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Finding Sponsors: Where Do I Start?

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Finding and attracting sponsors to your podcast, blog or web show is one of the most difficult, yet potentially most lucrative, aspects of your business. Business? Yes. If you’re looking to make money doing what you love, your content is a business.

To that point, it’s important to treat your content creation that way from the very beginning – professionally. You never know who may be listenin/watching/reading, and you won’t get another chance to make an initial impression on someone… especially someone who may be willing to spend their money to work with you.

But if you are thinking about working directly with advertisers and sponsors, here are a few things you’ll need to do to get ready and get started:

  1. Be Prepared… for when opportunity knocks –  “Do as I say, and not as I do.” Believe it or not, you don’t always have to seek out sponsors. Sometimes they’ll come to you. And if (and when) they do, you need to be ready. When a potential sponsor called me in 2005 about advertising on my show, I had no idea about what I could offer, or what I should charge. It’s (almost) 2013, and times, opinions and the economy has changed, so you need to be ready. Put together a simple media kit (read the NMX article “38 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Media Kits” by Allison Boyer to find out how to create one. Be sure and know your audience – not just the stats and numbers, but who they are, what they want, and what may appeal to them.
  2. Be Careful – Speaking of your audience, don’t take money from anyone that is willing to throw it at you. Be prepared to say “No.” Why? Because anyone who sponsors you must be one that is organic and relevant. Your audience TRUSTS you. That is paramount, and if it’s lost, it’s often lost forever. Be sure who you partner with brings value to your listener/reader/viewer. They believe in what you say and who you endorse, and remember that anyone that advertises with you is ultimately a reflection on you. If something goes bad, your audience will turn to you.
  3. Be Creative – Podcasting and blogging is not enough. You need to be everywhere. Always. It’s work. REAL work. But but doing more in multiple mediums, including videos, livestreaming, events, newsletters, etc., you are creating more opportunities for your potential sponsors. More opportunities gives you more creativity to share and spread the sponsor’s messages, and thus ultimately more income.
  4. Be Convincing – Podcast advertising just works. Plain and simple. But you may need to convince a potential sponsor and back it up with real data. How? Don’t worry – some of the heavy lifting has been done for you already. You’ll need to gather your own listener statistics (your hosting provider, such as Blubrry.com or Libsyn.com, can provide this for you). Overall, though, podcast advertising is very effective. For example, according to Edison Research in a study conducted in 2009: 80% of surveyed podcast consumers surveyed agreed that they “prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on or sponsor” the podcasts they regularly enjoy. Ninety-percent of respondents had taken some kind of action as a result of podcast advertising or sponsorship, and over 40% reported purchasing behaviors, which indicates that they are receptive to the right message, in the right context,” according to Edison Research Vice President Tom Webster. Survey Methodology: Respondents in this online survey were recruited using audio/video messages embedded in podcasts from some of the leading aggregators of downloadable media, including NPR, Wizzard, RawVoice and Revison3, during the 4th quarter of 2009. Source: The 2012 State of Podcasting Report.
  5. Be Confident- But remember that you must convince them to buy into YOU. So you need to be prepared to show them what your value is to their brand, why your endorsement to your loyal, very targeted audience is so valuable, and why you being an influencer to that audience helps determine your rate.
    • Determining what to charge is often the most difficult question of all. And because most of us are coming from a background where we’re not salesmen (unless you really were a salesman), determining and standing by what you value your sponsorship opportunities to be worth can be extremely challenging. So, where so you start? I suggest looking at the sponsorship opportunities you’ve established and looking at what you can deliver in terms of not only traffic, but conversions. Your sponsor is not just looking to potentially build their brand, but sell a product or service. Some ways to help determine your value and sponsorship costs:
      • Get comps – Look at other sites and shows and see what their rates are and for what they are offering. How do you compare in terms of traffic, reach and audience loyalty? Now look to other mediums in your niche, especially ones that a potential sponsor may already be advertising in. Research the costs of magazine ads, TV and radio spots, and even billboards. Find out where else the sponsor is already spending their money. And be confident in being able to convince the sponsor that what you can deliver is not only much more targeted and valuable, but trackable, changeable, unique and proven.
      • Be confident in who YOU are – Keep in mind that when you have built a loyal audience of listeners, viewers, or readers (hopefully all three), that the trust your audience has placed in you carries a huge value. A brand may broadcast a message about why their restaurant is great, but when your audience hears a review and endorsement from you, it carries a much different and powerful weight to it.
  6. Be Patient- Being patient means not just being patient in terms of waiting to attract, find and sign a sponsor, but with the sponsor themselves. For many brands, advertising in online media is a new venture for them, and very much outside their comfort zone. You will undoubtedly have to teach (and convince) them about the mediums, their opportunities and benefits, and why THEY need to be patient as well. Why? Because often times, advertising is a marathon and not a sprint, and they may not see their returns on the first day, or even for the first few weeks or months. So be patient while waiting for them, then while working with them, and why they may need to be patient but confident as well.
  7. Be Amazing- When you do come to an agreement with a sponsor, you need to set reasonable expectations on both ends. You need to outline what you can provide, and what the sponsor expects in return. Then do more. My belief is simple – Underpromise and Overdeliver. WOW your sponsor and they will remain a loyal partner.The most important part of finding and working with sponsors is to continue to be true to yourself, your mission and your audience. Keep them in mind first and always, as you begin to move your content creation and monetization in a new direction. Be prepared for many learning opportunities along the way, as well as some disappointments. But also be ready to invest a great deal of time and effort, and for the benefits that sponsorship can bring you and your audience. For more help, check out some previous NMX posts and articles:

