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The way to Get Podcast Sponsors Earlier than Airing an Episode

Earlier than I ever revealed a single episode of my podcast, I efficiently bought over $8,000 in sponsorships. And by the tip of my first 12 months of podcasting, we secured over $30,000 in sponsorships for simply 24 episodes.

That’s $1,250 per episode. Not unhealthy for a brand-new podcast nobody had ever heard of.

Most likely a bit like your podcast, mine wasn’t owned and promoted by NPR or some big media firm. It didn’t begin with a family identify for a number. And it didn’t (nonetheless doesn’t) get hundreds of thousands of downloads each month. It’s a modest little podcast taking on its personal small nook of Apple Podcasts—similar to a whole bunch of 1000’s of small reveals began each day by individuals such as you and me.

However simply because your podcast is small, doesn’t imply you don’t should make a bit of money from the work that you simply put into it. On this article, you’ll learn to get podcast sponsors earlier than hitting report utilizing the identical steps that labored for me.

The way to Get Podcast Sponsors Earlier than Launching Your Present

If achieved proper, beginning a podcast could be a nice supply of aspect revenue and may even mature right into a full-time gig, if you’d like it to and also you play your playing cards proper.

In fact, it’s honest to level out that sponsorships are simply one in all some ways to become profitable out of your podcast. You can additionally construct a loyal viewers and promote digital merchandise or use your podcast to discover extra freelance work.

However nearly each different monetization technique has the identical downside: It takes time.

After I began my weblog in 2009, I used to be keen to attend for the cash to indicate up later. However once I began podcasting, I didn’t have the identical form of endurance. I needed income from day one.

If you wish to learn to get podcast sponsors and also you’re anxious to see a optimistic ROI before later, right here’s my greatest recommendation for promoting podcast sponsorships, it doesn’t matter what stage your podcast is in.

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We Took No matter Podcast Sponsors We Might Get

There might be some individuals who learn this text and assume, “$8,000. That’s it?” They usually’re proper that in some methods, $8,000 is just not a ton of cash.

However getting sponsorships on a podcast that didn’t exist but was about far more than simply the cash. By launching our present with sponsors already in place, we began off on the precise foot with each listeners and future sponsors.

Listeners knew we have been critical about what we have been placing out and we weren’t afraid to promote advertisements with the intention to monetize our onerous work.

Future sponsors (in seasons 2, 3, 4, and so forth) have been comforted to know that different firms had taken dangers on us and seen outcomes—which meant they may too. In actual fact, one in all our sponsors even gave us a glowing testimonial after our first episode went stay, which we, in fact, used after we went again to search out extra sponsors.

In case your present is new or very younger and also you don’t have stable numbers to again up any sponsorship pitch, take no matter they’ll give you. It’s higher than nothing (the choice) and there are much more upsides that can kick in later.

How A lot Did We Cost for Podcast Sponsors?

This all sounds nice in concept, but it surely’s a bit messier in actual life. Let me share with you precisely the way it occurred for me.

After I began Freelance to Founder, I had no thought methods to get podcast sponsors or how many individuals have been going to tune in. So I made a decision I might be pleased with nearly any cheap quantity I might get.

However right here’s how I went about determining precisely what that cheap quantity was:

A number of months earlier, I had obtained an e mail pitch from an organization asking me to be an affiliate for them. So I discovered that previous thread and replied with this:

Hey, It’s been a pair months since we final talked.

I’ve observed is stepping up its sponsorship sport. I take heed to the Fizzle Present and browse Paul Jarvis’ e mail e-newsletter and I observed placement in each of these locations.

Since we additionally discuss to 31,000+ freelancers & creatives a number of occasions every week at Millo, I questioned if might get loads out of partnering with us.

Possibly you can ahead this to whomever is establishing sponsorship offers at ?

The reply I obtained couldn’t have been any higher:

Hey Preston,

I truly additionally deal with sponsorships at !

Proper now, we’re centered totally on podcast sponsorships (Paul’s e-newsletter is a part of the podcast sponsorship) or partnering with individuals as associates.

What kind of sponsorship alternatives are you interested by exploring?

