The Profitable Podcaster

The Best Type of Podcast Sponsors (Especially if You Don’t Have a Lot of Downloads)

Not all sponsorship campaigns are created equal, and some are better for small podcasters than others. In fact, the best type of sponsorship for smaller podcasters is Awareness campaigns. They don’t rely on ROI or number of conversions from listeners to buyers. They rely on you leveraging your trust to talk about their product. 

Here’s what you can do to better pitch sponsors with awareness campaigns. 

Show Notes

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Intro: Real quick before we get started. I wanna tell you about a new free resource I have called the Podcast Booster Blueprint. Turn your podcast into $10,000 of income by getting free – an instant access to my Podcast Booster Blueprint. I’ll walk you through five changes you can make in minutes to put your podcast on the 10K path. You’ll learn how to attract and keep your ideal listeners to grow your trusted audience. You’ll learn how to skyrocket your downloads in the first 30 days, and you’ll learn how to start making money, today. 

Use the same strategies and tactics I use for my own podcasts with the Podcast Booster Blueprint. Head on over to [makemoneypod.com/blueprint] right now to get your free Podcast Booster Blueprint. That’s [makemoneypod.com/blueprint]

Welcome to the second to last episode of the year for Make Money Podcasting. I’m excited because this is a fun, quick episode where I’m going to tell you the brand deals that you can get. And it doesn’t matter really how many downloads you have. 

But before we get to that, I do wanna tell you what’s coming up and what’s in store for 2023. It’s December as I record this. So, the first big thing that’s happening with this show is – the name is changing. Make Money Podcasting podcast is a terrible name (to say out loud) and I realize that now. I thought I was being clever and direct with the title of the show. It’s going to be called The Profitable Podcaster from here on out. And it’s going to include like the book I’m working on and a few other resources. So, if you see that in your podcast feed, don’t worry. It’s this show, the Profitable Podcaster. 

Along with that, there are a few other things I’m changing up – the format. On Saturdays, every other Saturday at least, I will have an episode of Setup Saturday where I’ve partnered in with my friend Matt Medeiros over at [thepodcastsetup.com] (could be.org).  I’m pretty sure it’s [thepodcastsetup.com]. But,  in any case, you’ll hear more about that on Saturday. If you are subscribed, you can subscribe over at [makemoneypod.com] of course, where I’ll be going through setups that he covers on his blog, giving my input and kind of talking about how this helps you be a better podcaster, a profitable podcaster.

The other thing I’m switching up in January 2023 is that I’m going to do more coaching calls. I’m going to reduce the number of episodes that’s just me talking solo. I know I’ve talked a lot about mini podcasting, but this show is to help podcasters make money. That is the mission. And there’s no better way to do that than getting on a call with them and talking to them. 

So I’m gonna be doing free 20-minute coaching calls with podcasters. if you want in on that, make sure you are subscribed to my mailing list at [makemoneypod.com/tips]. That’s [makemoneypod.com/tips]. All of these links will also be in the show notes over at [makemoneypod.com/222]. So if you are not sure about all the things I just said, [makemoneypod.com/222], we’ll have all the links.

But for now, let’s do this. I wanna tell you the type of brand deal where it doesn’t matter how many downloads you have.

Joe Casabona: Hello, and welcome to Make Money Podcasting where I teach you how to make your first $10,000 with your podcast. On this show, you’ll learn tried and true methods to increase your revenue and turn your podcast from a money pit into a moneymaker. 

Hi, I’m your host, Joe Casabona. And my podcasts have been making money from Day 1 without a lot of downloads. I’ll share everything I know with you here on Make Money Podcasting. 

So my friend and creator, (incredible creator) Justin Moore. He runs Creator Wizard and Brand Deal Wizard, and I just went through his cohort. And here is where he made it crystal clear to me. I knew this on some level, but he made it crystal clear, right? He talks about 3 Types of Brand Campaigns: 

1. Conversions. We can’t do much about that, right? As far as the leverage, charging, and results with conversions. They are looking for conversions. They’re looking for how many people listen to your ad spot and then buy something from them. This is probably going to work best with lower-dollar items for smaller podcasters. And honestly, it might… I’m experimenting. This is an experiment I’m doing for the Podcast Liftoff lab. An experiment I’m doing is working with CPA. I’ve never done this before. This is essentially affiliate links. This is something I’m going to experiment with in 2023. 

Again, if they’re looking for conversions, you need to show, “Hey, I have this many downloads. So it’s likely that this many people can convert.” The brand on their side knows. They know, “Hey, if we reach a thousand people, that a hundred people are likely to click through and five people are likely to buy” which means if you can’t deliver at least five people, then it’s not gonna really be a winning partnership for them. 

So, that’s conversions. It’s tough if you have a really niche audience and like a perfect fit, definitely do that. Obviously, I don’t have millions and millions of subscribers and listeners for my podcast and I get sponsorships all the time. Some of them are conversion based, and some of them have really worked out. But those are definitely the hardest ones to work with. 

2. Repurposing. This is where a brand is essentially hiring a creator to make content that they’re going to reuse either in an organic or paid campaign. 

