There are new podcasts popping up all the time. Podcasts are a great way to build an audience and share content. At the moment I spend all my allocated podcast time listening to business related podcasts, but I'm also a fan of some great endurance sport ones.
I don't know much about what it takes to produce a podcast but I can guess it takes a lot of hard work, planning and time.
Even though they are awesome it's definitely not the best way to directly generate revenue. To run a good podcast you need to invest a bit of money on good equipment and a lot of time if you are going to produce awesome content consistently. Even if you are producing an awesome podcast without a clear plan in place with a solid business model generating revenue will be extremely difficult.
Here's a few strategies I've seen in action along with some suggestions of my own.
This is a popular traditional model and easy to understand. Businesses pay you to include content about their products in your podcast. Just like they do in TV and radio. The intro can mention the products or services of your advertisers and you'd probably have regular ad breaks throughout the podcast to insert ads and calls to action for your listeners to follow.
There are lots of challenges with this approach, the main ones being;
- How do you prove to advertisers that you will be a good return on investment?
- How do you measure return on investment?
- Why would advertisers choose your podcast over the hundred other similar podcasts out there?
Then there is the question of credibility. If you are doing product reviews will your credibility be under question when reviewing products that are competitors of your advertisers? And will you lose the freedom to do these product reviews at all?
Your advertisers will require a minimum amount of exposure within your podcast which will impact on your audience. Savvy listeners will not want to listen to too much advertising and could easily be put off particularly if it is repetitive or irrelevant to them.
If these things are important to you then direct advertising might not be right for you.
2. Affiliation and commission
This is very similar to advertising except advertisers do not pay you directly to run ads in your podcast. Instead you promote the products and using vouchers, discount codes or special affiliate links you will earn commission on any sales directly resulting from the podcast.
This model gives you a bit more flexibility in terms of who you affiliate yourself with and how often you choose to include reference to the companies, products and services.
This approach might also be more appealing to businesses because they can easily measure return on investment by tracking your coupon codes and affiliate links. They will know exactly how much revenue you are sending their way. But the flip side of that is that you will only earn when purchases are made so you'll need to be both clever and careful with how you promote the affiliation so you don't run in to the same issues you would have with advertising.
Patronage is becoming more and more popular with podcasting now. This involves offering your podcast for "free" but then requesting your listeners to contribute financially to help you cover the costs of the podcast. Typically this type of monetization is considered as "charity" not as a means to make a profit.
The trouble with this is that you are relying on charity of others to contribute but without offering additional value. You are saying here's this free thing but can you please pay us for it even though we won't give you anything extra?
I would only recommend this if you don't actually want to make too much money as only a very small percentage of your audience will actually go through process and set them selves up as a patron. But depending on the popularity of your podcast you might at least be able to cover your costs. Patreon is one platform that you can use to accept payments from patrons.
4. Promoting your own products and services
You probably already have this in mind, podcasts are great for building a profile and bringing attention to your own products and services.
This is by far the most authentic way to monetize a podcast. Your audience will trust you and respect you as being an expert in your field. All the work you put into your podcast will make it much easier to sell your own products and services.
The marketing experts say customers need to be exposed to a marketing message on average twelve times before they will make a decision to purchase. Your podcast episodes will all contribute to this and hopefully influence and accelerate that purchasing decision.
But here's the rub, even if you exceed all expectations and generate a lot of interest in your products and services you still need to have the right business model in place to be able to benefit from the demand. I recently wrote about this in my post about how products not services will help grow your business.
One way to be able to take advantage of new demand no matter how large is to offer paid membership to your own coaching and community platform with educational resources and access to self service training plans. All completely automated. Check out our features over at Training Tilt
Which method is right for you podcast?
They all have pros and cons so it will depend on what your goals are for both your podcast and your business. Advertising and affiliation are traditional and easy to understand but your audience may not appreciate them and both may compromise your credibility.
Patronage is an option but unlikely to generate much revenue beyond covering your costs because it doesn't add much value to the listeners experience.
Promoting your own products and services has great promise but will only work well if you've implemented a scalable business model and have the right systems and a high level of automation in place. This is something we specialize in and would love to help if we can so get in touch if you'd like to chat. Use the speech bubble bottom right or head over to Training Tilt
My favourite podcasts
IM Talk: An awesome podcast about iron distance triathlon training and racing.
Startups for the Rest of us: An entrepreneurial podcast specifically for solo founders or developers.
Enjoy and let me know what you think.
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