Podcorn Review & Walkthrough
Podcast Monetization plays a significant role in helping podcasters create quality content or even turn podcasting passion into a full-time career.
The problem is that the traditional CPM model is based strictly on the number of downloads and only profits off podcasts that regularly get 10,000+ listeners.
Since the average podcaster gets 141 downloads per episode, the vast majority of independent creators are left to fend for themselves and reach out to brands individually—a process that takes a considerable amount of time and research.
Podcorn's self-service platform for podcast sponsorships aims to help independent creators partner with brands they can genuinely endorse and give brands access to unique audiences; in this review, we see if it delivers.
How does Podcorn work?
Agnes Kozera and David Kierzkowski created Podcorn as an alternative ad model better suited to independent podcasters, where sponsors consider factors beyond download numbers such as podcast niche, topic expertise, and length of brand integration—all within one central hub.
Podcorn's marketplace connects brands looking to advertise with podcast influencers who want to monetize by promoting products and services they authentically support. This ad model transforms a generic commercial into an honest recommendation and testimonial.
And because Podcorn is a marketplace and not an agency, they don't take any rights to your podcast or make you sign an exclusive deal.
The platform does take a 10% cut of earnings made through sponsorships, but you're free to use Podcorn for just some of your advertisements or all of them.
Once you create a Podcorn account, the platform matches you with the most relevant native sponsorship opportunities. You can choose which sponsors you'd like to work with, propose creative sponsorship formats, set your prices and schedules, and maintain control over every aspect of your content.
However, if you have an audience of fewer than 100 listeners, the platform recommends that you focus on growing your listenership before investing time in getting brand deals.
Different types of branded content
Podcorn uses native advertising instead of dynamically inserted ads, which means you get to create unique sponsorship content that meets your specific goals (instead of disrupting listeners with boring, plugged-in ads).
The platform supports host-read ads, interview segments, topical discussions, round-tables, reviews, giveaways, and more.
You create branded content in your own voice in collaboration with brand partners you decide to endorse.
Positives of Podcorn
✅ All podcasters can signup regardless of audience size
✅ Find the right ad formats for your podcast
✅ Payments via Stripe or Paypal
✅ Can continue relationships with existing sponsors & advertisers
Downsides to Podcorn
🆇 You might not find a sponsor that is a perfect fit for your podcast
🆇 It can take some back-and-forth to find the right relationship
Sign up for Podcorn
If you host your podcast with Buzzsprout, you can sign up for Podcorn with just a few clicks. Signing up through Buzzsprout also gives you the tools to let sponsors see your verified podcast statistics.
Inside Buzzsprout, go to Monetization > Sponsors and click Find Sponsors with Podcorn.
Enter your podcast details in the separate window to get your Podcorn login, and you're ready to find your first podcast sponsor.
If you don't host with Buzzsprout
If you don't have a Buzzsprout account, you can move your podcast to Buzzsprout or set up a Podcorn account with your existing podcast host. You can sign up for a Podcorn account regardless of where you host your podcast, but once you create your account, you'll need to reach out to your host to set up the Podcorn prefix URL (this is done automatically on Buzzsprout).
Choose the right sponsor for your podcast
Choosing the right sponsor to work with is the foundation of a mutually beneficial deal. We recommend browsing the available sponsorships to find brands that are relevant to your audience, you have personal experience with, and can recommend honestly.
Before you send proposals to sponsors, it's essential to consider which ones will be mutually beneficial; you can ask yourself these questions to help you decide:
- Does this sponsor offer something that will interest my audience?
- Am I excited to share about the product or service?
- Does it fit the esthetic of my podcast or upcoming episode?
If you feel tempted to connect with brands that you don't use or honestly like, remember, your listeners are savvy, and they'll pick up on inauthentic ads that feel forced or otherwise disingenuous.
Your passion goes a long way; even if a sponsor isn’t directly related to your podcast, working with them usually makes sense if you care about what they have to offer.
You can also ask your audience what they're interested in, what they like, what problems they have. Knowing this information can help you find relevant sponsorships that won't feel off-putting to your listeners.
Write your sponsor proposal
When you find a sponsor to reach out to, you'll want to send a proposal to introduce yourself and tell them why you think you’re a good fit for each other.
The proposal is also where you select the type of sponsored content you'll create for the brands, how much you'd like to charge, and which upcoming episodes you'd be publishing the content.
