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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.

Google Announces New Chromebook Price – $299

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Google Chromebook

Google says “‘Tis the season for Chromebooks!”. Just in time for the upcoming Holiday season, Google announced a new lower price on their Chromebook, as well as a new streamlined interface.

First, let’s start with the Chromebooks from both Acer and Samsung that will be available starting at $299.

Wi-Fi only Samsung Chromebook Series 5 in Black

Google says, “We’ve also been working closely with our partners to continually improve the overall Chromebook experience while making them even more affordable. So, we’re excited to share that beginning this week Acer and Samsung Chromebooks will be available starting at $299. The updated prices will be available through our online retail partners.”

Here’s a video clip (don’t blink) about how to set up your Chromebook.

In order to simplify things, Google has created a super clean login experience.

The tabs page was also revamped and sports the apps, bookmarks and most visited sites center stage. They also added some shortcuts to the File Manager and Music Apps and Games in the Chrome Web Store.

Will you be adding a Chromebook to your Holiday wish list?

New Research Shows Tablet Owners Love Their Tablets

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Tablet owners

It’s no secret that Tablets are making a huge impact on society and technology use in general. A new study from GfK MRI’s iPanel proves that fact.

The use of the Tablet is changing how much consumers use video game consoles, read books and newspapers, as well as how often they use computers. Here’s a chart which shows what activities are done less as a result of owning a tablet.

As you can see, 59% of Tablet owners say they use a video game console or handheld device less often, 44% of Tablet owners say they read printed books less often and 42% say they read hard copy newspapers less often.

Thankfully it doesn’t seem to be having too much of an effect on activities like going to the movies, playing sports or hanging out with friends and family.

“The fact that a majority of game-playing Tablet owners report using a video game console or a handheld video game less often as a result of owning a Tablet does not necessarily mean they are playing video games less often,” said Risa Becker, VP, Research at GfK MRI.  “But it does suggest that Tablet owners are moving their gaming from other devices to the Tablet.”

For those of you who own a Tablet, what activities do you notice yourself doing less of? Also, do you ever write up blog posts from your Tablet?

Report: Apple iPad Expected to Lead the Tablet Market Into 2014

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ipad

A new report was released by Gartner today with some stats and trends on tablet brands. What was revealed is no surprise. The Apple iPad is leading the way and it’s projected that it will continue to do so for several years to come.

According to the report, in 2010 the iPad accounted for 83% of tablet sales worldwide. The number was down, just slightly by about 10% for 2011, accounting for 73.4% of the market.

What does the future hold for the iPad? More good news for Apple.

“We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal. Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen. This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”

The complaint that seems to be holding back Android Tablet sales is high prices and a weak user interface. As one who own an Android tablet, I concur.

Here’s a table put together by Gartner showing current and projected tablet sales.

Of course there’s the rumored Amazon tablet that some have said will be strong competition for the iPad. The Amazon tablet is said to feature a 7-inch screen and will be available in November for $250.

Do you own an iPad, Android Tablet or none of the above?

Smartphone and Tablet Use to Surpass PCs by 2015

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man using smartphone

With the ever growing popularity of tablets, and smartphones getting smarter by the minute, it’s no surprise what a new study has found.

According to new data from International Data Corporation (IDC), more users will access the internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices by 2015. Smartphones are outselling the simple cell phone and tablet sales are exploding, as are the development of them.

The new study says that internet access through PCs will first stagnate and then slowly decline over the next few years.

Here are a few interesting pieces of information the New Media Market Model found:

  • Worldwide, the total number of Internet user will grow from 2 billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015, when 40% of the world’s population will have access to its vast resources.
  • Global B2C ecommerce spending will grow from $708 billion in 2010 to $1,285 billion in 2015 at a CAGR of 12.7%.
  • Worldwide online advertising will increase from $70 billion in 2010 to $138 billion in 2015, with its share of total advertising across all media growing from 11.9% to 17.8%.

Does this new data surprise you? For all of us who make our living online, a piece of that $138 billion of online advertising sounds nice doesn’t it?

Image: SXC

The 7-Inch Amazon Kindle Tablet to Sell for $250

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Amazon logo

According to a recent report, the Amazon tablet that is rumored to be releasing in October is real. One TechCrunch writer has seen it and played with it.

He said it’s simply being called the “Amazon Kindle”, has full color content, a 7-inch capacitive touch screen and will run Android.

As for the October release, MG Siegler said it will actually be released in November. He also mentioned that this new Amazon tablet is a big deal and has huge potential.

So, everyone wants to know – where are the pictures?! Sadly, he has none, but he does have a description.

