Discussing finances is tacky. Unless you want to monetize your podcast — then we can talk.
Podcast sponsorships are becoming more profitable the more popular podcasts get. If you haven’t taken advantage of sponsorships as a podcaster or an advertiser, you’re missing out some serious dough. 💸
What is podcast sponsorship? Podcast sponsors, or advertisers, pay to promote their products or services on podcasts. Many sponsors pay based on a show’s number of downloads. Some pay based on how many sales are generated from a podcast ad.
Now that we’ve got the big question out of the way, here’s what else we’re tackling:
- Why Sponsor a Podcast?
- How to Sponsor a Podcast
- What Do Sponsors Do For Podcasts?
- How Much Do Sponsors Pay Podcasters?
- How Do I Find a Podcast Sponsor?
- Types of Sponsorship Deals
- Other Ways to Monetize Your Podcast
Let’s get into it.
Why Sponsor a Podcast?
Although it’s not as easy to get started in as Facebook or Google advertising, podcast sponsorship can be extremely lucrative. In the chart below, you can see the average podcast ad conversion rate by industry.
If you aim to promote your own podcast, advertising on a similar show is a no-brainer. Even if you wish to advertise a different product or service, podcast sponsorship is an excellent route.
Advantages of sponsoring a podcast:
- You can target specific segments.
- It’s proven effective.
- Listeners trust podcast hosts.
- It’s not saturated.
Podcast listeners are motivated to learn and better themselves personally and professionally. If your brand values the same things, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding shows to sponsor.
How to Sponsor a Podcast
To get started sponsoring podcasts, you can take a couple of different avenues.
Your first option is to find out what shows your target audience is listening to and contact the hosts.
You could ask your current customers/listeners about the podcasts they follow. Or, SparkToro is a free resource that helps you uncover what your target audience is talking about.
Once you have a list of shows, try reaching out to the hosts. If you’re looking at the B2B podcasting space, you’re likely to find many hosts on LinkedIn. You could also see if their contact info is in the show description.
Podcast Advertising Networks
The other option is to partner with a podcast advertising agency.
These companies normally work with exclusive podcast networks. So, you’ll want to do some research into what shows your prospective advertising agency works with.
For example, AdvertiseCast has show like The NewsWorthy and Real Narcos in their network. They mainly serve larger brands with substantial budgets.
For medium-sized companies, we recommend Midroll. While they too work with enterprises, Midroll has more options for SMBs.
On a tight budget? Podbean offers a self-serve advertising option. Meaning, you choose which shows you see your ad doing well on.
Cost & Timeline
When you’re just getting started sponsoring podcasts, it’s essential to understand the normal cost of things. (Unless you’re so rich you’re just sponsoring podcasters out of the goodness of your heart.)
Typically, advertisers pay about $18/1,000 downloads. Most ad networks operate on a cost-per-mille (CPM) standard. One CPM = 1,000 downloads (AKA, people).
If an agency charges you an $18 CPM, you’re paying $18 to reach 1,000 people.
A $30 CPM or higher is on the expensive end of the spectrum. It’s possible that agencies charge $30+ for popular, highly-produced shows.
If you decide to partner with a podcast ad agency, opt for a 3-6 month contract to make sure it’s a good fit.
What Do Sponsors Do For Podcasts?
Aside from paying money to have their ad featured on your show, sponsors help podcasters by…
- Making your show more credible.
- Offering your listeners legit value.
- Increasing listener trust.
These benefits only materialize if you as a podcast host actually believe in the product or service. When you’re just trying to make a quick buck, you’re sacrificing your listeners’ trust and your show’s credibility.
You know your audience better than anybody. If you don’t think they’d benefit from hearing a particular ad, then don’t agree to it.
How Much Do Sponsors Pay Podcasters?
Typical podcast sponsorships run from $18/1,000 downloads to $30/1,000 downloads. It mainly depends on the popularity of your show.
Keep in mind that prices can always be negotiated. If a sponsor is particularly motivated, don’t be afraid to raise your rates.
