Podcast Advertising

How to Get Podcast Sponsors: Complete Guide [2023]

How to Get Podcast Sponsors: Complete Guide [2023]

Everything you need to know about podcast sponsorships.

Written by Simon FranklinDigital Brand Marketing Manager2023.08.29

Podcast sponsorships are a fantastic way to monetize your audio content, providing you with the funds to improve your podcast, grow your audience, and put a little extra cash in your pocket.

The challenge, however, is figuring out how to secure these sponsorships. This blog will guide you through the process, from understanding what sponsors are looking for, to how to make yourself available to sponsors through platforms like Acast. By the end of this article, you'll not only know how to get your first sponsor but also how to deliver a host-read sponsorship that will get results for your sponsors and keep them coming back for more. Let’s dive in.

Why Podcast Sponsorships are Effective

Podcast sponsorships — or host-read ads — are the most recognizable podcast ads, as it’s where the host of the show endorses a brand’s products or services to their listeners in their own voice. They’re one of the most impactful ways of monetizing your podcast. In this section, we will explore the benefits of podcast sponsorships.

Benefits of Podcast Sponsorships

Host-read ads work for everyone involved in the podcast sponsorship model, including advertisers, podcasters, and listeners, which is why they’re so effective. Here are a few key benefits of podcast sponsorship:

  1. Financial Support: Podcast advertising provides a valuable source of income for podcasters. By partnering with relevant sponsors, you can generate revenue that can be used to improve the quality of your podcast, purchase better equipment, or invest in marketing strategies to reach a wider audience.
  2. Credibility and Trust: When companies want to sponsor your podcast episodes, they’re looking to tap into the credibility and trust you’ve built with your audience. Listeners are more likely to engage with and trust recommendations from podcasters as the advertisement is more authentic and relevant to them.
  3. Networking Opportunities: Working with sponsors opens doors to valuable networking opportunities within your niche. Building relationships with sponsors can lead to collaborations, guest appearances, and cross-promotion, all of which can help expand your reach and attract new listeners.
  4. Long-term partnerships: Working with sponsors and delivering positive results can develop into long-term partnerships that benefit both parties. You’ll have consistent revenue from ongoing work with the sponsor, and the sponsor will be able to foster a strong relationship with your audience which can help bring CPAs down (cost-per-acquisition). It can also open doors to other commercial opportunities such as branded content, events, or collaborations beyond the podcast.

How to make your podcast appealing to sponsors

Before you start rushing out to find podcast sponsors, you first need to make sure you’ve built the best possible podcast you can. After all, your show is what you’re selling to potential sponsors so you should first focus on the following qualities:

1. Create High-Quality Podcast Content

The most fundamental thing to attracting sponsors is creating high-quality podcast content that listeners love and keep coming back for. It sounds obvious but it’s the foundation of the other points in this section, so as a podcaster, your first priority should be building a fantastic podcast from a content perspective. You’ll also want to factor in planning consistent episode releases, as sponsors want to book campaigns over a period of time where multiple episodes are being released. For a complete guide to making a great podcast, head over to Aclass Essentials: a one-stop-shop for creating first-class audio content.

2. Growing Your Podcast Audience

You know the saying: “If you build it, they will come.” Well, that’s the name of the game for growing your podcast audience. Having a sizeable listenership for your podcast is important for sponsors because although we said you’re selling your show, it can also be looked at as selling your listeners. The most common way sponsorships are purchased is by CPM (cost-per-mille or cost per thousand listens), which means that you’ll need a relatively sizeable audience size to start making serious revenue from podcast sponsorships. However, don’t be put off if you’re still at the early stages of your podcast, podcasting is a long game and it takes time to build your audience. There are also other approaches for sponsorship and monetization if you don’t have a huge audience...yet!

3. Improving Audio Quality and Production Value

Besides content and audience, the audio quality and production value of your podcast play a significant role in attracting sponsors. Sponsors want to align themselves with the right kind of show, and how that show sounds is an important element. Consider investing in a good microphone, which can significantly improve the clarity and overall sound of your podcast. Look for microphones specifically designed for podcasting or broadcasting to ensure professional-grade audio. Also, make sure to find a quiet space to record your podcast episodes. Minimize background noise by using soundproofing techniques like foam panels or moving to a room with minimal ambient noise.

How many listeners do you need to get sponsors on a podcast?

