I read a LOT on the internet and social media is where I find the most common question from podcasters,"How do I get sponsors for my podcast?". You don't. OK, well I guess you could, but I don't really see why you would want them, besides some quick cash. I am going to drive this post from a listener's point of view and then a creator's point of view of why I think you should skip sponsors when it comes to your audio (video too).
From the Listener
Ads are awful. Yes, I know many of the elite podcasters will say that I don't know what the hell I am talking about. Totally cool. I have been dismissed many times, but I have also made millions in marketing and most of them probably haven't. This isn't bragging, I am just trying to establish some street cred here. Ads can turn an awesome experience into a negative one, especially listening to an average podcaster plow through a written ad. There is a reason why company's spend millions each year on professional voice overs and actors. You are not doing any ads any favors, so by adding them to your show you are only pissing people off that just want to listen to your show.
If your content is good, people will consume more of your content. So write more, create engaging content and do something else other than collect a meager $50-$500 per ad, per episode. I mean really how many slots can you do in each episode and make decent money without losing listenership? So my take away is leave your podcasts alone. Let them be a channel to bring people to your site. Give them what they want and they will support you by purchasing podcast merchandise or donating to your cause.
From the Creator
Do I seriously have to say "OK, here are some words from this week's sponsor..."? I really hope not, because it's lame. It screams,"I need you to listen to this so I can line my pockets with beer money while you more than likely skip over this or go get a soda for 2-3 minutes until I get back to what you really came here for". I cringe watching video hangouts or listening to audio podcasts that have sponsors and they play it off like it's a big deal for anyone other than themselves. "You guys won't believe who our sponsor is this week...". Please, that wasn't planned.
Ok, as you can tell I hate advertising. In 12 years of running websites I have never had a sponsor or placed ads. I take it back, I tried. I had Adsense for 4 months on one of my sites in 2005 and made $100 only to get banned for click fraud. It was Google's way to not pay me and I learned that advertising never pays off for most people. So how did I do it? I sold merchandise or asked for donations. I sold stuff my audience actually wanted and had they no issue supporting me because I provided real value. So far from listening to hundreds of podcasts, real value seems to be a big problem. I think the barrier is so low that everyone can afford a microphone and can edit in Audacity. Four shows later they want to know who is going to give them money for their effort. Stop. You actually have to work and provide effort. I don't care who you are. Even Chris Rock had to work his way up the ladder before someone paid him.
I don't want ads ruining my show. I don't want to read them. I don't consider them necessary. Instead I want to give you so much value from AM Podcast Network that you want to buy a t-shirt or coffee cup from me with my logo on it. You might hate it, but you'll either love my work so much or I will bring enough value that you might get it just to show your appreciation. The point is you can make money by actually providing value. People are willing to pay for it, but it's not going to happen in the first month, well maybe for some really lucky people.
Note: I will not put ads all over my properties unless I believe in the added value or I am desperate. You will find it to be very rare to find an ad on this website, never in my audio or video, and probably never in the forum. I will however, sell you a mug or a t-shirt with my logo on it. The point is that I can find better ways to make money from this site than sponsorship.
It's Just Not Necessary
You can podcast and have fun. Hell, you can kick out a 2-hour show daily. You don't need to spoil it with some window blind ad from the local hardware store. I know many of you are going to want ad dollars regardless so I minus well say this. If you really can't help yourself or your product can't go on without a sponsor, at least just sell ads on your website. Or charge for tweets, FB posts, or something else. Create advertising packages on your entire platform and not just some idiotic download numbers. Who the hell thought download numbers was a basis for a ROI comparison anyways? So what if you get a lot of downloads? There is more than that to those statements and I promise to cover it in an upcoming Youtube video so don't shoot me for it.
Your content and creativity is valued. If you truly do it well people will notice. People will send you a few dollars to your Paypal account. They will buy that t-shirt or contribute to your Podfund. I think it's time to start rethinking how we produce money from our work. It's refreshing not to have to worry about a sponsor's influence on your work. Perhaps this is all easier said than implemented. Let me know your thoughts below and get in the forum after you are done with that as well.
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Podcast Sponsor's Are Not Necessary
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