Naturally, you possibly can see why this was such a improbable leap ahead. Each she and I have been extremely taken with specializing in podcast sponsorships.

In fact, this sort of serendipity can’t be taught, however I’ve been sending chilly (or cold-ish) emails for sponsorships lengthy sufficient to know that it’s a numbers sport. Ship extra emails and ultimately you’ll have conversations like this one.

I often must ship 20-30 chilly emails (or 5-10 heat emails) earlier than we get a fantastic association like this one.

I responded as shortly as I might (edited for size):


I’ve nearly received pilot episodes for our new podcast able to take heed to.

It’s referred to as “Freelance to Founder” and it’s a storytelling podcast alongside the traces of This American Life or Startup telling the tales of solo entrepreneurs who’ve scaled their companies past themselves.

I feel it could possibly be a fantastic match for to be a sponsor.

Can I ship you the pilot episode when it’s prepared and we are able to talk about a partnership additional?

Naturally, she agreed to listening to the pilot episode. When the audio was prepared, I despatched it on.

It’s vital to notice right here that I curbed any hesitancy she might need instantly in my e mail:

Hey, thanks for the response.

We’ve received a pilot largely completed for Freelance to Founder. Nonetheless a number of small polishes to make, however right here’s the place we’re at.

I’d love so that you can take a hear and see if it’s one thing can be taken with.

We’re specializing in impartial, artistic individuals who wish to scale their enterprise.

We might do a cool advert about how takes billing and bookkeeping off a freelancer’s plate leaving room to scale their enterprise.

I understand it’s a little bit of a danger on season 1, however we’ve received 33,000+ individuals on our e mail record and a community we’ll be pushing it to. Given it’s a joint danger, I’d be joyful to chop you a deal on season 1.


Discover, I additionally provided a deal or a reduction if they might e book the complete Season 1.

After numerous back-and-forth (and months of following up with my contact), I satisfied them sponsoring the podcast for a full season 1 was the most suitable choice (and it genuinely was).

Right here’s a part of the e-mail I despatched after we began discussing pricing:

What I truly would counsel is experimenting first with singularly the present sponsorship. Right here’s what I can provide for the present sponsorship:

    1. 30 second mid-roll and end-roll advert in every of our 8 episodes.
    2. Banner + textual content + CTA + hyperlink in every e mail that sends for every episode (est. 35,000 readers)
    3. Banner + textual content + CTA + hyperlink on present touchdown web page and episode web page(s).

Since that is our first podcast, I’d love your assistance on figuring out a good worth for this sort of setup. What would give you the results you want for what I’ve listed beneath?

When you may also help me determine a worth for the podcast sponsorship, I’m very excited to maneuver ahead with writing and recording the advertisements, and many others.

After much more forwards and backwards on particulars of what the marketing campaign would entail (simply anticipate a variety of questions from a shopper who’s about to present you a good bit of cash), she lastly received approval to sponsor all eight episodes of our first season at $500/episode! Right here’s what she mentioned:

Hey Preston,

Okay, I used to be in a position to get approval on the next:

$4,000 for 8 episodes with the weekly e mail point out.

I do know that doesn’t sound like a ton, however often they reserve $500 per episode for reveals getting like 10-20K downloads per episode. My lead felt that even with none assure of downloads, the e-mail went a good distance plus your model is a superb match for us.

Additionally, between us, they’ve solely ever achieved model new reveals a number of occasions and several other have gone on to be enormous… now commanding loads per episode from us… hopefully will probably be the identical along with your present!

I used to be fully jazzed in regards to the thought! Securing $4,000 from the primary sponsor on a podcast that didn’t exist but!? Wonderful!

In fact, I might inform from her language that she felt prefer it was a lowball bid. I in all probability might have gotten extra. However I didn’t ask. As a substitute, I used to be tremendous grateful and knew that touchdown a high-profile, first-season sponsor like this was useful in different methods than simply fast money.

On the identical time, simply to handle expectations sooner or later, I added this to my reply (which was, in fact, filled with gratitude as properly):

I want to be clear: we anticipate the present to be pretty profitable and, if it reaches what we anticipate, we’d must renew at the next price.