It’s the million-dollar question, which unfortunately doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. Requirements for sponsorship relating to the number of downloads or listeners vary on the brand you’re pitching to or the ad marketplace you belong to. What we’ve found at Acast is that advertisers are typically looking for podcasts with at least 10,000 listeners a month. However, we have seen some podcasts monetize without meeting that threshold if they have a niche, engaged audience, and work with a hyper-relevant brand. Keep reading for tips for finding relevant sponsors for your podcast.

How to Find and Get Podcast Sponsors

Once you’re ready to unlock the world of podcast sponsorship, you’ll want to know where to find these elusive sponsors. You’re in luck, as here we’ll share the main ways to find sponsors for your show.

Join a Podcast Network and Ad Marketplace like Acast

Joining a podcast network that’s also an ad marketplace, like us folks at Acast, means you’re putting yourself in front of brands already in the market to sponsor shows like yours. We do all the hard work of finding sponsors for your show, so you can focus on building and growing the best possible show for your listeners. Revenue is split between the podcaster and the network.

Acast is a great option for both new podcasters with growing audiences and established shows with larger audiences. Even if you’re starting out, you can turn on ads for your show and start making money from your episodes — plus there are options for offering subscriptions and premium content to your loyal community through Acast+.

Once you start to grow your show and have a sizeable audience, you’ll be eligible for podcast sponsorship. Acast has a dedicated sales team that can sell your show to sponsors, but we also have a self-serve advertising platform where brands can search and book a sponsorship campaign with your show in a matter of clicks.

Joining Acast is as simple as switching your podcast hosting platform to Acast, and turning on monetization — unlocking access to pre-recorded ad monetization, as well as sponsorships.

Hosting with Acast means your podcast content can be monetized across every single listening app too — Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and hundreds of other apps. This means you can monetize every single listen, no matter where they’re listening.

Suitable for: Podcasters of all sizes, with several monetization options and access to thousands of advertisers.

How to make your show discoverable on Acast’s self-serve ad platform

Now that advertisers can search and book sponsorships on your show through our self-service advertising platform, there are helpful ways you can make your show more discoverable on our platform. Here’s how:

  1. Tell listeners you’re available to sponsor: It makes sense that advertisers who listen to your podcast are more likely to sponsor your show — they already trust you and know that people like to listen to your content. You can spread the word that your show is available for sponsorship in your episode content, or you can make use of Acast’s intro/outro dynamic audio so you can let people know across your entire catalog.
  2. Update your show and episode details: Make sure your show and episodes are easily searchable through Acast and for SEO. You can edit the following details in your Acast dashboard: podcast description, categories, keywords, tags, author name, language etc. All these elements will help your show be discovered by advertisers searching for relevant podcasts. Show notes are also important to include for SEO across Google and other search engines.

How to work with sponsors on Acast using AdCollab

When you’re working on a sponsorship campaign with an advertiser through Acast, we have a powerful tool called ‘AdCollab’ that simplifies the sponsorship read production workflow. You as the creator can see all of your upcoming sponsorship bookings and the associated briefs and recording submission deadlines, and then upload your finished sponsorship read directly into the platform.

What's more, you will be notified by email when a brief is available to review, so there’s no need to keep checking. If any revisions are needed, you will be notified of this and be able to upload a revised read. Once the read is approved, you will get a final notification telling you that your work is done for that creative.

Pitch your podcast directly to sponsors

There’s also the option of going it alone and pitching potential sponsors yourself. Before you reach out, you’ll need to have some numbers ready. Advertisers will want to know how many downloads or listens your podcast gets, and therefore how many impressions their ad is likely to get. You should also be prepared to talk in detail about who your listeners are, and why they’d be interested in the sponsor. For most podcasters, this is very time-consuming and difficult to manage whilst doing everything else it takes to create a podcast.

And keep in mind, if you have your other baked-in ads you are not eligible for sponsorship opportunities from Acast.

Suitable for: Podcasts who don’t mind putting in the hard work of finding their own sponsors.

