Pros and Cons of Adding Sponsors to Your Podcast as a Business Owner

Small business owners using their podcast to generate, educate, and convert right fit clients often consider their show, self sponsored. This is precisely how I see our show. Uncommonly More sponsors this show, that allows me to be use the CTAs to promote things like The Podcasting for Profitability Roundtable or our Podcast Strategy Intensives.

But does my business need to be the ONLY sponsor for my podcast? Maybe not.

Podcasters often thing sponsorships can be a cash cow, but hold your horses—there’s a fine line between being resourceful and turning your podcast into an ad fest. That’s why we’re digging deep the pros and cons of adding third-party sponsors to your small business podcast.

In this episode of The More Profitable Podcast, we’re taking a no BS approach to podcast sponsorships for service-based businesses because there is never ONE right answer, or ONE right way, only you know what’s best for your podcast and your business.

3:29 – Using sponsorships to help get listeners ready to buy services or products.

7:33 – The risk of providing distractions and shiny objects to the audience you’re trying to convert.

11:52 – The impact of adding additional sponsorships on the listener experience.

17:1 – Right-fit sponsorships align with the show’s goal of generating, educating, and converting right-fit clients.

20:47 – Assessing sponsorships based on your show’s goals and your business model.

Mentioned In Pros and Cons of Adding Sponsors to Your Podcast as a Business Owner

Podcasting for Profitability Roundtable

Podcast Strategy Intensive

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Stacey Harris: Have you ever considered adding sponsors to your podcast? Even if you're somebody who, like me, identifies as self sponsored because you're using your business to generate, educate and convert right fit clients? Actually, maybe, especially if you fit into that category, I'm going to talk about the pros and cons of adding a sponsorship when you're already using your podcast to sell your services. Let's get into it. Welcome to the more profitable podcast with Stacey Harris. I'm Stacey and this is the spot to learn more about the strategies, tactics and tools you need to build your more profitable podcast. My team and I work every day with podcasters like you to shift shows from frustrating time sucks to productive members of your sales team because your show should be built to generate and convert leads. So let's get into it. Before we dig in. Huge shout out to the podcasting for Profitability Roundtable, because this episode is inspired by a conversation that came up recently in a roundtable conversation. And I was like, this is so good. We've got to bring this to the show.

Stacey Harris: And so this is inspired by a question submitted if you would like to join us, so that you get the direct answer to for your show version of this, instead of the I'll take this to the podcast and answer it. Generally version of this question, you should make sure you're on our next podcasting for Profitability Roundtable, which you can find conveniently at uncommonly more com slash roundtable. I know it's like I hit it on the internet. sign up, put it on your calendar, submit your question. we do not release recordings of this, so you do need to join us alive. But that's because I want to actually talk to you. I want to actually dig into the specifics and have this conversation. so make sure, again, uncommonly Morcombe slash roundtable, you have reserved your seat. You have submitted your question so that we can have this chat or any chat for you in that space. All right. I'm stoked to have this conversation because it comes up not infrequently. Honestly, it's probably by no means our most frequently asked question, which is why we've not talked about it before on the podcast, but it is something we've talked about with past production clients.

Stacey Harris: It's something we've talked about in the past on podcast strategy intensives. And as I said, it's something that recently came up in a roundtable. So it's top of mind especially. In an economy where we're seeing maybe slower sales cycles, it's taking a little longer to convert. We're all looking to diversify our revenue all the time. That's such an important part of our work. And this seems like a really easy way to do that. And so we're going to be super brief in and out today. We're going to cover a couple of pros and a couple of cons and then kind of wrap it all up with a final small potentially so boxy moment. Sound good? Let's dig in. I want to start with the pros because frankly it sounds more fun. You with me? All right. Pro number one I've got two pros. I've got two cons. Pro number one. We've kind of already alluded to it. It's super freaking obvious. It's a potentially additional revenue. It's potentially some money you're not currently making that you could be making.

