23 Mar 4 Things You Need To Do To Find A Podcast Sponsor
by Natasha Nicholls. Creative Hub and Podcast Studio Manager at Mainyard Studios.
Unless your podcast is already established and you are getting at least 3000 downloads per episode, it’s unlikely that you will have Sponsors lined up fighting each other over the precious ad space real estate on your show.
In our previous blog, “12 Simple Ways to Know How and When to Monetise Your Podcast”, we looked at Sponsorship and selling ad space as a means to generate revenue from your podcast.
However if you are just starting out, you might be wondering, “How can I get Sponsors for my Podcast?” or “Where do I find them?” Read on to learn how to find a podcast sponsor
1. Perfect Your Pitch!
Before you can approach potential sponsors, you need to have clarity on a number of things:
- What is your podcast about? Who are you? What is your brand?
- What are your goals for your podcast? What are you aiming to achieve?
- Who is your audience?
- What are your current metrics in terms of downloads and site visits?
Having a firm grasp on these basics will put you in a better position to then understand how you can attract your ideal sponsor.
When thinking about potential sponsors for your podcast, it’s important to consider:
- What makes your show unique?
- What value are you providing?
- By advertising on your podcast, (how) will that improve the brand’s consumer perception?
- Will it help them generate new content that will potentially reach a new or wider audience?
- How do your audience fit in line with your sponsor’s ideal target market?
- Why should the sponsor choose to pay for advertising space on your podcast, instead of targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Google or YouTube?
- Will sponsoring your podcast help that brand generate qualified leads and ultimately make sales?
- What is your podcast marketing plan?
- Will it be a worthwhile return on investment (ROI) for that sponsor?
Before you can pitch your podcast to potential sponsors, you need to have a strategy and a clear proposal outlining what your podcast is about, who your audience is, what value you are providing, and figures that can give sponsors an idea of what ROI they might expect to gain.
So what is the best way to present all of this essential info in your sponsorship pitch?
2. Create A Media Kit For Your Podcast!
Creating a media kit for your podcast is useful for various reasons.
But what is it and why is it important?
Your podcast media kit is similar to a pitch deck for a startup pitching to investors. It’s what you use to share essential information with potential sponsors:
- It should include a description of your podcast
- It’s also a good idea to have your trailer embedded on your podcast website, and any episodes and show notes you have created.
- Include an ‘About’ section for yourself and any other hosts, plus information about your brand
- Demographic data for your audience such as age and income
- An outline of your social reach, including downloads across different channels and your podcast website visits per month
- A proposal of the cost for ad placement in your podcast, such as pre roll, mid roll or post roll.
- The cost for ad space across other mediums. You may create an ad campaign with the sponsor that extends to social media, website and email, so you need to outline costs for these spaces also.
You can create this media kit using Power Point, Google Slides or even Canva. It’s useful to have your media kit in pdf form to be able to send to sponsors easily, but you should also include your media kit, or your press kit as it’s also called, as a page on your podcast website. This makes it easy for journalists to reach out to you to offer you press or media coverage.
Once you do start to gain media coverage, you can include your recent press releases in your media kit as well.
Lastly, make sure you include your contact information and your social handles to make it easy for you to be reached.
For more in-depth information on how to create a media kit, including examples and links to quality podcast media kits, you can download a Free Sample Podcast Media Kit from Podbean.
3. Do Your Research!
Now that you have your media kit ready to send off to potential sponsors, the next question is: where do I find a podcast sponsor?
1.Find other podcasts in your niche and pay attention to which companies and brands have sponsored them. This is a great start and gives you an idea of what kind of brands are looking for podcast ad space.
2. Make a list of industries, companies, brands and entrepreneurs that you think will fit with your podcast and your audience. You can do this by searching Google, Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Think about brands that you would want to partner with for the long term. If you can find companies that YOU yourself would buy from, and can authentically promote, who are already spending on ads, then you are already one step ahead. The more niche your audience is, the more likely you will be to get higher conversion rates. If you have an engaged following, they are more likely to trust your recommendations of sponsor’s products.
