Podcast sponsorships are a powerful monetization strategy, capable of turning your hobby into a full-time career. But until you’re racking in thousands of views per episode, it’s unlikely that you’re going to have heaps of sponsorship requests coming your way.
Not to worry. A podcast sponsorship proposal enables you to secure those deals yourself. But how do you write a proposal that drives profitable partnerships?
What is a Podcast Sponsorship Proposal?
A podcast sponsorship is a partnership that is forged between a content creator and a company or individual (aka sponsor). It often involves a financial transaction in which the sponsor pays the content creator to advertise their product, service, or brand on their podcast.
Podcast advertisements are notoriously well-received. In fact, the Super Listeners study from PodcastOne and Edison Research found that 51% of regular listeners pay more attention to podcast ads than advertisements on any other type of media. What’s more, 53% prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on their favorite podcasts.
So, what is a podcast sponsorship proposal? You can think of a proposal as the initial letter of request that either the podcaster or the potential sponsor can send to their desired partnership.
Types of Podcast Sponsorship Proposals
Podcast sponsorship proposals differ slightly depending on who’s sending them.
Proposal from podcaster and producer to sponsor
Podcasters and producers can reach out to a sponsor with a partnership request. In this type of sponsorship proposal, the content creator has identified a brand that they think their own target audience would be interested in. The proposal would include their podcast media kit, partnership ideas, and why they think the partnership would be profitable.
Proposal from sponsor to podcaster
Sponsors can also send proposals to podcasters. Brands can identify a podcast that serves their own target audience and reach out with a proposal detailing why they think they’d be a good fit for a partnership.
How Do Podcast Sponsorships Work?
Podcast partnerships are a win-win solution. As a podcaster, you can use sponsors to simultaneously monetize your content, grow podcast listeners, and provide extra value to your audience.
On the flip side, sponsors can use the podcast’s highly-engaged, ready-made audience to expand their reach. They may even reap reputational benefits. According to the Super Listeners study, 44% of people agree that they feel more positively about companies that advertise on their favorite podcasts.
But in order to get these benefits, you need to negotiate a mutually-beneficial agreement. Here are the three most popular podcast sponsorship pricing models.
The cost-per-mille (CPM) model is when the sponsor pays the podcaster per every 1,000 listens of the ad. This set price typically ranges anywhere from $18-25 per 1,000 listens.
So, for example, if the CPM price was $20 and the advertisement garnered 20,000 listens, the sponsor would pay $400.
CPM is best suited to podcasts that have thousands of views already. If your podcast is really popular, you can charge even higher than the typical asking price.
Smaller podcasters may benefit from having more than one CPM sponsor in a single episode. However, be careful not to inundate your podcast with ads. Regular podcast listeners strongly appreciate podcasts because of their lack of ads.
The cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model is a pricing strategy based on the number of conversions the podcast ad gained for the sponsor company. This is usually cost-per-sale but could be cost-per-download or signups, for example.
The CPA model is measured by the sponsor, usually via a unique discount code or referral link. You relay this code in your advertisement and when one of your podcast listeners converts via this unique code, you’ll be automatically credited.
The CPA arrangement gives you more flexibility in how and when you promote a product. Pricing adjustments are also easy to scale up and down depending on how successful the partnership is, making it a perfect choice for new or independent podcasters.
3. Custom agreement
A custom agreement is one in which the podcaster suggests a flat rate and the sponsor agrees, negotiates, or declines. So, for example, you might suggest that the sponsor pays you a flat price of $100 for a single advertisement slot.
Custom agreements suit podcasts with niche but highly-engaged audiences. These podcasters have a strong influential relationship with their listeners and know how to emphasize value.
Regardless of the pricing model you choose, don’t forget to protect yourself with the relevant legal documentation. You can find everything from a podcast collaboration agreement to a release of liability template available for free online.
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How to Write a Podcast Sponsorship Proposal That Lands Deals
Do them right and your podcast sponsorships can increase your podcast’s value. Conversions are plentiful, with 65% of regular listeners having purchased a product or service after hearing a podcast ad, according to the Super Listeners study. This shows that podcast listeners don’t just tolerate ads, they actually appreciate them.
With that being said, hastily whipping up a proposal and sending it out to the masses isn’t the way to go. Here’s how to write a podcast sponsorship proposal capable of landing you lucrative deals.