Working with Sponsors for your Podcast [Video Series] 

Introducing Our Brand New Free Ebook: The Ultimate Guide to Blog and Podcast Sponsorship

3 Ways to Monetize a Podcast

The Number One Mistake You’re Making if You Want Sponsors

What are YOUR biggest challenges in finding and/or working with sponsors? Please leave your comments below, and I look forward to meeting you at New Media Expo in January!

Editor’s Note: If you want to learn more from Lou about getting sponsors, check out his session “7 Ways to Find, Sign and Profit from Sponsors for your Brand” at NMX in Las Vegas.

Blogging Badly At Blog World Expo

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We love these montage videos and how people are producing content about the show from 2009.  This gives a great look at one Blogger’s stalking of Kevin Pollak at BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

Kevin was on BlogWorld Expo Radio at the show on October 17, 2009. Now I need to find a way to get an interview with the folks over at Blogging Badly. Apparently, they are launching something in 2010 and we will keep our eye out for them. Anyone that talks about Chad Vader’s junk is good with me!  Keep up the good work and keep blogging badly.

TechZulu Talks BlogWorld & New Media Expo

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Just wanted t get this interview on the blog as Amanda Coolong does a great job talking with Rick Calvert about the experience at BlogWorld & New Media Expo.


Watch Rick Calvert – BlogWorld Expo 09 in Tech & Gaming  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

I am hoping to get some of these interviews doen myself this year as we travel around to the events and talk with organizers, attendees and speakers at shows we are attending. Thanks to the folks at TechZulu and Amanda!

TechZulu Talks BlogWorld & New Media Expo

Author:

Just wanted t get this interview on the blog as Amanda Coolong does a great job talking with Rick Calvert about the experience at BlogWorld & New Media Expo.


Watch Rick Calvert – BlogWorld Expo 09 in Tech & Gaming  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

I am hoping to get some of these interviews doen myself this year as we travel around to the events and talk with organizers, attendees and speakers at shows we are attending. Thanks to the folks at TechZulu and Amanda!

Blog World Expo Radio – The Voice of Blog World Expo!

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BlogWorldRadio_FINAL_opt250 At the event this year in Las Vegas we transferred over from Blog Talk Radio to WS Radio for our regularly scheduled radio show Blog World Expo Radio.  This was not because we wanted to leave Blog Talk Radio, we love the folks at Blog Talk Radio and they have been a participant at our event as an exhibitor and have helped us make our event successful.  We moved the show to get a different look, feel and sound to Blog World Expo Radio.

We have quite a few shows in the archive now and I wanted to touch on those and talk about what we will be doing in the future with the show.  Most recently we had on our show Wade Kwon who posted recently about his experience with BlogWorld & New Media Expo as a speaker.  We reached out to Wade and wanted to get him on our show so we could discuss his complaints and acknowledge those as well as talk about how we are going to make it a better experience.

We also introduced Patti Hosking, our new Director of Business Development.  Patti is not necessarily new but is someone that has been with the crew now since the beginning but has recently taken over the duties full time as the person in charge of exhibitors, and sponsors and other issues related to business development of the show.  You can reach Patti by email at Patti at blogworldexpo dot com.

Our last show we had some real rock stars in the world of social media, Maggie Fox, CEO and founder of SocialMediaGroup.com and Jason Falls, the founder of Social Media Explorer.  Jason was also our track leader for the Social Media Business Summit and was instrumental in how we made 2009 in the social media track awesome.  He was a large part of why that was so beneficial to attendees.  Maggie and Jason talk about some of the issues in the industry of events, and also talk about what we are seeing in the world of social media, and finally finish up with some thoughts into what we will see in 2010.  I think you should all get over and read their blogs and definitely get a chance to listen to the show once the archive is posted.

As we approach 2010 and our new show in October, we will be interviewing speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and many others.  We also plan to bring you live coverage from events like CES and SXSW and perhaps another show that is in your area.  If you want to be a guest on our show feel free to leave a comment and what you want to talk about.  We are going to have some cool guests in the future and you could be one of those.  Coming up in January we will have Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati and we look forward to what Richard will tell us about the future of blogging and about his company Technorati.  Join me next week as we take a look back at 2009, what we did here at BlogWorld & New Media Expo and what we plan to do for 2010.

Happy Veteran's Day! Talking To The Army

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To all of our veteran’s and servicemen and women across the country and abroad, please accept our heartfelt and sincere thanks for your service and sacrifice for your country and our freedoms.  I know I speak for all of the people here at BlogWorld & New Media Expo when I say we very much appreciate all that you do.