So instead you’ll have to rely on my prose to draw a picture of the device in your head. Or you can just look at a BlackBerry PlayBook — because it looks very similar in terms of form-factor.

He goes on to talk about the touch screen capabilities, the 7-inch screen and of course the cost – which completely shocked me. Amazon will sell their tablet for only $250, making it more attainable for everyone.

Siegler goes into much more detail about the Amazon tablet, all which is very interesting. It does run Android, but no Android you and I have ever seen before. He says, “This is Android fully forked. My understanding is that the Kindle OS was built on top of some version of Android prior to 2.2.”

So tell us – will the Amazon Kindle Tablet make it on your Holiday wish list this year? I want to see pictures and hear more about the features before I send my letter off to Mr. Claus. I do have a feeling this tablet will be one heck of a big seller for Amazon.

Amazon’s New Site Designed Geared Towards Tablet Users

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New Amazon Site Design

You may have heard that Amazon is about to launch a brand new site design. Some are reporting it will happen this month, some say by October and others say the new design is “TBD”. Who knows when it will actually launch, but we do know that the new design is definitely geared towards tablet users.

Here’s a look at the old site design.

And the new site design seen here. (Click on the new design to enlarge.)

As you can see, the orange and blue bar at the top are gone and it overall has a cleaner look. Amazon wants the new design to make it easier for users to find things, which explains the eye-catching search bar at the top. The new design also highlights products like MP3s, Cloud Player, Kindle, Cloud Drive, Android apps, Instant Video and audio books.

All of these changes definitely point to tablet users don’t you think?

Rumor has it that Amazon will launch the new site design the same time as their reported Android-based tablet, which is supposed to be a major competitor for the Apple iPad.

After looking at the before and after photos, do you like the new Amazon site design?

Will the HP TouchPad Get a Chance at a Second Life?

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HP TouchPad

After the death of the HP TouchPad was announced, it seems all anyone is talking about these days in terms of tablets is, yes, the HP TouchPad.

The company lowered the price of the tablet from $500 to only $99 earlier this month and they went fast. So fast, they are almost impossible to find right now.

In an interview with Reuters, HP executive Todd Bradley said there is a chance the TouchPad could be resurrected.

Bradley said the company could resurrect HP’s short-lived TouchPad tablet computer, which was introduced on July 1 before being terminated only about six weeks later.

“Tablet computing is a segment of the market that’s relevant, absolutely,” Bradley said.

He continued on saying “regardless of what happens, we’re the largest PC company in the world. We need everybody energized, and while this isn’t business as usual, we need people to go out and sell products every day.”

The biggest question right now is, will HP release any more TouchPads? Mark Budgell, HP’s PR Manager for Social Media Strategy, answered a few consumer questions in this blog post yesterday (August 29th).

In regards to the release of more TouchPads he said, “We will have more information available in the next few days about whether or not more will be available and if so, what the details will be about the situation.”

If HP does release more TouchPads, will you run out and purchase one? Some don’t see the point, while others want one as soon as they become available again.

HP Announces the Death of the TouchPad

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HP TouchPad

In a bit of surprising news, Hewlett-Packard released their Q3 2011 financial results today, along with the announcement they are going to “discontinue operations for webOS devices.”

Which means this is the death of their newly released HP TouchPad. They did say they “will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward”.

What led to this decision? Possibly the poor sales of the TouchPad in the first place. It seemed every where I turned they were making another announcement about a sale on the TouchPad. After looking at the reviews, I was seriously considering purchasing one, but I guess I’ll keep shopping around.

Best Buy had very dismal sales and reportedly couldn’t get rid of their inventory of TouchPads. One writer called it the OuchPad. Ouch.

There’s also the fact that E-Reader ownership is larger than that of the tablet. Both e-readers and tablets have seen growth over the last 6 months, but e-readers numbers are larger.

What are your thoughts on this news and why do you think sales on the TouchPad were so awful?

Logitech Releases Fold-up Keyboard for the iPad 2

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Logitech fold up ipad keyboard 02

You can now pre-order a fold-up keyboard for your iPad 2 from Logitech. It’s an interesting concept that I’m not quite sure is going to sell well. Especially after the review given by Engadget and with the $129 price tag attached.


Here are the features:

  • When closed, the keyboard rest securely underneath your iPad for easy transport
  • When open, it holds the iPad at an ideal angle for typing
  • Keyboard is fully sized
  • Keyboard wakes up instantly as soon as it’s unfolded and is ready to use
  • Charges over USB, no need for batteries
  • You can continue to use your Smart Cover even with the keyboard

Engadget said the keyboard was a little stiff and not quite the quality they were hoping for. What do you think? To all of you iPad 2 users, is this something you would find useful?

Images: Logitech

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