How To Find (And Land) Podcast Sponsorships Like The Big Shows

Is your podcast gaining some traction? Then the next thing you should plan to do is to monetize your podcast.

Even if you started it as a hobby, monetizing is a great way to keep you creating high-quality content, so you don’t have to worry about keeping the lights on.

Monetizing through sponsorships is one of the best ways to start earning some income. For many podcasters, getting their first sponsor is like a rite of passage.

With sponsorship, you have to advertise a particular brand, product, or service in your show. The best thing is, your income can grow as your show grows.

It seems easy, right?

But choosing the right brand, product, or service could be quite tricky. Furthermore, getting a company or brand to work with your podcast is another big challenge.

Remember that your listeners trust you, and you don’t want to break that trust by advertising something that’s not credible. Make sure that you only promote those that you believe in.

How podcast sponsorship works

As mentioned, for you to be paid by the sponsor, you have to advertise their product or service. Being the podcaster, you can do this in two ways:

‘Host Read’ Ads

This is a more effective way to deliver the advertisement since you will do the talking. Just state why you are recommending that particular brand, product, or service. Perhaps share a personal experience when you’re using it and how it has benefited you. Then, of course, add why you think your listeners should use it as well. When done smoothly, the listener may not even recognize that you just advertised your sponsor. They may subconsciously start looking for the product, thinking it’s one of yours.

‘Radio Style’ Ads

Another more straightforward way is for a third party to create the advertisement that you have to play or insert in your episode. As the podcaster, it may be a lot easier for you; however, it is less effective to your audience. Worse, your listener might even be annoyed by the random voice-over in your content.

Aside from the way of delivery, it would help if you also determined where you want to place the advertisement. There are three choices:

  • Pre-Roll:  the beginning of the episode and could be part of the introduction
  • Mid-Roll: during the discussion of the main content
  • Post-Roll: towards the end of the podcast, after the main content

Most sponsors desire the mid-roll spot since your listeners won’t probably skip this part. As such, it is also the most expensive. On the other hand, the cheapest would be the post-roll spot since it is the least optimal position to place the ad.

How to find and land a sponsor?

Perhaps now you got more excited with the thought of actually earning something through your podcast. So for you to get moving, at this point, let’s cover how you can find and secure a sponsor.

Consider your niche

This is the most important step in finding your sponsors. You do not want to advertise something completely irrelevant to your content and your listeners. If you’re talking about becoming financially successful, you cannot and should not just insert an ad about dogfood or knitting. Besides, your potential sponsors will also want to be advertised to the right audience.

Therefore in considering your niche, also think about the character or personalities of your audience. What could be their likes and dislikes, their problems, needs, etc.? This way, you can narrow down your list of potential sponsors to only those who can cater to and address the needs of your audience.

Search for potential sponsors

After determining the needs and wants of your listeners, you’re now ready to look for potential sponsors. Where can you find them?

  • Check out the ads on websites and blogs in your niche.
  • Review the company advertisements in industry magazines
  • Check out the businesses of the paid ads on social media.
  • Review the representatives who are posting in your online communities or groups
  • Make an online search of the common phrases in your niche and check the sponsored slots.
  • Check with your podcast hosting provider, providers like Anchor, Transistor, and Buzzsprout have sponsorship programs.
  • Ask your network—post on social media, asking for possible sponsors.
  • Lastly, ask your listeners what kind of products they often buy or wish to buy

As a bonus tip, you may also listen to other podcasts in your niche (basically your competition) and consider the companies who sponsor them, or the competing company of their sponsor.

For example, if you are podcast talks about gadgets and your competing podcast is sponsored by a particular game developer, you may search and propose to another game developer.

Create a sponsorship proposal

At this point, you already have a list of potential sponsors that you wish to approach. So the next step is to create a request that you would send to your potential sponsors. Your request should include the following:

  • Title and logo of your podcast
  • An overview of your podcast’s niche, including episode length, topics, format, any popular guests or interviews
  • Your background information
  • Information about your listeners - demographics, download statistics, feedbacks, or any other evidence that listeners enjoy your podcast
  • Proposed rates and partnership ideas
  • Your contact information

In terms of proposed rates and partnership ideas, as a beginner, you should be open to negotiation. Then, as you gain more listeners and sponsors, you can renegotiate your rates.

Send your pitch and follow-up.

Now, you are ready to email your proposal to your potential sponsors. As you do so, remember that your email message is almost as important as your proposal.

As you compose your message, include a summary of your presentation - who you are, what type of podcast you are hosting, and previous notable guests. Also add why it would be beneficial for them to sponsor your show and how you can reach their target market through your podcast.

If you did not get any response a week after sending your proposal, don’t lose hope just yet. It is highly probable that your message got lost in their inbox.

After seven days, it is acceptable to send follow-up emails to your potential sponsors. Politely ask for an answer, even if they have to decline. Be graceful in your choice of words and remind them of your contact information.

Get Your First Sponsor Today

Now you are ready for podcast sponsorship! Go ahead, identify your audience, and search for your potential sponsors. Don’t be afraid of rejection, and don’t be discouraged if not all your potential sponsors bite. Over time, you’d gain more followers, have more popular guests so you can send your pitch again to your target sponsors.

Ready to grow your podcast?

Starting and growing a podcast can be time-consuming. If you got some value out of this post, you might get more value from some of my other content on podcasting. I would love to hear how you got your first sponsor!