How to Monetize Your Podcast with Sponsorships

by Tony Moran | Apr 19, 2023 | Podcasting

Read Time: 6 min read

Summary: TL;DR: Podcast sponsorships are a great way for brands to advertise and for podcasters to earn money. To get sponsors, focus on building a strong audience first. Choose a sponsorship model (affiliate, CPM, or value-based) that suits your show. Decide on ad formats and rates based on your audience size and engagement. Reach out to sponsors that align with your podcast's theme. Pitch directly to brands with a detailed proposal or apply for affiliate sponsorships. Consider partnering with podcast hosting services or joining a podcast network to attract sponsors. For personalized guidance on monetizing your podcast, check out Hurrdat Media's podcasting services.

Podcast sponsorships are a powerful advertising tool for brands and an effective way for podcast creators to monetize their shows. Want to learn how to get sponsors for your podcast? From choosing an advertising model to approaching sponsors, here’s our guide to podcast monetization through sponsorships!

Develop a Solid Podcast Audience

While there’s no specific milestone that tells a podcast creator when it’s time to seek sponsorships for their show, if yours has a solid base of more than 500 listeners, you may be ready start the process. You’re more likely to succeed at finding willing sponsors when your show has a consistent listenership, so take the time you need to build your audience and boost listener engagement. Attempting to monetize your podcast before you’ve developed a podcast brand identity and established a sense of trust with your listeners could leave you without many options.

Choose a Sponsorship Model for Your Podcast

Before reaching out to prospective sponsors, you need to decide which sponsorship model you want to use—that is, how you want to get paid by potential sponsors. There are three basic models for podcast sponsorships: affiliate, cost-per-mille, and value-based sponsorships.

Affiliate Sponsorship

Under the affiliate model, a podcaster is assigned an affiliate link by the sponsor and gets paid each time a listener uses that link to buy the promoted product or service. While this means there’s no limit to how much you can potentially earn, keep in mind that there’s no guarantee you’ll make money either—your earnings will depend on how many listeners use the affiliate link to make a purchase. However, the affiliate model typically offers creators more flexibility with their product promotions. The more engaging, dynamic, and relevant to your listeners your ad promotion is, the more people you can potentially entice to purchase the product or service. Affiliate sponsorships work best for podcasts with highly engaged audiences.

Cost-Per-Mille (CPM)

The CPM sponsorship model means you’re paid for every 1,000 downloads your show gets. The average sponsor pays around $18 per ad for a 30-second ad and $25 for a 60-second ad. So if an episode of your show features a sponsored ad with a CPM of $25 and is downloaded 100,000 times, you would earn $2,500. Since the amount of income generated is based on the number of downloads you receive, this model is mainly viable for shows that already have a large audience.

Value-Based Sponsorship Model

With value-based advertising, a podcaster is paid a flat rate that’s negotiated with their sponsor. That said, your projected income is based on how well you negotiate and the value your show can offer the sponsor’s company. The more convinced the sponsor is that one of their ads appearing on your show will benefit them, the higher the rate you can likely negotiate with them. Because this model isn’t dependent on the number of downloads per episode, it often benefits small and mid-sized podcasts with dedicated followings more than larger shows.

Determine Your Podcast Advertising Format

There are two types of podcast advertisement setups: host-read ads and announcer-read ads. With host-read podcast ads, the podcast host reads a scripted ad or covers a list of talking points provided by the sponsor. Announcer-read ads, on the other hand, are pre-recorded by the sponsor and then added to the show. Ads can also be placed in different spots within your show. Pre-roll ads, mid-roll ads, and post-roll ads have unique advantages and disadvantages to podcasters and sponsors alike, so you may want to experiment with ad placement.

Set Your Podcast Advertisement Rate

Podcast advertisement rates depend on the size of your audience, engagement levels, the number of ads you sponsor, and the types of promotions being offered. The length and placement of your ads can also affect how much you earn. Because appropriate podcast sponsorship pricing varies, it’s important to research what a fair market rate could look like for your niche. However, know that rates often ultimately need to be negotiated with sponsors on a case-by-case basis.

Contact the Right Podcast Sponsors

The types of companies you reach out to for sponsorships should ideally align with your podcast theme and identity so that it provides value to your listeners. For inspiration, check out the sponsored ads featured by other podcasters in your niche. Since those companies are already working within your audience’s demographics, they may have more interest in your sponsorship proposal once it reaches them!

Pitch Directly to Brands

The typical method of getting a sponsorship deal is to reach out to a company with a podcast pitch detailing your show’s content and your desired rate. Often in the form of a slide deck, successful pitches should showcase your podcast’s personality and demonstrate the value your show could bring to the company. Typical sponsorship proposals contain the following elements:

  • A title
  • A description of your content, including episode lengths, topics, hosts, guests, and so on
  • Audience insights, including demographics and engagement rates (if your engagement is high, be sure to include statistics, charts, or other evidence of audience loyalty)
  • Your suggested ad rate
  • Information about your podcast team

Remember to optimize your slide deck for each new sponsor you contact. Once you’ve developed and tailored your pitch, send it over to the company and invite them to respond. If you don’t hear back within a couple weeks, send a follow-up email—but avoid multiple follow-ups, which could be off-putting to potential sponsors.

Apply for Relevant Affiliate Sponsorships

Some companies who already sponsor several podcasts have a process in place to sign up for affiliate links, eliminating the need to pitch to the brand. While some affiliate advertisers have specific requirements, many have a low barrier of entry, such as Audible and Skillshare. This is especially helpful for new podcasters who don’t have much of an audience yet, since they don’t necessarily need to “sell” the value of their show to gain sponsorships. However, podcasters should still focus on finding ad content that’s relevant to their show and their audience rather than just promoting any and every business who will let them.

Partner with a Podcast Hosting Service

In addition to helping you manage your podcast files, podcast hosting sites like Buzzsprout, Podbean, and Blubrry act as an online go-between that can connect your show with sponsors who are looking for places to purchase ad space. The best podcast hosting services are easy to use, provide you with useful analytics, and have plenty of storage space and bandwidth to ensure that a large audience can listen to your show at the same time. Not only do hosting sites give your podcast a home base for potential sponsors to peruse, but they can help you build up and engage with your audience enough to become an attractive marketing opportunity to sponsors.

Join a Podcast Network

Some podcast networks are free to join, while others may require a membership fee or a commission for services provided. Different networks offer different benefits, but most are capable of helping podcasters with production, distribution, and advertising. A network can help you seek out sponsors or even attract them—as with hosting services, potential sponsors often comb through podcasting networks in search of shows they’re interested in working with. Joining a podcast network can provide increased visibility and credibility for your show, both through the organization’s reputation and through cross-promotion with other shows in the network.

Looking for a reliable media network to help you monetize your show? Hurrdat Media offers podcasting services to help you produce, distribute, and promote your podcast! Contact us today to learn more.