We recommend that you be flexible and offer a few different types of content; it's more likely to entice the sponsor to hire you for multiple episodes.
Pro tip: There is only one question you must answer convincingly: "Why should someone give you money to promote their product?"
If this is your first time pitching yourself to a sponsor, don't stress! Here's what you'll want to have prepared for your proposal.
1. Creativity, detail, and passion
Most sponsors value creative ideas and passion, so think of your proposal as a resume cover letter. You can start by telling the sponsor a little about yourself and your show and the type of content you would like to create for them—remember to be creative and detailed.
Podcorn also allows you to submit an audio proposal, so you can use that opportunity to create a sample ad for the potential sponsor so they can get a sense of your style.
2. A compelling reason for why you want to promote this sponsor
What about your content and audience is an excellent fit for this sponsor? What kind of content will you create for the campaign to help them achieve their goals? Why do you think this opportunity is a great fit?
The more details you can provide, the better. Maybe you plan to cover a topic on an upcoming episode related to the brand, or maybe your listenership fits the brand's demographic. Whatever the reason, share what piques your interest in working with this specific brand.
3. Podcast downloads, listening data, and demographics
Sponsors benefit from getting their brand in front of your audience, so it's a great idea to be transparent about analytics data for your show (like the number of downloads you get on average per episode within 30 days).
Sharing this information helps sponsors get an idea of how many people they can expect to reach. If you host with Buzzsprout, you can get this data from your Buzzsprout stats dashboard.
Even if you don't have a large audience, transparency goes a long way; many brands on this platform place a higher value on consistent episode production.
If your sponsor is looking for demographic information, like the age and gender of your listeners, you can get this from your Spotify Podcast Statistics. If your podcast isn't in Spotify, you can also get demographic information from your podcast's social media pages.
How much should you charge for ad space?
Part of writing a successful pitch is knowing how to price your offer. While Podcorn lets creators charge however much they want for ad space, it can be tricky to know what rates are reasonable when you're just starting out.
For bigger podcasts (thousands of listeners per episode), Podcorn typically sees ads priced at $15-$30 CPM for pre/mid-rolls.
For integrated content like a product overview or a guest influencer, creators can charge higher prices, typically around $25-$50 CPM.
But according to the platform's co-founders, podcasts with less than 1,000 listeners do best charing a flat rate, say $100 for interviewing a guest influencer. Hosts of smaller shows can even offer a package deal of several ads plus an interview with someone from the brand.
Collaborate with brand
Once you find a sponsorship opportunity that’s a good fit for your show, you can send the sponsor a proposal. If the brand likes what they see and decides your show is a good fit for their campaign, they’ll accept the bid, and Podcorn will create a workroom in your dashboard.
The workroom is where you and the sponsor can collaborate on the talking points, creative direction and connect to discuss and finalize any details about the sponsored content you create.
Once you've finished and recorded the ad read or sponsored content for the campaign, you'll submit the finished audio content to the sponsor for review and approval. You'll need to do this before you publish your episode.
Once the sponsor approves your submission, Podcorn will send your payment through Stipe or Paypal. Then you'll publish your episode and track your episode's performance.
Update your ads using Dynamic Content
Once you strike a deal with a sponsor and record your pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll ads, it's time to insert the content into your podcast episodes. There are two ways to go about ad insertion:
- Insert the pre-recorded ad yourself into each episode as you edit
- Use a Dynamic Content tool to apply ads to all episodes at once
Buzzsprout's Dynamic Content tool is available on all Buzzsprout accounts regardless of plan. It allows users to easily add and remove intros and outros to and from all existing episodes in your catalog simultaneously.
Using Dynamic Content lets you swap out pre and post-roll ads as your sponsorships change, giving you the flexibility to alter content as you work with more brands and saving you time in post-production.
To access Dynamic Content, log in to your dashboard and go to Episodes > Dynamic Content. Here you can upload your pre and post-roll content and preview them before publishing.
Podcorn's marketplace ditches the one-size-fits-all CPM approach and evaluates your podcast on its own merit. For podcasters ready to seek out sponsorships, Podcorn's flexibility allows for creative and authentic ad content, and its functionality makes it user-friendly for both brands and creators.
We're excited to see how the marketplace continues to develop to help independent podcasters monetize their content.
If you're ready to connect with brands, log in to your Buzzsprout account to set up the Podcorn integration, and check out the available sponsorships!