(By Traci Long DeForge) You’ve got podcasting questions, and Traci Long DeForge is here to answer them. Traci is the founder of Produce Your Podcast and a member of the PBJ Editorial Board. This week Traci answers questions on finding your voice, keys to podcasting success, and producing a podcast but not hosting it.
Q. I’ve been podcasting for a little under two years and feel like I’m ready to begin outreach to gain sponsors. What are the best next steps to get started?
Here are three steps to get ready for sponsor outreach.
- Determine your availability. Outline the number of slots you could have for sponsorship within your show. Do you have a special content segment that someone could sponsor? Can you integrate a live read at the beginning or in the middle of your show without being too disruptive to your message? Once you identify the number of places you have available, identify how much money you would like to earn on a per-episode basis for these slots.
- Make a target list. Identify businesses you know personally that could be a good fit for sponsorship on your show. Think of people like vendors you’ve worked with for a long time or possible clients that have a great relationship with you. Consider local businesses that know YOU. Your podcast may be global but your impact could be local, and there are many businesses that could benefit from being aligned with your show, especially if they have an e-commerce platform. The most important thing to remember is people are more likely to take a chance on you and your show if they know and trust you and your brand.
- Bundle your offerings. Consider bundling your sponsor packages so sponsors can access your audience outside of your podcast. Can you include them in your newsletter, in your social media and/or on your website with prominent placement? This is a helpful strategy if your total audience reach numbers are stronger when combined with other platforms.
Q. I was approached by a company for a sponsorship of my podcast. The owner is actually a great fit for an interview on my show. Can I accept the sponsorship and still do a credible interview with the owner?
It’s not necessarily a conflict of interest but there are a couple of extra measures you can take to keep the credibility of the interview and your podcast intact.
~ Record and post the interview in advance of executing the deliverables of the sponsorship. I ran into this same situation with a sponsor on my podcast. I was so excited when they approached me and I learned more about the CEO. I requested the interview and it was not part of the sponsor package. I ran the interview first and started the sponsorship the following month.
~ It’s a different story if the interview is a part of the sponsorship package. In that case it is important to disclose this information in the interview and on the show notes to make sure you’re being transparent with your audience.
Q. I’ve heard a lot of conflicting information on how many downloads you need to get sponsors. Is there a rule about it?
There are no particular rules but there are different types of objectives and platforms for sponsorships. The numbers can vary based on the advertiser and the type of sponsorship opportunity.
Here are three things to consider when it comes to talking to a potential sponsor or advertiser about your podcast:
Think quality not quantity. It is not always about the number of downloads and subscribers. If you have a very target-rich niche audience, you can absolutely talk to potential sponsors related to your subject matter. You are reaching a subset of highly engaged listeners and there are businesses that want to tap into your audience.
Your numbers are growing. There are advertisers that like to get in on the first floor of a podcast which is aligned with their message. Are your numbers steadily increasing? Start the conversation and negotiate a rate that increases as your audience increases.
Make it easy for advertisers to find you. Make sure your podcast is listed in all the podcast directories so you are accessible when a potential advertiser is searching for your subject matter. Check out podsearch.com and list your podcast there for free.