There are a lot of rewards derived from podcasting. There are also demands on your time, bank balance, and creative energy involved with podcasting. Fortunately, just as podcast audiences are growing so are podcast advertising revenues.
Consumer behavior analysts Bridge Ratings predict that ad spend growth will grow 27% in 2017 and 30% in 2018. They also predict that the total amount of advertising dollars spent in 2017 will be near $250 million. That’s 250 million reasons to find a sponsor for your podcast.
Methods for Making Money with Your Podcast
There are a few ways to make money with a podcast. You can use a podcast as a marketing tool for your existing brand, business, or website. You can create your own products that will appeal to your podcast audience and use your podcast to sell these products to your already responsive audience.
You can also signup for affiliate programs the same way bloggers do and use a promo code to give your listeners a discount and you a commision on the products they purchase. One of the most common and easiest ways for a podcaster to earn money from their podcast is to find a sponsor or podcast advertiser.
It’s also possible to have sponsors and sell a product while promoting your brand. Podcasting is anything but limiting and there are a lot of opportunities to increase revenue as your show grows. Today we are going to talk about getting podcast advertisers or sponsors.
How does podcast advertising work?
Podcast advertising is usually based on CPMs (cost per 1,000 impressions). The impressions are usually considered downloads, and the number is tracked through stats from your hosting service.
The going pay rate is usually $18-$25 per mille. Mille means thousand in Latin and that is where we get the term CPM which is how podcast advertising is usually based.
Even though, the standard payout is $18-$25 per mille, more popular shows or shows with extremely active audiences have room for negotiation and may get closer to $20-$40 per mille.
There is usually room for negotiation in podcast advertising.
Where can I get advertisers?
You can get advertisers by going through your network, hosting service, an outside ad network, or finding advertisers on your own.
A podcast network is a collection of podcasts that are produced, distributed and made available to advertisers through a single company. Many networks will provide hosting, promote your podcast through the network, keep stats, and negotiate deals with advertisers.
There are almost as many networks as there are podcasts. Each with varying requirements to join and varying revenue share deals or percentages of advertising earnings. You may make more on your own negotiating your own deals, but a network can help with the difficult tasks of promoting your show and finding paid advertisers.
Below is a sample of podcast networks. This is not an exhaustive list and the networks are in no particular order. It is just a sample of existing podcast networks that may or may not be open to new shows signing up.
List of Podcast Networks
- Podcast One
- BS Podcast Network
- Modern Life Podcast Network
- Gonna Geek Network
Radiotopia has a pretty exhaustive list of networks which you can sorted by country or network topic. Joining a network may be an option for some podcasters, just keep in mind that not all networks are created equal and you want whatever benefits you gain to outweigh whatever control and autonomy you may be giving up.
Find Podcast Advertisers Through Your Hosting Service
Libsyn is one of the oldest and most popular podcast hosting services available. They offer a ton of resources for podcasters and they also have an advertising program. You do need to get accepted into their advertising program to get started. The contact info is on their Pro: Ad Campaign page.
Blubrry is another popular podcast hosting choice. They also are the makers of the popular WordPress podcast plugin which has been used on countless podcast websites. To become part of their network, you need to sign up for their statistics program and then apply by completing an advertising application.
Podcast Advertising Networks
There are also podcast advertising networks that will sell podcasting to independent podcasts based on the popularity and stats of the podcast. Two of the bigger players are Midroll and AdvertiseCast.
Midroll is a leading podcast advertising network. Some advertisers featured through Midroll are HBO, Squarespace, and Audible.
They also feature an online app that allows podcasters to control the advertising they are selling and a calculator that calculates earnings based on downloads per episode, number of pre-roll ads, number of mid-roll ads, and the number of episodes per year.
AdvertiseCast is a marketplace that allows podcasters, radio show hosts, and YouTubers to find advertisers, in spite of the size of their show. You can list your show for free and advertisers will shop your spot.
Even if your show isn’t very large there are niche audiences and niche advertisers that are perfect matches. AdvertiseCast will facilitate the entire process including marketplace, communication, order management, contracts, payouts, and payments.
