“Sponsors aren’t interested.” I hear this often. Either from the organization making the podcast or from the sponsors themselves. Sponsors aren’t interested. Really?
OK. Sometimes it’s true and there are a few reasons for it. But basically, it all boils down to one thing. Your show isn’t ready for sponsors yet. What can we do about it?
Some of you may know I’ve been doing some diamond shopping lately. It’s actually fascinating how that sales process goes, and if you’ve ever shopped for a diamond, you are probably familiar with the four Cs and how the cut, clarity, color and carat contribute to the stone’s worth.
But did you know that there are four C’s of podcasting as well? Of course you didn’t because I just made it up. And I think it’s a great way of evaluating your podcast’s worth to a potential sponsor.
The 4 C’s
If you can get each of these to at least a 7 on a scale of 1-10 there is no reason your podcast shouldn’t be getting sponsors.
Almost all sponsors will want to see a consistent show and you can’t blame them for that. They want to see that you are serious about your show. Look at it from their perspective. If you see a show that has three releases in one month, one in another, a missed the month in July–what would that say about your show? Shows that reliably come out on the same day, with the same hosts, for around the same length demonstrate that you have a format and you can deliver a consistent message. By the way, consistency is not only important for your sponsors. Your listeners also need to know they will be able to find your show when they expect it. A reliable show makes for reliable listeners, and that contributes to the 3rd C, count. More on that later.
This can be one of the biggest challenges to get right, and it’s hands down the most important one for attracting listeners and sponsors. Ask yourself a few questions about your show. Are your hosts entertaining and personable? Do your topics speak to your membership? Are you booking quality guests? Do you have a consistent and repeatable format? Are you trying new segments to keep it fresh? Are you staying within your niche or going too broad? Would you listen to this show?
And don’t forget the basics. The show has to sound good technically. Unless your download numbers are spectacular, having a bad-sounding show is one of the worst things you can do. You’re going to want to learn a lot about how to record, edit and mix. There are lots of tips and tricks for making a great sounding show in my other articles and videos. Or you can always hire a good team to do it for you.
Yep, you knew we’d come to this. We’re talking about download numbers here. This doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Organizations often think huge download numbers are the main concern of sponsors. And sometimes that’s right. But I’ve seen podcasts with zero listeners get greenlit by a sponsor, and produced just based on the show’s idea.
Some sponsors will be interested in quality over quantity. For example, the widget association has a show with only 7 consistent listeners. No sponsor would pay attention to a show with those kinds of numbers. But the widget association was great at communicating with the potential sponsor and got the point across that those 7 listeners weren’t just any listeners. They are CEOs and board members of the seven biggest widget companies in the world. Quality over quantity can make the difference for you.
This last C may sound like we’re talking about download numbers again. But we’re not. This is about using your organization’s mission and other outreach opportunities to make the podcast more attractive to sponsors.
Can you record live at your annual convention? This can be a huge draw for sponsors. Not only do they get normal ads on your show but they get all the benefits of sponsoring a big event bundled in. Try to make a spectacle out of the live recordings. Be sure to have your show’s logo everywhere. Take advantage of the attendees while they’re in front of you and get to know your potential audience even better. Put postcards on their seat and poll them. Ask them:
- Do they already listen to the show?
- What topics would they like to hear about in the future?
- What guests would they like to hear from?
- How has the show helped them?
You’ll learn who is listening, find out what they need from you, and you’ll create awareness of your show to people who haven’t known of it before. I have even seen organizations put representatives in the room to greet people as they come into the room, or hold “meet and greets” at the sponsor’s trade show booth.
Once you get your 4 Cs up a few levels, you can be sure you’ll find some sparkling opportunities to get more exposure and revenue for your show and your organization’s mission.