Discover Your Podcast Path to Profits
I’ve met my fair share of podcasters with dollar signs in their eyes. And fair enough – podcasting takes a lot of time and energy … when you do it right. So, why shouldn’t you get paid? Why shouldn’t you want some podcast ROI?
Want to know how to make money from podcasting? There are two main ways to earn money from your podcast so you first need to figure out which camp you’re in.
2 Ways to Make Money Podcasting
When it comes to making money from your podcast you should think about it from two perspectives. Either you are selling to your audience or selling your audience. In other words, you are either podcasting as a business or you’re podcasting FOR your business.
Did you catch the difference? Let me break it down for you.
Selling Your Audience
When you have a good size audience, advertisers and sponsors will pay money to get their message to them. Just like in radio or television, the bigger your audience, the bigger the check from advertisers. The Super Bowl is famous for the cost of a 30-second ad spot but Sunday Night Football consistently ranks as one of the most expensive places to advertise too. Why? Because they have a massive audience.
In radio, it’s usually the drive times (morning and afternoon) where ad costs are the highest because that is when most people are listening to their radio. At least, before the world switched to podcasts.
The point is, radio, television and print publications have been selling their audience to advertisers since the beginning of media. And this is the model that advertisers have adopted for putting dollars in podcaster pockets.
The good news is that there are a lot of advertisers keen to pay money to access podcast audiences. It’s estimated that in 2024, podcast advertisers will spend more than $2.5 billion. The potentially bad news is that you need to have a proven audience to get your hands on those ad dollars.
The minimum audience size to attract advertiser interest is usually around 5000 downloads per episode per month, consistently. However, if you are dealing with a defined audience or a super engaged audience (and you can prove it) then you might attract a sponsor or advertiser with less.
And, the more niche and under-represented your audience is, the more likely you can grab some ad cash while you’re still growing. For example, if you have a podcast for left handed artists and there’s a left handed paint-brush kit for sale, well the manufacturer just might see the value in advertising to you hundreds of listeners since they are a direct hit on potential customers.
Who Should Sell their Audience to Make Money Podcasting?
This approach to monetizing your podcast is ideal if your podcast is unrelated to a business and is primarily for entertainment purposes. The formula for monetizing your podcast in this camp is to create an entertaining show, market it, have an awesome show that people love, grow (and keep) your audience, so you can sell your audience to sponsors or advertisers.
Keys to Success for Podcasters Looking for Advertisers
- Create an entertaining show
- Market your show
- Be consistent
- Track your audience growth and engagement
- Show your audience loyalty (advertisers love influencers)
- Pick an ad or sponsorship strategy that suits your show and business savvy
- Stay on top of it and remember to raise your prices as your audience grows
Podcasters using this path to profits may also monetize their show by selling merchandise to their audience, asking for donations on a platform like patreon, or creating a membership for superfans. But, this is when you start to slip into the next camp of selling TO your audience.
Selling To Your Podcast Audience aka Podcasting for Your Business
Full disclosure, I’m a bit biased toward this approach to making money from your podcast. Primarily because:
- I personally know more people who make money using their podcast to promote their business than from selling ads on their podcast
- It’s how I make money
- It’s how almost all of my clients make money from podcasting
So, yeah. Just a slight bias.
Okay, let’s get on with how this way of making money with your podcast works.
The Formula for Entrepreneurs to Make Money from Podcasting
I’d like to say this is simple but the truth is, too many business owners take shortcuts and end up with a time-and-money-sucking podcast that does absolutely nothing for their bottom line.
Here are the keys to successfully creating a podcast that serves as a marketing tool for your business:
- Make sure your business and podcast are aligned. Check out my previous episode #172 about this.
- Knowing and understanding who your audience really is and what they want
- Show up consistently and serve your audience with valuable and high quality content
- Build a relationship with your audience (podcasting is awesome for developing the know-like-and-trust factor)
- Have a clear path from listener to customer (hint, you might need a funnel)
- Track what’s working and what’s not (then fix what’s not)
- Keep it up – podcasting for your business can generate leads very quickly but there’s also a significant return in the long game
Each one of these is SIMPLE if you create your podcast with the INTENTION of it being a marketing tool. By the way, I can help you create this or correct it in your existing podcast. Just grab a free 15-minute coaching call to find out how.
Which is Better – Selling Your Podcast Audience or Selling TO Your Podcast Audience?
Prepare to not be shocked. My money is on selling to your audience and not just because this is how I help entrepreneurs and business owners make more money.
The podcast universe is ever expanding. There are more and more podcasts popping up every day. Many of them are just for fun with the hope that it will take off and suddenly they’ll be looking at a million dollar deal and laughing all the way to the bank. It has happened. So does winning the lottery – and buying a ticket is a lot easier and cheaper than creating a weekly podcast.
Creating a podcast for your business, on the other hand, is something you can control a lot more. You can inject different calls to action and figure out which one drives traffic to your website, generates leads, or results in sales! Plus, you’re building a relationship with your audience which means that when they are thinking about buying or hiring, you will be top of mind.
So, the clear winner for me is podcasting for your business not as a business. You have way more control, you have a closer connection to the cash and you don’t have to deal with middlemen, ad platforms, or contracts.
The number one thing to keep in mind is that you have to decide – are you going to sell your audience or sell to your audience?
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