If you’ve daydreamed about making your perfect podcast, I bet you’ve also thought about making money from it. This doesn’t need to be a dream!
It might take you a good while to be rolling around in Lamborghini’s with stacks of money in your pockets off Podcast money. But people have made a living from it.
The way you make money is through sponsorship. Take a listen to any popular podcast you check out on iTunes or any good podcasting host site, and you’ll usually hear adverts. These make those podcasts money.
Achieving podcast sponsorship might seem like a pipedream but we’re here to run you through how you can realistically achieve sponsorship.
How To Do Podcast Sponsorship
If you’re reading this worrying that you don’t really want to make a fortune from your podcast, we understand.
Bringing the idea of money into things might be an extra stress, but thinking about sponsorship can help you in many ways.
Cover Your Costs
In the early days of your podcast, it’s totally doable to cover the costs of your podcast through sponsorship.
It’s natural to want to record your show with the best tech available. And sponsorship early on can help you get this equipment, guilt free!
Another example might be recording space. You might need a studio to record your podcast and if you reach a deal with them, you might be able to use their space for free in space of them sponsoring your podcast.
Growing Your Podcast
Sponsorship is a fantastic way to help you grow your podcast. Putting sponsorship within your show immediately makes it more professional.
And if you follow the steps on how best to do so later in this article, your podcast will sound very polished.
Secondly, sponsorship gives you great drive and motivation to make the most of your podcast. Your show should be a labour of love, but you shouldn’t let that get in the way with you trying to make a great show your audience will love.
Having sponsorship lets you think in a new way about your show. It helps you think about how you can market your podcast to companies, but also helps you think about how you might sell your show to an audience.
Down the line, you can grow your podcast to have a large audience and make good money from it. This will take a great deal of time, as your audience grows, but it’s feasible.
What Can You Earn?
Listen, we get it. We’re talking about sponsorship so it’s perfectly fine that your first thought regards how many bucks you can make. That’s fine!
We’ll get into that right away before we cover the methods of how to do it.
Rollin’ In It
There are different types of sponsorship that you can sell to companies and we’ll run through these now. Typically, there are three types of ‘Rolls’ you can sell to companies.
Pre-Rolls are advertising spots that lie at the beginning of your podcast, as part of your introduction. Usually, podcasters would spend up to 15 seconds chatting about the products that they’re selling. You should be looking to sell these for between $15 and $20.
Post-Rolls are almost identical to pre-rolls but sit towards the end of your podcast. They can be slightly longer, lasting up to 30 seconds. These also sell at $15 to $20.
Mid-Rolls are the final type of ad spot and these are different from the others in being more in-depth. You might want to spend up to a minute chatting about the sponsor, and therefore you can sell these for a little more, between $20 and $25.
You usually want to look at these prices with regards to cost per thousand listeners. Companies call these CPMs, or ‘Cost Per Mille’.
Podcasters usually find that their sponsors want to purchase all three of these advertising blocks together. If this is the case, it’s common to throw in the post-roll for free, just to give a bulk discount and to offer a bit of extra value.
Another top tip is to be careful with how many sponsors you have on your podcast. If you approach loads of different companies, you dilute the things you advertise. And you annoy your audience!
It’s fair to agree two deals for your podcast and have two different adverts per block. This is fair for your audience, for the companies and it gets you a decent amount of money!
What all of this means is that you can be looking at up to $90 per show, for every thousand listeners you have. At a good-but-achievable 3000 listener mark, that means $270 per episode, or over $1k per month for a weekly show. Not too shabby for doing something you love!
The above is great advice in general, however if you’re making a niche podcast, there’s some extra thinking to consider.
Audience who listen to more general podcasts will be less likely to purchase advertising they hear. They’re just listening for some light entertainment or education.
However if you’re making a podcast which provides a service/help they need in their life, they’re more likely to purchase what you sell.
Your audience likely view you as a trusted authority in your niche subject matter. And if you’re telling them that they need this product in their life, its quite a good sell to them.
This means you can consider charging more for products that fit your niche.
You’ll likely have less listeners than you would for a more general podcast, but more of them will purchase your product. But you need to prove your audience are engaged.
If you can prove that your audience interact heavily with your podcast, you can use this to add value to your advertising blocks.
Show stats, for example, on how many acted on the last sponsor slot you ran. Show how many tweet you, email you, Facebook you, after every episode.
This all proves how engaged your audience is, and helps you command higher rates.
If you’re in your early days, then you might not have any stats to show. In that case, you need to reduce the risk for the sponsor.
Offering reduced rates or a free trial for the first couple of shows can work well. It’s during that time that you can prove your worth and build trust. A successful 2-week trial, with some real customer purchases, will convert into a great long-term relationship. And, of course, those stats then entice other sponsors in future!
You might be sitting thinking what we’re saying is great, down the line. However, there’s so much reason to start thinking about sponsorship from Episode 1.
