Podcasts are a recognized way to offer content to your audience, and gain legitimacy on a subject of expertise. Monetizing a podcast can earn you additional income.
What is Monetizing a Podcast?
Concretely, sponsorship is an “endorsement” of the podcast by a brand. It can either be the subject of a campaign limited in time or to a certain number of plays, or take the form of a partnership on a particular episode or a series of episodes.
My recommendation: This sponsorship can take several forms, but the one I recommend is the “host-read” format.
Let me explain. Unlike the standard “commercial” – where a brand provides you with an audio file with the message to be broadcast recited by actors – the host-read is a message written and recorded by the podcast host , to highlight the brand or the product in question.
Among the many advantages that this has: we keep the same tone, we facilitate the integration of the message within the podcast, and we ensure a better user experience for listeners. But successful campaigns involve a number of ingredients.
13 key elements to monetizing a podcast
Podcasts are a recognized way to offer content to your audience, vary your communication media and gain legitimacy on a subject of expertise.
Podcasts can also be monetized and earn you additional income. Obviously, the larger your audience, the more you can increase your income.
Start your monetization strategy quickly, you might be surprised at the results when your audience grows.
This is perhaps the most obvious way, but it deserves to be highlighted. Indeed, the beginning and the end of the podcast are strategic moments when the audience is captive and listening to an advertising message.
To attract advertisers, you must be a referrer on a niche subject that interests their target or benefit from a very large audience.
The preliminary step therefore requires growing your audience. There are different ways to do this:
- Engage your core of listeners by asking them to subscribe, follow you on social media or rate you and post a review on the podcast they just listened to;
- Recruit new users with a digital marketing strategy by crossing several levers: SEO, emailing and paid acquisition campaigns.
To avoid a counterproductive effect with advertising, be sure to choose advertisers that are relevant to your industry. If your podcasts are about organic food, do not broadcast an advertisement on the latest Disney Land park offer. Prefer a brand of organic cosmetics or clothing, for example.
To calculate your campaign’s impact and income, you will be able to determine a “Cost per Thousand Impressions” (CPM) and charge based on the podcast’s audience (which is measurable). This cost should be defined according to your popularity and your influence on the subject.
2. Integrate product placement
Advertising can be more immersive with co-branding, the addition of a guest, or even the product test.
When your audience is captive and loyal, the messages you communicate to them will have strong prescriptive power. Use this form of influence to monetizing a podcast in three ways:
- by directly selling your information products (e-book, courses, digital tools). Indeed, if you do white papers, coaching or offer online tools, this is the ideal place to talk about it;
- by making affiliation to offer partner products. With feedback, for example, you will be able to monetize with an advertiser a placement of his product like an advertising-editorial in the press;
- by marketing physical products . Combining digital with physical products is possible, by offering a subscription + product offer for example or by referring to an e-commerce site.
3. Promote your events and create privileged experiences
One another way to make money with your podcasts is to view them as an internal communication channel. Indeed, if you organize an event for which entry is payable and manage to convert even 1% of your audience by presenting it in your podcast, then it will be an effective advertisement and at a lower cost.
Also during an event, you can imagine offering additional paid services (time for discussion with a speaker, a round table or even a VIP dinner) with a limited number of guests. By communicating about this offer during your podcast, you make your audience exclusive and privileged. All these additional sales are high added value so even if the number of conversions is low, your profit will be high.
It is proven that the audience for podcasts is an educated clientele with high purchasing power. This captive target will therefore be sensitive to these VIP offers.
4. Offer a paid subscription or premium content
Why would the freemium model work for software services and not podcasts?
The principle is the same, you can:
- either offer a free first month then a subscription to your podcasts;
- either segment your content by offering general subjects for free and subjects with higher added value for a fee;
Providing a paid offer often gives your content credit and value. Thus, you retain your target who will be less versatile by having a subscription with you. The quality must then be there.
monetizing a podcast to generate additional income and expand your offering. Whether as an advertising communication channel, or a subscription service, find the formula that best suits your audience and get started.
5. Classes for monetizing a podcast
Many popular podcasters create their own online courses to teach similar content to what they talk about in their podcast.
Online courses are a great way to teach something in a simple and easy to follow way where you can achieve a specific result once you have completed it.
Having a list of email addresses is useful so you can let your audience know about your course, both on your podcast and by email.
Another option monetizing a podcast to promote the courses is to use a webinar platform to help show the value of what you are offering for about 45 minutes and offer a course that you have at the end.
They work well because people are engaged and interacting with you live.
You can offer services related to the content of your podcast.
By showing that I knew I was an expert on the subject, people knew they would get expert level ad management. This made it much easier for me to get clients without having to “sell” them on my abilities.
You could do something similar in many different industries for monetizing a podcast.
7. Coaching and advice
Coaching and counseling is a bit like a service, but you usually don’t do the work for them. Instead, you help or guide them on how to improve.
Common industries that have a lot of consultants and trainers are fitness, food, business, and education, but I’m sure there are consultants in every industry.
8. Crowd funding and donations
You can ask for donations to help you and support your podcast. More entertainment-oriented podcasts would be a good way to make this business profitable.