Stacey Harris: And I don't know about you but I love additional revenue. I am somebody who. it's been really interesting throughout the years to be in, in mastermind communities and coaching relationships and, and, and mentorship opportunities because I am the girl who loves money. I love it, I think it's so great. Money is choice. Money is option. I like money, I like choice, I like option. And money provides me those things. And so I'm always looking to add additional revenue because it means I can do more. It means I can pay my team more. It means I can support the causes I care about more. It means I can shop with the small businesses I love. It means I can, chip in to the infrastructure of this world. For better or worse. It gives me a lot of impact. So I'm always looking for additional revenue. So the biggest pro there is, the obvious pro there is, is additional revenue. And we can't stop the conversation here because unfortunately this is most often.

Stacey Harris: And this is kind of why we started here. This is most often where the conversation ends, right? I think adding a sponsor would be a great way to add some additional revenue. Okay, let's do it. Right. But what's the cost? Right. What's what? What are the what? What is the other benefit of doing it? Is there anything else? And there is. I have another pro that honestly I think is a little more important. Then the additional revenue which having a sponsor on the show could allow you to help get a listener a prospect buyer ready. If you're using that sponsorship spot to promote a tool or a service that helps get your clients better results from the work they get with you, or ready for the work they'll do with you. That is a huge value to your listener. It is a huge value to your ability to downstream, sell them into your services, put them into your solutions so that they're really moving towards a solution to their problem and not a distraction.

Stacey Harris: And so for me, this is the most. Valuable. The most important pro. It's often frequently neglected. It's an even consideration. Like we're not even considering that this might be it. So if you're looking to add a sponsor, my question is often cool. Who? What? What is the spot? Because if you put something in there that again, helps move them into buyer readiness or help support them through their work experience with you. Heck yeah. Heck yeah. All day it is an obvious yes to me. Now, though, we're maybe going to spend a little more time. I want to talk about the cons, and this first one ties directly to our second pro. Because. For every sponsorship opportunity. That would be a big win win and would help your audience get better results from working with you, or get ready to work with you. There are 100 sponsorship opportunities that are an utter distraction. It's you getting paid. Probably not as much as you would make in selling them your services.

Stacey Harris: It's you getting paid to sell them a distraction to provide them with a shiny object. In full and honest as as clearly as I can speak. The biggest disservice you can do for your listenership. The biggest disservice you can do for your podcast. The biggest disservice you can do for your business. It start to be one of the shiny objects keeping your potential client stuck. And. If you've got a poor fit. Sponsorship. If you've got a. Poor fit sponsor. You are providing them. A shiny object, especially. When they may be listening to your show and not fully understanding their problem. And we all know every service provider I've ever talked to has had clients and prospects. Who got onto a sales call, who got onto their website, who got into conversation with them. And it became very clear very quickly that the potential client did not actually understand what their problem was. I see this a ton. When we talk about sales coaching and building sales skills, and I will see business owners go to people like me.

Stacey Harris: In the marketing space and say, I need more leads. If I could just get more leads, I would make more money. And it's a cool, cool, cool. How are you currently converting clients? Like how are you currently converting your leads? Well, I'm having a really hard time getting buyers from the podcast. Cool. Then more listeners is not the problem. If you can't convert the leads you have, you don't need more leads. You need help with your conversion. And that could be an offer problem. That could be a a sales skills problem, that could be a sales process problem. That could be lots of things. But the thing most often brought to me. Is I need more listeners. And it's funny because I'll go listen to the show and I'll be like, cool, you actually just need more calls to action. You just need to actually tell them they can buy some stuff or stop feeding them shiny objects. This is so dangerous for the results of your show and for the ability for your listener, for your lead, for your prospect, for your potential customer to get to the solution they're seeking.