Top tips for pitching to sponsors

If you’re taking the plunge into pitching sponsors yourself, here are a few top tips for giving you the best chance of success:

  1. Identifying your target audience: One of the first steps you need to take is identifying who your podcast listeners are. Understanding who your listeners are is crucial in attracting sponsors who align with your podcast's content and interests. To identify your target audience, start by analyzing your current listenership data. Look at audience demographics such as age, gender, location, and interests. This information will help you create a clear profile of your ideal listener. Additionally, consider conducting surveys or engaging with your audience through social media to gather more insights about their preferences and needs.
  2. Research potential sponsors: To attract the right sponsor that resonates with your podcast's content and appeals to your target audience, it is crucial to identify brands that are relevant to your niche. Begin by brainstorming a list of brands that align with the topics discussed on your podcast. Once you have a list of potential brands, delve deeper into their industry and product offerings. Analyze their mission, values, and the type of audience they cater to. This will help you determine if they are a good fit for your podcast and if their objectives align with yours.
  3. Craft an effective sponsorship pitch: When approaching brands for podcast sponsorships, it is essential to customize your pitch to align with their specific needs and objectives. Research the brand thoroughly to gain a deep understanding of its values, target audience, and marketing goals. This will allow you to tailor your pitch in a way that resonates with the brand and demonstrates how your podcast can help them achieve their desired outcomes. G2 has a template sponsorship proposal that you can use in pitch emails to sponsors which you can find here.
  4. Negotiate sponsorship deals: When it comes to determining fair pricing for podcast sponsorships, there are a few factors to consider. First and foremost, you need to understand the value your podcast brings to potential sponsors. This includes factors such as your audience size, engagement levels, niche relevance, and the overall quality of your content. Additionally, consider the demographics of your audience, such as their age, location, and interests, as these details can be valuable to sponsors targeting specific markets. The placement of the host-read sponsorship also influences the price of the ad spot. Pre-roll ads have an industry standard of around $18 CPM rate (cost per mille or 1000 listens), whereas the most lucrative ad spot, mid-roll ads, can cost around $25 CPM. Post-roll ads are usually priced lower as there’s often less engagement once the podcast episode finishes.

Use Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate programs allow you to earn commission by promoting a business’s products or services. When your listeners use your unique link or promo code to make a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale. This is a CPA model for the advertiser, as they only pay the creator once a purchase has been made through their link.

Research and find affiliate programs that align with your niche. There are several affiliate networks available, such as Amazon Associates, ShareASale, and Commission Junction. A

Acast has its own affiliate program, which can earn you a 30% recurring commission every month for each podcast customer you refer to Acast who signs up for one of our paid-for plans. This is perfect for podcasters as you’re already speaking to people interested in the medium, and can talk from experience about the joys of podcasting.

Suitable for: Shows with small audiences as it doesn’t use CPM models, and you only get paid for successful transactions through your links.

3 tips for podcasters when delivering a sponsorship read

If you've landed yourself a sponsor, congratulations. That's the first hurdle you've leaped over. Now all that's left is delivering a sponsorship read that not only the advertiser loves, but is entertaining and engaging for your listeners.

This can be difficult to balance, especially as you're first starting out. However, the more you do, the better you become. To help you get started, we asked Acast's Global Head of Acast Creative, Jack Preston, for tips on delivering a best-in-class host-read sponsorship:

1. Be yourself

When a brand sponsors your podcast they are investing in you as a host, just as much as the show itself. You might have to convey some key messages in a sponsorship read for an advertiser but make sure you do so in your own language, using your own tone of voice - after all, those are what listeners come to expect and why they clicked play on your podcast.

2. Keep it personal

Storytelling is the lifeblood of podcasting, it’s what every great podcast episode has at the heart of it. It’s also what every great sponsorship read has within it. Don’t just talk about a product or service, illustrate your points with some personal tales. For example, don’t just tell your listeners that the supermarket sponsoring your show is great, tell them how you’re planning to shop there for the children’s birthday party you’re hosting on the weekend as they have an amazing range of healthy snacks.

3. Prepare

You wouldn’t sit down to record an episode without a preparation, then same rule should be applied for recording a sponsorship read. Think about what you want to say, plan it out, land all the key messages and even have a practice run before hitting record. The better your reads sound the more likely brands are to sponsor your podcast on a repeat basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get podcast sponsors?

You can get podcast sponsors by joining a podcast network such as Acast, pitching directly to brands, or running affiliate marketing campaigns.

How much do podcast sponsors pay?

It often depends on the ad placement. Pre-roll ads have an industry standard of around $18 CPM, whereas the most lucrative ad spot, mid-roll ads, can cost around $25 CPM. Post-roll ads are usually priced lower as there’s often less engagement once the podcast episode finishes.

How many listeners do you need to get sponsors on a podcast?

Requirements for sponsorship relating to episode downloads or listeners vary on the brand you’re pitching to or the ad marketplace you belong to. What we’ve found at Acast is that advertisers are typically looking for podcasts with at least 10,000 listeners a month.