people is going to go a long way to establishing trust, credibility, and ultimately a long-term business relationship. In addition, it’s easier to access these people through direct email pitching and connecting via LinkedIn.
3. Find brands that are already spending money through other channels.
Even though you might like to offer everyone the opportunity to sponsor your podcast, it’s unlikely that people will do so if they don’t have some kind of marketing budget. Those established companies that do have marketing budgets must decide how to allocate those funds, whether it’s through display ads, Facebook ads, YouTube ads, adwords, or other means. Ultimately, it’s your job to convince them why it makes more sense to invest a portion of those funds in your podcast, rather than some other avenue.
If a brand is already spending money through one of these channels, it’s a good indication that they are 1) Willing to spend money on marketing/advertising 2) Have some kind of a monthly budget to do so.
This information will help you create an outreach list and to begin to tailor your pitch for each businesses as to why your podcast audience is a good fit for them. Don’t forget that it’s most important to first understand what they want to get out of a sponsorship and why they’ve chosen the avenues they have up until this point.
4. Offer a multiple platform promotion strategy.
Let’s be honest, the podcast might be your baby, but it’s not the baby of a sponsor or advertiser. They want to be seen on multiple channels, whether that’s online, through social media, or on youtube. One way that you can help eliminate the risk of putting some of their eggs in your basket is to structure a multi-platform deal, where you will also promote their brand through your email list, blog, social media accounts, and more.
If you do decide to go this route, I highly recommend automating some of those weekly sponsorship mentions. You can use a tool like Aweber to schedule email blasts, Hootsuite to preschedule social media, and the WordPress publishing functionality to automate posts.
Giving the option for marketing/promotion on different platforms also allows you to increase your overall audience numbers, which will be more attractive to an established business trying to get the word out about their products or services.
5. Invite people to share links with your audience.
What sponsor doesn’t want a free mention in your podcast? But here’s the catch. By giving potential advertisers the option to have a free mention in your podcast as a “helpful resource,” you are also gaining their contact information in the process which you can use to sell them on a sponsorship down the road!
I make my email address public on my blog, but you could also design a contact form where interested parties could shoot you a message. This simple option of giving people a way to contact you will dramatically increase your leads. Someone who has a link shared for free on your podcast and experiences some traffic might be willing to invest in a sponsorship later. I think the key part is making sure that the link or mention makes sense for your audience and that it will ultimately be beneficial.
6. Begin collecting statistics to show engagement.
At the end of the day, advertisers and sponsors care about engagement. They care about the amount of your audience that will click on your links, listen to your episodes, and come away with a positive feeling about the experience.
The statistics you might see on podcasting hosts like Libsyn or Soundcloud will give you some indication of your audience’s engagement, but you can also use a plugin like pretty links, a tool like Bitly, or one of the above mentioned social media or email scheduling softwares to track how many people in your audience is actually engaging with your content.