How to Get Sponsorships for Podcasts: 6 Steps to Success
Before you dive in, if you are interested in podcast sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for podcasters” series:
- Sponsorship for Influencers
- Podcast Sponsorship Opportunities: 5 Examples of Sponsorship Done Well
- The Complete Guide to Podcast Sponsorship
- How Much Should You Charge for Podcast Sponsorship
- How to Create a Podcast Sponsorship Agreement
- How to Create a Podcast Sponsorship Proposal That Sponsors Will Love
If you’ve only skimmed through the information in this guide (which, you really should take the time to read everything), then spend some time with this section at least. It’s a recap of all the steps needed for podcast sponsorship success.
Understand That Sponsorship Is Not Just Advertising
First-time podcast sponsorship seekers tend to follow in the footsteps of other podcasters before them. When they see that other podcasters have offered advertising to sponsors, especially big-name podcasters, they feel like they must do the same.
I know that’s the safer route, but it’s not the correct one. You might net some sponsors with advertisements, but far more sponsors will expect activations and sponsorship opportunities that are higher value than that.
Remember, sponsored series, sit-down interviews, contests and giveaways, experiential sponsorships, apps, all these are better ideas than simply reading off the name and slogan of a sponsor during a break in your show.
Follow a Pricing Model
Most podcasters dipping their toes into the pool of sponsorship will usually price their services according to the CPA or CPM models.
If you need the reminder from earlier, CPA is short for cost per acquisition. CPA refers to a commission or the number of dollars earned for achieving a sponsor’s goal.
CPM or cost per mille (aka cost per thousand) is how much money you earn per podcast download, social media impression, or video view. The stronger your audience is, the higher the CPM.
I have another post on the blog that goes into a lot more detail about podcast sponsorship pricing, so if you still have questions, I highly recommend you check it out. That post should address any of your concerns.
Do Thorough Audience Research
Without understanding who your audience, i.e., your listeners are, it’s very hard to pitch to sponsors. You don’t even know which sponsors to pursue because you’re clueless about what your audience likes. Well, besides your podcast, that is.
If this will be your first time surveying your audience, my list of best practices will help you hone in on the process and avoid easy mistakes. Once you have your responses and you’re tabulating them, read this article on how to use audience data. It will make a world of difference.
There’s a quote on this blog that I use quite a lot: the riches are in the niches. This simply means that whenever the opportunity presents itself, niche down your audience segments into hyper-specific groups.
If your sponsorship prospects ask about your female listeners in their 30s, you should be able to tell the sponsor everything about that audience segment, including differences in the early-to-mid-30s group and the later-30s group.
For instance, you should be able to present audience segments by location (including cities, towns, or boroughs), occupation, income level, marital status, brand preferences, and new versus long-time listeners.
This is the kind of detailed data your podcast sponsorship prospects want to see. It’s a lot easier to tell where your audience segments would enmesh with their target audience if the sponsor has highly detailed demographics, psychographics, and geographics.
Select the Right Prospects
Do you know what another added benefit of audience research is? It’s so much easier for you to then narrow down your sponsorship prospects.
What I like to do when helping my clients select prospects is create a ring of concentric circles. The first circle includes the warmest prospects that you gleaned during your audience survey.
These are the companies and brands your audience purchases from or consumes the most. The list can include other podcasts but likely runs the gamut from hygiene to health to beauty and food products.
Once you have that list, you can then move on to the second circle, which are brands that advertise to your audience. For example, let’s say your listeners like The New Yorker Magazine. If you picked up a copy of the magazine and flipped through it, what brands are advertising to readers of The New Yorker? You’d make a note of them all.
For every type of brand or company your audience most likes, you’d have to determine who’s marketing towards those consumers.
Then, in the third concentric circle are the brands that should market to your target audience.
Finally, you have the fourth circle, which includes the competitors of every brand and company you’ve listed to this point. For instance, who’s competing with The New Yorker? That would be local editorials like The New York Times as well as magazines like Rolling Stone, City Limits, or Vogue.
Although it’s a time-consuming process, by doing this, you can ensure you have hot prospects that are likelier to respond favorably to your podcast sponsorship request.
Don’t Treat the Discovery Session as a Sales Meeting
Once you have your audience data and a list of sponsorship prospects to pursue, please don’t mail out your podcast sponsorship proposal to anyone and everyone. Instead, you want to sit down with your prospects for a discovery session.
The discovery session, as I explained earlier, is only to determine if you can help the sponsor. It’s a getting-to-know-you type of feeling out meeting.
You cannot walk into the discovery session with your sales pitch spinning around in your head, nor should you bring your sponsorship proposal. You just want to ask questions of the sponsor to determine if you two gel.
Make a Fulfillment Report
Should the sponsor decide to proceed with you and together, you two create a podcast sponsorship arrangement, once the deal wraps, it’s your duty to produce a sponsorship fulfillment report.
Please don’t forget this! A fulfillment report not only reminds your current podcast sponsor about what you did so well, but it’s also something to keep handy when you find new sponsors and want to show them your successful track record.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Baylis is the President and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective and a self-confessed sponsorship geek.
After several years as a sponsor (that’s right, the one investing the money!) Chris decided to cross over to the sponsorship sales side where he has personally closed tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. Chris has been on the front lines of multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements and has built and coached teams to do the same.
Chris now spends his time working with clients to value their assets and build strategies that drive sales. An accomplished speaker and international consultant, Chris has helped his clients raise millions in sponsorship dollars.