Step 1: Perform thorough research
Before you write a single word of your proposal, it’s imperative that you perform in-depth research. Why? Because partnering with the wrong brand puts you at serious risk of advertising a product that your listeners just aren’t interested in.
The result? Hoards of lost listeners.
Luckily, this disaster is easily preventable by ensuring that you partner with a podcast sponsor that your listeners won’t hate. The right sponsor is one that aligns with your listener’s values, interests, and needs.
You can discover the likes and dislikes of your listeners with a bit of audience research. Conduct an audience survey where you ask your listeners what their hobbies are, where they like to shop, what pain points they have, and so on.
Competitor research is also helpful. By discovering who your competitors are sponsoring or sponsored by, you can identify warm prospects and overlooked opportunities.
From here, you can start researching potential sponsors. Identify their core values, their target audience, and the pain points their product/service solves. From there, you can make a list of your hottest prospects and prioritize reaching out to them in order of relevance.
Step 2: Introduce you and your podcast
Every good podcast sponsorship proposal begins with a strong introduction. This introduction should tell the reader who you are and what you do.
Let’s say you’re a B2B podcast. Your personal introduction might look something like this:
Hello [CONTACT NAME],
I’m reaching out to see if you’d be interested in a partnership between [COMPANY] and [YOUR PODCAST TITLE].
[YOUR PODCAST TITLE] is a highly esteemed B2B tech podcast hosted by [YOUR/YOUR HOST’S NAME]. We discuss the latest technology news stories, innovations, and events, interviewing industry experts to discuss the present and future state of technology. It’s a podcast that aims to offer information and advice to entrepreneurs looking to leverage new technologies and tools.
Step 3: Include audience data
Your audience data is a valuable bit of info for your sponsor. It helps them gauge whether your listeners are potential customers of theirs. Some things you’ll want to detail include:
- Your target audience: Include demographic information such as age, location, and background
- Your audience’s pain points: This information demonstrates your connection with your audience and speaks to your ability to influence their purchasing behavior. It also allows potential sponsors to analyze whether their product or service can help your audience solve a pressing pain point.
- Listeners per month: Be transparent about your download/engagement stats
Your podcast hosting platform, Spotify analytics, and/or Apple Podcast analytics track the essential podcast statistics for you. For accurate insights into your listener’s pain points and other psychographic information, conduct a listener survey.
Step 4: List opportunities your prospective sponsor would appreciate
Now it’s time to get into your proposed rates and partnership ideas. Consider what your potential sponsor might benefit from most and make aligning suggestions. Don’t forget to mention that you’re open to any ideas they might have!
Some partnership ideas to consider are:
- A single product advertisement slot
- A recurring product advertisement slot
- Subtle product placement
- VIP experiences
- Guest speaker opportunities
If you opt for typical advertising, it’s worth considering how you’re going to deliver the ad. Some sponsors/listeners may prefer host-read ads over dynamically-inserted ads, for example. That said, it’s worth noting that dynamically-inserted ads represent a huge 84% of podcast ad revenue, according to the IAB 2021 U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue study.
Step 5: Incorporate personality in your proposal
Engage and excite your potential sponsor by infusing your proposal with your personality. Don’t be afraid to be humorous, witty, and enthusiastic as you explain who you are, what you do, and why a partnership would be mutually beneficial.
Step 6: Schedule your follow-ups
If you haven’t heard from a potential sponsor after a week or so, schedule a couple of friendly follow-up emails. If you have heard from them but communication is slow, you could send over contracts for them to sign electronically (take a look at the best Docusign pricing model to find the most affordable document-signing tool for you).
Land the Best Sponsorship Deal for Your Audience
Unlike other types of media, where ads have a bad reputation for being irritating and intrusive, podcast ads are more warmly regarded. Why? Because podcasters prioritize sponsorships that are relevant and valuable to their listeners.
First and foremost, your podcast sponsorship proposal needs to be tailored to a company that aligns with your listener’s interests and pain points. You should be able to highlight why you think this company would be a good fit for your podcast and include audience data to back up your claims. But of course, don’t forget to be friendly, open-minded, and authentic.
Guest Post from Yauhen Zaremba – Director of Demand Generation
Yauhen is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, all-in-one document management tool for almost all types of documents including these PandaDoc house lease agreement templates. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year.