Thank you so much to Kate for this incredible post about podcasting! Learn more about Kate and her playful pursuits in her bio below.
One of the greatest joys of hosting a podcast for the last 5 years has been the amount of interaction it encourages. I feel like when I switched on the microphone, I got access to 1000’s of people’s lives and so many of them reach out and tell me what they’ve enjoyed hearing. It’s a really important part of what I do and so, when I realised I that I needed to think about covering the costs of hosting a podcast, I felt protective of this community that had sprung up in response to my fortnightly rambles. How did I make sure the podcast could deliver good quality content and giveaways without feeling like I was selling that invitation into their lives?
Setting up a podcast isn’t a cheap hobby or at least it won’t be if you want to deliver one of high standard audio and provide support through shownotes and links of all the things you talk about. If you’re planning on setting up a podcast there’s a fair amount to think about: a good quality microphone, software to edit and then there’s hosting fees. If you want to invite guests on and make sure your audience can hear them, that’s more software to think about and sometimes paying it all out of your own pocket isn’t the answer. So here’s my top tips for attracting sponsors that will help you monetise your podcast whether you’re just starting or an established brand looking to take things further.
1. Become a Statistician!
Ok, so we all know that the big names out there in blogging and podcasting get a lot of hits and it might be easy to feel you’re not in that kind of league. Look again, are you getting great interaction from each episode? Perhaps your last two featured guests all fed back that they noticed an increase in sales after you ran their story? That’s exactly the kind of information that will attract sponsorship and you need to start taking note of those facts and figures to present next time you are thinking about inviting a sponsor to join your podcast. Yes, unique downloads are important but a niche podcast that directly speaks to your sponsors target audience is going to be far more beneficial for them. You just need to show them how!
2. Be consistent.
If you’re representing someone’s business, you need to prove you’re a safe bet. A regular schedule with quality content is far more likely to win the trust of your audience AND your sponsors. The more they can tailor the type of adverts they wish you to run, the better they will do from that fee. If you promised to deliver a new year offer but it doesn’t run till the end of the month? That’s not going to work well for anyone. It’s time to get committed!
3. Develop a package
I have a PDF that I send out that I know is often referred to as a ‘media pack’ in industry. It includes a high res image button so that sponsor can feature me on their site (thus winning more traffic for me), the latest statistics and feedback on the blog and podcast, a blurb describing what the podcast and blog represent and my monthly fees. It means a consistent approach with no hidden surprises and I can send it out fast when I get inquiries. When writing up this media pack, it’s helpful to think about who might be interested and the kind of keywords that will appeal to them. For example, a crafty business would love to read about a podcast dedicated to knitting tips and tutorials for crossover craft but would be far less interested in your latest software recommendations.
4. ‘Less is More’
You’ve worked hard to build your audience and they’ve rewarded you with their loyalty. If you suddenly start telling them about snack bars in the middle of your usual segment about gardening, things are going to get pretty uncomfortable. Adverts on podcasts normally run no longer than 15- 30 seconds for a reason: anything longer starts to feel intrusive and that your audience isn’t your primary focus. Also, if there’s too many adverts, it starts to distract from your content and from each other. There are lots of ways of monetising blogs and podcasts but if you’re looking at private sponsors to do so, the key here really is ‘less is more’.
5. Make it Work
Once you’ve decided to go the route of sponsorship, think about which businesses might be a good fit. As I suggested above, the more tailored to your audience your sponsors are the better. This way, the business sponsoring your show will get more out of it by reaching their target audience but it will also become easier to tailor your content to suit the sponsorship. For example, a lot of sponsors will gladly showcase their products for your giveaways which means you get the fees to pay for postage and a high quality product to give to your listeners. The happier everyone is in that equation, the more sharing and interaction you will all get!
One final thing to consider for any person seeking to monetise, whether it’s a blog or podcast, is what are you hoping to achieve? Sure, it is possible to join the ranks of professional blogger or podcaster and businesses that host podcasts all report great sales as a result. However, if you’re doing this for a hobby, be honest. Sponsorship will help fund your podcast and help increase your audience reach but never lose sight of why you started in the first place: to interact with others who share your interests. Keep that community at the heart of what you do- it’s what’s kept me recording all of these years!
Obsessed with storytelling from a young age, Kate has become the person who loves to tell tales both as a hobby and as a professional. You can find Kate writing and recording over at A Playful Day, where she also runs support services for Fibery peeps: content management and marketing, business strategy and copy editing. Keep up to date with the latest episodes or ramblings on Twitter and be sure to say hi on Ravelry too.