How Audible Manages to Sponsor Everything

Except this blog post.


by Dave Robson

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If you watch a lot of YouTube, listen to a lot of podcasts, or read digital versions of legacy magazines, you’ve no doubt heard of Audible. This massive audiobook company, owned by Amazon, sponsors pretty much everyone. From major podcasts like This American Life and Radiolab to YouTube stalwarts like Dude Perfect and Kurzgesagt, Audible seems to be everywhere. Even better, every time you hear about them, you get a book recommendation.

So how is it Audible seems to be everywhere? Well, they make other people do the work. Audible has an affiliate program. If you’re a content creator who wants to be sponsored by Audible, you sign up with their program. Once approved, you offer your listeners or viewers a free audio book of your choice, since you know your audience the best. Whenever someone signs up to Audible through the URL you offer, you get $15.

You can see how a content creator would like this model. It’s easy, accessible to smaller outfits, and you get paid right away.

But the deal is even better for Audible. If you’re a marketer or a company looking to sponsor content, you know how hard it is to find quality content that fits properly. There’s so much content out there. There’s always new content out there. It can be hard to gage if a channel or podcast will stick around. And reaching out is a crapshoot. Who knows if the content creator will take sponsorship?

That’s the beauty of Audible’s affiliate program. A lot of the work is done by content creators who want sponsorship. Audible has managed to outsource one of the most tedious parts of sponsorship.

Obviously, most companies looking to get into sponsoring content can’t do exactly what Audible has done. But there are still lessons to be had. First, make it easy for content creators to apply for sponsorship. Next, don’t be afraid of cultivating a broad range of content. Finally, keep sponsorship simple. Content creators only devote a minute or so to talking about Audible, but because it’s specific to the content creator, a minute is enough time.

So why haven’t lots of other big companies done this? That’s the big mystery. As long as Audible is the only company that makes it easy for small content creators to get sponsorship, we’ll continue hearing about them every time we fire up a new podcast.