Stacey Harris: So we don't want to be filling our feeds, our shows, with distractions. The second con. And then we're going to start talking about some of this decision making process. The second con is that you only get so many calls to action. Right. You only get so many moments where you are hard and fast, telling them, here's what I want you to do. The way I figure, the way I structure my show, I guess we should say, is you get two, right? There's two moments explicitly in this program, in this format that are calls to action. You've got the free one at the beginning where you heard me talk about the round table. This is one of those things where we just break it open and show you what's inside here. we had the one where we talked about the round table. That's what I call our free call to action. And then we'll have a paid call to action in a few minutes when we wrap up this episode. I will invite you to learn more about the podcast Strategy Intensive.

Stacey Harris: Those are it. Those are the calls to action. Now, I mentioned things and we're planting seeds and there's a whole other you know we've talked about that. I'm sure we'll talk about it again. but explicit. Solid calls to action. I got two. Now, I could, in theory, keep my free and keep my paid and shoehorn a mid-roll in here somewhere. I could dump my hay. Here's what we're talking about today. Hook intro. And we could put a pre-roll sponsor out there. That starts to get real noisy, especially when we considering I mean, this episode is going to be under 20 minutes. On average, my episodes last somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. But it's not uncommon for us to get a 15 to 20 minute episode. Can you imagine if an addition to the round table and to the intensive? There was also like right now. A mid-roll. Trying to sell you. Something I'm an affiliate for. Some other things sponsor for the show. Generally, those are somewhere between 30 to 60s.

Stacey Harris: And there's just a commercial break in the middle. How quickly does this episode feel? Like an infomercial. Like you're just being hammered with sales. And so I shift the dynamic. When I start to add additional calls to action. So my other option is to sacrifice some of my calls to action. I'm going to make more money putting this in the free spot than I am the paid spot. Also, the person listening all the way to the end is more likely to action that second call to action. And so I don't want that second call to action to be anything but, hey, let's work together, because the purpose of my show is to generate, educate, and convert right fit clients. I'm not going to want to skip that conversion element at the end of the show. If I got you to listen to the end of the show. And so now I'm not putting people on my email list. Because I've only got so many calls to action before we turn this into one big commercial. And so you've got to be mindful of that.

Stacey Harris: Where I will say that can be shifted is if you do have a longer format show, there's more room. Let's say you have a guest format and your episodes range more 45 to 50 minutes. You could in theory have your for the case of of our structure here free. From you. Like my round table promo. Sit between an intro and the interview. You could roll a mid-roll in the middle of the interview. That is your third party sponsor, and you could finish it with a call to action that goes to your products or services. That would buy you a little space. But you've also got to consider we've now layered in an additional person with their own calls to action. So now I've got my promo. The guest intro. The episode kind of rolling a little, a third party ad. Then I've got the guest call to action, and then I've got my call to action for my paid thing. I've offered a lot more off ramps. There's a lot more opportunities to decide whether you want to keep listening or not, versus if I just keep you in the content.

Stacey Harris: Right. I've given you more off ramps. So it's less likely that I've gotten you to my final call to action. And I've also just given you like five choices. And what is the old sales cliché? A confused mind says no. But it's cool because I'm getting paid to confuse you. There is not enough money that you can pay me. To confuse my audience, to confuse my listenership. There's no good money in confusing my prospects. There's no good money in confusing yours. And so if this is something you want to do. You've got to be mindful of these pieces. And so it can be great. It could be terrible. But it has to come down to this. And this is how you make this decision. Is this in line with the goal of your show and the goal of your business model? My show. The goal of this show is to generate, educate and convert right fit clients. It is to help the podcasters who are using their show to build an audience that will buy from them.

Stacey Harris: That means my focus here. Needs to be on things that move them forward. So no, I don't want an ongoing sponsor that I've got a long term commitment to including an X amount of episodes. It does mean I could see a version of this where somebody was like, hey, I'd love to come on and talk to your audience. Could I pay you to be a guest? Absolutely. By the way, that is a sponsor and that is something that needs to be disclosed. And I, I think we might talk about that in the future, because I've been seeing this come up a lot. if you have questions about this or something that's of interest, this whole, like, paid guest thing, let me know. Maybe we'll bring somebody on to have a conversation about it. But. Setting that aside. If I wanted to do something like this, if I wanted to build in additional revenue through the podcast, that wasn't me putting you into products or services. I'd have to be really mindful of what that looked like.

