How to receive funding for your podcast

How to receive funding for your podcast

From Alex Smith

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Podcasts are booming, with over 460 million global podcast listeners reported as of 2023. The market size for the podcast industry is $23.56 billion, meaning that more and more creators are emerging to get a piece of the pie. 

As a new creator, getting funding is key to gaining the competitive edge over others in the podcasting niche, especially when it comes to creating engaging content to drive more listeners. 

This post will take you through how to gain funding for your podcast, with three simple steps.

Establish your niche

Needless to say, establishing your niche is an important first step to getting funding for your podcast. Much like with any other business, if you don’t have a clear vision in mind, you won’t know who your target audience is, and will find it difficult to convince parties to invest in you. 

Finding your niche should be something that comes naturally to you. If you’re an entrepreneurial podcast talking about the nuances of starting a business, then you will fit within a niche relative to finance and business, for instance. 

If you’re a vegan blog, or even a fitness influencer, you could be spread over numerous categories, such as health and wellness. Finding your niche is not only important for yourself as a creator, but also useful for those looking to invest in your funding, to better understand what they’re getting themselves into. 

Sponsorships and listener donations

Finding a partner that works for you isn’t so black and white as you may think. There are various forms of funding out there, so it’s best to weigh out your options and find out what works best for you.

You could reach out to companies for a sponsorship, which is a collaboration between you (the podcaster) with a company to directly sponsor a podcast. This is something that can be done for an episode or for the entirety of a season. Typically sponsorships involve the podcaster promoting the sponsor, be it a product or service. 

With sponsorships, you need to be careful with the type you accept. Some sponsorships require a portion of the podcast’s revenue in return for the funding, and some merely accept the added exposure as remuneration, in exchange for a sponsorship, much like with influencer partnerships. 

A sponsorship can be good for creators who have an initial concept, but haven’t yet launched. Alternatively, you already have a few episodes out so the companies you reach out to have a practical example of what you’re about. Just ensure that you’re extra attentive with quality podcast production, it’ll help the approval process a bunch. 

Those who are already somewhat established and looking to scale up (with a couple hundred to thousand listeners already), can opt for listener donations with exclusive content. 

A great example of a podcast who’s already done this is that of Shxts and Gigs, who have a Patreon account. The jig is with them, they post odd numbered episodes on YouTube for free, with every other (even numbered) episode posted on Patreon. They merely charge 10p a day for access to over 100 episodes of never-seen-before content!

Apply for relevant grants

Otherwise known as fellowships, there are various grant programmes available for podcasters to get funding. Now, the way you pick these falls back to the concept of picking your niche correctly.

You may choose to apply for an international grant, if your podcast focuses on global issues, i.e. animal rights or the environment. For something of a similar nature to the above example, you’d want to campaign to an animal rights charity to help assist in your funding campaign. 

Public media grants are also a viable option for those focusing on creation of content with an educational or cultural purpose behind it; Educational grants can also be reached out to, for those who produce educational content. 

There are also genre-specific grants you can apply for if you fall into the right category, ergo, for those who cover scientific topics, you may opt for the National Science Foundation, for instance. 

These are just a few examples of grants you can apply for, though it’s important to understand that there is a criteria you must follow to be eligible, and there are sometimes extensive steps to fill out these applications. 

That being said, if you do fit the criteria, there is a sum of money now allocated to your brand, which you can use to propel yourself further. 

Bonus tip: Ask your audience for crowdfunding

Another way to fund your podcast, similar to listener donations, is to opt for crowdfunding solutions. 

Sites such as GoFundMe, or Kickstarter are great for fundraising, especially if you already have a network available to you, or an active social media following. Yet another way to get no-strings-attached funding from your network, crowdfunding is more effective when you clearly state the exact goals you wish to achieve with your podcast. 

Besides, you’re practically operating as a charity, with your podcast being the beneficiary, before people part with their money, it’s best to help them understand where it’s going. Ergo, the cause behind it. 

To sum it up, you can receive funding for your podcast in a myriad of ways. The first step is to find your niche, and explore the options available to you, be it sponsorships, grants or crowd funding. 

When you’ve found the most suitable way of funding for yourself, then you can start pursuing the establishment of your first few partnerships. Then in no time you’ll be one of the next big podcasts! All in good timing.

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