How to Make a Podcast Demo | Reaching out to Potential Sponsors
There’s an age old story that media executives teach new and aspiring talent. Like an Old Western folklore, certain details may change but the key theme remains.
We know it as The Elevator Scenario. It goes a little something like this.
You’ve the opportunity to share an elevator ride with the dream sponsor of your podcast. You’ve until they reach their floor to sell them on your podcast, as this could be the only chance you ever get to meet them in your career. How do you spend that short period of time best selling your podcast?
The big point is that you’ll likely only have a short period of time to make a potential client interested in your work.
When emailing a company about sponsoring your podcast, they might be the perfect partner but may not have the time to listen to a full show.
With this in mind, we’re going to cover how to put together a Podcast Demo, in order to sell your long form podcast in a short form format.
A Demo is basically a highlight reel. It’s your best bits of all of the shows you’ve done so far, edited together into a small package.
Who Are You Making The Demo For?
If you decide you’d like to make a Podcast Demo, it can be very useful to you for a number of reasons. Most importantly it’s an important tool in engaging a potential sponsor with a sharper, punchy example of your best work, rather than asking them to sit through a full show.
Unfortunately, the likelihood is that they may not have time to listen to one of your podcasts in full, so you’re much more likely to get a response from them with a Demo.
Creating a Podcast Demo is also useful if you’re looking for a career in media or audio. To have a short form demo of your show online means that potential future bosses can view the work that you have written, recorded and produced, just like an audio version of a CV or Resume!
You can also use your Demo as an “Episode Zero” in your feed. Something that can really hook new listeners checking out your show for the very first time.
Lastly, creating a Podcast Demo is also useful if you’d like to raise awareness of your podcast.
You may be able to work with larger podcasts in having a demo-like short clip of your show played during their podcast in an advertising spot.
There are also several Podcasting Awards that people can enter. You’ll usually find that for these types of entries, judges are looking for short form content, just like a Podcast Demo.
What Should Be In Your Podcast Demo?
People who have busy jobs tend to have fairly short attention spans, so when approaching a client, it’s good to bare this in mind. You need to capture their attention immediately and hold it until you put across all the points you need to.
An interesting Podcast Demo of about 3-4 minutes in length should be enough time to do this.
There are several things you should be looking to get from your Podcast into a Demo and we’re going to use our own Podcast, Hostile Worlds as a case study here.
We have created a 3 minute demo, which takes from the tips below that we’ll run through now.
You should always try to start your podcast with the best clip you have available. If a client is not hooked within the first 10 to 15 seconds then there’s a chance you’ll lose their interest and your shot at a new sponsorship deal.
You may wish to start with a Podcast introduction clip, and this is fine to do so long as it doesn’t run too long. You should always follow it straight up with the best clip you have.
This is the approach we took with our Demo.
You should make sure that you have an example of the usual kinds of chat content that you would have in your show. For Hostile Worlds this is Comedy, Drama & Science so we’ve made sure to include clips that show how we typically do all three of those.
Something important to include in your Podcast Demo is an example of how you sell a product. This can show the sponsor that you would know how to successfully sell their product if they were to be interested in a deal.
Whilst Hostile Worlds is a Podcast Drama and doesn’t feature them, interviews are also a good piece of content to use in your Demo. Showing a sponsor what kind of guests you have on your show and what commonly talk about with them will be an important factor in the sponsor deciding to back you or not.
Now we know what we’re looking for, let’s run through how you can go about gathering your best clips.
When you’re listening through to your Podcasts to put together your best bits, a good method of keeping track of what you have is to label clips based on what they do for your Podcast.
If a one-minute clip starts with a Podcast Introduction before advertising a product then you could simply call the clip ‘Intro into sponsor ad-read’.
This way, when you get all of your clips together, you’ll know what you have a lot of, and what’s missing. You may also want to be honest with yourself and include in the title of the clip if something is wrong with the audio quality or words within. Or even if the clip is too short or too long!
You shouldn’t submit any audio that is of bad quality to potential clients. You want to paint the picture that your podcast is professional, and you only produce the cleanest-sounding audio.
Any little issue with sound could put off the listener, especially if they are considering spending money on your podcast.
Lastly, make sure that you sell the overall feel of your podcast by including how it sounds in your Demo. In our Hostile Worlds Demo, we made sure to use SFX of spaceships, futuristic technology and exotic planetary winds to really sell the fact that our show is out of this world!
SFX can be used to also split up clips of chat which don’t make any sense together and won’t edit smoothly together. We used this in our demo between the first and second clips of chat.
Once you have your clips and sounds together, get editing!
Leave Them Wanting More…
With your Podcast Demo made, it’s time to put it into use. When emailing a potential sponsor information about your podcast and about the opportunity to work together, mention that you’ve attached your demo and include a web link to it too.
The folks you’re contacting will likely be busy, so it’s good to give them the option of accessing your audio either with or without a wifi connection. They may choose to download it and listen later, when they’re on the move.
Before you hit send, it’s worth adding a link to one of your full episodes too.
If they like what they hear, they’re now more likely to ask for an example of the full show.
And with that, your Podcast Demo has served its purpose. You’ve got the attention of not only a new listener, but a potential new sponsor too!
There’s a decent chance that your potential client has never sponsored a Podcast before.It’s only natural that they’re going to have a million questions for you about how it all would work.
We have an article with this in mind. It’s called Should I Sponsor a Podcast?
You can either link them to this directly, or use it as a framework for your discussions with them.
Either way, best of luck with finding a sponsor, and be sure to let us know how you get on!