The rise of the technological age has provided us with some incredible opportunities. Among them is that you get to share your passions, expertise, and creativity through podcasts and streaming. You no longer need to have the backing of major media players to reach an audience. When you make content, you can connect to a global community of thousands, if not millions, through online platforms. It’s an exciting time to be an independent broadcaster.
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If you’ve started to plan your content, chances are you’ve been considering some ways to make money from your endeavors. It is rare to pull in millions of dollars in revenue like some of Twitch’s highest earners. But it’s certainly possible to make a decent living. Many podcasters are starting to expand their operations to hire freelance editors and producers to focus on creating content. Even if you’re not making it your full-time career, you may still want to gain capital to improve the quality of your broadcasts. In either case, you can approach this most effectively by taking the time to pursue partners and sponsors.
This can be a challenging prospect. There are many creators out there who are likely to be vying for the same sponsors as you are. We will run through a few areas you should be focusing on to garner partners and sponsors to support your efforts.
It might seem harsh, but you’re unlikely to garner sponsorship immediately if you’re starting out. This isn’t because you lack great ideas or talent. It comes down to the fact you don’t already have a significant audience. Partnerships and sponsorships are exchanges. Businesses will give you money or resources, and in return, you’ll provide them with exposure to your audience. If you don’t have impressive viewer or listener numbers, you’re not giving these companies much incentive to engage with you. As such, you should focus on building your audience before anything else.
Don’t rush this, though. Your goal should be not just to develop a large audience. Please don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining them, too. This means you need to work on creating quality content that consistently connects with viewers or listeners. Take the time to establish who your target demographic is and shape your process to meet their preferences. What times of the week are your audience likely to engage with podcasts? Do they like creators to interact with them during gaming streams, or are they just after commentary? This isn’t a case of forgoing your individuality. Instead, you need to understand how you can best reach, build, and cultivate the numbers you need.
Be patient. It is more important to hold a consistent quantity of your audience than to achieve sporadic spikes. As this can take time, you should consider how to fund your lifestyle and content as you gradually build your profile. Many content creators take freelance jobs on the side to support their creative endeavors. Utilizing freelance websites to find gigs can be a useful option as it’s more time-efficient than directly contacting potential clients. You’re likely to be subject to some fees in this process. But it also exposes you to a more significant number and variety of work than you might have found using other methods. As a result, you’ll have more time to dedicate to cultivating your stream or podcast audience to later parlay into sponsorship.
Content creators will often assume sponsors will reach out to them to initiate a partnership. While you might experience this as you gain more significant followings, it certainly isn’t guaranteed. Let’s face it; you don’t want to take the risk of losing out on potential support because you waited for large corporations to “discover” your podcast or stream. You’ll find you are likely to see more relevant and valuable relationships if you take the initiative of reaching out. If you want to be successful here, you need to put some focus on solid research.
The easiest way to begin is by looking at which organizations are working with similar content creators. Try to focus on similarities in subject matter rather than demographics. You may be less likely to draw interest from a partner who is already successfully reaching the same audience through someone else.
However, performing some further research into these companies can be helpful. Try to understand what they’re trying to achieve from their sponsorships. Are they trying to capture engagement from a specific demographic? Are they trying to boost a particular underselling product? You can use this information to create more effective pitches for sponsorship. It shows you’ve taken the time to learn about their company and are keen to help them achieve their goals.
With this in mind, your statistics are another critical point of research. Use your website analytics to understand what demographics are engaging with your content. Look at your streaming, download, and social media insights to get some reliable data on who your audience is. What are their ages? Where in the world are they from? You can present this type of macro information to potential sponsors and partners focusing on specific locations or age groups.
The great thing about the podcast and streaming landscape is you can be truly independent. However, just because a major corporation does not back you, this doesn’t mean you get to take a casual approach to gain sponsors and partners. If anything, your independent status makes it more important to present a professional image. These potential partners are businesses, after all, and there are severe resources and capital at stake. Few companies will want to sponsor an amateur.
Creating a dedicated website is one of your most essential tools for demonstrating your professionalism. This is about making a package that puts all the necessary information about you and your podcast or stream in a single place. You’re making certain companies don’t have to spend a lot of time hunting for the correct data. Focus on making the website clean and easily navigable. This isn’t always easy to achieve if you don’t have experience in building websites. In which case, working with a professional web developer is a smart approach. Be clear about what you’re looking for here. Remember, there are distinct differences between web developers and software developers. The latter is strictly focused on building programs and apps. Indeed, some web developers purely focus on the back-end infrastructure of a website. You might need a front-end web developer to design how your potential partners will use your site.
Alongside your website, you need to make your professionalism clear in all your communications. This isn’t about faking a personality for potential sponsors. After all, your personality is an integral part of why audiences connect with you. However, it would be best if you showed they can safely invest money in you. They need to have confidence you’ll meet their expectations and the terms of your deal. Be polite and transparent in your communications; this gives a sense of general professionalism. It can also help you establish a positive long-term relationship.
You might have a great podcast or stream, but sponsorship is not guaranteed. It takes time to establish the kind of profile businesses find attractive. Make intentional efforts to build your audience. Invest time in researching the appropriate potential sponsors. Remember that a commitment to professionalism is a vital component in gaining partnerships. You can turn your project into a career by being more intentional and data-driven in your efforts.
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Last Updated on October 28, 2021.