Patreon is a common platform for accepting donations. They make it very easy to offer additional content or bonuses depending on how much money people support you.
They even give you the option of having a separate paid RSS feed, which goes perfectly with the next method of monetizing a podcast.
9. Premium content
Quality content can really live up to your expectations, but podcasters often deliver great content:
- Additional interviews
- Behind the scenes content
- RSS feed without ads
- Quick access RSS feed
- Questions and answers with the hosts
Have fun finding unique ways to add value to your community for a few dollars a month.
The Daily Wire is a podcast and news site that offers the video version of the podcast, live episodes, a goblet and other bonuses when you purchase an annual subscription. No matter what you think of the content they offer, this is a great example of great content.
10. Events for monetizing a podcast
Hosting events is not only a great way to make money, but also to bring your best fans together and make them even more valuable.
One example I’ve heard from Pat Flynn is the Walker Stalker Lecture . She started with a podcast that talked about The Walking Dead.
They organize events all over the world and even involve the actors. It looks great !
Another example of Sam Harris combines the Patreon and live events where, when you become a patron, you can quickly access tickets for his live events.
11. Physical products
Physical products are things like t-shirts, mugs, and other decorative items.
The Generation Why podcast has a ton of different products , along with great content and a very active Patreon page.
You can use a site like Teespring to make sure you get enough sales before they print – that way you don’t end up stuck with a bunch of products.
Running a popular podcast to sell books is another great way to earn money and increase your authority.
You can use your podcast audience to get the first sales and reviews that will help your book stand out as well.
You may also be invited to other podcasts to help promote your book when it launches.
13. Public speaking
Many pod-casters are contacted for conference concerts in their area. It makes sense that if someone likes what they hear on your podcast, you’re probably a good candidate to speak at conferences and live events (and get paid for doing so).
Speaker fees can range from a few hundred dollars (or just a free hotel room and attendance) to 6 figures or more.
Speaking up is another great way to increase your authority and expose yourself to a new audience who will hopefully become future podcast listeners.
As you can see, there are many ways to monetizing a podcast. Combining several different methods is a popular approach, and you can always change and adjust your monetization methods over time.
There is no “right” way to turn your podcast into a business, just the right way for you .
Did I forget which monetizing a podcast methods you are using? Or do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments!
How much do podcasts make?
Are podcasts profitable? Of course they do!
The big names in return get a lot of listeners and big advertising revenue.
According to AdvertiseCast , average rates for 30-second CPMs (cost per 1K listeners) are $ 18, while 60-second CPMs are $ 25.
The Ringer had around 420 million downloads in 2018, generating $ 15 million in ad revenue (paywall). Amy Schumer received a million dollars in salary just to create a show for Spotify.
But what do the “little” names do? And how do they do it?
Here are some examples of earning alot by monetizing a podcast:
- The Bowery Boys is a podcast on New York City history and earns over $ 3,800 / month thanks to Patreon.
- The last podcast on the left is making over $ 57,000 / month just through Patreon. They also sell shirts and regularly do live shows in different cities.
Mistakes to avoid when starting a podcast
NOT HAVING A CLEAR GOAL
It doesn’t matter how valuable your content is, if you don’t bother to guide your listeners at the end of your episodes. In order for your podcast to serve as a marketing tool for your business, products, services, email list, etc., you need a goal behind the creation of each episode. It’s important to convert all of those downloads that you get.
START WITH A SINGLE EPISODE
A big mistake that I see a lot of podcasters making, and that I’ve made too, is starting with just one episode. I think that the launch should be done with at least 3 episodes to offer your audience several content to consume immediately. It will help them get used to you and your voice, it will allow them to discover your expertise and having multiple downloads from the start is great for the apps algorithm: you increase your chances of getting into the suggestions.
DON’T CREATE A LAUNCH STRATEGY
This is something I wish I had done when I launched Build Yourself. The launch of your podcast should be a real event, you will have a better start by putting in place a strategy, rather than arriving overnight with a podcast. There are many ways to build interest and excitement around your podcast, what I recommend is to engage your audience so they feel invested and eager to find out your project.
FORGETTING TO DEFINE AN IDEAL LISTENER AND A NICHE
By addressing everyone, we are addressing no one. The whole point of defining an avatar of your ideal listener before launching your podcast is to make your life easier. If you know your audience, you know their difficulties, their obstacles, their objectives… And you are able to create content that will speak to them, content that will help them.
Defining your niche is also very important because there are over 700k podcasts out there and the number is growing every month. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you can’t cast a wide net. You need to define a fairly specialized niche and stick to it.
CREATE EPISODES AS YOU GO
Rather than producing episodes as you go, it is better to opt for batching and record several episodes at once. If you know your ideal listener you know what topics are covered in your episodes. Recording 4 episodes at once is creating content for 1 month – if you broadcast weekly. Batching is essential to be organized and succeed in working on your projects while regularly bringing content to your audience.
START A PODCAST TO FOLLOW THE FASHION
A podcast takes time and energy, and if you want to build a community and make it a date, you’ll need to get involved in this project. In addition, having a goal behind your podcast and a real desire allows you to stay determined when the motivation is no longer present.
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