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You are now starting to realize that there is a lot of time (and money) which goes into the production process of a podcast. If you aim to produce a high-quality show, you require equipment, planning, networking, audio post-production, marketing and finally audience engagement. All of this time and effort going into a product for the enjoyment or education of others can be spiritually rewarding, however, let’s face it, you would like to see a financial return for your efforts.
It is likely that you are already searching for methods of how to attract sponsors. I want to offer some direction here – Do Not Rush! Focus on creating a high-quality show. Use marketing and promotional strategies to create a large audience. It is these credentials which will attract sponsors. This doesn’t mean that sponsors will come knocking at your door, although you may be so lucky, it means that when you get their attention they are likely to listen. Before we tell you more about sponsorship, it’s important to be aware of some common flaws:
LET’S DROP SOME CONCEPT BOMBS…
Business, Start-ups, and large corporations are beginning to see the benefit of advertising through podcasts. The medium allows for the host to promote the product or service on a personal scale, advocating the item to his or her audience with stories of experience and expectations. However, it is important, as the host, to choose sponsors you believe in and will add value to your show.
YOU ARE THE SALESMAN & YOUR REPUTATION IS ON THE LINE
Whatever your niche, your audience comes to you for your personality, opinion, investigative prowess or content. Over numerous episodes and hours of engagement outside the realms of the microphone, you have fabricated the foundations of trust and possibly built an emotional connection. Do not be a sell-out! It is imperative to the ‘flow’ of your content that you do not over-saturate your show with advertisement after advertisement. This can be defined as the law of ‘diminishing returns’. Over-saturation is likely to discredit your authority, create noise so that other messages are lost and reduce the overall quality of your show.
Financial Sponsorship Models – The Big Bucks!
Now that I have got that off my chest, let’s learn about the current state of podcast sponsorship. It is still a young industry, however, there are a few typical industry standard models to know:
COST PER MILE (CPM): The number of unique listens per episode
This model is one of the most common and easy to implement. A financial return for Pre-roll, Mid-Roll or Post-Roll advertisements, where the host talks about the product or service for a prearranged period of time. Most sponsors will provide a script with highlighted ‘details’ which must be mentioned.
- Pre-Roll advertisements occur at any point before the main content of the show. They last about 15s and consist of the host briefly mentioning the product.
- Mid-Roll advertisements usually occur 40% – 70% through the main content. They usually last approximately 60s and consist of the host talking more in-depth of the product or service.
- Post-Roll advertisements are not as popular. They occur during the closing notes of a show, however as podcast statistics do not collect whether an episode is completed or not, this method is often not ‘sold’. You can always mention the sponsor as a matter of good faith.
This deal can be customized to meet the desires of both sponsor and host, however, the typical values often quoted are:
- 15s Pre-roll = $18 per 1000 downloads @ week 6
- 30s Mid-roll = $25 per 1000 downloads @ week 6
Most podcast sponsors accept the download statistics at the week 6 mark. You can negotiate a different metric, yet this is the ‘industry standard’.
The contracts between host and sponsor can be either ‘flexible’ or ‘fixed’. A flexible contract will continually monitor the statistics and pay an agreed upon value relative to the number of downloads. A fixed contract is more common and will require the podcast to reach a specified number of downloads. In both cases, it is better to ‘Under Promise & over Deliver’. With this we mean – say that your show reach is 10,000 & growing but you only promise to deliver the 10,000. Any more than agreed upon amount is a bonus to keep the sponsor happy.
One other method used within the CPM model is currently being experimented with. The ‘auto-insertion’, pre-recorded advertisements which are ‘inserted’ into your content at appropriate points chosen by software. This is a much less popular method of advertisement and currently doesn’t sit well with many sponsors, hosts, and audiences. The benefits are that ‘evergreen’ content will always contain updated sponsorships but the downside are that the ‘insertion’ is less organic, disrupts the flow and the delivery isn’t carried out by the host.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Gain per sign-up or subscription
This method is often used, but not exclusively, by digital, online and software companies. The premise is that you are financially rewarded with either a one-off or rolling payment for each sign-up or subscription to the sponsor you are able to secure via a provided link. These sponsors are often referred to as ‘Affiliates’. I am sure you have heard this calls-to-action used during many of your favorite shows.
The benefit of this model is that Affiliations are relatively easy to establish (usually just an online form); they are often ‘evergreen’ sponsors, meaning they will remain relevant even in your episode archive; they are easy to monitor and you are under no contractual agreement. The downside is that this model does not guarantee a financial return and often enough the audience can suffer from ‘Call-to-action Deafness’.
Quick Tip: When setting up a sponsorship affiliation provide a simple dedicated domain with either a landing page or an instant redirection to the subscription page. All too often ‘links’ can be lost amongst the noise.