When you first started your podcast, you might have had visions of sponsors dancing in your head. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could get Nike to advertise for your running podcast? Or maybe Rachael Ray herself would like to sponsor your cooking podcast.
While neither of these scenarios are likely (though you never know; stranger things have happened!), it’s very possible to get relevant, marketable and lucrative advertisers interested in being featured on your show. Here are some tips on how to make that happen:
Build Up Your Podcast
Most people starting out with a new show don’t have advertisers knocking down their doors, and that’s okay! The first weeks or months of podcasting is all about trial and error, and it’s often better for you to build up a listening audience and nail down your niche before you start trying to get sponsors.
If you are starting a new podcast, put tips on getting the best advertisers for your show aside while you work on your brand, build up your social media following and maximize downloads.
You might be approached by someone wanting to sponsor you in the early days of your show, and that’s a great accomplishment for you! Don’t get too excited, however; always ask yourself whether the advertiser in question is going to appeal to your listening audience.
Accepting a sponsorship from a company that is not relevant to your show isn’t doing your listeners (or the advertiser) any favors.
Remember, the name of the game isn’t to just wrangle up any sponsorship. It’s to find the best sponsors for your show and for your audience. After all of the work you’ve put into your episodes and building your brand, you don’t want to risk alienating your audience for want of an advertiser. Choose sponsors who complement your podcast and whose products or services you can recommend with a good conscience.
Contact Your Podcast Host
If you’re using Libsyn or Blubrry for your podcast hosting, they can contact you when they have an advertiser whose product or service goes along with the topics you talk about on your show. Note that if your show isn’t getting a lot of downloads, you might not be offered advertising spots through your host.
Also note that they will be taking a cut of the sponsorship fees; you’ll need to discuss the specifics with the podcast hosting company itself.
Contact Companies Directly
Make a list of local or national companies who you think might be willing to sponsor your show. One trick is to find out which companies have sponsored podcasts in the past, because this indicates that they understand what sponsorship entails. Another is to approach companies who are in your local area or who are involved in your niche, particularly if your topic is quite specific. If you approach a company and the marketing or public relations department says “no thanks,” ask if they know anyone else who might be interested; you just might get a recommendation, which means that your next contact won’t be a cold call.
Another option is to look on a podcast advertising network. Two that you might try are AdvertiseCast and Midroll. You can place your ad on these sites and get linked up to companies who are looking for podcast sponsorship opportunities.
Get Companies to Contact You
Putting the word out during your episodes that you are looking for sponsors can bring in some interest. Spread the word to everyone you know, regardless of whether they listen to your podcast. As time goes on and your podcast gets more and more popular, you’re likely to get some interest even without advertising your need or desire for a sponsor. If you’re not having luck with going through your podcast host or contacting businesses on your own, patience might be the best strategy.
Once you are set up with some interested sponsors, all you’ll need to do is work out the details of the sponsorship, work with your advertiser to develop a script, and settle on a price per download.