03 Aug Partnering with a Podcast
Joining forces with a podcast or blogger is a great way to expand the customer base for your business. There are different ways to incorporate blog or podcast sponsorship into your marketing plan or bring your business to the right audience. Finding the correct fit will benefit both you and the blogger or podcaster, so let’s consider the essential factors to adding one or both of these to your marketing portfolio.
If you listen to a lot of podcasts, you’ll find that most general-interest podcasts are sponsored by the same handful of advertisers, most of which are web-based services, digital products or physical products sold online only. A typical sponsorship offers a discount code to new customers who come via the podcast. This post from FiveThirtyEight gives an overview of podcast sponsorship from about a year ago. Not a lot has changed; we feel this is an overlooked avenue for Stitchcraft clients to reach new markets for their products and services.
Find the Right Niche
Podcasters who host shows about specific crafts appeal to narrow but deep audiences, as do bloggers who focus on a particular hobby. Unlike broadcast media (radio, TV), niche podcasts and blogs aim directly at a small but passionate group of followers who are devoted to the issues, techniques and news associated with a specific craft. If your products contribute to that craft, that’s the audience you want to address. Finding the podcasts or blogs which target the audience that you want to reach is a matter of sampling: you’re going to have to listen to them and/or read them to find out if the hosts’ style matches the brand identity you want to promote. Once you find creators whose style is a good fit for your product, you can approach them about becoming a sponsor. Sponsors generally receive airtime at the beginning, midpoint and possibly again at the end of a podcast, for a total of perhaps 60-90 seconds per episode.
Of course, you want your sponsorship to reach the widest possible audience, so it’s natural to want to approach the bigger names in blogging and podcasting. But, as in broadcasting, the bigger the event, the more the producer can charge. Do you really need the halftime at the Super Bowl equivalent for a blog or podcasting sponsorship? Not necessarily. Here are a few reasons why partnering with a smaller name may be just as beneficial as sponsoring one of the biggies.
- Bloggers or podcasters with a smaller following can be more responsive to your needs and wishes. You can grow together by collaborating on appropriate episodes or entries.
- Sponsorship rates are determined by audience numbers. Smaller blogs or podcasts will cost less, so you can diversify by sponsoring other blogs or podcasts that speak to a different segment of your customer base for the same amount of money you would spend for a sponsorship on one of the big names.
- Some of the bigger blogs and podcasts are produced by competing companies or have exclusive sponsorship to that host. You don’t want to sponsor your competition, even if they have a segment of the market that you would like to sell to.
Resources for Sponsors
If you’re not already reading blogs in your field or listening to podcasts, why not? Last year’s Serial podcast by Sarah Koenig put podcasts on the pop cultural radar screen, and the form has exploded in popularity. It takes very little in terms of equipment to start a podcast, so lots of people are jumping into the podcast pool. Here’s how to find them to start your sampling process.
- You can find an updated list of knitting/crochet/fiber-related podcasts at http://knittingpodcast.blogspot.com/. The list includes both audio and video podcasts.
- On most podcast platforms,(iTunes, Stitcher, Player.fm) you can browse by going to “Hobbies” and then scrolling through the alphabetical listings, if you know the name of the podcast you’re trying to find. If you’re just trying to get an idea of what’s out there, try looking under keywords associated with that craft or just browse the titles and click on promising ones to see the description.The keywords search doesn’t always work, though; for example, “Spinning Webs” on iTunes is a podcast about Spider-Man, not fiber.
- Search on more than one platform, because the podcasts that only appear on one results list are likely smaller and may be a better target for your marketing strategy.
- Don’t forget YouTube! This link goes to a “Craft podcasts” search. Search your preferred terms for more specificity.
Corresponding resources for finding blogs to sponsor:
- Best of the Web blog directory. The link goes to the category Crafts, which is broken down further into subcategories. One caveat, however: bloggers must pay to have their blog appear on BotW’s directory, so you are not seeing everything out there.
- BlogRollCenter. Again, the link goes to the category Crafts, which on this directory is a subcategory of Arts. On different directories, you may find Crafts under Hobbies, Lifestyle, Home or some other category that might not jump immediately to mind.
- Alltop. If it’s not here, you may not need to know about it. This link will take you to the subcategory Needlecraft. You’ll be reading for hours.
- Or let us be your matchmaker. Stitchcraft Marketing maintains a database of over 70 bloggers and podcasters as part of our blogger outreach program.
Once you have found blogs or podcasts that have the right feel, a good audience for your products, and a sponsorship price point that works for your marketing budget, how do you go about reaching out to them? It depends on what kind of relationship you want with the producers. Getting your product reviewed on a blog or podcast usually involves sending a sample to be reviewed. Often, a blogger will request two samples of the item for review, allowing them to keep one and give the other away as a premium in exchange for comments. Some bloggers are even willing to exchange email names for the giveaway to help you build your list.
Your product will occupy a single content segment once, but will appear in search results when the episode is archived. A sponsorship is an ongoing relationship whose frequency can be adjusted over time. You may not want to sponsor the specific episode on which your product is reviewed because it suggests that you paid for your review. It’s probably better to leave some time between review and sponsorship. The FTC has published disclosure guidelines for social media endorsements here. Stitchcraft Marketing works only with bloggers and podcaster who disclose the fact that they have received products in exchange for a review.
At Stitchcraft Marketing, we build magic for your brand. We have an ever-growing list of bloggers and podcasters who offer sponsorships and review opportunities, and we can help match you up with those whose audience closely matches your desired customer base. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.