Jason gives tips on how to acquire a good sponsorship

Jason gives tips on how to acquire a good sponsorship

Evaldas: Yeah, I think we’ve gone for most of the things I’m interested. For my last question, maybe two, you mentioned your sponsorship. Go into details how you got the sponsorship and what kind of ways do you think it’s possible to make a little money out of your podcasts?

Jason: You know, that’s one of the hardest things because you have to find — ideally, you want to find a sponsor where your audience is exactly the audience that you’re going for. So, the nice thing is all of our listeners are developers, and if you are not a developer, I can’t imagine you’re listening to our podcast. I’m sure we have a couple, but it’s got to be the exception rather than the rule. So, when we go talk to companies, I mean, we’re finding companies where they are selling to developers.

So, Infragistics was just a really great fit there. We’ve talked to a lot of different companies and they were just the best fit. We haven’t had a ton of sponsors. Right now, Infragistics is our exclusive sponsor. When we talked to them, they said, “Hey, we want to be your only sponsor.” We said, “Okay, we can do that.” We’ve been pretty fortunate, but it’s really instead of expecting sponsors to find you, I guess my advice would be, like I said, think of the companies that you love that are looking for the audience that you have, and when you find that, go talk to them, and I think they’ll be receptive.

Now, what I would do if you have a podcast and your download numbers are low, finding a sponsor, you’re not going to have a good time. You have to bootstrap this thing yourself. Unless you have some special gift or some special reason for sponsors, especially from day 1, you have to show the numbers first. One thing that we do that I don’t think is unique, we went out and we looked at what a normal CPM rate is, what we charge per thousand customers, and basically what we do is we look at what the numbers are today and we’ll go to the sponsor and we’ll say, “Hey, you can renew for any period of time if you want.”

So, if Infragistics came to us and they said, “We want a 10-year sponsorship deal,” we’d say, “That’s fine,” and we would allow them to lock in at today’s rates. And honestly, based on our growth rate, they would be getting an insane deal, so don’t tell them that. But, they basically renewed for one year, and I think, because of their budgeting cycle, companies usually won’t go out more than one year. But, we let them lock in at today’s numbers and that encourages them to lock in for a longer period of time because now they’re getting a stellar deal because our numbers are growing way faster than what I even expected. So, if you look at, kind of, the average of what they’re paying per download, because of our growth rates that are going up, their price per download actually keeps dropping because they’ve already paid us for the year. So, that’s kind of interesting.

But, like I said, find somebody who’s looking for the listeners that you have. I mean, those listeners are so valuable, especially the more of a niche you have, the better. I was talking about that cppcast.com. All of his listeners are just C++ developers, right? So, if you have a company that’s selling something to C++ developers, which podcast do you think they’re going to sponsor? There’s only one to sponsor. There might be other ones out there, but I mean, it’s pretty clear which podcast is the best. They could make a T.V. commercial, but guess what, 1 in 10,000 of their viewers actually know what C++ is, so it’s just going to be a huge waste of money.

Evaldas: Yeah, and I see the podcast as such a medium there where you build relationships with your audience in quite an intimate way. So, having to offer review of product or make some kind of sponsorship, I think that gives a kind of quality to that thing, and you are associating a podcast and yourself with that product, and the listener, if he gains your trust, more trust for your opinion.

Jason: Yeah, and you have to do the podcast for yourself first, and that will show through, and I think you have to do it for yourself first. Build up a decent listener base and, honestly, without the ads in there, it’s a little bit easier to do that. Get your numbers up first and then go try to find the perfect sponsor. You don’t have to be in a huge rush to do it, because if you’re in this just for the money, it’s pretty darn tough. It’s kind of like getting a number one app in the iPhone store and trying to make a living. There’s a sea of other people out there and I don’t know how, unless you started a huge network and had a whole bunch of success how you’d live off of it.

But, our goal with ours was just to cover our costs and be able to buy really good equipment. We’re getting to the point now where we’re going to have enough money that if we want to travel to different conferences, that will be covered. We also wanted to be able to do things, like on our next episode on the 100th episode, which we’re actually recording later today, we’re doing what we’re calling a “Swag Bomb”.

So, we have this $200 backpack with our logo on it and it’s going to have a whole bunch of our stuff in it: stickers, hats, shirts, we’re going to have a tablet in there. Just tons and tons of msdevshow stuff, and we had people send in audio reviews. So, basically, that’s going to like our number one fan, and they’re going to have all this stuff that they can give away to other people as well. Then, for our guests, we’re giving away – I know this isn’t video – but, let’s see if I have it here. I’ll show it to you at least.

Evaldas: Yeah, and I will see it.

Jason: So, we have these Moleskine notebooks, which are really, really nice notebooks. They’re pretty pricey for kind of what they look like, but the ink doesn’t bleed through the pages. They’re really good. So, we have these custom printed up. We ordered 100 of these, so every single one of our guests, going forward, is actually going to get one of these notebooks. Because we wouldn’t be where we’re at without the guests. So, having that sponsorship money, we can actually run a professional podcast and run it in the way that we want to. At this point, there’s no extra money. We’re hoping, eventually, there will be, and then we can even get a little bit crazier with what we do. But, we never intended for this to be our primary source of income.

*Photo Credit: Timferro.com*

*Photo Credit: Timferro.com*

Evaldas: Yeah, I still do say that you’re doing pretty well in just how you’re doing for almost two years, right?

Jason: Yeah, we’ve been very happy with it. When we started, I told Carl, I said, “We need to have 50,000 downloads in 12 months,” and he said, “You’re insane. That’s never going to happen,” and we’re, probably, I would think, in this calendar year, we’re going to get to the point where we’re going to do that every single month.

Evaldas: Wow.

Jason: Yeah, and we blew away that number in the first 12 months. I think we hit it, I want to say, month number 7. He’s like, “Yeah, I guess you were right.” Like I said, now, we’re just absolutely going to completely blow that away. So, we’re not even really setting goals anymore, from a numbers standpoint. It was obvious that we needed to in the beginning, but now it’s like, “Okay, we got this dialed in. Let’s just keep doing what we’re doing. We think we’ve found the formula that works, so we’re just going to keep executing.”

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About Evaldas Miliauskas

Evaldas Miliauskas is the founder of CastSource – a startup that provides transcriptions designed for podcasts. He is a passionate podcaster listener, host, and a entrepreneur.

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