If you’ve listened to any podcast recently, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard mention of a sponsor. They might seem like they have nothing in common, selling mattresses or meal prep kits, but they all have one similarity: they’re paying the podcast you’re listening to for advertising.
They’re making money just by talking. Cool, right? We certainly think so!
And the coolest part about sponsorship is that you can leverage this tool for your podcast to make a profit of your own. It isn’t rocket science, but it admittedly takes a little practice.
To help you turn your brand’s podcast into a money-making masterpiece, the Houston Pod has gathered together 5 tips used by podcasting professionals to land the best sponsorship deals.
Tip # 1: Understand what your podcast really needs
It may sound silly, but the biggest mistake podcasters make when negotiating a sponsorship deal is not keeping their own brand in mind. If you don’t understand your brand, the likelihood of you being able to provide a sponsoring brand with beneficial advertising is slim to none.
Ask your podcasting team this series of questions before you reach out to potential sponsors:
• What niche do we fill in our industry? (topics you cover, your opinions, your focus)
• What is our ideal listener? (the person that’s most engaged in your content)
• What creative goals do we have for upcoming episodes? (reaching a new audience, delving into a new topic, or covering a new series)
• What companies, products, or services do we feel passionate about?
• What kinds of ads are we willing to run? (pre-roll, post-roll, or mid-roll)
Depending on what your answers are, you need to find a sponsor that is willing to collaborate to meet common goals and to engage a similar audience. Answering these questions will also help you develop the slide deck that you can submit in your pitch, which conveys all of this information to potential sponsors.
If you’re having trouble figuring out the answers to these questions or you just don’t know where to start on your podcasting journey, feel free to visit the Houston Pod website for more insight into our one-on-one consulting services.
Tip # 2: Know your potential sponsors inside and out
Now that you know everything you absolutely need to know about your own podcast’s brand, it’s time to get to know everything about the brands that might sponsor you.
In an ideal world, the companies that fit your niche would reach out to you for advertising, but that rarely happens for small, up-and-coming podcasts. Instead, it’s going to be up to your team to reach out to the companies you’d like to work with, but you have to be careful to develop the right relationships with the right brands.
Here’s a couple key ideas to explore before you reach out:
• Do they have a similar niche to yours? (topic, stance, opinion)
• Do you share a common audience? (size, demographic, generation)
• Do you feel excited or intrigued by the services or products this company offers?
• Do they have stances, beliefs, or initiatives that you feel passionate about? (political, social, economic)
• Do they have specific types of advertisements they need? (promotion of a recent product, the launch of a new storefront, expansion upon a current service)
Finding brands that mesh well together is the key to successful cross-promotion, so don’t be afraid to spend some time connecting your brand with a brand that is bound to benefit you and your audience.
Which brings us to our next tip:
Tip # 3: Remember that this is a mutually beneficial relationship
Your sponsor will be spending money to get featured on your podcast, but you will be taking time out of your podcast to talk about their brand instead of yours. If one or both of you aren’t genuinely benefitting from this sponsorship, it’s going to quickly become a waste of money and time.
You found a company that seems to fit your podcast’s brand, with a similar audience and niche, but how do you make sure that things run smoothly and genuinely work out when it’s time for the sponsorship to come to fruition?
There should be a few things you keep in mind:
• Validate your sponsor by showing genuine passion in your advertisements.
• Showcase your value by being willing to think outside the box with the way you feature your sponsor’s products or services.
• Keep an open mind about newer or smaller companies and their potential.
•Make sure that you maintain open communication from the moment you first reach out to the second you press record
Although the business of investments and returns may seem like a daunting one, the success that can be achieved through sponsorship and cross-promotion is more than worth the little bit of extra time you should spend communicating with your sponsor.
Additionally, if your team needs help with an intro, outro, or with audio production techniques on your podcast advertisements, the Houston Pod offers exclusive audio editing services for any podcast, big or small.
Tip # 4: Don’t fear following up or further negotiation
Getting no answer isn’t an answer in business. Companies are often busy, with multiple moving parts and their own operations to handle. So if you reach out with an initial pitch and don’t get a response right away, don’t be afraid of the follow-up email.
Remind them of who you are, what you’re looking for, and how your podcast can help them achieve their goals. You are helping them on their journey to success, and you want to show passion for who they are and what they do along the way. Companies love working with like-minded individuals that are willing to put the work in, so show your worth and your excitement for what they’re worth to you.
When it comes time to negotiate, try to keep an open mind about the particulars. Prices, advertisement type, length of ads, and frequency can all be negotiated to benefit both brands when there is genuinely open communication involved.
Don’t forget that this sponsorship doesn’t have to be a permanent contract for the entirety of your podcast. Consider having a trial run with a sponsoring brand and don’t rule out re-negotiation if circumstances change or you start to yield even more beneficial results.
Companies are willing to spend money on the things that will make them money, so a truly successful podcast sponsorship can become very profitable when listeners respond well to advertisements.
Tip # 5: Ask for help at any stage in the process
You don’t have to be a lone wolf when it comes to any step in podcast development, production, distribution, or marketing. Enlisting the help of podcasting professionals is the perfect example of how collaboration can yield amazing results for both your brand and your bottom line.
Maybe you don’t know how to create your slide deck, or perhaps you struggle with properly marketing your podcast. Maybe your team lacks the equipment to produce the audio quality you’re looking for, or perhaps you lack the software knowledge to elevate your podcast to the next level.
Here at the Houston Pod, we make your brand our business, from consulting with you about your goals to negotiating deals to recording and editing your content with the highest quality equipment and software.