How to build a profitable podcast.
Podcasting is growing in popularity, and many podcasters are earning serious cash from podcasting.
Sponsorship is one of the most significant ways podcasters earn money while still doing what they love. It is also the most lucrative and most straightforward way to make money from podcasting.
You can easily include sponsors in your show by being honest with your business review and positively discussing their business.
Because you have become an authority and people listen to what you say, you can effectively help your sponsors sell their products or services.
To attract sponsors, you first need to create and produce great content that will attract listeners. Your podcast must have good production, and the audio quality must be high.
You must have mastered the art of retaining your audience and attracting new ones. Get the best equipment to produce your podcast (read up on the best equipment for your podcast).
Once you follow the required principles of starting a podcast, you are on your way to attracting sponsors to your show.
Before I show you where to find sponsors and communicate with them, let's discuss how podcast sponsorship works.
Podcast sponsorship involves the sponsor and the podcaster, and sometimes an intermediary like podcast networks or agencies.
A sponsor's goal is to increase awareness for their brand via the podcast or sell their products/services.
Sponsors usually measure and price their rate using CPM or CPA (cost per mile or cost per acquisition).
In some instances, the podcaster might name a price without using these metrics, and the sponsors will agree or disagree.
How does CPM work?
CPM is the amount of money a sponsor pays per one thousand listens or downloads of your show. In most cases, sponsors rate the ads' success using this metric after downloads and sometimes before downloads.
How does CPA work?
CPA is the number of sign ups or sales that the sponsor's business gets directly from your ads. Sponsors will use CPA to check how effective your ads are or pay referral bonuses for every sign up through your show.
If your podcast focuses on a particular niche and has a small but dedicated audience, the best metric for measurement is CPA. If your audience is loyal and, therefore, more likely to engage with the ad, you do not need to worry too much about the number of listeners that you need to make money.
But if you run a podcast with many listeners but few engagements, it is best to use CPM as a metric for sponsorship money, as your earnings depend on listening rather than engagement.
What is Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, and Post-Roll?
Podcasters typically sell ad spots in pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll.
Pre-roll is when the host runs an ad for the sponsor's product/service at the start of the podcast, which typically lasts for about 15 seconds.
Mid-roll is when the host runs an ad for the sponsor's product/service right in the middle of the podcast, and this typically lasts for about 60 seconds.
The post-roll is the call-to-action for the product/service podcast's end, which typically lasts for about 15 to 30 seconds.
During negotiations on sponsorship, a podcaster must indicate to the sponsors which spots they will be running the ads for the product/service.
A podcast should limit ads on a show to two for each episode because listeners tend to get tired and stop listening to a show when there are too many ads.
A podcaster must care about how the listeners will feel. After all, you are making the podcast for them. Hence, you must consider their feelings before making any decision for your podcast.
You can get podcast sponsors from several avenues, from agencies to personal networks, hosting services, and podcast networks.
You have to find the best approach to get a podcast's sponsor, and to do that; you might have to try out a number of these approaches.
Podcast networks produce a set of podcasts and are also in charge of distribution. They also make this set of podcasts available for ads.
These podcast networks offer several services, from hosting to promoting podcasts, and providing the number behind podcasts and carrying out negotiations with advertisers on behalf of the podcaster.
What podcasters get from this arrangement is the ability to delegate the time-consuming aspects of finding sponsors to a trained professional; they help you find sponsors, and all you have to do is sit back and watch.
However, you do not have total control when working with these networks, and they take a cut from whatever comes in. Every podcast network has different requirements. While some regularly recruit new podcasts into their rotation, others will focus almost entirely on their successful shows.
Before hopping on a podcast network, make sure you know about the benefits are and if losing your independence will be worth it.
Hosting services are platforms created to provide several benefits to podcasters while charging a little subscription fee.
A number of these hosting services offer advertising programs that podcasters can apply to join.
Like the podcast networks, podcast hosting platforms do all the work to find podcast sponsors and match podcasters with sponsors.
Also, like podcast networks, you lose total control over the choice of sponsors, and they take a cut from whatever comes in.