It might also help to ask other podcasters in your niche what they charge for sponsorships.
How Do I Find a Podcast Sponsor?
Because podcast advertising is becoming more and more popular, it’s becoming easier for hosts to find sponsors. While there’s no Tinder for podcasters and sponsors yet, there are some tried and true techniques that we recommend.
Create a Media Kit
Your first step in finding a sponsor should be to develop a media kit.
A podcast media kit consists of stuff like…
- Your show’s name and description.
- The host’s bio.
- Who your target audience is.
- Who your guests usually are.
- The number of downloads you get per month.
- Your ratings/reviews.
- How often you release episodes.
- Social media metrics.
- Advertising specs (price).
Gathering all of this information up into a snappy media kit will make you and your show appear professional.
Once you’ve got your media kit in order, you can start to reach out to companies about sponsoring your show.
If you host a podcast about national parks, you might consider reaching out to brands like REI, Columbia, or Marmot. The sponsors you bring on should have similar values and audiences as you.
Podcast Monetization Platforms
Many podcast hosting platforms roll creation, promotion, and monetization into one. Hosting sites like to do this because it keeps you subscribing to their services.
Sounder, the hosting platform Sweet Fish uses, has a monetization function that you can literally turn on by the flip of a switch. Doing this allows Sounder to insert ads into your episodes while you bring in the moolah. 💰
In most cases, you can customize the type of ad or company that gets promoted on your podcast.
Although this passive monetization works for some podcasts, you might be a little pickier about what’s being promoted on your show and how. You can always keep the automatic monetization off and do it manually.
Do Host-Read Ads
Whether or not you use the monetization function on your hosting site, consider offering host-read ads.
What is a host-read ad? A host-read ad refers to when the show host reads the advertisement instead of someone else pre-recording it.
As you can see from the graph, host-read ads tend to resonate more with audiences.
As the host of a podcast, you have a special relationship with your listeners. If you promote something, they’re likely to listen.
Types of Sponsorship Deals
Throughout this article, we’ve mainly been discussing audio sponsorship deals. There are, however, other types of sponsorships for podcasters.
Podcasting as a business usually means that you have a high-performing website to accompany the show. If your site receives a substantial amount of traffic, it might be worth it to sell some ad space.
Ad space on a website includes banners, sidebars, pop-ups, and footers.
Another type of sponsorship deal involves blog posts.
Say your team writes blogs based on your podcast episodes and they get significant traffic. You could sell ad space on the blog in a couple of different forms.
Sponsor mentions could be natively written into the post. Or, they could show as display ads throughout the blog.
You got a big following on social? Use it.
Sponsors can pay for exposure via your social accounts. Just make sure you’re keeping the posts valuable to your audience and not infomercial-y.
Have a regular email that goes out to subscribers? Sell some space on it.
Depending on the size of your mailing list, advertisers could definitely be interested in gaining exposure through your newsletter.
Ever thought about doing a live recording of your show? It could be a lucrative opportunity for you and your sponsors.
A sponsored event would likely tie in all the different forms of sponsorship deals. Make sure to include all of the exposure opportunities in your media kit.
And, of course, audio sponsorship.
Many times podcasters will use their other successful channels to support their show. Consider bundling sponsorship types into price tiers to make more from your advertisers.
Other Ways to Monetize Your Podcast
Sponsorships are just one way you can monetize your podcast. Some other ways to make money off of your show include…
- Asking for donations
- Selling merch
- Selling subscriptions
- Creating a Patreon
- Selling premium episodes
- Gating your back catalog
- YouTube syndication (ads)
- Ticekted events
- Selling content upgrades
There are endless ways to monetize your podcast if you get a little creative.
But the best way to make money from your show? Invite your ideal customers to be guests and build meaningful relationships with them. That is where you’ll see the biggest ROI.
Making money off of something you created is a beautiful thing.
Still, we get the need to make some faster cash. Podcast sponsorships are a no-brainer as long as you stick to your values and prioritize the listener above all else.