Finding Advertisers on Your Own
What if you are just starting out and you don’t have the stats to back up the value of your show on an ad network? What if you are in a niche that may not understand the value that your specific show offers?
What if you are a free spirit who wants complete control over your show and doesn’t want to share your hard earned revenue? Then finding advertisers on your own and negotiating your own deals is a perfect option.
To find advertisers for your show look at what products your listeners may want to buy. You also don’t have to stick with the CPM model. You could also use a CPA model which means cost per acquisition. This means that you give your listeners a promo code or a web link. If it is used, you get paid a set amount of money.
CPA offers are good for podcasts that may not have a huge subscriber base but do have very active niche listeners that will buy the product you mention. CPA offers can be very lucrative and when negotiating your own sponsor deals they are an option to consider.
If you hit a brick wall talking to sponsors that you think would be a good fit for your podcast. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Listen to podcasts that are already in your niche and see who is already open to advertising on podcasts and offer them a deal.
Create a Media Kit
A media kit is like a calling card for your podcast that you give to potential advertisers. You can also use a version of it to inform and entice potential guests. So take the time to make a media kit that sells your podcast as the fantastic venue it is for attracting a certain audience.
Include things like a summary of what your podcast is about. Share your stats and highlight what matters most to making your podcast standout. List rates and possible CPM or CPA options. Make it easy and have your contact info front and center.
List links to social media and any other information that is useful in promoting your podcast. Give a little history of previous brands you have promoted and success rates if you have them. Share any guidelines and policies you may have. Make everything easy to access by having a page on your website and a printable PDF version.
Create a Perfect Pitch Email
When creating your pitch email, you want to keep it personal, effective, and to the point. Think like a sponsor and offer them something of value to them. Include relevant information that will benefit them. When listing stats use what is relevant, but don’t overwhelm.
You can link to your media kit for further information. Be specific about what you are offering and include relevant contact info. Don’t make your potential sponsor guess about what you are proposing or have to hunt for additional information.
- Radio Guest List has a nice write up on finding advertisers.
- I also like the How to Make My Blog Ultimate Outreach Guide for Pitching Advertisers
How to Improve My Stats
We have established that with perseverance and out of the box thinking, it is possible to find advertisers at most stages of your podcast or at least once it has gained some traction. But what else can you do to attract advertisers?
There are two relatively simple answers to this. Improve the quality of your show and improve your stats. To improve the quality of your show listen to shows that are already doing well and implement some of their tactics. To improve your stats, get your show in front of more people.
Improve the Quality of Your Show
Listen to some of the iTunes top 40 podcasts and learn what they are doing well and what is working. While you are at it, study their pitches. Once you land those advertisers, you want to have a quality pitch that makes them proud to advertise with you.
As your show begins to grow, study your audience and learn what trends they are following by reading comments they make on social media or your website. Sometimes being a good listener is more important than being a good speaker.
Keep in mind that you want your show to be interesting and fun. If you aren’t enjoying it, chances are no one else is either.
Be Everywhere So Everyone Can Find You
As your show grows, your audience should grow and your stats should increase over time. A little trick you can do to give your stats a nudge is to make your podcast more available. By offering your podcast to more people, you will get more downloads.
For instance, if you have a video podcast or film your recordings, you can release your podcast in multiple formats such as audio podcasts, YouTube videos, and Facebook Live events. Another thing that can make your podcast grow is to get on iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Spotify.
You may have to use Spreaker to submit to iHeartRadio, but you can still use Libsyn to host your podcast and then Spreaker as a secondary listening point. The lines are getting blurred between hosting, networks, advertising networks, stats, and full-service podcasting businesses.
Not every solution is right for everyone, but finding a dependable, affordable host, that lets you control your feed while still being accessible to the most popular distribution methods is a good goal. Secondary listening points can also help you increase your audience and increase your stats.
Make Money Podcasting
You probably won’t make money podcasting overnight. But as your podcast grows, so does the marketability of your show. It doesn’t matter if you are in the beginning stages of your podcast or if you are already established. It is time to put some thought into your options for sponsors.
Start building the assets you need to earn money from all of your hard work of producing content and building an audience. Podcasting can be an exciting hobby, but it becomes even more exciting as your work is rewarded with cold hard cash.