Getting podcast sponsors is hard work.
But not as hard a building a successful podcast.
You already invested in the content ideas, the scripts, the invited guests, and the equipment. You achieved some consistency. You’ve conquered generating, editing, and uploading according to a set schedule so your audience remains invested.
So, are you here to bring all this together so you can see some money from all this work? You’re in the right place.
What is podcast sponsorship?
Let’s talk sponsors. Think of your podcast as a business that needs investors to grow. The number of sponsorships you need depends on your podcast business model. For example, if you’re just starting out, you would look for sponsors who can cover your streaming costs. If you have a bigger brand, i.e., your podcast employs editors, scriptwriters, or others, you will need sponsors who can cover those costs as well.
The work economy has moved increasingly toward remote work in recent years. This means that a lot of content creators outsource some of their work like editing or sound checks to freelancers who may live in different countries. The finished product can be expensive. Someone who hires remote workers needs multiple sponsors to pay for services like calling internationally from the US and mobilizing their team.
It’s not just podcast hosts who benefit from this relationship. Sponsors give money to content creators for a reason: to advertise their products without creating their own videos from scratch. They know that your audience trusts you and will most likely act on your recommendations. Let’s face it, people are much more likely to be interested in things like sales coaching programs if their favorite podcaster recommends them than, say, a blog post about sales coaching.
Why you should get sponsors for your podcast
There are a lot of great reasons for getting podcast sponsors. Here are some factors that make getting sponsors worth the effort:
1. Sponsors help you generate income
You’re doing something you love all day every day and you get paid for it. Podcast sponsors can take your love for content creation and make it into your dream job, one that you’ll never tire of doing. You’re effectively running your own business where you set the hours, decide which products you want to sell, and get paid for it too.
2. Sponsors promote a stronger brand identity
A 2022 Buzzsprout report shows that over one-third of Americans listen to podcasts on a regular basis. That’s a large audience so your podcast needs to stand out. The right sponsors can help you cement your brand identity as viewers will identify your channel with your long-time sponsor. For example, Pewdiepie actively promotes G Fuel, and his fans have made memes about this dynamic.
3. Sponsors help expand your network
Making money is mostly about getting in touch with the right people. When you bring sponsors in to power your podcast, your network grows by default. You earn their trust, build credibility, and in return, they award you with more opportunities and business in the future.
4. Sponsor ads can actually grow an audience on your platform
This one depends on how cleverly you integrate your sponsors’ ads with your content. If you’re creative enough about it, your podcast listeners will actually enjoy your ads and will keep coming back for more.
How much is the usual pay of sponsors to podcasters?
You’ll have to do some quick math here, so grab a calculator if necessary. Podcast sponsorship usually works according to two metrics: the Cost Per Mille (CPM) ((in Latin, French, and Italian, mille means one thousand) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). The first one measures the number of average downloads from your video and rates go from about $18 to $50 per thousand.
The second metric looks at the total number of queries, sign-ups, and sales that the sponsor receives from your audience. They usually measure this through referral codes that are unique to the podcaster.
Where to get sponsors for podcasts
Here’s how you can find your next sponsor:
1. Online networking
Once you start working online, you’ll find there’s a whole community to connect with and talk to. Stay updated with the activities of your fellow content creators to see which sponsors they’ve pulled. If possible, reach out to them directly and shoot your shot.
2. In-person networking
Podcast hosting platforms usually conduct events and workshops where content creators come together and mingle. There are events hosted by companies like YouTube, Spotify, and Google where you can network with sponsors. Sign yourself up and impress sponsors in person.
3. Podcast advertising marketplaces
There are some platforms that let you advertise your podcast for free. You might get useful exposure this way because sponsors often try out these marketplaces to find the next big thing.
Important things you need to prepare before reaching out to sponsors for your podcast
Here are the main things you need to sort out before you try to seal the deal:
1. Prepare your media kit
Show sponsors what your brand stands for so they can review all the ad space and materials they can work with.
2. Work on your marketing plan
Sponsors will want to know how you will place their podcast ads, so show them how you will creatively market their products.
3. Analyze your audience demographics
Numbers are key to getting sponsors interested. Show off your viewership, engagement rate, and other relevant stats.
4. Determine your advertising rate
It’s good to have a cost list made out, even if you don’t start the conversation with it. This will show sponsors the minimum amount required to work with you.
5. List of potential sponsors you can reach out to
Do your research and create a comprehensive list of sponsors that are a good fit with your content and category so you can reach out accordingly.
6. Practice your pitch
It’s important that you woo potential sponsors and appear confident about your plans. Practice your pitch so you can communicate the idea behind your brand with clarity. If it’s going to be a video call, ensure you can take calls from a browser, ensure your internet connection is stable, and record some practice sessions to see how you come across.
Ways to find podcast sponsors
Getting your first sponsor might be tricky, but it’s a smoother sail after that. Here’s how to find the best sponsors for your podcast:
1. Reach out directly to brands
If you have a brand in mind that would be a great fit for your podcast, reach out. It can be surprisingly easy to work with your preferred brands especially if you target smaller businesses first.
2. Get assistance with a hosting service
There are a lot of podcast hosting services that help you manage and monetize your podcast. Some of these are paid but you can find sponsors through their service right away.
3. Join a podcast network
A podcast network lets you promote your brand to sponsors free of cost. This is good for more established creators who have a recognized brand but there’s no harm in trying out a network even if you’re new.
4. Connect via podcast ad marketplace
Podcast ad marketplaces buy and sell ad spaces, or inventory, in podcasts. You can sign up on one of these paid services and find sponsors who want to place their ads in your content. ConvertKit, for example, launched a Sponsor Network recently for newsletter content, which could be your transcribed podcast in a newsletter format.
Ensure good value
Remember that content creation is not primarily about getting sponsorships. Your main focus should be your audience, the people who will help you reach new heights. Limit your ad space to 3 ads per show if it’s longer and 1 to 2 if it’s short. Your audience will keep coming back for more if you keep them engaged with genuine and wholesome content.
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for improved CSAT of business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways.