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Podcasting 101: How to Get Podcast Sponsorships

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Sponsorships can be a great way to monetize your podcast and get the resources (and team) you need to scale it. But it can be tough to find sponsors who are a good fit for your show. 

In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know to get quality podcast sponsorships.

We’ll cover:

  • The benefits of advertising on a podcast
  • How to identify potential sponsors
  • Tips on how to connect with potential sponsors
  • How to make the most out of your podcast sponsorship
  • The most common types of podcast ads

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

The Benefits of Podcast Advertising

The foundation of any good pitch is truly understanding what’s in store for your counterpart. In this case, you need to know what are the true benefits of podcasting. 

In this section, we'll briefly explore why companies are increasingly aware of the promotional potential of podcasting.

According to Edison Research, among the "Super Listeners" (those who listen to podcasts heavily, on a regular basis):

  • 57% listen to more than eight hours of podcasts per day, so they have high exposure to ads.
  • 70% considered a new product or service because they heard it from an ad on a podcast.
  • 44% have a better image of companies that promote their favorite podcasts.
  • 37% say podcasts are the best way for advertisers to get their attention.
  • 44% report that they pay more attention to podcast ads than ads in other media.

So, by advertising on your podcast, your sponsors could:

  • Increase their brand awareness among a specific target demographic.
  • Get their target audience to associate their brand with someone they like and respect.
  • Become more memorable.

Now that you know the basics of your pitch, let’s take a look at the steps you should take to find the right sponsor. 

How to Get a Sponsor

To get a sponsor, you must first look for one that suits your podcast’s branding. Once you’ve chosen the ones you’re interested in, you can use either of these three strategies:

  • Cold mailing
  • Partnership with a hosting service
  • Inbound leads
  • Cold messaging on social media

Regardless of which strategy you choose, there’s a key asset you’ll always need to have in handy: A sponsorship proposal. Let’s take a look before we dive into channel-based reach-out strategies.

What Is a Sponsorship Proposal?

A sponsorship proposal is a formal letter outlining all the benefits you can bring to your potential sponsor’s business. 

If you’re a little unsure of how to write it, there are many podcast sponsorship proposal templates online that you can adapt to fit your brand's offer and tone. 

Here are some tips to write yours:

  • Be assertive: Clearly describe your project as well as the type of relationship you would like to establish with your sponsor. 
  • Be professional: Make sure you use a corporate email address and signature. Additionally, don’t forget to include a link to your podcast's website.
  • Keep it short and sweet: Describe your podcast and your offer carefully, but don't get too caught up on the details. Otherwise, you may bore your reader. 
  • Be audience-centric: The best thing you can offer your sponsors is the right audience's attention. Don’t hesitate to explain who your listeners are and what they’re passionate about.
  • Make your proposals client-specific: No one likes a generic approach. Demonstrate your interest in their business by showing that you know about their work, and potential marketing needs. Plus, if you know the name of the person who will receive your proposal, greet them in your email. As you reach out to more sponsors, you’ll find that some parts of your pitch are reusable. However, always customize as much as you can.
  • Follow-up: If you didn’t get a response, it’s okay to send a follow-up about 5-10 working days later. Remember always to reaffirm the value of your proposal and invite your potential sponsor to take specific next steps. For instance, you could invite them to book a call.

Cold Mailing

The simplest way to get in touch with sponsors is to contact them with an ad offer. To do so, you should:

  1. Do your research and find companies whose products align with your brand and that you can promote.
  2. Then, find the right decision-maker. It’s always best if you reach out to their marketing/media buying department.
  3. Send them a sponsorship proposal.

It sounds quite straightforward, however, the determining factor will be how compelling and engaging your sponsorship proposal is. 

Partnership with a Hosting Service

In addition to uploading and managing your podcast, some hosting services act as mediators on your sponsorship deals. Learn whether your podcast hosting of choice offers this solution.

Inbound Leads

In marketing, an “inbound lead” is a potential client/partner that comes to you, instead of you reaching out to them. But, how does that happen? Simple: Inbound leads find your community and consider that it matches what they’re looking for, so they get in touch.

Your sponsors can come to you as inbound leads if you:

  • Stay top-of-mind among your community members
  • Build a solid social media presence
  • Leverage your guests’ audiences
  • Are easily findable through search engines

Cold Messaging on Social Media

You can also get in touch with companies through social media as well. We suggest you follow the companies you are interested in, to be aware of their product news and marketing initiatives. 

While the person managing the company’s social media inbox may not have the power to negotiate sponsorships, a cold message may be a great start. Especially, when you’re targeting small, digital-native brands. 

How to Find the Right Podcast Sponsor

We recommend you:

  • Know your niche
  • Look for brands that are already investing in podcast ads
  • Reach out to small brands

Which sponsor is right for you will depend on several variables. Nevertheless, following these tips is a good start. Let’s take a closer look.

