AskPat 165 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, hey. What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 165 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me. We have a great question today from James for all you podcasters out there, and even if you don't podcast, this is going to be helpful for you, because we're going to be talking about finding sponsors.
So, let's just dive right into today's question from James.
James: Hey, Pat. This is James up in Minneapolis. I'm going to be starting my podcast soon, and I have a question about sponsors. How do you find sponsors, and is it okay to just give out an affiliate link and say this podcast was brought to you by <blank>? I don't have much of an audience to start out with, obviously, so while I'm building my audience, I'm guessing that sponsors won't be too keen on sponsoring the podcast just off the bat. So, while I'm looking for some, I would like to just give out an affiliate link, but I'm not sure if that's kosher. Thanks.
Pat Flynn: James, thank you so much for the question, and congratulations on the upcoming start of your podcast. That's amazing. For those of you looking to start your own podcast, I recommend heading to PodcastingTutorial.com. That will take you to my free tutorial. No emails or opt-ins required. It's six complete videos there for you. It's helped thousands of people get started. So, I don't know, James, if you use it or not, but either way, you're at the point now, and I think it's smart where you can start thinking about how you can potentially monetize, and of course, sponsoring is a great way to do that.
But, like you said at the beginning, it might not be very possible, because you don't know how many readers or listeners, excuse me, that you're going to have. So, it's important to understand that it might be hard to get sponsors on right away, but if there is a company that you've been working with already for a website that you already have, and you potentially have an audience already, you can start from day one. AskPat, for example, already had an audience at SmartPassiveIncome.com, and I had relationships with other companies, and I said, “Hey. I'm starting this new podcast. I don't know how many downloads I'm going to get, but here is how many downloads I had on my other show; here's how much traffic I get to my website. Would you want to do an early-bird sort of trial with me on sponsoring the AskPat podcast?” And it worked out. It worked out really well. So, yes, you can get sponsors from day one, but it's a little bit harder, and you'll have to develop some good relationships first and also prove that you sort of have at least some sort of audience somewhere already. Even if you have a large following on a Facebook page, that could potentially work to convincing a company to at least testing it out for a few episodes.
Now, how do you find sponsors, though? I have a few different strategies for you. One, start with companies that align with your message and your target audience. You can do Google searches and things like that, or you might already know or you should have an idea. Perhaps, there are companies that have products that you've already used. Those are companies that could potentially sponsor your particular show. So, that's the first thing.
The second thing you could do is you can find companies, and this is a sort of more specific way of or more strategic way of doing it, find companies that are already sponsoring other podcasts. That way, you know that they know what's up. They are doing it already, and you just have to reach out and say, “Hey. I heard you sponsor this show. Well, I have the same type of audience, and this is how I stand out. This is how I'm different. Would you want to do a trial run?” Listen in your genre. That's one way to find these sponsors. So, listening could take a long time if you listen to all the podcasts in your particular category; it could take a while. Right? Yes, you could potentially listen to the first few minutes of each episode just to see if there are sponsors for a pre-roll and then reach out to those companies, but you can actually do this instead: Go to the blogs or websites of those other shows that you have in your category or your potential category, and you'll see the sponsors most likely mentioned somewhere on their page. Either in their show notes or on the side of their blog, you know, “This show has been brought to you by, or this show is sponsored by so on and so forth.” You can see what companies they're affiliated with, and then you can go and reach out to them and say, “Hey. I saw you were sponsoring or your affiliated with this company. Well, I'm in the same space, and I'm doing this differently, and this is how I could add some value to you and your company.” And you can go from there.