We will be talking with Major Mary Constantino, the project manager for Army Strong Stories which is a soldier blogging community hosted by the U.S. Army Accessions Command, at BlogWorld Expo Radio on Friday at 12:00 PST. Join us as we talk with Major Constantino and milblogging.  

Happy Veteran’s Day! Talking To The Army

Author:

To all of our veteran’s and servicemen and women across the country and abroad, please accept our heartfelt and sincere thanks for your service and sacrifice for your country and our freedoms.  I know I speak for all of the people here at BlogWorld & New Media Expo when I say we very much appreciate all that you do.

We will be talking with Major Mary Constantino, the project manager for Army Strong Stories which is a soldier blogging community hosted by the U.S. Army Accessions Command, at BlogWorld Expo Radio on Friday at 12:00 PST. Join us as we talk with Major Constantino and milblogging.  

Get A Taste of Blog World Expo

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I am going to be talking tomorrow with some of the speakers that will be speaking at BlogWorld & New Media Expo in October.  I have watched as our schedule came together and have many people to thank for that, but none more than the speakers that will be providing their time, their efforts and their expertise to all of the attendees that will be coming to the event, and even those that will get a chance to perhaps see it through other means.  The speakers make the content we provide in the conference possible.  The guests will each provide some glimpses into what they will be talking about and what we can expect October will bring.

Join us on Blog World Expo Radio at 12:00 p.m. PST as I am joined by my special guests, Mur Lafferty, Lewis Howes, Patrick O’Keefe, and Ben Ilfeld. This will give us a chance to get a small taste of what we can expect in Las Vegas.

Speaking of Speakers

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keynote It has been a long road or journey, one that I might pack for differently given what I know now, but a journey that has been fun.  I first agreed to help work this conference as far back as 2006 when I first met Rick Calvert in Seattle at a blogging conference.  I have seen our BlogWorld & New Media Expo go from an idea to one of the largest, if not THE largest conferences in this industry.  I am very thankful for the opportunity to have worked in the capacity of Conference Chairman this year, putting together the lineup.  I have some big shoes to fill with Dave Taylor having done this in previous events.  It has been a number of 20 hour days and lots of phone calls and meetings and emails and tweets and pony express riders to get to this day but we are finally here.

The speaker “grid” as we like to call it has been posted and we will be discussing it at length today on Blog World Expo Radio on Blog Talk Radio.  My guest on the show will be Rob Walch, the brains behind the podcasting and video tracks.  The tracks Rob worked on were very important because they are a culmination of experts that will be representing our first blending of New Media Expo and BlogWorld& New Media Expo.  As you may remember, we acquired that event that was similar in nature to ours and that announcement was made back in December of 2008.  We hope that the lineup we have for this year will be as great as the podcasting and videocasting world has come to expect from that event.

Feel free to give us feedback on the lineup thus far.  As you can see with its current state it is a living and breathing document.  Believe me when I say I have tried numerous times to beat it into submission and make it behave, and most of the time it has beat me back.  There are some tracks that we have yet to put into the system and some that are still be worked on and probably the most difficult items are yet to be completed, the keynotes for the event.  I can assure you those will be dynamite!

Thank you for your patience, especially to all of the hundreds, of people that made submissions for sessions or presentations.  It was very difficult to choose from the number of presentations.  We did not have any difficulty in getting quality speakers from the many that submitted.  I would urge you to get your ticket and register for this group of fine presentations. The speakers and experts we have assembled will allow you to justify spending some time in Las Vegas, October 15-17, 2009.

Which Celebrity Would YOU Choose to Give a Keynote at BlogWorld

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wilw

After Ashton Kutcher became the first person to reach one million followers on Twitter, there was a bit of discussion as to whether Oprah should give a keynote at BlogWorld 09. As you could imagine, there was a variety of answers, not all positive.

It got me to thinking…

At the first BlogWorld, Mark Cuban gave the closing keynote. I rolled my eyes a  little bit when I heard the news, but I was also in attendance. I even got to the room a little early and stood in line so I could get a good seat. I can tell you I was pleasantly surprised. Though I didn’t agree with Mark about some of the things he said about blogging, I could tell he gets it. He used Facebook to drum up support for Dancing with the Stars, used his blog to speak his mind, and clearly loved it all. He was truly interested in connecting with people.

I asked myself, if I could choose a celebrity for a keynote, who would it be? My answer came quickly, with no hesitation. The person who came to mind is someone who embraced blogging and social media early on.

I get why Rick would want to choose Oprah and respect his reasoning, but I think my choice would be  less obvious. If I could choose a celebrity to give a keynote or speak at BlogWorld 09 it would be….Wil Wheaton. Wil’s had the back of geeks everywhere for a long time now. From Wil Wheaton Dot Net to Wil Wheaton in Exile, to @wilw, he not only gets it, he lives it. Wil didn’t have to get on TV to beg for followers, we follow him because he’s one of us.

If you could pick a celebrity to give a keynote at BlogWorld ’09, who would it be?

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