Even if you don’t have any deals in place, it’s useful to get into the habit of planning out where sponsorships would fit into your show. And what sort of deals would work. Support products you like, and products you think your audience would like.
For example, on Podcraft we talk A LOT about the Samson Q2U microphone. We’re asked about microphones every day, after all, and the Q2U is great value and an excellent starting point for most podcasters.
So, since I’m talking about it anyway, there’s nothing stopping us advertising it as a Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll or Post-Roll.
Now, the big secret here is that this can generate you income, whether it’s a real sponsor or not. And that’s through affiliate marketing.
You see, those ‘sponsor slots’ will be delivered with affiliate links attached. So, we’ll talk about the Samson Q2U, and then we’ll say, “Go to thepodcasthost.com/q2u to check it out.” That redirects to our Amazon affiliate link for the Samson Q2U and, if someone makes a purchase, we get a cut.
One more bonus? Why not! The best part is, it’s easy to track, and starts building those conversion stats we talked about earlier. You can run a plugin like Pretty Link through your WordPress site, and this allows you to see how many people have been referred to your partner’s site through your affiliate link.
This is an example of engagement and conversion success that works wonders with future potential partners.
So get your thinking hat on with affiliate deals from the get go. It’s worth your time and helps you earn a bit of cash towards your costs.
Selecting The Right Sponsor
Choosing the right kind of sponsor isn’t straight-forward. You do need to get your brainstorm on for a bit to figure out what will work for your show.
There’s different kinds of research you should be doing.
Your avatar is your ideal listener. What comprises your avatar? Why is somebody choosing to listen in to your podcast, and what are they hoping to take from this?
It’s important you think about this because if you choose the wrong kinds of products to support, you might alienate or lose listeners.
Once you figure out who your ideal listener is, you can start to think about what they’d like to hear about.
As an example, with Podcraft, we know that our avatar loves to hear about great podcasting applications and tools. Everyone likes a good online gadget, not least us podcasters!
That means we can talking about the best podcast hosting, or the best recording tools, for example, and it’s actually interesting to our listeners! It’s in-content advertising, not annoying at all, because it covers items that our audience absolutely want to hear about!
Researching The Right Companies
Once you know your avatar, you can start to think about what kinds of products they’d use or like in their everyday lives.
Begin with industry websites or blogs, and check to see if there are any sponsored articles or pages on them. This is a great starting point because these companies already see the value in sponsoring content.
Next, social media is useful in ferreting out popular industry pages or events. Once you have these, you can check to see who is advertising with those.
Social media is also useful if you change your habit and stop ignoring the ads! Pay attention to who’s advertising to you on Facebook, and note them down as potential sponsors.
Often, you’re a good match with your listener avatar, so you can be pretty sure those products are a good match for them too.
It’s also worth a bit of time searching for common phrases in your area in Google. Instead of scrolling past them, look at the sponsored slots. Those slots tell you who’s spending money on Google ads to target your type of audience.
Next, track some industry magazines based on your podcast’s speciality. In the same vain as before, take the hit and read through the adverts. Check to see what companies are advertising, and whether they might suit your audience.
Lastly, look at what companies are sponsoring other podcasts. It may be too cheeky to try and steal their deal, but many companies like to spread their advertising dollars around. So, they could be worth approaching. Even if it’s a no, you can at least get a feel for what kinds of companies you might want to approach.
Doing this research is important in understanding which sorts of companies are open to advertising, and which types of products fit your avatar.
How To Word Your Email
When you’ve decided which potential sponsors you would like to reach out to, the next step is to word your email.
Writing professional emails can be a terrifying process. And it’s completely normal to feel like you need to spend hours reading over your draft hundreds of times. However let’s go through what you need to include.
Make it easy for the sponsor to read. You want to write an email which is concise and to the point, but also doesn’t miss out any key information.
If you write paragraphs and paragraphs, the company you’re mailing won’t have time to read through it. So make sure your email reads neat and tidy.
You want to mention reasons why the potential sponsor would be interested in working with you. Make sure you sell the fact that there is a market for your topic, with evidence. Explain your listenership and if people react to your podcast on social media.
It’s also good to be upfront about what you’re looking for. Mention in your email that you’d like them on board as a sponsor, and explain the benefits for them and how you’d promote them on your podcast. You can mention how much your advertising slots would be here.
The final thing you should have in your email is a podcast demo!
Making Your Podcast Demo
Having a sample of audio for a potential sponsor to hear is an incredible way of selling your product in a short period of time.
You want to attach your demo as an Mp3 file but also include a private link. This means that the sponsor, who has little time, can access it however suits them best.
Your demo should be short, and sell the absolute best bits of your podcast. We have a full in-depth guide to creating a Podcast Demo. This is something you should definitely consider as it makes your pitch email all the more stronger.
There you have it then. With good research, a good framework on your podcast, and a well-written email, it’s completely achievable to get podcast sponsorship.