Stacey Harris: On the flip side of that, if my business model is. $97 courses. I don't want to be feeding you. A bunch of other low dollar distractions. Because I need to be putting as many people into a $97 program as possible. And so I have no room for distraction. However, if you're somebody who sells a more high end retainer done for you, services like our production packages are a great example of this. We only work with so many people at a time. We only bring in so many people at a time, so I don't need to be generating a ton of new leads each week or each month from this podcast for production services. And so I could, in theory, let this show be what it is and have a bunch of sponsors for podcast related stuff. And supplement our retainer revenue with that. I have chosen not to do that because instead of getting you to purchase things that are going to distract you from your goals. Or allow you to feel like maybe you you took some step in the direction you wanted to go in.

Stacey Harris: That's really not in the direction you want to go in. I would rather. Create offers that are going to meet you where you're at until you're ready for production. And that's why things like the podcast Strategy Intensive and the Profitable Podcast or mastermind, and even the podcasting for Profitability Roundtable, which is free, exist. Because I want to be putting things in front of you that are going to move you towards your goal, not distract you from them. And that's ultimately what you have to decide. That's ultimately what you have to be looking at. Anything else? Anything else is a distraction. And so as you sit down to make this decision, I want you to look at these pros that we talked about. I want you to look at these cons that we talked about. But ultimately it has to come down to. Is this a fit for the goals of your show? Is this a fit for the goals of your business model? Is this a fit for serving your community, audience, prospects, ideal clients, whatever language you want to use to describe them.

Stacey Harris: Answer those questions and figure out if right now this is something you want to explore. And I say right now, because the thing I want to leave you with is that none of these decisions are permanent. Not a one. I will tell you right now, today, 639 episodes in. I don't have any desire to add a sponsor. The show is sponsored by Uncommonly Moore. It is sponsored by our agency. Doesn't mean there won't ever be one. Doesn't mean no one should have one. Just means that right now, it's not a fit for my goals. It's not a fit for my business model, and it's a not a fit for what I want my audience to do next. Plain and simple. These are the kinds of things. That we talk through. These are kind of strategic decisions that we work through with intention. In podcast strategy intensives. This is the purpose of that offer is to do work like this. Pull you out of your day to day podcast stuff. And start to make some calls about your show that are going to move it forward and make it more effective.

Stacey Harris: Head on over to uncommonly Morcombe intensive book. A free 30 minute call with me. We can talk about what we want to cover in your intensive. We can talk about if now is the right time for you. We can talk about if the intensive is a right fit for you. All of that in that free call so uncommonly Morcombe intensive. Let's book a call. Let's have a conversation and let's get you moving in the direction you want to be moving in with your show. All right. I'll see you right back here next week. Have a good one. Thanks so much for listening to the show. Remember that content consumption does not make changes, so commit to doing something from today's episode. Maybe it's taking action on what we talked about. Maybe it's reaching out to me and learning more about podcast strategy intensives or what podcast production look likes with our team. All of that is over at uncommonly And if you haven't yet signed up for the podcast newsroom, I want to remind you that is a great next step.

Stacey Harris: If you're not really sure what comes next, hang out over there. Get those exclusive private episodes that's over at Podcast newsroom, dot com. And the last favor I will ask because social proof is endlessly important for sure is to leave a reading or review for the show. If you go to rate this, that's the easiest way to do it. But I would love to hear what you thought of the show, what you think of the show, and if the show has been helpful for you. I can't wait to chat with you. So this is just the start of the conversation. Reach out so we can keep you going. Talk soon.

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