60% of podcast listeners have bought something from an ad. If they’ve listened to a podcast for more than 4 years, that number jumps up to 72%. Imagine how eager brands are to sign your podcast - as long as you have a sizable audience.
As a podcast hosting service, publisher and distributor, we’ve designed this comprehensive guide on how to get sponsors for your podcast based on our experience at ZenCast. Read on to learn:
How podcast sponsorships work
Tricks to get sponsors for your podcast
How to draft a podcast sponsorship proposal
Typical podcast sponsorship pricing models
Why sponsorship is the best way to monetize your podcasts
Typically, sponsors pay you a fixed amount per 1,000 downloads. If you have an audience consistently in the thousands for each episode, then you could start making money. For example, some sponsors will give you sponsorship codes. Every time someone enters that code to buy the sponsor’s product, you’ll earn a commission.
Consider this: once you post your podcast, it’s there forever. That means it can pay dividends years into the future. You could see cumulative returns on your back catalog if you explode in popularity at a later date (as long as your monetization methods are still active).
As a podcaster, you have unique relationships with your audience. If people devote an hour or so a week to listening to what you have to say, then you become an ideal method to reach them. 80% of listeners can recall a brand they heard advertised in a podcast. Just be careful not to advertise anything your audience would take issue with. And don’t annoy your audience with ads either.
How do podcast ads work?
While some podcasters like to switch up their ad reads every time, most will pre-record their spot. If you’re creative and the sponsor agrees to it, you could have fun and change up the ad reads every time.
In general, the host reads the podcast ad themself. After all, brands seek to take advantage of your unique relationship with your subscribers. Your voice is the one they trust. That said, some brands will insist on radio-style ads done by an independent voice-over artist.
There are three different ways that you can place the ads in your podcast. The distinction between them is important to understand.
Pre-roll ad reads
If your podcast isn’t highly influential, most advertisers will prefer that you roll the ads at the beginning. This ensures that most listeners will hear them. Of course, it’s pretty easy for users to learn to skip it, so some podcasters will vary their ad placement.
Mid-roll ad reads
While some listeners will find this type of ad read annoying, it can be one of the most fruitful ones. If you have regular segments on your show, you could place the ad at a specific time and listeners can learn to skip it. Otherwise, you could vary its timing and catch your audience by surprise. Forcing them to listen to it, for better or worse.
Post-roll ad reads
This is only preferred in certain situations. Perhaps a high-flying podcaster wants to expand their roster of sponsors and gives a discount spot at the end of the podcast. Podcasters that are new to sponsorship usually won’t get these deals.
The 3 best ways to get sponsors for your podcast
Not sure where to find podcast contracts? You can’t just let the sponsors come to you. It happens sometimes, but if you don’t have a sponsor yet, you’re going to need to start putting in the effort to acquire one.
Sign up for a podcast network
There are dozens of different podcast networks and marketplaces that will connect you to eager sponsors. All you have to do is fill in your details, including audience data, to get the ball rolling. The network often takes steps to attract sponsors and invites them to browse.
If the network likes you, they sometimes allow you to list your podcast for free. That said, they will likely ask for a commission taken from the ad revenue you bring in from the sponsors.
Cold email sponsors
Ask! If you’re an ambitious podcaster, you have probably already considered sending cold emails to several sponsors in your niche. You can reach out to them using more than just email. DMs on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are recommended, but not all at once.
To do cold email correctly, you need to do your homework. Research sponsors in your niche, and research podcasts similar to yours. When you find popular podcasts in your niche, look at who sponsors them. That way, you could pitch those brands along with their competitors.
Finding the right contact at the organization that you’re targeting can be tricky. However, you can often search for terms like “X Company Brand Partnership Manager LinkedIn” to find the one you want.
Join podcast directories
This is probably the most hands-off approach. Spotify and Apple are the most popular podcast directories. Sponsors might search through them to find someone in their niche since they both host so many varied podcasts.
Posting every podcast you release to these directories can be a pain. That’s why ZenCast offers podcasters an RSS feed feature that allows you to post all these podcasts directly to these platforms at once.
How to draft a podcast sponsorship proposal
Drafting a podcast sponsorship proposal is easier than you think. You already understand your niche very well, so you’ll have lots of ammo when looking for selling points.
The research process will culminate in the creation of a media kit. Note that you can change the media kit up a bit based on the sponsor and audience that you’re selling to. You should target dozens of brands, not just one. Most will decline your request - it’s a number’s game.
Note that the podcast sponsorship proposal comes after the cold email. Of course, the research you do for the cold email will be vital in helping you put together this proposal.
You should start by asking your audience a bunch of questions. You might even ask them directly by collecting email addresses through a newsletter and conducting surveys there.
Find out who your audience is. We don’t mean broad generalizations like “men under 50”, rather, you might say that you are popular with “men in their 40s who watch a lot of basketball and care a lot about fiscal responsibility.”
If that sounds a bit odd to you, it isn’t. This description could match the demographics of the Dunc’d On Basketball NBA Podcast. Since this podcast often discusses financial considerations in the NBA, it makes sense that their audience might spend a bit more time considering personal finance in their regular life too.
2. The sponsor
With the audience data settled, your task is to find the right sponsor. Continuing with the Dunc’d On NBA podcast example, there are many products that could appeal to people who care about fiscal responsibility. Examples include debit cards, investment platforms, insurance plans, and more.
When you talk to the sponsor in your presentation, talk about their needs and how you can help them. They might have specific products to promote that fit in with your audience. Just make sure you frame everything in terms of their interests.
Your podcast sponsorship proposal could take several forms. A media kit is a basic requirement. However, you might also want to prepare a verbal pitch that could fit into a quick Zoom call.
If you make a media kit, make sure it looks polished and professional. There are plenty of resources online to help you learn how to make one. Typically, creators use Canva for this purpose.
Your media kit should introduce you to the prospect. A quick blurb about your background will suffice. Then, you can dive into statistics about your downloads, plus audience demographics if you have any.
Your media kit should be adaptable. When you create a specific podcast sponsorship proposal, you’ll use most of the same elements as you did in your media kit with a bit of info about the sponsor added in.
If you do a call with your client, your strategy will be a bit different. You might start the call with a bit of prospecting to determine if the sponsor is interested in you. Then, you can use a bit of that information to launch into your pitch which will cover how your audience will appreciate their product.
Signing podcast contracts
If you’re unsure how to price podcast contracts, you’re not alone. Most podcasters get $15-$25 per 1,000 downloads. However, you might get a higher amount if your podcast covers a specific niche. Also note that if you don’t cover an in-demand podcast niche, then few sponsors will pay attention to you when your downloads per podcast are under 10,000.
Read the full terms of any agreement you sign. Don’t let anyone swindle you into doing extra work. However, note that the sponsor will usually provide some very particular conditions. Discuss any of your uncertainties with the sponsor.
Monetize your podcast with ZenCast
In brief, grow your audience and know your audience in detail. This will ensure you are an attractive vector for sponsors. Then research and pitch which ones.
Once you’re ready to monetize your podcast, you’ll also need a few tracking tools. ZenCast provides analytics tools to help you track user downloads. That will help you validate your growth to prospective sponsors.
Sign up today and start posting podcasts to your own website. One that’s complete with SEO features so you can obtain more downloads and earn more from your ads.