One of our goals for Podfund is to help creators think critically about their business. We are receiving impressive submissions every day, and from conversations with creators it is clear that the Podfund application itself prompts helpful questions and surfaces benchmarks of progress.
We also received requests for additional guidance around the submission process and what we’re looking for in an application, so we thought we’d outline some tips and advice.
- All parts of the application are important. We designed the application to learn something important about you from each question. Together, your responses add up to a picture of you the creator as a whole. If you don’t have an exact answer to a question, talk to us about why.
- Take your time. It’s not a race! We’d much rather receive a thoughtful, thorough application later than a hastily written or incomplete submission sooner. We fund new creators monthly, so the only deadline is when you’re ready.
- We LOVE data and the context behind the numbers. One of the best tools for predicting the future of a business is past performance. Please provide numbers when we ask for them — bonus points for supplying them even if we don’t explicitly ask! Have you completed any marketing experiments that led to a bump in downloads or completion rates? What percentage have your revenue and/or downloads increased month-over-month? While Podfund intends to help on this front, it’s good to know you’re already thinking critically about the mechanics.
Below, we’ve highlighted some questions from the application and what we’re looking for in each case.
Tell us about yourself.
We invest in creators, so this is one of the most important questions for us. We’d love to know if you’ve produced or hosted podcasts in the past, but descriptions of other work beyond audio/podcasting also gives us an idea of you as a creator and a leader. Have you ever started or run a business before? What life experiences or parts of your identity have influenced who you are today?
Describe your podcast. Please include information about what story you are telling, your intended audience, and the format of your show.
We are looking for podcasters who have found a voice and an audience. We want to know what’s unique and compelling about your show(s), and to whom you are speaking. What are your actual and/or intended audience demographics and psychographics? Bonus points: How do you know who your audience is? Are you using analytics? Have you run surveys and/or listener interviews? Are you connecting via social media?
What is your long-term vision for your podcast(s)?
Help us understand your qualitative and quantitative goals. Describe both your creative ambitions and your big-picture view of the business. Don’t just tell us you want to be successful; tell us what success means for you.
Hint: our investment time horizon is ~5 years. How will your story (or stories) evolve? Where will the revenue come from now vs. five years from now? What will your team look like? Numbers can also be helpful here, even if directional or aspirational.
Which podcaster(s) do you admire? Why?
We’re curious to know which creators you identify with or wish to emulate. This will help us understand your sensibility, style, and what kind of business you want to build. Don’t forget the why part of the question!
Why are you interested in Podfund?
Tell us why you think there’s a good match between what you’re doing and what Podfund is providing. What do you know about us? Which resources in particular appeal to you? This is not a throwaway question — we’re genuinely curious!
How will this funding accelerate your path to growth / sustainability?
We’re looking for specific plans or at least ideas on how you’ll allocate the Podfund investment. Be as detailed as possible. Most importantly, we want to know how the funding will turbo-charge the business. Do you have any data to demonstrate that your planned tactic or initiative will yield growth (i.e. previous tests)?
Hint: Spending Podfunding on production costs does not necessarily translate to growth. How will this funding or the Podfund resources change the trajectory of the business?
How many downloads did your three most recent episodes (30 days or older) receive?
How quickly are you expanding your audience? We’re looking for the number of downloads each episode receives within 30 days of publication so we can see how the numbers are trending.
Hint: we’re hoping to see growth over time, so feel free to spell it out for us! Bonus points for explaining where you think the growth is coming from, or describing what kind of listening you’ve observed for back catalog episodes.
On average, how much does it cost you to produce one episode?
We want you to build a sustainable, profitable business so the expense side is just as important as revenue. Do you have a clear picture of the unit economics (i.e. direct revenues and expenses on a per unit basis) of the business? Don’t forget to value your own time!
Anything else we should know?
This question is less about you the creator (hopefully you’ve covered that in the first question!) and more about the overall application. This is a good time to tell us about important upcoming changes or milestones in the business, or timing constraints that we should consider when reviewing/prioritizing your application. Talk about successful experiments or further evidence of traction — anything you haven’t already addressed yet that’s important for us to know.
Hopefully this helps as you’re putting together your Podfund application. We are taking the time to review each one of the submissions we’ve received over the past few weeks, and will respond to every applicant within 3-4 weeks of receipt. If you have any further questions, refer to our FAQs and terms or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can’t wait to hear from you!