Podcast sponsorships work much differently than sponsorships on other platforms (Like YouTube sponsorships and Sponsored Blog Posts). Let’s go over where to find podcast sponsorships, how much they pay, and everything else you need to know.
Where To Find Sponsors For Your Podcast
Podcasts are actually an easier platform for finding sponsors (vs. YouTube, Twitch, etc.). If your podcast is large enough (10+ thousand monthly downloads), you should be able to reach out to brands directly and inquire about advertising.
Where do you find them? I would start with the companies you’ve already seen sponsoring Podcasts as we know they do this type of thing. I’m sure we’ve all heard Podcasts sponsored by the following.
- Rocket Mortgage
- Dollar Shave Club
I was able to find the partnership link on their website by Googling something along the lines of “Company Name Podcast Partnership” or “Company Name Podcast Sponsorship.” In some cases, I could only find an affiliate program. You should reach out to these companies and ask them specifically if they do Podcast partnerships (we know they do since we’ve all heard the ads).
2) Podcast Marketplaces
The next option is to find a marketplace where they connect brands with podcasters. The advantages of these marketplaces are as follows.
- They act as a middleman between the podcasts and advertisers, so you don’t have to do as much of that work.
- They shouldn’t take nearly as big a cut of revenue as a podcast network would.
- They shouldn’t force you to sign a contract.
- You should remain 100% in control of the content you produce.
Suppose you don’t feel like doing the work involved in outreach to individual companies. In that case, a marketplace is a pretty great option. Below are some examples of podcast marketplaces, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.
3) Join a Podcast Network
I could write an entire blog post about whether or not it’s a good idea to join a podcast network.
With a Podcast network, they will do the work of acquiring sponsors. And they’ll hook you up with the ones that make the most sense for your content. Sounds great. So here’s a list of podcast networks.
- Big Heads Media
- Forever Dog
- Maximum fun
- Pineapple Street Media
- Relay FM
This list is not even close to comprehensive. Networks exist that cater to a specific niche (e.g., politics, gaming, etc.). And new smaller networks pop up all the time (you don’t have to have a ton of podcasts to form a network).
Something to note is that these networks have some severe drawbacks to be aware of.
- Taking a Cut of Ad Revenue: Podcast networks may take 30%-ish of the sponsorship revenue.
- Minimum download requirements: You’re likely to brush up against this until you’re over 10,000 downloads per episode.
- Minimum ads per episode: The network wants to make more money by running more ads.
- Censorship: The networks may have rules about what you can or can’t say on your pod (to keep sponsors happy).
- Contracts: Nobody makes you sign a contract for something you’ll definitely still think is a good idea in the future. Business partners are a terrible idea, so be wary of any long-term commitments.
4) Affiliate Ads
The benefit of using affiliate links is that you don’t need a minimum number of subscribers to use them in your content. They’ll grow as you grow, and some can pay quite well if your audience is a good fit.
The problem with normal affiliate deals is that many people won’t click your affiliate link. Many listeners are driving, exercising, on a phone, etc. They will simply Google the service when they’re back at their desks and miss your link.
Podcasters try to get around this by obtaining promo codes to incentivize people to give you credit for the sale. PodcastPromoCodes is a site where a guy tried to document all the promo codes he could find there (pretty cool public service). You can’t sign up for these codes on that site, but it’s a good resource for finding companies that do this sort of thing (you’ll likely need to do outreach to figure out the terms here).
Podcasts are unique in that if your audience likes you enough to listen to you talk for an hour, a decent percentage of them probably like you enough to become a patron.
If you have a large audience, this is definitely something you need to look into doing. 1,000 patrons can easily be a full-time-job worth of income.
How Much Podcast Sponsors Pay
According to AdvertiseCast, the industry average for a 30 and 60-second ad spots are $18 and $25 respectively. That gives you a rough approximation of how much you can make, but the reality is so much more complicated than that.
- Are you splitting the revenue with a Podcast Network or Marketplace?
- Is this a Mid-Roll (most expensive), Pre-Roll (mid-expensive), or Post-Roll (least expensive) ad?
- How big is your audience? (More downloads can command higher rates)
- How good a fit is your audience for the product?
- How long is your podcast (how many ads can you run per episode)?
- Is the host reading the ad, or are you using programmatic ads?
- Is this a full-on long-form infomercial or just a 60-second ad?
Guessing the exact amount you can make on a single ad or podcast episode has a ton of factors that change the rate. That said, if you average 10,000 downloads per episode and made industry-standard rates, how much would you earn for a Podcast?
You’d pull in roughly $610 per episode ($180 for a 30-second pre-roll, $250 for a 60-second mid-roll, and $180 for a 30-second post-roll). Not too shabby.
Is Your Podcast Big Enough For Sponsors?
Most online advertisers measure costs per 1,000 impressions, and Podcasts are no different (except with podcasts, it’s per 1,000 downloads).
Advertisers aren’t really interested in the overhead needed to oversee a campaign that they’ll only be spending $20 on. Thus, outreach is really out of reach for you as an option until you’re averaging thousands of downloads to your Podcast episode. Before that, companies will see you as a rounding error.
You might have some luck if you joined a podcast network or marketplace at that size; however, be wary of signing contracts when you’re still growing. You might be kicking yourself later because you were so anxious to make a buck.
How To Pitch Your Podcast to Brands
Remember that people who work at companies are busy, and they don’t want to investigate anything. So you want any messages you send them to include everything they need to know. The following are items I’d expect you to have in your message.
- Average downloads per episode (over the past 3-6 months)
- Subscriber Count
- One or Two sentences about what your pod is about and why your audience is a fit for their product.
- If you have demographics for your audience you may want to include them.
- Average retention rates (if they’re favorable)
- Type of sponsorship you’re looking for (Promo codes, pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll, etc.)
Consider creating an infographic with this information and sending that out alongside a short custom message. Here’s an example I created for sending to YouTube sponsors (you’ll want to adjust it to contain Podcast relevant data).
Thanks for reading! And if you’re interested, I also created guides on how to get TikTok Sponsors, YouTube Sponsors, Blog Sponsors, Instagram Sponsors, and Twitch Sponsors. I recommend checking those out if you’re curious how the rates for those platforms compare with this one.