Everything You Need to Know About Podcast Sponsorships
According to Edison Research, almost 80% of podcast consumers prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on or sponsor the podcasts they regularly listen to.
Brands know that podcasters have access to highly engaged audiences and are willing to pay to get their name in front of their listeners. But how do you find quality sponsors, and how do you work out contracts so that they benefit everyone involved (including your listeners)?
This blog post will break down how podcast sponsorships work, major concepts like ad spots, how to find potential sponsors, as well as how (and when) to effectively monetize through brand deals!
How do podcast sponsorships actually work?
Podcast sponsorship operates on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) model, where the sponsor pays for every thousand listeners your podcast episodes reach. There are three primary ad spots where sponsors can promote their product or service on your podcast:
- Pre-roll ads (CPM rate: $15–$25): Short advertisements run before your podcast starts. They usually last for 15 seconds and are a great way to grab the listener's attention as they tune in.
- Mid-roll ads (CPM rate: $25–$50): Longer advertisements, typically running for 60 seconds, placed in the middle of your podcast episode. Mid-roll ads are highly effective as they occur when the listener is most engaged.
- Post-roll ads (CPM rate: $10 on average): These podcast ads run at the end of episodes and therefore tend to reach fewer people (and cost less for sponsors as a result).
Besides ad spots, sponsors might also be incorporated into the show in other ways. For instance, the host may use the sponsor's product or service and share their personal experience, providing a more authentic connection between the sponsor and the audience.
Sponsorship contracts and payment
When you land a sponsorship deal, the contract will outline the number of episodes the sponsorship covers, the placement of ads, the specific wording or talking points they want to be included, and the payment terms.
Some deals can be on an episode-by-episode basis, while others might cover multiple ones or an entire season.
Once the episode containing the sponsored ad is published and reaches the agreed number of listens or downloads, the sponsor pays the agreed amount (generally through bank transfers or online payment platforms).
Where to find sponsors for your podcast
If you’ve looked into monetizing your podcast, you might have gotten stuck when it comes to actually finding sponsors to partner with–ones that resonate with you and can provide value to your listeners.
Here are some of the best ways to connect with sponsors who would be interested in your specific content.
- Reach out directly: Research and identify businesses whose target audience aligns with your listeners. Craft a compelling proposal explaining why a partnership would be mutually beneficial and send it to them directly. Don't forget to include important metrics about your listenership to convince them of your podcast’s potential.
- Use a marketplace: Platforms like Podcorn and the Buzzsprout Affiliate Marketplace connect creators directly with potential sponsors, making it easier for both parties to find each other–especially if you have a smaller audience base.
- Leverage social media: Social media platforms can be a great way to find potential sponsors. Engage with brands that align with your podcast’s theme and audience, and demonstrate to them the value that a sponsorship deal could bring to their business.
- Attend industry events: Networking at industry events can help you connect with potential sponsors. These events offer the opportunity to showcase your podcast to businesses and explain how a sponsorship deal can help them reach their target audience.
- Join a podcast network: By joining a podcast network, you get access to its existing sponsors and advertisers. This can be an effective strategy; however, you generally need to have a large following (5,000+ downloads per episode) for it to be profitable.
Now that you have some ideas for how to find sponsors let’s look at how to pitch to brands you resonate with!
Mastering the pitch
Pitching to potential sponsors and brands involves presenting your podcast in a compelling manner, highlighting its value proposition, and explaining how a sponsorship deal can benefit their business. To effectively pitch, consider these steps:
Step #1. Research
Understand the products or brands you're pitching to and how they align with your podcast's theme and audience demographics. This will help you make your outreach more tailored and personal, increasing the chances of getting a response once you start pitching.
Find out things like the brand’s target audience, brand voice, and key product features. This will enable you to create ads that are aligned with the sponsor's marketing goals.
Step #2. Craft your pitch
Your pitch should include key metrics about your podcast, like the number of downloads, listener demographics, and engagement metrics. Explain why your podcast is a good fit for their brand and how sponsoring your podcast can help them reach their target audience.
In a successful sponsorship model, both the host and the sponsor benefit, so it’s important to stress what the brand will get from this deal.
