Before I get started, when I say paid sponsor, I’m not referring to corporate sponsors that pay podcasters little to nothing to create an advertisement on their podcast. Our podcast listeners should be a priority. They have been loyal to us from the start when very few people were listening. Repetitive irrelevant ads that play at the beginning of a podcast are a nuisance and don’t build trusting relationships between you and your listeners, so choose wisely.
The graphic below is a screenshot of an actual "Sponsor Payout" to a podcaster " It’s better to remain Ad-free until you can approach a sponsor that appreciates the value of your content.
Now let me tell you how I got my first paid sponsor.
I didn’t think about sponsors or making money when I started podcasting two years ago. Podcasting was a way of discussing a topic I was passionate about entrepreneurship. I was always fascinated by the courageous men and women that called the shots, set their schedules, and controlled their futures. After releasing the 7th episode of season 1 of my podcast, one of my podcast listeners asked how he could make a donation. I encouraged him to buy merch, but the listener confessed that he was not a fan of wearing hats.
I realized I didn’t have a way of accepting contributions and didn’t want to, so I said, “don’t worry about it.” He insisted, “saying that he learned a great deal from the podcast episodes and wanted to make sure that I continued podcasting.” He asked for my PayPal details and donated 40 or 50 dollars into the account, and that’s when I got the idea to explore other avenues of creating revenue from my podcasting efforts. I made a sponsorship package that I did not put out right away. Honestly, I wasn’t sure sponsors would invest in a beginner podcast, so I felt more comfortable pitching to a potential sponsor I met through my younger brother Greg. He was a real-estate investor named Joe Styles.
I randomly called Joe one day, and he put me through to his voicemail and sent me a text message informing me that he was busy, and we would need to schedule a time to speak. He texted me a link to his schedule for a one on one conversation with him for 15 minutes. Once we got on the phone, Joe said he had meant to reach out to me to congratulate me on the success of the 95killers podcast. I thanked him, and by talking with him, realized Joe was an avid listener of the podcast and understood the primary goal behind it. Joe’s words gave me the confidence to move forward with my sales pitch. I told Joe that I was looking for a sponsor, and before I could say another word, he said, “tell me how much.” I hadn’t thought of a price yet, but I blurted out “five hundred dollars.” without missing a beat. Joe replied, “that sounds interesting. What do I get in return?” Well, I had already known I wanted Joe on the podcast.
I offered to do a live sponsored event for 1 hour on the Zoom platform called “Virtual Hustlers.” an event where a few weeks after his podcast episode, Joe and I would conduct a live Q&A. He could directly talk to the listeners, discuss more in-depth details about his investment process, and introduce his real estate courses to my listeners. Joe agreed on the price and sent the payment.
I was excited when the funds showed up in my bank account. I mentioned the deal to a few of my podcast peers. A few of them that had been podcasting a few years before me said that I overcharged Joe. And that my podcast was too new for me to ask for that amount. I shrugged it off at first, but then I questioned myself. “Had I overcharged my sponsor.” I finally decided to call Joe. When he picked up the phone, I asked why he paid to sponsor a new podcast. He said, “Glen, I’m a businessman. There are no guarantees with any investment, but I’m confident that I made the right decision. I’m a supporter of the 95killers podcast movement and want to be a part of it.” Joe’s answer was what I needed to hear. A few weeks after the live event, Joe Styles doubled his sponsorship investment by selling a real estate training package to one of my podcast listeners. He also told me that even today, he still generates potential leads from the podcast episode.
From this experience, my two takeaways are when you’re ready to start looking for paid sponsors, don’t overlook your listeners; they may be a potential sponsor or refer you to one. The second takeaway is the content you create has value, but only you can decide its worth. Please don’t allow anyone to tell you what you’re supposed to charge, no matter who they are or how long they have been in the podcast business. You have to trust yourself and continue to explore opportunities. Where you are making a reasonable profit from your labor, I hope you enjoyed this article; please subscribe to our email list and leave your thoughts in the comments below. You can follow Joe Styles on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/joestyles/