In recent times, the podcasting industry has boomed, with countless successful podcasts operating as functioning businesses that can, in some cases, act as profitable sources of income for the hosts and the production staff.
But how exactly do they achieve this? What kind of marketing strategy is needed, and how easy is it for budding podcasters to reach similar heights in their own podcasting business?
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How To Make Money From Podcasting
Making money podcasting is not actually as difficult as it might sound. There are countless podcasters out there (of varying levels of fame) who manage to make substantial incomes from working for themselves with their podcast business.
As such, there needs to be an excellent marketing strategy or two that newbies can implement to create these revenue streams for their own projects.
One major way that podcasters make money is through the inclusion of paid advertising.
This often comes in the form of companies sponsoring a podcast episode or even a few episodes. This offers a win-win situation for both parties (also see, ‘How To Get Podcast Sponsors‘).
Companies can take notice of a successful podcast with a large listener base or potential customers, and can offer sponsorship deals on their products.
This gives revenue to the podcaster, and potentially attracts new customers to the company’s products and business models (also see, ‘Podcast Launch Plan‘).
Something else that has become commonplace within the podcasting community is the presence of donations from fans.
This is done through a membership type podcast platform like Patreon, and usually includes fans paying predetermined amounts of money ($5, $10, etc.) to receive certain behind the scenes tidbits that they wouldn’t otherwise be privy to.
This gives fans a sense of importance and exclusivity – as they are seeing something that most people don’t have access to – and gives the podcaster a stream of revenue to add to their pot.
Everyone loves a t-shirt… and a mug… and a hat…
There are literally countless merchandising ideas that you could offer to your fans and sell through your accompanying business website, and this can be a great way of bolstering your other sources of income.
This also gives your fans something to celebrate your podcast and spread further awareness out in the world.
Monetizing podcast episodes don’t even necessarily have to be contained in entertainment podcasts.
Even the most staunchly serious business podcasts could offer their avid fans merchandise to enhance their own brand and make some money and personal assets in the process.
As mentioned above, many successful podcasts have signed contracts with podcasting and streaming services in order to make extra money.
One notable example is Joe Rogan, who took his previously free, Youtube-based podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, and transferred it to Spotify, who paid him an exorbitant sum for the privilege.
While achieving Joe Rogan-level success might not happen overnight, there are plenty of streaming companies who are looking to cash in on the podcasting boom and get a slice of the pie – you just have to make sure you’re in the right place when it happens!
ALSO SEE: Best Joe Rogan Podcasts
Successful podcasts that receive high viewerships through Youtube can also become monetized, depending on the amount of traffic they bring to the site.
This tends to be when podcasts reach the million view mark but can occur at any level if the podcast proves popular enough.
Depending on the niche of your podcast, you could organize live shows and events, where your fans could purchase tickets to come and see you do the podcast in a live environment – like a theater or auditorium.
This is something commonly done in the comedy community, but has also taken place with popular podcasters across a multitude of genres and styles.
If your podcast is a visual one, instead of being comprised of audio files, then you could use product placement to bring in revenue.
While not advisable without the permission of the company in question, successful podcasts could get lucrative product deals, where they get free products (soda, water etc.) and money if they feature the products subtly on their podcast set.
What Are The Benefits?
The benefits of monetizing your podcast are numerous, however some are more obvious than others.
The most obvious benefit is the financial gain that can come from any one of these techniques.
If you are creative, or you want to make podcasting your primary source of income, then you really need to open yourself up to these business practices.
Of course, with financial gain comes a sense of security – both for yourself and your business.
With a successful, sponsored podcast, you have the security necessary to not work extra jobs, not have to worry about money, and to focus solely on maintaining the show.
If you are working solely on your podcast and achieving a degree of financial success, then you can rest assured in the knowledge that your whole time and energy are working towards that one outlet.
If you aren’t successful and need to work another job to bolster your finances, then your attention and time will be split, which could lead to one or both outlets falling by the wayside as a result of stress and exhaustion.
Are There Any Downsides?
While the downsides are minimal, they should be considered nevertheless.
One major downside is that, with sponsorship and other such techniques, you could lose some of your creative freedom depending on the type of contract you sign.
This is usually not a problem, especially with established podcasts and audience bases, but certain companies with distinct moral codes might have different ideas about what is considered ‘acceptable’, and depending on how invested you are, you might need to tow the company line.
How To Boost Your Podcast Business
Boosting your podcast business is an exciting endeavor and requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Here are some tips to get you started:
Create Quality Content
When you start a podcast, having clear record audio quality and topics that your audience can relate to will help you stand out from other podcasts.
A good recording software and quality microphone can help you get started.
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Customized content geared towards your niche and audience will enable you to create more engaging content that is relevant and interesting for your listeners. Also, ensure that you have a good website with plenty of information about what you offer.
Social Media Platforms
Social media plays an important role in promoting your podcast business. You can post snippets of your podcast on different social media channels to get more attention. Also, use Twitter and Facebook Ads to reach target audiences and find potential customers.
Create A Mailing List
Having an email list is very beneficial for your podcast business as it enables you to keep in touch with existing subscribers and offers them exclusive content and discounts.
One of the best ways to boost your podcast business is by collaborating with other podcasters and influencers in your niche. This will help you to reach a wider audience, gain more followers and build relationships with other professionals in the industry.
Developing an effective marketing strategy will help you to promote your podcast business and reach more people. You can use various techniques such as:
- optimizing listings in podcast directories
- RSS feed (also see, ‘Podcast RSS Feed‘)
- content marketing
- paid advertising
- establishing a solid publishing schedule
These are some of the strategies that you can implement to boost your podcast business. With patience and dedication, you can make sure that your podcast is successful and reaches its full potential.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about making podcasting a business.
Podcasting can be very lucrative for those with the vision, the work ethic, and the determination to take things forward, and with enough of those ingredients (and a little luck) you too could have a successful podcast that yields numerous benefits.