Podcasting is a little tough for that, right? Because most of these brands are going to want video content that they can share on their socials, or they can share on YouTube, or they can include in Instagram ads or whatever. So podcasting is a little tough. I haven’t seen too many repurposing campaign. I haven’t seen, to be honest, I haven’t seen any repurposing campaigns in an audio-only podcast. So if you’re doing videos, videos gonna be a big component in 2023. Repurposing could be a big part of that. And there, they want you to create the content. So it’s not necessarily a tough sell. I’ll link to Justin’s thread. Justin has a Twitter thread on this. I’ll link to that where he goes deep.

3. Awareness Campaign. And this is why I think awareness campaigns are absolutely the best for small podcasters. And awareness campaign is not conversions. it’s not repurposing. It’s getting the word out about a brand, or a product. It’s about the talk. And so as long as you deliver content where you are talking and getting other people maybe to talk about the product, it’s a win for them. So maybe this is clicks, but maybe they just want the word out there, right? 

As a podcast host, it means you’re establishing trust with your audience no matter how big you are. If you have a hundred downloads per episode, those hundred people trust you enough to keep coming back and listening to your show. And so when you make recommendations like with even with brand deals, they are more likely to listen and at least check it out. Even if they’re not ready to buy, they’re at least going to check it out and consider it when they are ready.

So first, remember that a podcast is a fast track to know, like, and trust. If people know, like, and trust you, they are more likely to take your word for something. So this is, I mean, the linchpin of all this is that even within an awareness campaign, you’re promoting products, and your sponsors are people you believe in and people who are a good fit for your audience, right? Those are the important things no matter what kind of campaign.

But with awareness campaigns, you wanna get people to talk about the product. And the brand is leveraging the trust that you have with your audience. They’re basically saying, even if your audience is not ready to buy today, we want them to know that we exist. That they might have this pain point and that we solve this pain point. Right. So it’s about educating on the pain point and it’s about educating on the solution. And again, it’s just making people aware. 

This is really good for high-dollar products, right? If you’re like a subscription service or you’re charging $80 a month, for example, you know that people aren’t going to hear about you and immediately sign up for an $80 a month product. But you’re making the argument that “Hey, we solved this problem. We believe it’s at least an $ 80-a-month problem. And when you have it, we want you to think of us.” 

This is, I mean, this is how most TV commercials are, right? There’s no direct way to know when TV commercials or ad spots in TV shows or necessarily radio land. You don’t know when they work, right? Coca-Cola doesn’t know how many people saw the Super Bowl ad, and then went out immediately and bought a Coke, right?  

The same thing goes for cars. Someone seeing a car commercial isn’t going to go out and buy a car because they saw the commercial. But when they’re ready to buy a car, they might think, “Oh yeah. I saw the ad for the Toyota Sienna. That looks pretty good. Let me do some research on that.” They are aware that the new Toyota Sienna (is not a sponsor, but I have it) exists and now they’ll consider that. Right. Even the Christmas ad, the holiday ads that are out right now, where it’s like get your loved one a car here, a giant boat. No. I mean, I don’t know anybody who’s ever bought their loved one a car for Christmas. But that’s just me. If you know somebody, let me know. I wanna talk to that person. Be like, “Hey, are you crazy rich? Or were you just saving for that? Did you need a car anyway? Were you killing two birds with one stone?” I wanna know. But most of the time people aren’t seeing a car commercial and going, “I must buy a car right now.” They are cataloging that for when they are ready to buy a car. So awareness campaigns and podcasts are the same way. 

So now, the question is, how can you as a podcaster, pitch better for awareness campaigns? It’s all about understanding the brand’s goals. And what they want out of the campaign with you. So if you, if they want an awareness campaign, don’t pitch them and say, “Hey, I can deliver five new customers to you.” Or if they want an awareness campaign and they don’t say like, “Oh! And you can repurpose my content and vice versa, right?” If they want conversions, nothing but conversions are going to be the KPI, right? The key performance indicator.

So first, get on the phone with a sponsor. I know that this is like an anathema for some people. They don’t want to get on the phone and talk to somebody. But if you’re gonna pitch somebody on a 5 or $10,000 deal, a 30-minute phone call is gonna mean the world to them. And then you understand their problem. So you ask them this question, point blank, what is your goal for this campaign? What is your goal for this sponsorship? And if they say awareness or something, that sounds like awareness. Well, we just want people to know our product exists. Great. Now you know how to better pitch them. 

Here’s what you do:

1. You tell them that you sell baked-in ads. Why? Because baked-in ads are going to exist as long as the audio for that podcast episode exists. So that sponsor, that sponsorship, that link, that logo, that promo ad that you read, a host red baked-in ad is what you’re selling, That’s going to exist forever. If you go to my first sponsor for a podcast ever, [howibuilt.it/001], almost seven years old at this point, the link for that sponsor still goes somewhere. They paid $99, and they’ve had a backlink for seven years. Anybody who goes back and listens to that first episode, which by the way is still a very popular episode, they’re hearing that ad read. 