Subject: Exciting Sponsorship Opportunity with [Your Podcast Name]
Dear [Sponsor's Name],
I hope this message finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I'm the host of [Your Podcast Name], a podcast about [Brief Summary of Your Podcast's Content]. Our show attracts [Number of Listeners] dedicated listeners per episode, primarily in the [Target Demographic] range, making it an ideal platform to reach an engaged, loyal audience.
I am reaching out because I believe [Sponsor's Brand] would be a fantastic fit for our audience. [Explain why their product, service, or brand aligns with your podcast's content and audience].
In sponsoring our podcast, [Sponsor's Brand] would receive [mention the type of ad spots they would receive and any other benefits such as social media shout-outs or mentions in your newsletter].
I would love the opportunity to discuss this further and explore how we can benefit from a mutual partnership. Please let me know a suitable time for a call or if you would like any more information.
Thank you for considering this proposal.
Step #3. Follow-up
After sending your pitch, make sure to follow up. This shows your enthusiasm and commitment, which can be influential in persuading potential sponsors.
Hi [Sponsor's Name],
I just wanted to follow up on my previous email about a potential partnership between [Your Podcast Name] and [Sponsor's Brand]. I believe this could be a mutually beneficial opportunity for both parties and would love to discuss it further with you.
Please let me know if you are interested in exploring this partnership.
Look forward to hearing from you,
Creating effective ads for podcast sponsorships
Creating effective sponsorship ads for your podcast requires a balance of authenticity, creativity, and strategic planning. Here are some tips to help you craft compelling sponsorship ads:
- Be authentic: Authenticity is key when it comes to podcast sponsorship ads. Listeners value the trust they have in podcast hosts. Maintain this trust by endorsing products that you genuinely believe in and can honestly recommend to your audience.
- Tell a story: For host-read ads where the sponsor doesn’t give you a script, try telling a story. Weaving in a personal experience with the product or service can be a powerful way to make the ad engaging and memorable.
- Include a call to action (CTA): Every effective ad includes a clear call to action. Encourage your listeners to try the product, visit the sponsor's website, or use your unique promo code.
- Track performance: Monitor the performance of your ads using metrics such as promo code usage and website visits. This will help you understand what's working and make necessary adjustments for future ad campaigns.
So how do you know these tactics are actually working? Through data. Let’s break down exactly which metrics to look at to know your ad is working.
Measuring podcast sponsorship success
Evaluating the success of podcast sponsorships is a two-way process involving assessing benefits for both the podcast and the sponsoring brand.
Here are some ways you can gauge the effectiveness of a brand deal:
- Track listenership growth: Regularly monitor your podcast's download and subscription numbers. A steady increase can indicate that your audience appreciates the relevance of your sponsors, which enhances your podcast's credibility.
- Sponsor's return on investment (ROI): Sponsors will look at metrics like the number of product purchases or website visits generated via your unique promo code or referral link. High ROI indicates a successful partnership from the sponsor's perspective.
- Audience feedback: Listener feedback is invaluable. Positive comments or reviews about your sponsors or their products can signify a resonance with your audience and, thus, successful sponsorships.
- Sponsor's brand awareness: If, after sponsoring your podcast, the brand sees an increase in brand awareness or an improvement in brand perception, this can be attributed to a successful sponsorship.
- Renewal of sponsorship contracts: If brands choose to renew or extend their sponsorship contracts, it's a clear signal of successful collaboration. It means your podcast is providing value to the sponsor in terms of target audience reach and engagement.
Remember, regular and open communication with your sponsors can help assess their satisfaction levels and address any areas of improvement to ensure a successful partnership.
Podpage features that can help
If you host your website with Podpage, you have access to features like unlimited Custom Pages, which lets you create a page for a sponsor with affiliate links, more information, etc.
You can also use Redirects feature, which allows you to create an easy-to-remember link at your domain so that linking to a sponsor or affiliate code is a breeze!
Sponsorship is a valuable and effective way to monetize your podcast. By understanding the needs and goals of potential sponsors, creating compelling ads, and measuring success appropriately, you can build strong partnerships that benefit both parties.
Above all, prioritize your listeners in whatever brands you partner with. Keep them in mind, and try to connect with sponsors whose products and services can benefit your audience most.