(By Scott Carson) Ahh, the holy grail of every new podcaster out there, for the most part. Podcast sponsorships! So, the truth is that very few podcasters are monetizing or making money with their podcast. “If you record it, they will come” doesn’t hold true for most unless you are servicing a specific niche or audience, or you’ve done the work to regularly record some serious content and have grown a loyal tribe of listeners. You must serve your audience and make your platform a valuable sounding board or opportunity for sponsors to take note. And while podcasting is starting to catch on as a valuable marketing tool and way to reach new clients, not every company out there understands the opportunity.
Sponsors are not just going to knock on your door with their credit cards out to pay you thousands of dollars each month for you to read 30 to 45 seconds of copy once a week or episode. For some podcast niches, it might be easier for them to attract sponsors in their field or niche such as business or finance. While for more general shows, its harder to identify and tackle potential sponsors if your message is all over the place in a disorganized fashion.
For those podcasters who put a lot of work into production, episodes, and having a clear message and goal with their show, it will be a lot easier to find companies willing to pay initially or on an ongoing basis (which is what we all want). Who doesn’t want to be sitting on a beach, making thousands of dollars each month while recording one episode? I only wish it worked that way! But for those willing to put their work in on the front end and provide a valuable place for marketers to spend their ad budgets, here are three places for you to look for potential sponsors for your show.
- Existing Relationships. One of the best ways to identify sponsors for your podcast is to make a list of existing relationships that you already have. Think of every company that you encounter daily that is in your circle of influence. Often, if your subscribers are like you, then they have similar needs for services or products offered up by the companies that you currently have relationships with. Don’t be afraid to approach your warm contacts and ask how they market or if they are looking for sponsorship opportunities to get in front of new clients. If you’ve been a valuable client to them, they may be willing to expand that relationship to your podcast. When I started my podcast, I reached out to three companies that I love and refer business to on a regular basis and they were excited and happy to jump on and sponsor my podcast on a monthly basis.
- Vendors & Tools. As podcasters and marketers, we all use a variety of tools and software, as well as a variety of vendors with our show. Many of the tools that we use to market often have affiliate opportunities or are looking to get the word out to more potential clients. And the best type of referral comes from a happy client and a personal testimonial that you can provide on your podcast. Even if they don’t offer up a monthly sponsorship, you may be able to monetize your time with an affiliate relationship with them where you get paid for referring new clients that sign up. If I’m using a tool or software that I love, I make sure to grab an affiliate link or referral code. I end up either getting a commission or a discount on future services that ends up saving me, or making me, money in the long run.
- Other Podcasts. A growing trend that we are starting to see more and more are podcasters sponsoring other podcasts in their same niche for shout-outs or ads promoting their podcast to the new audience. If you’ve got a loyal listener base and the potential sponsor’s podcast falls in line with your audience and message, this can often lead to a value-add to your subscribers in giving your tribe another avenue and source for info. You’ll probably need to provide specific numbers on your downloads and what your social following looks like as well. We like to leverage our large social media channels and existing database as other ways to help promote our sponsors beyond just a 30- to 45-second commercial. Since only roughly 26% of Americans are listening to podcasts, we like to use our YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media channels as valuable real estate that we will use when courting a sponsor (as long as it falls in line with our message). The last thing you want to do, though, is to just bring on anyone, even if they don’t fall in line with your message or audience.
The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for sponsors is that you need to bring value and serve your sponsors. It’s always easier to keep a sponsor happy by going above and beyond and looking for multiple ways to work them into your podcast, social media, marketing, and other ways that not only brings value to the relationship but truly becomes a win-win-win for you, your audience, and ultimately your sponsors.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got an interesting idea or way you’ve landed a sponsor, so feel free to reach out to me!