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Dave Hamilton and Jean MacDonald Talk About Podcast Sponsorship

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Dave Hamilton and Jean MacDonald as a team for a panel about podcasting is genius, simply because Dave sells ads and Jean buys them. So, attendees got to see the business of podcasting from both sides. I’ve dabbled in podcast with my blog Binge Gamer, but never really thought about monetizing it in any way. For me, this panel was an eye-opener.

Like with all the sessions I’ve been covering while at BlogWorld, there was so much packed into this hour that I can’t possibly convey it all here to you. I highly recommend picking up a virtual ticket to BlogWorld to see the entire discussion. One thing I did want to touch on here that Dave and Jean covered is finding the right sponsor, since this applies to blogs just as it applies to podcasts. It boils down to one rule of thumb:

Do what is right for your listeners (or readers).

Think about the topics you cover. What products or services would you naturally talk about on the show, even if you weren’t being paid for it. Think about your medium. Some things are just better to promote with visuals, while other things are better to promote with a vocal blurb. Think about what your listeners need. Give it to them. This is as important with sponsors as it is with your podcast (or blog) content.

Once you’ve found the right sponsors, getting them to consider your sponsorship package is a lot easier. Identify the sponsors you want and half the battle is already won!

Finding Podcast Sponsors: What NOT to Do

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BlogWorld 2010 Speaker: Jean MacDonald
Getting Sponsors For Your Podcast: The Nuts and Bolts

Friday, October 15, 2010
12:15PM – 1:15PM

Tradewinds D/8

Podcasting is one of the fastest-growing formats of communication in the 21st century. Listeners love podcasts because podcasts are focused on their interests and, usually, cost-free.

But it’s not cost-free to produce a podcast, even a modest one. Equipment and bandwidth cost money, not to mention the time spent recording and producing a quality podcast. Many podcasters seek out sponsors to help defray costs, perhaps with the goal of turning a hobby into a profitable business.

Together with Dave Hamilton of BackBeat Media and The Mac Observer, I’ll be presenting a session on how to get sponsors for your podcast. Dave is a podcaster himself, the host of the popular Mac Geek Gab, while I am a partner in Smile, a Mac software company and the sponsor of several podcasts. If you have been thinking about approaching sponsors, or have been approached by sponsors but aren’t sure how to respond, we have a bunch of practical tips for success.

We’ll be talking about what you SHOULD do as you try to find sponsors and get them to sign on with you. But as a quick session preview, here are 3 things you SHOULD NOT do.

Obvious Form Letter

Podcasting is a niche medium. Sponsorships work best when there is a clear affinity between the podcast and the potential sponsor. A form email will not impress a sponsor looking for a unique audience.

If you’ve used a potential sponsor’s products, say so. Give some details. What if you haven’t used a potential sponsor’s products? Well, that could be a sign that this particular company is not a good fit for you and your audience.

Complicated (and Possibly Irrelevant) Offers

When you first contact a potential sponsor, you want to persuade them to listen to your podcast. Make a compelling case for why they will be interested in the podcast itself. Don’t tack on a lot of ancillary offer information. If an advertising manager isn’t sold on your podcast, they won’t care about the various types of banner advertising they will get on their site.

If you produce more than one podcast, don’t try to sell a sponsor a package if the podcasts are unrelated. Unless you know for a fact that the sponsor is passionate about tarot reading AND iPad apps, for example, you will give the impression that you haven’t researched your potential sponsors’ target audience.

Big Media Kit Attachments

Before you send a media kit, you need to have some indication that the company is interested. Media kits are big files. No one likes to get big files that they are just going to trash. Especially in the age of mobile computing, don’t become known as the person who sends out unsolicited 10 MB .zip files.

Instead, boil down the facts of your podcast to a few bullet points that you can add to your email signature.

Jean MacDonald is the partner in charge of marketing at Smile, which develops Mac, iPhone and iPad productivity software such as TextExpander and PDFpen. Under her direction, Smile has developed a large portfolio of podcast sponsorships.

Blog: http://blog.smilesoftware.com
Twitter: @macgenie

Image Source: iStockPhoto

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