If you've been looking for a sponsor or regular advertiser for your podcast show and are struggling, this article can help you with this challenge.
There are some key things podcast sponsors and advertisers look for before sponsoring a show. You don't have to meet all of these requirements, but meeting most of them will give you a much better shot at securing a sponsor.
A podcast show more than six months old
Most sponsors want a show that's hit the six-month mark and published a good number of episodes; that way, they'll know that you're serious about podcasting and going to be around for a while.
Strong podcast content
Good is a relative term. At the very least, good means you have decent audio production values.
Good means you have an interview or solo cast style that sounds good to most ears. Not sure what listeners don't like? There are plenty of posts in various podcast subreddits on Reddit about what listeners don't like, and they include:
- Too many 'erms',
- Excessive or unnecessary interruptions
- Distracting tangents
- Excessive complaining
- Boring or negative monologues
- Vocal distractions such as coughing, vocal fry, pops, clacking or lip smacking noises that hosts probably aren't aware they make.
Your interviews should be strong. Aim to be better than other shows in your niche, and aim to be better than your last interview! For a solo cast, set the bar high. Aim to be better than that most other solo casts in your niche.
I realize that what I've just written will be off-putting or even daunting to new podcasters or people thinking about starting a show. Rest assured, your show doesn't have to be perfect, especially at the start. Make an effort to improve, and your listeners will notice and be forgiving . . . as long as the content is worth listening to.
Podcast download numbers
This is where things get tricky. Download numbers aren't public, although Buzzsprout gives podcasters a bit of a sense about how they're doing. If an episode has 28 or more downloads after seven days, you're in the top 50 percent of podcast shows globally. If you get 77 or more downloads after seven days, you're in the top 25 percent of shows globally.
Some podcasters become too focused on download numbers and think that there is a magic number that will guarantee sponsorship or advertisers. This isn't the case. A lot more than numbers goes to into acquiring sponsorship (it's why we're writing this article).
The majority of sponsors look for brand fit. Do the host and sponsor have similar values? Will your show fit into their marketing or promotion efforts? Will your listeners actually be interested in a sponsor's or advertiser's messaging?
For example, it's unlikely that an oil company will sponsor a eco clothing brand, or that the clothing would want an oil company as a sponsor.
On the other hand, a local news podcast and a local credit union or food store could be a good fit. A bank and a financial advice show might work well. LinkedIn courses and a marketing podcast could be a great fit.
Your podcast's brand vibe
Branding pro Jack Fussell says that the definition of a brand is what customers or potential customers feel about it. And the things that go into making a strong, viable, and valuable brand include empathy, trust, and service.
Even if you're a new podcast with a handful of listeners, it is a brand. And listeners have feelings about you and your brand.
To win over a sponsor, your show should have a generally positive vibe. And by positive, I don't mean you have to be upbeat and sunny. A show about death and grief is positive if it provides useful information, resources for the bereaved, or advice from counsellors.
In my view, a podcast show is positive if it gives value to a growing audience of listeners. Equally, overtime, that growing audience recognizes your show's value. They look forward to new episodes, rate your show highly, and share it via word of mouth.
To be viewed as positive by a potential brand, a podcast show should provide at least three or four of the following:
- How to
- New information
- Excellent storytelling
- Expert advice
- Expert guests
- A new or engaging perspective
- In-depth or intellectual conversation
- Unbiased product or service reviews.
What's in it for the sponsor?
To the point about download numbers above, of course a sponsor wants strong download numbers. But they also want to know how you'll represent their brand and that your listeners will be receptive to their message. What combination of the following can you offer a sponsor?
- A generally receptive audience
- Pre- mid- or end-roll ads or announcements
- Presence on your website with a backlink to the sponsor's site. This could be in the form of an ad slot or blog post.
- Social media support or engagement
- Announcements about discounts on the organization's products or services
- A story or thanks in your show's newsletter
- Some amount of access to an engaged listener community on Facebook or some other platform.
If you have a few or all of the above, you have something of real value for a potential sponsor, and this means revenue for you.
Make it easy for a sponsor
If you're in a position to get a sponsor or advertiser, make access to information about your show really easy. Have a page on your website detailing your sponsorship package (sometimes called a media kit). We'll be writing more about what makes a good sponsorship package soon.
Begin searching on Podcorn.com, contact local businesses, or issue a creative message in a pre-roll message and on social media saying that you're ready for sponsors.
Other ways to get income from your show
Some podcasters set up Patreon pages, while others use Buymeacoffee.com to bring in revenue. Both are decent alternatives, although in my view Patreon has probably reached a saturation point with content creators and it's getting harder to stand out on that platform.
Note that both options need additional content for patrons, so think about how much time and energy you're willing to invest in creating extra content before setting up on either Patreon or Buymeacoffee.com.
Podthreads is looking for a small number of shows to sponsor
Finally, Podthreads is seeking a handful of shows to support! You can find out more here.