The responses simply stored getting higher:

Sure, I undoubtedly perceive it might be the next price subsequent time… like I mentioned, we’re joyful to pay extra as soon as we’ve some baseline metrics to work with.

That preliminary deal has since was years of artistic partnerships with this identical firm.

Bear in mind, the artwork of enterprise improvement, partnership, sponsorships or promoting is all in regards to the lengthy sport.

This preliminary deal almost three years in the past has allowed my firm to:

  • E book renewal sponsorships with this identical firm on a number of podcasts.
  • E book new sponsorships with small firms who belief us as a result of this bigger sponsor did.
  • Enhance our affiliate relationship with this sponsor and construct a long-term relationship of mutual help.
  • Fund our podcast to maintain producing episodes at a revenue from day one.

We Created Area of interest (Sellable) Content material

After I began my present, I used to be fully centered on its marketability. However not simply how engaging it might be to listeners. I additionally centered on how it might be engaging to potential advertisers.

Whereas there are many podcasts for freelancers on the market, our podcast, Freelance to Founder took a singular storytelling strategy in a sea of fundamental interview reveals and “skilled roundtable” podcasts.

Freelance to founder podcast homepage

What did this imply once I went knocking on advertisers’ doorways? It meant I had one thing distinctive and completely different to supply them—one thing value taking an opportunity on. And lots of of them did.

So whereas it’s essential that you simply create a podcast that folks truly wish to take heed to, don’t overlook to ask your self:

Am I podcasting in a distinct segment wherein I can discover high quality advertisers too?

For instance, Eric Cacciatore began a restaurant podcast as a result of he’s passionate in regards to the business but additionally as a result of there’s a unending lineup of food- or cooking-related manufacturers that wish to attain restaurateurs.

Eric now makes a cool six-figures from his podcast, Restaurant Unstoppable.

When you’re unsure your area of interest has advertisers keen to place cash on the desk, check out comparable podcasts and verify if they’ve precise sponsorships.

If the choice appears slim and none of your private connections come readily to thoughts as potential advertisers, possibly you must rethink your podcast’s area of interest.

We Deliberate for Podcast Distribution and Development

Beginning your podcast is only the start if you wish to produce a present that advertisers get enthusiastic about.

When you, like me, wish to promote podcast sponsorships within the very early phases, you’ll in all probability want to incorporate plans for distribution and development when pitching advertisers.

See, on the subject of podcast sponsorships, it’s all in regards to the numbers.

Most advertisers simply want a optimistic return on their funding with the intention to justify renewing a sponsorship along with your podcast. The extra concrete numbers you may give a sponsor, the higher. For instance, if you understand you’re going to get influential company in your podcast, be sure you embrace their names and potential attain numbers in your sponsor pitch.

The extra element you may give about what a sponsor can anticipate when it comes to attain, the extra seemingly you’ll be capable to come collectively and agree on a sponsorship.

For instance, I didn’t know precisely what number of downloads we’d get in our first season, however I did know the way many individuals I’d be sending it to (roughly).

As a result of I had a stable distribution plan in place, I used to be in a position to make guarantees like this to our first sponsor (direct copy/paste from my e mail):

I understand it’s a little bit of a danger on season 1, however we’ve received 33,000+ individuals on the record and a community we’ll be pushing it to. Given it’s a joint danger, I’d be joyful to chop you a deal on season 1.

Having 33,000 individuals on our present e mail record and an enormous community of pals who have been going to share our new podcast with their networks, I used to be assured we might get some good obtain numbers within the first few weeks.

Learn extra: How “Podcast Princess” Hala Taha Turned Her Facet Hustle right into a Media Empire

We Offered No matter We Needed to Provide

I’m not going to lie—these first few e mail pitches have been a bit awkward. To the sponsors, it in all probability got here off one thing like this:

“Hello. I’ve a podcast that actually doesn’t exist but. Will you spend cash to be our first sponsor?”

To today, I’m a bit shocked we have been in a position to e book as a lot as we did that first 12 months. I attribute a lot of that success to the scrappiness and creativity of our pitch.

