Why this list? Because everyone needs inspiration to achieve a goal, and if you're reading this, you are seeking ideas to get your blog or podcast sponsored. Look no further. As a blogger, podcaster (Interviews, The Funny Voices, The Real Speak Podcast) and new media producer myself, I know all too well about the pursuit of sponsorships.
Let's get started ...
1. Change your way of thinking - The first step toward sponsorship is to change the way you think about yourself, your blog or podcast. You must believe in yourself and the blog or podcast you maintain, because after all, if you don't believe, who else will?
2. Identify your audience and target - Who's tuning in to your blog or podcast? What is it about? You should know these things prior to approaching a company for sponsorship. If you already know these things, great! This is important because you'll need to qualify yourself and what you do.
3. Think big / Get your foot in the door - If you are serious about obtaining a sponsor for your blog or podcast, then it is imperative that you understand there are no limits to what you can achieve. Do not allow yourself to become intimidated by large corporations or the people who work for them. Your goal is to get your foot in the door, no matter how large it may seem.
4. Do not be afraid to call (or e-mail) - In March, I decided to approach Cisco Systems as a potential sponsor of the Interviews Podcast. I planted in my mind that this podcast was worthy of Cisco's consideration due to the fact that I'd conducted several relevant interviews with executives in the VoIP/telecom industry.
Within days, my inquiry gained some very long legs within Cisco. Let's follow the life of my inquiry within the company:
- Left sponsorship inquiry (voicemail) at Linksys
- Voicemail forwarded from Linksys to Cisco's Chief Marketing Officer, Susan Bostrom
- Voicemail forwarded from Susan to Diane Dudek, Cisco's Director of Marketing Operations and Corporate Sponsorships
- Received a call from Diane's assistant to forward additional information to Diane
- Sent official sponsorship e-mail to Diane
- Diane responds just over an hour later, stating the inquiry fits Cisco's media sponsorship area
- Diane forwards the inquiry to the very top: George Gutierrez, Director of Worldwide Media Ops at Cisco
5. Do not decline an offer to help - If you find yourself fortunate enough to be offered help by a prominent figure to secure a sponsorship, do not decline their offer! In April, I interviewed the co-founders of Webaroo and after some chit-chat, they volunteered their resources in Silicon Valley to help the process. It was an unexpected gesture by some very humble executives who have sold companies to Yahoo!, Amazon and others.
6. Do not wait for pending inquiries - Now that you've submitted a few sponsorship inquiries, what next? Send more (I've submitted inquiries to Intel, Novell, Best Buy, etc.)! I strongly advise that you not waste time thinking about the progress of your inquiry, because it will not change the outcome of things. Instead, focus on creating more content and sending more inquiries. You'll hear something eventually.
7. Stay the course - If there's anything you must know about podcast sponsorship, it is this: It's still new and most companies aren't bold enough (yet) to chance the investment or they lack a good understanding of the medium. This will lead to disappointment, because you will be declined, forgotten or ignored. Do not take this personally. It is not your problem. Take it in stride and continue producing content your visitors will find of interest. In the meantime, continue sending e-mails and making those phone calls!
Good luck, because there's a whole world of opportunity out there!