The third thing you could do is, you could actually type in a few different keywords into Google and see what ads pop up. You know those ads that show up when you do Google searches? See what ads come up. That shows you, sort of validates those companies as companies that are willing to pay for advertising. They might not even know that there's an opportunity to sponsor podcasts as a means of getting traffic to their site or getting in front of a target audience. Because those companies showed up with your target keywords, you have the opportunity to say, “Hey, I saw you showed up for such and such keyword or whatever, and I actually have a podcast, and it's coming out soon,” or maybe it's come out already and you reach out to them later. That's another great way to find companies that you know are paying for advertising, and there's a potential that those companies don't even know podcasts in their particular space exist. They might not be even thinking about that yet, so it gives you good opportunity to do some test trials with them as well. Then, of course, after that after you have this list of different companies, you could reach out to them. If you want to do that, there's some things you could do to give yourself an advantage in terms of having them say yes. So, best practice, as they say, is to have some sort of media kit available that you can give these companies. Traditionally, it's sort of like a pdf file that has a fancy nice logo on the cover page with a lot of data about your target audience and about your company and why it exists and how you stand out and all those sorts of things, things that will be useful for somebody who's about to make a decision whether to pay you or not. But you don't actually need a pdf. I've actually never had a media kit. I've been able to, over email or over a Skype conversation, and just tell them what they need to hear in order to say yes or no to sponsoring my podcast. They're going to, and interested in information like the download data, of course, if you have that. Traffic data to your website is always good. The audience type, you know, all the demographics, male, female, age group, what do they do. The more information you share, the more likely they are to have the information they need to make a good decision. If there's some missing information, they might not want to say yes, because they are not sure that it's actually going to be a good fit. They might be able to get some deals from you as far as additional ad spaces not just in the podcast, but on the site or in your email list if you send out emails. Those are other things that you could do. So, you can offer those things in addition. They'll also want to know your CPM, but you don't need to say that in your media kit. You can negotiate that. CPM is cost per thousand downloads or listens.
So, all those things are important to include, and the more you can include, like I said, the better. But you want to reach out, and overall, what that does, that media kit does, is it just shows that you're professional and that you sort of, even though you might be doing this for the first time, that you actually are taking this seriously. That's very important when dealing with these other companies. That's the gist of it. Just try, and if it doesn't work out, keep trying, find other companies. Some companies might not be willing to do it, and you ask them months down the road after your show's up and running, James, and maybe they'll say yes. You know, I've had companies in the past who I sponsored recently on AskPat who said no when I asked them in the beginning. They were like, “Oh, we want to see some data. After eight weeks, you can come back to us.” Then, after I gave them the data and some still said no and some were like “Yeah, sure.” Then, some of the ones that said no, I came back to them eight weeks later. I don't know why eight weeks. It just happened to the case when I emailed them. Then they said yes, and some still said no. So, you're going to get rejected. It's fine. Just try it out.
Now, I like what you asked about affiliate marketing, because you can promote on your podcast with an affiliate link. I think that's really smart, especially when you're first starting out, because you don't have to have them say yes to a sponsorship where they're paying you a set amount. They are just simply there as a company that you are an affiliate for, and if anybody goes through your special affiliate link, which of course, when you're doing anything over the airwaves, you want to make it easy to go through. So using a plugin like Pretty Link on WordPress makes it easier to go through to your affiliate link, as opposed to some really crazy long link with a bunch of numbers and your ad ID—you know, your affiliate ID with a bunch of symbols and stuff. That's difficult. So use something like a Pretty Link. Or, if you want to get fancy, you could actually register a domain and forward it through that affiliate link, which I've done for a few things in the past. So you could do that. Definitely. You could make that a thing that you do in your podcasts. I know a lot of podcasters who do that as a resource of the day or resource of the week. You know, at the end of the shows, they don't make it a sponsor, but they say, “Hey. Our tool for this week is so and so. This is what they do. And here's the affiliate link. If you go through that link, I do get paid as a result.” And I think it's important to mention that; actually, it is very important, at least if you're in the U.S., because of the FTC regulations. It's because of that that I wouldn't recommend, and of course I'm not a lawyer, and I would check with your lawyer first before taking any action on this. Sorry for the disclaimer, but you know what I mean. You have to be careful with your affiliate links, because it is required for you to let your audience know that if they go through a specific link and they make a purchase, that you get paid for it. I love to do that anyway. I just love to share that, because it shows people that I get paid. I think it's important to do that. Some people will actually appreciate that, because they'll be like, “Oh, there's this link that I can go through that actually pay you back for all the valuable information you shared.”
