This 18-year-old has 115,000 listeners for his running podcast. Read the email template he used to land $60,000 in brand deals.

  • Dominic Schlueter hosts “The Running Effect” podcast.
  • The 18-year-old has 115,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and Apple, and 37,000 Instagram followers.
  • He has earned more than $60,000 in brand deals with companies like Hoka and Liquid I.V.

Dominic Schlueter started a podcast when he was 15 years old. He founded an LLC when he was 17 years old. He graduated from high school at the age of 18, moved to Austin, Texas, and began pursuing his podcast, “The Running Effect,” full-time.

Schlueter used to say he was going to take a gap year before college, but now he’s not so sure. That’s because “The Running Effect” only earned a few hundred dollars last year, but by 2023, he’ll have earned more than $60,000 in brand deals.

“There’s nothing that says you can’t get into business without a degree,” Schlueter explained to Insider. “Do I actually need a piece of paper telling me I’m qualified to do these things or can I just become qualified by doing the work itself?”

Schlueter’s brand deals have evolved alongside his audience. He’s grown from around 15,000 monthly Spotify listeners in January to over 70,000 now, with more than 45,000 coming from Apple Podcasts. He had less than 4,000 Instagram followers at the start of the year and now has over 37,000.

According to Spotify data, the majority of his listeners are under the age of 22, with “The Running Effect” ranking 15th among top sports podcasts earlier this year.

Episodes are released every other day, which is a rapid pace in the podcast world, and each has its own distinct graphic. Conversations with NCAA champions, high school runners, coaches, record-breakers, and marathoners lift the lid on their athletic careers.

Schlueter created two separate series of episodes based on longer narratives: “The Call Room,” about two high school runners on their way to breaking records at the state championship, and “Project 2:59,” about Schlueter’s own training for the Columbus, Ohio marathon on October 15. His goal is to finish Columbus in under three hours to qualify for Boston next April.

“I’m terrified, but I’m excited,” he said of the race in October.

Forming genuine and profitable brand alliances

Schlueter has collaborated with shoe brands such as Hoka, Brooks, and Vivobarefoot, as well as hydration companies such as Liquid I.V., 2Before, and Drink LMNT, and the coaching platform Final Surge. Some of these transactions were confirmed by an insider.

“To this day, there’s only one company I’ve ever worked with who I personally didn’t reach out to,” Schlueter stated. “In the world of LinkedIn and social media, you’d be shocked at the people you can reach.”

Many of the collaborations are naturally promotional.

Schlueter approached Hoka about sponsoring “The Call Room” because the athletes featured on the podcast would be competing in a Hoka-sponsored meet. He stated that he does not incorporate an ad read for Final Surge into episodes of “Project 2:59” because the training platform is so important to his marathon training that he constantly mentions it.

“If I can get paid five figures to promote a company where I would use the product anyways,” Schlueter stated, “that’s the kind of partnership I want to chase after.”

The podcaster made enough money to hire a graphic designer and an editor, and he’s considering ways to generate recurring revenue, such as selling merchandise, launching a YouTube channel, or providing podcast consultation and running coaching.

Schlueter hopes to build a storytelling empire around “The Running Effect” through podcasts, articles, blogs, and short documentaries. While his sights are set on the future, he is grateful for the success he has already achieved.

“I think goals are like a two-edged sword because I think they’re good to set, but they also a lot of times take you out of the present moment and how far you’ve come,” Schlueter stated. “Let the evidence of how far you’ve come be an affirmation of how much further you can go.”

The most recent template Schlueter sends to brands is as follows:

Hello there, (X)! I hope everything is going well for you!

I am very interested in exploring a partnership with you after hearing so many positive things about (X) and seeing its positive impacts, as well as your mission and vision, and believe it would be an excellent fit for my podcast and social media.

In 2022, my podcast was one of the top 5% most followed podcasts and one of the top 5% most shared podcasts in the world. We’ve also ranked as low as #15 on Spotify for “Top Sports Podcasts” in the United States, surpassing ESPN shows like First Take. We’ve reached 73,000 monthly listeners and are still growing. We also have over 37k Instagram followers, reaching 2.9 million accounts in the last thirty days, and over 6,000 TikTok followers.

  • Listen to the podcast on Spotify here.
  • Podcast Testimonials can be found here.
  • Follow me on Instagram.

I eagerly await your response and the chance to discuss potential opportunities! Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Best wishes,

Mr. Dominic Schlueter

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