There are many free and paid tools that can help you find the email address of the decision-makers for different companies, so you can email directly and pitch for sponsorship. One of these tools is a Google Chrome Extension called Hunter. Once you have the extension, you can go to any website, and the extension will show you the email addresses of people within the company, usually using the format firstname.lastname@example.org. You can get 50 free emails per month, after which it is a paid service. This kind of tool however is not always accurate, and you need to be careful with sending too many emails that are undeliverable as Google will mark you as spam, and your emails will not be seen even if the address is correct. To help combat this, you can use a Google Sheets Extension to help verify the emails, however even this is not 100% accurate.
3. Who do you already know in your own network who could be a potential sponsor? Or who do you know in your own network who has experience with finding sponsors and sponsorship deals, that can give you some advice?
I recently chatted to Claudia Fratangeli ; a freelance events, partnerships & comms manager who has worked with a range of different companies and different industries, including Startupbootcamp Fintech, IncuBus, Huckletree, Silicon Drinkabout and Creative Entrepreneurs. She’s had a tonne of experience in curating partnerships and pitching to sponsors. I caught up with her to see what ideas she had for starting blocks of where to search for companies that could be your potential sponsors.
First of all, think about your niche. The aim for your sponsor is for your audience to become their new client. They want to create more brand awareness and ultimately generate revenue. Does the sponsor suit your niche or industry?
Let’s take a look at some of Claudia’s tips for general sponsorship across different niches that can also apply to find a podcast sponsor:
- Banks: Most banks in the UK have sponsorship programs for young creatives, and support for emerging artists, theatre, music, contemporary dance, sport and culture. However, you are more likely to get sponsored by a financial institution once you build a following and establish your business, rather than when you are just starting out and are growing your podcast and audience.
- For female-focused podcasts, you can think about approaching female founders and female entrepreneurial communities for collaboration and ideas, for example, Blooming Founders. Another female-focused company is Female Founders London, which run incubator programs for women in business and are themselves sponsored by Natwest, UBS and JP Morgan. If your podcast is related to women in business or is coaching/mindset related, for example, this is the kind of company you might approach for sponsorship.
- If you have a podcast related to health or mental health, you could consider approaching an insurance company that covers insurance for health and mental health to sponsor your podcast.
- For a finance-related podcast, there are many companies within the insurtech, fintech, and finance industries that could be approached. Try to narrow it down to a specific niche as much as possible, and it always helps to find an exciting angle from which to pitch your podcast sponsorship proposal.
- You can search for platforms or companies that offer services to creative freelancers to help manage their accounts, bookkeeping, project management, legals, consulting and marketing. After all, Creatives all need services! You just need to find the right platform that suits the needs of your audience.
- Look into CSR Programs – Corporate Responsibility Programs. CSR is a business model that helps a company be socially accountable. This could come under philanthropy, environment/conservation/sustainability, diversity and charity. Companies that have a CSR program have a focus of giving back to the community and making a positive social impact, so you may be able to find sponsorship if your podcast has a cause for the greater good.
To contact Claudia, you can reach her via LinkedIn!
4. You may be able to find sponsorship from an audio company or a company that provides audio products or services. Depending on what deal you secure, you can have some fun with a sponsor who has products to sell. You can create a competition or giveaways for your listeners, for e.g. “tag 2 friends and post a tweet” to increase awareness and engagement for both you and the sponsor brand. Plus it’s super fun for everyone!
5. Search for Facebook groups related to your niche. Pay attention to any brands or companies that members of the group (your potential audience) mention as they are brands that your audience are already consuming from! If you are able to build rapport with the members of the group by commenting on posts and answering questions, you can start to position yourself as an expert on your topic and you can also begin to gain trust. It’s a great way to share your podcast and gain new listeners.
6. Alternatively, there are plenty of Facebook groups specifically for podcasters where you can go and ask advice from other, more established podcasters. Here you can give more details about your podcast and your specific niche, and ask for advice and guidance on what kind of sponsors would be best for you.
7. Check out which companies are advertising in local publications, magazines and newspapers. They are already using their marketing budget for ad spend, and they may jump at the chance to try a fresh new medium to create more awareness for their brand.
8. Pay attention to what ads are targeting you on Facebook and Instagram as you are a prime example of who your ideal target audience is. Those companies are already investing in ad spend, and you have a leg up when contacting them to pitch sponsorship for your podcast as you can utilise them targeting you to get a better email response rate.