So, sell the baked-in ads because that is long-term, long-tail awareness. This is especially true if you have an active back catalog. Or if you’re routinely pointing people to older episodes. So if you’re saying like, “Hey. Oh yeah. This is very similar to that interview I did with blah, blah, back in, blah, blah, check that out.” You’re pointing people to that episode and you’re also indirectly pointing them to those sponsor spots, right? So show the long tail of your content and say, “Hey, this is baked in. It’s never gonna change” which means that you’re paying me once for something that could be on the internet for 1, 2, 5, 7, 10 years. So that’s number one. 

Talk about baked-in ads. They’re basically forever links. They are evergreen and they’re great for an awareness campaign.

2. Tell them all of the places where you can promote their product. I’ve talked in the past on this show, I’ve talked about calculating your overall reach. This is taking not just downloads, but how many YouTube subscribers do you have? How many Instagram followers do you have? How many followers on Twitter, TikTok, and your newsletter do you have? Calculate that and make one number. Add value to your awareness campaign sponsors by saying, “Not only will I promote you on my podcast, I’ll give you a shout-out in my newsletter. I’ll give you a tweet thread about why your tool is so great. I’ll do a reel or a story or whatever else you can do to add value for that sponsor.” This is great for pretty much any campaign but awareness campaigns in particular. Because now you’re saying, “I’m not just telling my podcast audience about you. I’m telling my whole audience about you, and I’m doing it in a bunch of different ways. So even if someone’s listening to the ad spot, if they go on YouTube, maybe they’ll see a little demo of your product. Or if it’s a physical product, maybe they’ll get to see it and understand why I like it so much.” 

And again, all of that content, I mean the social content’s a little less evergreen, but your newsletter’s hitting the inbox, YouTube content is gonna be there forever. The first YouTube video ever is still up. It’s a guy, the founder of the zoo. So this is another way that you can really add value to an awareness campaign.

So those are the two things you can do. And even if you’re a small niche podcast, that’s okay, right? The brand you’re working with. You need to remember this, the brands you are working with wants to reach the exact people that you reach something about your content, whether you pitch to them or they came to you. Something about your content makes them want to continue the conversation. And so an awareness campaign means, “Hey, I’m just gonna shout your name from the rooftops for this campaign.”

So again, the last thing I wanna emphasize here is they want your audience to be aware of the pain point and the solution they offer, right? So this is another way to craft your pitch, to craft the content you’re gonna make. Because again, maybe, you know, if we look at TextExpander, right? They’re a long-time sponsor of mine. A lot of people probably don’t think about text expansion as automation. So you say like, “Hey, how many times have you typed your email address today? Or how many times have you written the same email to a bunch of people? What if I told you that there was a way to make that easier for you? What if there was a way that you could type 200 words with a three-character keystroke?”. TextExpander is that thing. And if they’re going for awareness, great. 

Now, oh, well, you know, I’m not really ready for that yet. But as they type their email address for the millionth time, or if they’re typing out that same support email, they’re always typing out, “Oh hey, what was that tool? I think it was Text Expander.” 

So by the way, TextExpander is not a sponsor of this episode, but they are a long-time sponsor and I appreciate them. 

So to recap, understand awareness campaigns are all about the talk. You wanna be talking about the product and about the brand. You won’t know it’s an awareness campaign until you get on the phone or have a Zoom call with the brand. And you ask them, “Hey, what is the goal of this campaign?” So that’s number one. 

Number two, highlight the benefits of baked-in ads. “Hey, this isn’t just something that’s gonna run for a short amount. This is going to run as long as I’m podcasting.”

And then highlight the back catalog. So that’s number three. Highlight the back catalog. Show how your episodes get downloaded every 6, 12, or even 24 months later. Like I said, some of my,…I’m approaching episode 300. Well, episode 300 of like the main show of How I Built It. And episode 100 still does really well. Episode one still does really well. So talk about that and say, “Hey, not only are you paying me for this campaign for this month, but like six months down the line, people are still gonna be listening to us. A year down the line, people are still gonna be listening to this.” 

And then finally, make sure to think about your overall reach. Include all of your content properties. Because awareness is about the number of people who hear about the brand. And there are people who listen to your podcast but aren’t subscribed to your newsletter, and vice versa. There are people in your newsletter who aren’t subscribed to your podcast. 

So the more people that you can reach in an awareness campaign, the more valuable you are and your content is to the brand. Which means you can charge more, right? Because again, they’re not just looking at KPI or ROI. They’re not saying, “I spent a thousand person dollars with this person. I need to make $1,001.” They’re saying, “I am spending a thousand dollars with this person to get a bunch of people to at least hear my name.” And that’s really valuable because only you have that trust, right? Only you have the trust from your audience. You can’t really buy that. Okay.

So that’s it for this episode. Again, I will link to Justin’s fantastic thread on this in the show notes which you can find over at [makemoneypod.com/222]. 

If you liked this episode, please subscribe. What’s my call to action? You heard it at the beginning. I want you to join my mailing list, really. And again, this is the Penultimate Show for this year. So, I hope you enjoyed it. The next episode is gonna be about the tools you need to launch your mini-podcast. So,  definitely subscribe to this show and check that out. 

And until next time. I can’t wait to see what you make.

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