When it comes to nabbing up a great sponsor (or two) for your show, you definitely have a few different ways of reaching that goal. It can be as simple as handing over the reigns to an advertising or PR agency, or it may require a little extra “out-of-the-box” thinking.
Reaching out to a potential podcast sponsor can be a daunting task. That is why we are going to break it down into a few simple options that you can easily follow as a kind of roadmap towards sponsorship. Whether you outsource your sponsorship deals or do it yourself, any of these ideas will be a great way for you to get yourself some traction in securing that precious revenue stream for your show.
Use a Dedicated Sponsorship Agency
The first way to reach out to new potential sponsor is to outsource the task to a dedicated sponsorship agency. This way you don’t have to worry about doing any of the legwork and can simply review the sponsor pitches they have to offer and decide which partnerships work best for your podcast brand. This is also a great networking opportunity, being introduced to more potential sponsors increases your chances of growing your podcast revenue stream. However, there are definitely downsides to completely outsourcing your sponsorship strategy.
First of all, the agency will end up taking a pretty significant chunk of the sponsorship payment that you received as compensation for the work that they’ve done. Secondly, you may ultimately get offered a lot of ads or sponsorship deals that might not be the most relevant to your audience. Your ability to have more free reign in finding sponsors that are a good fit for your podcast is greatly diminished and all the responsibility falls on your sponsorship team. However, if you are able to get past this initial trust-barrier, you may be able to save a lot of your precious time and implement a much more efficient sponsorship strategy.
Related post: The 9 Best Podcast Advertising Networks
Personally Reach Out to Sponsors
If you choose to take the more “do-it-yourself” approach, you can simply reach out to sponsors personally. The best way to start this is to have someone who is already in your network make an introduction for you. This way there is someone who can vouch for you and is essentially recommending that your podcast is a great fit for the specific sponsor. This may not always be possible, so the next best thing would simply be a cold-email.
Reaching out should include a short, succinct message, introducing yourself and the podcast, laying out your intentions, and explaining why you would be a good fit. Be sure to do your research; understand the type of clientele that potential sponsor currently works why and ensure that your podcast is aligned with what they represent and vice versa. Next, suggest hopping on a call with them to further discuss the type of partnership that is possible and what there is to gain from their end. Again, be well versed in what you want to say and make sure that your communication is clear and to the point.
Draw From Your Existing Audience Base
Sometimes the most over-looked yet obvious place to start is with your existing audience base. This can include your followers, friends, or even family. Tap into your network to find out if there are any possible connections that you’ve already made that can be beneficial in your search for a sponsor. Whether they want to personally become a sponsor or know of someone who would be a perfect sponsor partner, reaching out to those already passionate about your podcast can really give you a leg up in the game.
Another option is to simply ask your listeners if they are willing to donate to your show to help keep it up and running. You can easily set up a Patreon account where they can make a donation as they see fit. If they are already drawing value from your podcast they will have no problem sponsoring it with whatever they have available to offer. Sometimes a great way to get your listeners onboard is to create a valuable resource that goes hand-in-hand with your podcast that they can buy as a way to show their support for the show. This way you create the extra revenue stream that you need and they are able to purchase something of value to add to their experience. Bottom line is, don’t forget to use your audience that already exists including friends within your industry and family members who want to see your show succeed!
Launch a Membership Platform
Continuing the conversation of tapping into an existing audience base, stems the idea of launching a membership site. Essentially, a membership site allows you to create levels of access to the podcast and extra resources that accompany the show. Again, you can use sites like Patreon where listeners pay you a subscription amount of their choice in exchange for exclusive experiences and behind-the-scenes content. Another option is to build out a full membership platform within your podcast website that allows listeners to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to have access to exclusive content for members only.
This can include bonus episodes, weekly tips and tools, and additional resources on top of what they already receive with your podcast. You can even include special options like one-on-one access to you personally, a discussion forum in the group, or even meet-up events for specifically designed for paying members. There is a lot of creative freedom in membership platforms, allowing you to tailor the membership experience to your podcast, really making it own with each exclusive offer that you present. As the number of members in your program grows, the reoccurring revenue that comes in every month grows along with it.
Run a Crowdfunding Campaign
One of the best options, especially for podcasters who are just getting started, is to run a crowdfunding campaign for your show. This is a great way to get the initial investment that your show needs to really get off the ground. It will allow you to have a starter amount that will help carry the podcast into its next phase; getting a full-time, big-name sponsor. Crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter, are perfect for creative projects such as podcasts. Keep in mind, running a crowdfunding campaign is something to take seriously.
Make sure that you put in the work to go along with each of the investments that you receive, that you reach the goal you set out to in the first place; starting your podcast! Again, you have a lot of creative freedom with these types of campaigns. For different donation levels, you can offer special rewards, or perhaps some swag for your podcast! This is also really great for podcasters who already have an established listener base. You can promote the campaign on your podcast while it is active, and give your listeners something to look forward to that goes beyond the podcast. Those die-hard fans of yours will love to be able to receive special podcast merchandise to really help show their support for your podcast.
Host a Live Event
In addition to any of these other great options, hosting a live event can be really successful. Set a date and time, and then sell tickets to the event to bring in that extra bit of revenue. With these types of events, they often work best when you already have an existing audience. This way you can promote the event on your show and your listeners already know that it will be something that they look forward to meeting you, in person.
It can also be a great opportunity for listeners to get together to discuss the podcast or even to do a live show recording or Q&A session. That way your audience will be featured in the show and become part of creating the content they consume. There’s nothing that compares to this type of listener engagement, again extending the podcast beyond the show itself. As the popularity of the event grows you can even start to invite featured guests or set up a group of panelists to answer questions from the audience. The potential for revenue and growth is limitless! So be creative, make it fun, and if it is successful, do it again!