Podcast Sponsorship Opportunities: 5 Examples of Sponsorship Done Well

Before you dive in, if you are interested in podcast sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for podcasters” series:

Do you like to learn by example? I know it helps me at times, especially when venturing into new territory. That’s why today, I thought I’d put together this list of 5 podcast sponsorship examples done extraordinarily well.

The examples I’m going to share with you run the gamut from sponsored podcast interviews to live events, product reviews, and more. I hope that by the time you’re done reading, you feel inspired to take your own podcast sponsorship efforts to new heights!

5 Great Podcast Sponsorship Examples to Emulate

Product Reviews – The Adam & Dr. Drew Show

Do you listen to The Adam & Dr. Drew Show? The show stars David Drew Pinsky or Dr. Drew and radio personality Adam Corolla.

Pinsky and Corolla have a history together that long predates podcasts, as they were on a syndicated radio show called Loveline for several decades. Their podcast runs the gamut topic-wise and covers relationship issues, medical problems, and sometimes raunchy topics.

I like how sometimes the podcast does product reviews in a way that doesn’t feel like a product review. For instance, in Episode #1239 (yes, there are a lot of episodes of this podcast), Dr. Drew launches into a product review of Eight Sleep, a specialized pod mattress that’s supposed to encourage better sleep.

He doesn’t just start by introducing Eight Sleep and telling you why you need it. Instead, he discusses recent (at the time the podcast aired) sleep research and then delves into a story about his time working with Alzheimer’s patients at a nursing home.

Dr. Drew talks about how sleep issues could have been accelerating the patients’ rates of Alzheimer’s, not stress like he had previously thought. Corolla adds statistics while the two hosts talk about Eight Sleep that back up the claims they’re making.

This is a very powerful way to talk about a product. First, Dr. Drew and Corolla are using personal storytelling to set a scene. I’m sure you’ve heard the oft-repeated statistic that a story makes what you say 22x more memorable than just presenting straight facts.

Maybe it’s a little hyperbolic (okay, probably a lot hyperbolic), but every marketer and salesperson will tell you that storytelling works.

What’s also effective about this example is that the hosts support any claims they make with statistics, numbers, and facts. This makes their claims seem more authoritative so the audience is likelier to believe what they’re hearing.

These are certainly some good points to consider if you decide to review a sponsor’s product on your podcast. Using stats and numbers isn’t necessary for all products, but if you can do it, you certainly should.

Of course, at the end of the day, you’re still selling something, so how you segue into the discussion of the product on your podcast is important, as is how you transition to a different topic.

You want the sponsor’s product review to naturally embed itself into the topic of conversation, not stick out like a sore thumb.

Live Events – Awesome with Alison and Alaska Airlines

Awesome with Alison is a podcast by Alison Faulkner that motivates its listeners to feel awesome and empowered. In 2018, the podcaster had a sponsorship with Alaska Airlines, which needs no introduction.

Alaska Airlines, as part of the sponsorship arrangement, offered to fly Faulkner throughout the United States to five major cities: Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Provo. At each destination, Faulkner did a live podcast. She got to meet fans and convert potential listeners.

Besides introducing Alaska Airlines as the sponsor at the beginning of each live episode, Faulkner also promoted the airlines on her blog and in her social media posts, especially her Instagram stories.

Here’s one blog post from Faulkner’s website about Alaska Airlines and her flight experience during the tour.

Why did this podcast sponsorship example work? Well, for one, judging by her website, Faulkner doesn’t do a lot of live events. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to digitize our lives, that appeared to be the case.

In other words, getting a chance to see or meet her would have been rare. When you add the brevity of the live tour to that, it again ramps up the exclusivity factor, which can produce a sense of FOMO in listeners (that’s short for fear of missing out, by the way).

The simplicity of the arrangement was also nice. Faulkner promoted Alaska Airlines in her social media posts (and on her website), but that was in the context of hyping up her live tour. Like the example from The Adam & Dr. Drew Show, this was a promotion that doesn’t feel as much like a promotion.

That said, if you want to replicate a similar live event deal with your podcast sponsor, make sure that the promotions aren’t so obscure that they’re almost unnoticeable. Otherwise, your sponsor might not meet their objectives, which would leave them unwilling to work with you again.

Advertising – The Armchair Expert and Chrysler

Allow me to reinforce a point I’ve made a lot on the blog recently: advertisements are far from the most valuable asset you can offer a podcast sponsor. They’re commonplace and played-out, and they alone won’t net you a sponsorship deal.

Yet as part of most arrangements, I’m sure you’ll add advertisements to your sponsorship package somewhere, so it pays to know how to do them right.

