Five Simple Steps and Gridset frequently get asked to sponsor industry stuff. Neither Gridset nor Five Simple Steps has massive budgets for marketing so I quite often have to say no (which is difficult).
Five Simple Steps is a separate company to Mark Boulton Design and pays for itself without any outside investment. Once we've paid our freelancers and direct costs, we split the profits of book sales with our authors. This is different to the standard publishing model where an author gets an advance and a small royalty once that advance is 'paid off'. The upshot of this business model is that we haven't got an endless supply of money to spend on marketing as most of the profit we make is reinvested in the company.
We love supporting the industry and of course getting our brand and books exposed to more potential customers is very important to us, so when we can help, we do. We give away a huge amount of our stock and merchandise for free to community events. We also create a lot of discount codes to give to people and try to work with educational establishments to provide generous discounts for bulk purchasing.
Anytime a request comes in for sponsorship (monetary) comes in, we think carefully before saying yes. We mostly respond to every individual or company that contacts us but I thought it might be useful to talk about some of the things I would want to know before I agree to give you our hard earned cash:
- Listener numbers - weekly, fortnightly, monthly.
- Loyalty - how many are frequent listeners and how often do they come back? What is the churn (new listeners versus regular listeners)?
- Engagement - how long do they listen for on average? Do you have varied listening across your show? Eg more at the beginning and then it drops off?
- Demographics - where are they located, who are they, what is their job role, what kind of company or workplace of they work in?
- Topics - what are the audience interested in? Is my product a good fit with your topics, your guests and their interests ? How will you talk about my product on your show?
- Industry benchmark - how does this relate to other podcasts? Why you?
- Case Studies - can you tell me about how this has worked for other sponsors? Is there a way to track effectiveness?
Conferences and events:
- Attendee numbers - how many attend on average?
- Loyalty - do the same people come back time after time, year on year? Are the same companies represented each time you put on your event?
- Demographics - who are they (gender, age), what is their job role, what kind of company or workplace do they work in?
- Topics/level of knowledge - are the people who attend going to hear 'big picture', inspirational stuff or practical, skills based talks?
- Set up - do you have a marketplace I can have a stand, what is the location and event logistics, what other like minded companies will also be there?
- Supporting channels - will you give me exposure on other supporting channels such as social media, printed materials and so on?
- Event specific - what makes your event special or different from all the others, why should I support it?
- Case Studies - do you have any data on whether there is any/much uptake from your audience via previous sponsors? How can I track the effectiveness of the brand exposure?
I hope this helps you to build up an idea of the kinds of things potential sponsors might be looking for. As I said previously, we like supporting the industry and are always glad to hear from people. If you do need help with collecting this kind of data, I have a lot of previous experience, so please don't be afraid to ask. If I can find time, I might even write another blog post on it.