For instance, we mentioned in the event that they’d be keen to sponsor an episode of the podcast (we truly began by attempting to promote your complete season, which labored for one advertiser) we would come with their model within the e mail we’d ship selling the episode.

Once you’re promoting an unknown (like an unaired podcast episode), you’ve received to construct in as a lot stability as doable. And you are able to do that by promoting no matter you’ve already received.

For instance, if you happen to’ve already received a bunch of Instagram followers otherwise you’ve grown a big e mail record, think about together with publicity on these two platforms when somebody agrees to sponsor the podcast.

It’s a win-win. You will have yet another excuse to speak about your new podcast in your current channels and your sponsor will get extra publicity, “at no additional value.”

For instance, we already had an e mail record and a social following we might leverage, so I included these in our pitch. Right here’s the preliminary proposal I despatched to our first sponsor:

  1. 30 second mid-roll and end-roll advert in every of our 8 episodes.
  2. Banner + textual content + CTA + hyperlink in every e mail that sends for every episode (est. 35,000 readers)
  3. Banner + textual content + CTA + hyperlink on present touchdown web page and episode web page(s).

I additionally included the positioning stats:

  • Month-to-month visits: ~120,000
  • E-mail record: ~35,000
  • Avg open price: 34,000
  • Avg click on price: 3%

When you’ve received a little-known (or fully unknown) present, your job is to persuade potential sponsors that you simply’re a secure guess—that they’re not simply throwing their cash away fully.

We Leveraged Present Relationships

As anybody who has expertise in pitching and gross sales will inform you, a heat pitch is infinitely simpler than a chilly pitch. This proved true when it got here to promoting advertisements on a podcast that didn’t exist but.

After I determined to launch my first podcast, I had constructed up partnerships with associates as I labored on rising my passive revenue through the years, and people individuals have been among the many first I reached out to when it got here time to pitch podcast sponsorships.

As a result of they already knew I used to be personally reliable and that our model labored properly with the merchandise they have been promoting, we have been in a position to keep away from all of the trust-building that often has to happen earlier than a pitch can occur.

We received straight to the purpose and I used to be in a position to shortly weed out those that I knew wouldn’t have an interest and people who had potential.

Begin by brainstorming and reviewing your current community to search out potential sponsors or individuals who might have connections to potential sponsors. You may be shocked at what you discover.

Associate with Individuals Method Extra Proficient Than You

After I first began this podcast, I knew I wouldn’t be capable to inform the sorts of tales I needed to inform since I had nearly no expertise in entrance of a microphone.

So, for season one, I partnered with an previous buddy of mine and agreed to separate the sponsorship income with him in trade for his podcasting expertise.

It was a significant win.

Since then, I’ve partnered with the present host of the present, Brandon Hull, who does a significantly better job than I ever might at discovering high-quality company, asking them the precise questions, and placing all of it collectively in an entertaining and attention-grabbing method.

I by no means suspected that so many podcast company would e mail me to inform me simply how great their interview went with our present host. That’s one thing I’ll by no means be capable to obtain by myself.

The present has additionally grown to the purpose that I’ve partnered with one other firm to deal with our sponsorship gross sales at this level. The Podglomerate finds new advertisers regularly and builds relationships with potential advertisers that I simply don’t have the time, bandwidth, or expertise to do myself.

The way to Get Podcast Sponsors at Any Stage

If promoting sponsorships is the way in which you wish to monetize your podcast, then take it from me: you are able to do it.

It takes some critical hustle. I used to be advised “no” by a variety of potential advertisers within the strategy of pre-booking our first season.

However guess what? A few of the sponsors who declined to sponsor season one got here to us asking to be thought of for season 2. And we agreed—at a a lot greater worth, which they fortunately paid.

When you’re keen to take no matter you may get (bear in mind, it’s not simply in regards to the cash), give attention to creating related (and sellable) content material, make stable plans for distribution and development, get artistic with what you need to provide, and encompass your self with gifted individuals, making a living by promoting sponsorships in your podcast is completely achievable.

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