If you’ve thought of starting a podcast or have already started one, you might be wondering how to turn it into a profitable venture—or, at the very least, cover your costs. The answer is simple: find a sponsor. But there’s more to podcast advertising than that. In this post, Jay Artale (@BirdsOAFpress), a digital nomad and full-time writer and blogger, explains the ins and outs of finding podcast sponsors.
Lots of bloggers are starting podcasts these days. But they don’t necessarily think through the ramifications or opportunities that could present themselves when the podcast succeeds. Nor do they consider the fact that, at some point, they might require a podcast sponsor.
You can start a podcast for free, but when your audience grows and consumes your free bandwidth allocation, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid hosting plan to continue broadcasting. When you see this stage of your show’s growth on the horizon, it’s time to start looking for a show sponsor to monetize your podcast.
Choose Sponsors Wisely
Before you go down the sponsorship route, let me give you a few words of caution. If you’ve spent months or years building your listener base, the last thing you should do is alienate them by featuring ads from companies unrelated to your niche.
When you feature a podcast ad, you’re giving the sponsor your seal of approval. If you don’t wholeheartedly believe in and support your sponsor, don’t be swayed by the potential income. You’re putting your reputation on the line by giving an advertiser airplay. Don’t let your show’s popularity come crashing down by putting fast-cash above your integrity.
Look at podcast advertising as a long-term strategy. If your advertising deals are alienating your listeners, they’ll stop listening.
If they stop listening, you’ll lose your sponsorship—and other opportunities to monetize your podcast.
How Much Could You Earn?
The industry standard for podcast advertising is based on the cost per 1,000 listeners (CPM) over a 30-day period. The average income is between $15 to $25 based on where the ad is placed in your show:
- Pre-Roll $18 – before the show content starts
- Mid-Roll $20-25 – during the show
- End-Roll $15 – at the end of the show
Calculate your potential earnings per episode by using the pricing calculator at Advertise Cast.
There are two primary ways of landing a sponsorship deal:
- Find a sponsor through your podcast hosting service
- source your own advertising deal
Find a Sponsor through your Podcast Hosting Service
Not all podcast hosts have an advertising marketplace to connect you with a sponsor. I use Podbean to host my How Travel Writers Self-Publish podcast, and they have a free Ads Marketplace available to users of their Unlimited Plus paid plan. So, when my podcast audience gets large enough to consume my free monthly bandwidth, I’ll upgrade from the free hosting plan. This will increase my bandwidth allocation and give me access to their Ads Marketplace.
Check with your podcast host to read about the monetization opportunities:
- Your Libsyn podcast must have 20K U.S. downloads a month or more for ad sales representation through Libsyn.
- If you join SoundCloud Premier and are on their Pro Unlimited paid plan, you can make money from music tracks only.
- When you add Blubrry’s free basic statistics to your podcast, you can earn money by accepting ad deals offered by Blubrry.
- Neither BuzzSprout and PodOmatic have an advertising marketplace, but you are allowed to monetize your show. They both actively promote Patreon, which is built around getting monetary support from your listeners rather than advertisers.
Source Your Own Advertising Deal
Be realistic about who you approach for advertising. If your show is only attracting 1,000 listens per month (CPM), you won’t be able to secure a big name advertiser. However, you may be able to interest smaller advertisers who don’t have the budget to sponsor a show with a five or ten thousand strong audience. But where should you look?
Listen to Your Competition
Your first step should be to listen to podcasts related to yours. Hopefully, you’re already doing this as part of your competitive research and to keep your finger on the pulse of your niche. But now you need to pay attention to the ads to see what companies are sponsoring these shows. Reach out to these advertisers and see if they are looking for additional shows to sponsors.
As you have knowledge of your niche, take a look at the companies that are most visible when you’re navigating your industry. Whether they show up in Google search, Facebook ads, live event sponsorship, or banner ads on websites. It means they have an advertising budget and may be open to sponsoring your show. Visit the company website and look for the sales or marketing team that handles online advertising.
Use a Sponsorship Network Service
If you want to make an investment in your podcasting education and training, become a paid member of The Podcast Host Academy. This gives you access to their sponsorship network.
Advertise Cast’s platform has 250+ paying advertisers in its network. As long as you have 1,000 downloads per episode, you’re eligible to add your podcast to their site to source a sponsor.
Create a Media Kit
Before you reach out to a potential sponsor, put together a podcast media kit that details your core audience and listener stats. You should also include your social media reach as this is a way to show how many followers you’re sharing your show with.
Advertisers aren’t going to sponsor your show if you don’t have an established platform. If you’re the author of a book, though, you should already be committed to building your author platform. Your podcast is just an extension of that activity.
Use the comments section below to tell us about your podcast. Let us know what tips or advice you have about finding a sponsor.
And if you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend.
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
Image courtesy of gmast3r