If you already have your podcast on a hosting platform, all you have to do is check out their subscription info for advertising programs
You can always search for sponsors on your own if you do not want to lose any degree of control; this can prove challenging, but it is achievable.
As a beginner with a small following, you could target small businesses and independent creators for your podcast.
You can also check blogs, websites, and magazines for ads related to your niche or target companies that are directly involved in the same niche you cover.
When searching for sponsors on your own, here are some tricks you could use.
What you do not want is a sponsor that will not compliment your kind of content. The listeners are what attract sponsors and keep them with you.
If you are confused about the companies or type of brands to go after, you can ask your listeners to give you a direction. The preferences of your audience matter a lot because you are producing your content for them.
In some cases, your listeners might be influential and have direct links with some brands that will work well for your podcast. Therefore, as a small and growing podcaster with little to no sponsor, you should always involve your listeners when searching for sponsors.
You may have brands that you already work with such as small businesses and independent creators. These could become your customers, and they can help your brand grow if you manage the relationship well. You can ask them for information about other brands or businesses that they have links to. They will always be ready to help if you maintain a great relationship with them.
If you do a great job helping them market their products/services, they can always recommend you to new people and brands. It doesn't matter if you did short term work for them; the point is to deliver quality that attracts people to their product or service.
As a podcaster, you will have an email list of subscribers. They are your loyal listeners as they trust you enough to have subscribed for your podcast. Let them know that you are open to working with them, and you have ad spaces on your podcast. You can also ask them to refer you and introduce you to brands and businesses that can advertise with you, and you add an incentive.
If you ask them to refer you and give them some sort of reward after completed a sponsorship deal, it will be a morale booster for them as they already love your podcast.
Social media is another important avenue to try, and if you play your game well, you are guaranteed a massive number of followers. The podcast world revolves around content, and you can always redesign your podcast content to fit your social media followers. This way, you will have started a conversation with them, and there will be an established line of communication.
Either in audio, written, graphical or video format, you can make your followers aware that you are looking for podcast sponsors. Some of them might work with you directly or refer you to others. You don't know who is watching when you put out good content; this could work in your favour.
You cannot stay isolated from the podcaster in your niche; This is one of the key ways to market and grow your podcast. You should always try and collaborate with a podcaster in your niche. Not only will you be increasing your number of listeners, but you could also establish a great relationship with other, larger podcasters.
You can ask podcasters in your niche for direction. Some of them will have been doing this for years, and they might know where to go and whom to meet if you want to attract sponsors.
This could be a long game as it is dependent on the level of visibility that your podcast is getting. If you are not raking in the listening numbers, it is unlikely that you will attract advertisers. If this is the approach you wish to use, you will have to get your podcast on a platform that will make you visible.
Your content quality must be top-notch and you must be very active on social media if you want to attract sponsors with this method.
There are different ways to communicate with your audience, including creating a one-pager (can also be called a media kit). It will include details about your podcast and what the sponsor stands to gain by advertising on your podcast.
It should include:
Here is a link to a sample document of a one-pager created for a show.
When you get sponsors on your show, you need to manage your sponsorship pipeline. The deliverables, the duration, and other info have to be in one place for easy tracking and analysis.
One tool to use for this is Trello. It helps you organize and monitor your sponsorship dealings at a glance. The strength of this tool is its simplicity. You can create and introduce calendar planning, tables for content creation and publishing, and to-do lists all using Trello.
The Trello board will make your job easier and help you fulfil your promises to your sponsors.
Once you bag a sponsor(s), the next step is to over-deliver; this will keep the sponsors happy, and they will sponsor your podcast for longer. They will also be a positive case study to attract new sponsors.
Audio inserts help you insert ads anywhere within the show and at any time. Instead of the usually baked recording of the advertisement with the show, audio inserts allow you to change the ads on demand.
With audio inserts, you can change the ad in an old episode at any time you please.
Learn more about this feature here.
And there we go team... good luck as you venture out into the world to find your first sponsor... good luck!