9. What products or brands do YOU use? When you are roaming Google and checking out the websites of brands you would buy from, pay attention to which companies are using banner ads on those sites as you know they are already spending on ads, and might also suit your audience.
10. Contact other successful podcasters to get a free promotion or be sponsored by them. If you have a connection to another successful podcaster, you may be able to ask them to plug your podcast on their show or to be a guest on their show. Alternatively, if they are doing exceptionally well and also have an existing business, they may pay for advertising space on your podcast if they believe you are providing value, have a suitable audience for their product or service and would be able to give them a good ROI.
11. Podcast Sponsorship Brokers – You can join platforms like Podbean which provide hosting, publishing and monetisation services. You can create an account, join the ad marketplace and once your podcast is selected by an advertiser, you can choose whether to approve those ads or not. You can set your own CPM target, and all ads below your target will be blocked from your podcast. This is literally the easiest way you can get advertising on your podcast and start to make money. There is a monthly subscription fee to be able to join a platform like this.
12. Podcast Network – Once you start getting a higher level of downloads (1000+ per episode, and at least 1 episode per week), you can think about joining a podcast network. A podcast network is basically a group of high performing podcasts, categorised together by genre or theme. Podcasts are often cross-promoted between shows in the network, to increase their listener bases, and you could also gain access to potential sponsorships that you may not have been able to on your own. However there are pros and cons to joining a podcast network, it’s certainly not for everyone, and joining a network doesn’t always guarantee you sponsors and revenue as some are ad-free, and mostly used for networking purposes. Buzzsprout has written a brilliant blog outlining the basis of what you need to know about Podcast Networks, and you can read it here.
Ok! You have a list of potential sponsors, and your media kit is ready to go.
Nailing The Pitch
Along with your media kit, you should also have a separate marketing plan detailing the strategy you are planning to use to grow your audience. Where are you advertising your podcast? Do you have an existing email list that you can utilise? Where will your marketing focus be? Content marketing? Social media marketing? PR? What’s your SEO strategy?
Focusing on your SEO will help you rank higher in algorithms such as Apple’s. If you have a high ranking podcast, you have more opportunity to be seen (which translates to downloads) and more opportunity to be approached by sponsors.
Your pitch should cover why that brand should sponsor you; what value you are providing with your show; your financial plan showing why you are a good investment for them and what ROI you can offer them. You should also include at least a pilot episode – if you have more episodes then you can include them as well.
You can come up with a special deal in the beginning for the sponsor until you show them the results. For example half-price ad space for the first month.
Solen Feyissa – Unsplash
The Cold Email
If you are cold emailing potential sponsors, you need to get a few things right to make sure your email will be 1. Opened and 2. Responded to.
So you need to craft your email pitch the right way.
First of all, never send out a bulk email! You want to personalise it so that you are speaking directly to the company you are asking for sponsorship.
You can follow a pretty simple formula of:
- Why are you contacting them?
- What is your podcast about?
- What opportunity are you offering them?
Make sure you keep it short and concise!
Anyone opening an email to a huge block of copy is likely not going to read it. Your goal in the first email should be to set up a time for a call. It’s always best to discuss your proposal in person so you can show them how you will translate your energy and passion into converted sales for them! Let them hear your authenticity!
There are plenty of tools out there to help with crafting emails that get opened, using subject lines that boost open rates. Check out Mailshake’s Cold Email Masterclass or check out this podcast, Cold Email Outreach with Jeremy & Jack, the founders of Quickmail.io and EmailsThatSell.com. You can test your email subject lines with Coschedule’s Email Subject Line Tester.
If you do not get many responses (or any!) in the beginning, remember that cold pitching is tough and requires effort! A big mistake many people make is not to follow up. If you don’t get a response, just send a polite follow up so you are back on the radar.
I know this can seem like a daunting process. All you wanted to do was start a podcast, now you’ve got to become an expert in sales, partnerships, marketing, outreach and copywriting?
Well, guess what? You’re not alone in the process! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help along the way when you need it! And after all, is said and done, check out all the new skills you are going to have learned!
Because YOU’RE AWESOME!!!
If you do need help or advice to find a podcast sponsor or anything else, no matter where you are in your podcast journey, feel free to reach out to us! We’re a friendly bunch, and we LOVE helping others to succeed =)
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