Know your Niche

Dive into your niche, so you can easily detect and approach potential sponsors that are a good fit for your show. 

Consider:

  • Listening to other shows that cover topics your audience is interested in.
  • Learning about the brands your customers already love (especially those that relate to your show's core topics)

Look for Brands That Are Already Investing in Podcasting Ads

If you reach out to brands that are already investing in podcast ads, you won't have to pitch podcasts as an advertising channel to them. You can simply ask them if they would be interested in sponsoring your show, and provide them with the necessary information to make the partnership happen. 

Expect these types of brands to have an existing workflow to vet, plan & analyze podcasting partnerships. 

In most cases, you'll want to reach out to them once you've gotten competitive results and an ROI-producing audience.

Reach Out to Small Brands in Your Niche

New brands usually are:

  • More approachable than larger brands, since they have smaller teams
  • Less demanding than larger brands, since they’re operating on a small scale

If you’re just starting out, pitch sponsorship opportunities to up-and-coming brands. A small brand may have an equally small advertising budget, but it may be the collaborator you need at the moment.

How Do Sponsorships Work? How Much Does a Sponsor Pay?

There is not just one way to price the performance of your podcast. Broadly speaking, we can find three sponsorship models:

  • CPM (Cost per mille)
  • CPA (Cost per acquisition)
  • Value-Based Sponsorship

Let’s find up.

CPM (Cost per Mille)

If you negotiate payment on a CPM (Cost per Mille) basis, you’ll get paid for every thousand downloads/listeners. This model works very well if you have a massive audience. Otherwise, it may not be your best option.

According to stats compiled by InfluencerMarketingHub, the average Cost per Mille is:

  • $18 per thousand listeners for a 30-seconds ad
  • $25 per thousand listeners for a 60-seconds ad

CPA (Cost per Acquisition)

In the CPA (Cost per Acquisition) model, the emphasis is on the number of conversions (purchases/sign-ups/downloads) that the sponsor gets from your podcast. To measure this, the company will give you a referral link or a coupon code. This model is suitable for niche podcasts since they tend to have audiences that are more homogeneous and referrals are more effective.

Podcasters working with this model are usually given a commission per purchase. In any case, it will depend directly on the number of conversions you get for your sponsor.

However, the main disadvantage of CPA is that you don’t have a guaranteed minimum income. But there may be times when you could earn more. For example, holidays.

Value-Based Sponsorship

If your audience is small, you can arrange in advance a fixed payment per episode. This way, audience volume fluctuations will not directly affect your income. You won't earn less, but you won't earn more either. If your podcast is just starting, this option will give you some stability.

This price will depend on what you can arrange with the company that you sponsor.

The Most Common Types of Podcast Ads

Another key factor when negotiating with podcast sponsors is which type of ad they’d like to use. There are two major types of podcast ads:

  • Radio-style ads
  • Host-read ads

Let’s take a closer look at both.

Radio-Style Ads

When working with radio-style ads, an external marketing agency creates an audio ad that you simply play on your podcast. It’s invariable and the host does not participate in it. In this case, the sponsor has direct control over the content of the ad, that’s why some brands prefer it.

Host-Read Ads

With host-read ads, the podcast host talks about the brand and the product. You can choose whether to read a fixed message or improvise a bit. The best hosts can barely read their supporting text, improvising most of their ads. That way, the brand messages sound natural and spontaneous. 

Which Type of Podcast Ad Is Better?

Both types of podcast ads can work. According to Edison Research, host-read ads are more popular among listeners, with just over 69% approval.

When Should You Play Ads on Your Podcast?

Aside from the format or length of the ad, there’s another question to take into account when negotiating your podcast ads: What will be the ad’s spot on your episode?

Podcast episodes are currently played:

  • Pre-roll, before the episode starts
  • Mid-roll, within the course of the episode
  • Post-roll, after the end of the episode

Post-roll ads are the trickiest since the episode is no longer an incentive to listen to the brand message. Therefore, you have to make sure that the ad feels relevant and valuable. 

Grow Your Audience & Attract Quality Sponsorships with Video Marketing 

In today's post, we explained how to find (and get) the right podcast sponsorships. Yet, there’s another key factor that will impact your success in getting sponsorship: your reach. 

The bigger your audience, the higher are your chances of finding a sponsor and securing an attractive deal. This is why your podcast’s marketing shouldn't be an afterthought. 

Take your podcast marketing strategy to the next level by turning your episodes' best moments into social media content. With Audiotease, you can automatically create eye-catching audiograms from your podcast episodes. Audiotease makes video marketing fast & effortless. 
Create your first video today, for free. No editing skills required.