The Armchair Expert podcast is a fantastic example of that. This show is hosted by actor Dax Shepard with actor Monica Padman. The premise of the show is that the two actors interview people about life and adulting, everyone from academics to journalists and celebrities.

Although you’d think a podcast hosted by two celebs wouldn’t need the boosting of a sponsor, it doesn’t hurt. One of the most prominent sponsors of The Armchair Expert is Chrysler. That’s probably because–like two great movie stars–there’s a lot of natural chemistry between Shepard and the Chrysler brand.

It all goes back to 2018 when Shepard appeared in television commercials for the Chrysler Pacifica. Well, it wasn’t just Shepard, as Sesame Street characters like Big Bird were in the commercial too.

It was that same year that Chrysler became a sponsor of The Armchair Expert podcast and has been ever since.

An ad is just an ad when you’re reading off prepared lines during a break in your podcast. When you have some sort of connection to the company you’re working with, especially their products and services, that’s when people perk up and pay attention.

Since Shepard has been associated with Chrysler since 2018, it’s safe to say he knows their vehicles quite well. You might trust his opinion more than you’d trust a random Chrysler ad you heard elsewhere because you’re aware of Shepard’s connection to the brand.

Of course, when you’re associated with a brand for long enough, people can view your promoting of that brand as shilling it because you’re getting a hefty payday. So while to some, a long-term relationship with a brand makes your ads seem more genuine, to others, the ads can come across as disingenuous.

If your podcast is new, you won’t have any long-term company relationships like that of Shepard and Chrysler. I’d recommend seeking partnerships with brands that resonate deeply with you and are relevant to your audience.

The passion in which you speak about the product or service can be enough to prick up listeners’ ears and show that you mean what you’re saying.

Guest Spot – The Boss Dad Podcast and Front Row Dads

The Boss Dad Podcast is hosted by author Dana Malstaff, who also published the book Boss Mom: The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Business & Nurturing Your Family Like a Pro. On her podcast, Malstaff sits down with men to talk about how they balance their family lives with their business lives.

Who would make the perfect guest for a show about fatherhood and entrepreneurship? How about Front Row Foundation, which started Front Row Dads, a resource for, as they put it, “family men with businesses”?

Malstaff got to talk to Front Row Foundation founder and CEO Jon Vroman on one episode of her podcast. The interview was very awareness-centric as Vroman talked about what Front Row Foundation does, including Front Row Dads. Malstaff provided information to her listeners as well.

Maybe it wasn’t the most groundbreaking or tear-jerking interview, but for its intention, it hit the ball right out of the park. Malstaff found a relevant guest, informed her audience of what her guest does, and let her guest have the spotlight.

The guests you select for your own podcast shouldn’t be selected exclusively by criteria like clout. Name recognition is great and all, but you want to invite guests who have something valuable to contribute to your audience.

Maybe it’s a guest interview with a sponsor or a representative who can talk anecdotally about their products or services.

Of course, you can’t possibly know what your listeners are interested in without current audience data. This is something I’ve talked about extensively in my other podcast sponsorship articles, so make sure you go back and give those a read if you haven’t already!

Product Placement – The Model Health Show and Four Sigmatic

The last podcast sponsorship example I want to share is from The Model Health Show. This podcast is hosted by Shawn Stevenson, a health expert whose show has skyrocketed to the top of the ranks in iTunes’ Fitness and Nutrition podcast category.

In one episode of his show, Stevenson had Four Sigmatic as his sponsor. If you’re not familiar, Four Sigmatic is a Finnish-American beverage and food company that produces drinks featuring mushrooms, such as mushroom coffee.

Since Four Sigmatic products are known for their healthfulness, the partnership made perfect sense.

So how did Stevenson introduce the product placement of Four Sigmatic? Well, the episode in question was about motivation.

He then segued the topic of motivation to using Four Sigmatic’s mushroom products as an example. This wasn’t a small mention, either, as Stevenson talked about Four Sigmatic for about eight minutes.

This was a great product placement for the brand, which surely grew because of their work with Stevenson and The Model Health Show.

I wouldn’t recommend you talk about any product or service for anywhere close to eight minutes for your first go-around with podcast sponsorship, but subtle product placement for a few minutes is perfectly suitable.

Conclusion

Whether you’re interested in a live event, an on-show interview, or even product placement for your podcast sponsorship, other podcasters have navigated these sponsorship milestones before. Seeing how the experts have done it can give you some ideas on how to formulate your own sponsorship program as well as how to navigate tricky areas.

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.

Connect with Chris via: The Sponsorship Collective | Twitter | LinkedIn