A lot of times in the past, people were trying to be super ninja and sneaky with their affiliate links. Like, here's a link, and then they click it, and it turns into an affiliate link without them saying anything. Now, it's a little bit easier to notice when that happens, and if nothing is said, people start to assume, “Oh, wow. This person's just trying to make money from me, and he's not even telling me.” Like, how sneaky. Or you can just say, “Hey, guys. Here's this tool that I use. I love it, and it's helped me do this, this, and this. I think it would be really awesome if you check it out, and it might help you do the same. So here's my affiliate link. Super easy link to remember. If you go through that link and make a purchase, I do get paid as a result, and I thank you in advance for doing that. If you have any questions, please let me know, and I'd be happy to answer them for you.”
So, a number of things I did there. One, I showed that it was a tool that I actually did use and that's a very, very key element to my affiliate marketing strategy is something that I've used because I know it will take care of my audience. I don't promote anything I haven't used. Of course, I don't promote anything that I know is not going to be helpful to my audience. So, people know, whenever I recommend something, because of those rules, that it's going to something worthwhile. Secondly, I also mentioned that I get paid. Like I mentioned before, that's a smart thing to do, not only because of the FTC, but also because it just shows people that you're being honest and upfront about that. Thirdly, I offer support. That's a cool thing, because a lot of people won't want tech support. If somebody emails you and says, “Hey, I'm sort of interested in this. Would you give me more information?”, why wouldn't you answer those people, because they're hot leads? They're people who are on the fence, and if you just talk to them, sometimes they just want to hear somebody else sort of confirm something that they've already been thinking. If you were to email them back or answer or reply to them on Twitter or whatever the case may be, however they're reaching out to you, they're more than likely going to convert. I've always seen that to be the case. So, I always offer support. Even though hardly anybody emails me for support because of the fact that I'm actually mentioning it and offering that, it sort of takes that guard down and says, “Hey, Pat's here in case I need it, so I'm going to go buy this and see what happens.” You know what? That's what happens. That's why my affiliate income is so large every single month.
Now, James, I didn't answer your question specifically. I was just giving a lot of tips about affiliate marketing and things like that. Again, like I said, it's smart to do that on your show. I've done that on my show before. However, saying “brought to you by” when you're only an affiliate is not really the case. You know? It's a little bit of a sort of a entrepreneurial swerve. I don't know who says that. But it's not really true. Right? It's not like, “Hey, I contacted this company and they said it was okay to be on the podcast.” I mean, I'm sure it is okay if you mention an affiliate link in a podcast like that, but it's not really “brought to you by.” “Brought to you by” sort of seems like, “Hey, this company paid specifically for this show to exist, and they made a deal to make that happen.” I don't know. That's just how I feel about it. If any of you out there have any other feelings about this, or maybe you're a lawyer, feel free to help James and I out actually by using the hashtag #AskPat165, because this is episode 165. That's generally how I feel about it. Again, I recommend you finding somebody who knows a little bit more legally about that, but I just wouldn't risk it. I wouldn't say “brought to you by” when it's just an affiliate relationship. Again, because you want to be completely honest with that affiliate relationship as well to your audience.
So, those are my general feelings. James, I hope that answers your question. Best of luck to you in your new show. Let us all know when it goes live, and use the hashtag #AskPat165 so those of us listening to this show and following the hashtag can check it out when it goes live. Thanks, and best of luck, and an AskPat t-shirt is definitely going to be headed your way. My assistant will email you very soon sometime in the next week or so with that information. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page.
Again, there were no sponsors in today's episode. Sometimes there are no sponsors, but if you want to get started with your podcast, just head on over to PodcastingTutorial.com. That's not a company. That's a link to one of my blog posts on my page that will help you get your podcast started. Again, PodcastingTutorial.com.
Of course, as always, I like to end with a quote. Today's quote is from George Washington Carver. He says, “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” Boom. Love it. All right, everybody, enjoy the start of football season. You know, American football, for those of you who are overseas, and have an awesome day. I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Peace.