How to Make Money Podcasting
It seems like everyone is making a podcast and making money with a podcast these days.
Some people say that traditional podcasting (i.e. audio-only podcasting) is going the way of the dodo bird, soon to be supplanted by the likes of YouTube, Netflix, and other specialty video channels. At best, podcasting a good way to express your passion about a hobby and share some information with friends, right?
But the reality is that the demand for audio-only content is increasing and the most popular way to consume this type of content is via a podcast.
Though podcasting has been around for quite a long time now it just seems to be hitting the mainstream which means now more than ever is a great opportunity to start your own podcast, build an audience, and make money doing it.
Well, the information economy is getting more and more crowded with the latest technology, and video certainly has its appeal. However, at least for now, podcasting retains some advantages over video.
For example, people cannot watch video while driving, working out at the gym or outdoors (note: if they are, they are not working out!), and a number of other important activities. And these are the times that are extremely popular for people to get in their daily fix of their favorite podcast.
And some people just prefer to consume their content via audio over other methods like text or video.
That being said, are there still realistic means for people to make money from the booming podcast industry? Below, we’ll go through some options that beginning podcasters may consider when starting their own money making podcast.
If you are interested in starting your own podcast just to share your passions or create a podcast to make some extra money (or even create a full time business!) then here are the specific steps you'll want to take to get started on your podcasting journey.
1. Select a Specific Topic for Your Podcast
When selecting the topic of your podcast there are two directions you can go; you can go with a very big mass market audience or you can go with a narrow niche audience.
Why are profitable niche markets like dog training and fly fishing tailor-made for podcasting? Simple, because they work! A solid niche makes it easier for you to define your ideal audience as well as the types of sponsors and advertisers to target. There's also less competition making it easier for you to claim your stake in the market.
Another advantage of choosing a niche market for a podcast is that you can more easily commit to a specific point of view. People like to listen to podcasts with attitudes and if your niche market is "Style for Women Over 40" for example, you could take a point of view that stands against the anti-aging culture and instead talk about aging with sass and style.
I usually always recommend targeting a niche market when starting an online business, creating a YouTube presence, or creating a blog... and podcasting is not different.
If you start a niche market-based podcast, you can always grow the scope of the podcast to reach a larger audience; but as far as starting a new podcast it will be a lot easier to build an audience and following more quickly if you speak to a very specific niche audience.
Think about a niche podcast as being a big fish in a small pond.
With a mass-market podcast (such as politics or general weight-loss) there's a lot more competition but the market is so big you should be able to capture a segment of the market as long as you are interesting and have a unique point of view.
Again, keep in mind is that you can always start by targeting a smaller segment of a larger niche market to gain market share and build an audience, then as the podcast grows you can expand into broader topics within the larger market.
Don't feel like just because you start in a smaller niche market you'll be stuck or pigeonholed to just that one thing.
Speaking of niche markets, if you're interested in making money online (podcasting or otherwise) you'll want to see this list of the 10 best-selling niches to make money online.
The key to a successful podcast is to target a big mass-market or small niche market. A small niche market is much easier to get started in and gain traction.
2. Devote Yourself to Making the Best Podcast Possible
This one should go without saying -- the better your podcast, the more listeners and followers you'll get.
Even if you start out with a minimal audience, as most podcasters do, take advantage of this time to produce quality content, relevant context, a consistent delivery, and superior production. Advertisers and sponsors essentially demand two things: an attractive product and a large, dedicated audience. As you work on building your audience, hone your hosting, interviewing and presentation skills.
Here are some of the important skills you’ll want to develop when mastering podcasting for yourself, or possibly as podcasting consultant (see below):
- Audio clean-up and production
- Building and engaging a community
- Creating a marketing buzz on social media
- Creating apps alongside your podcasts
- Converting calls to action
- Field recording
- Voice talent
The good news is that with all of the tools and technology available today, having a professionally produced podcast is not very difficult to do and does not have to cost a lot of money.
Also, keep in mind you can outsource a lot of this very inexpensively. You can hire someone to set up your podcast and get it syndicated on iTunes, you can hire someone to create great looking artwork for your podcast cover, and you can hire someone to create a nice professional podcast intro and outro as well as handle the post-production.
Don't let all of this overwhelm you though, in the beginning, stages it's more important to get things going then keep adding more levels of quality as you go on.
The initial setup and investment will be the hardest part of getting started, but once you've done a few podcasts you'll have a system in place that makes creating and distributing a podcast very easy and streamlined.
3. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for Potential Advertisers
Podcasts, unlike high-end events like the Super Bowl and the World Cup are not strictly about the numbers.
Quite frankly, if you can show advertisers that you have 250 dedicated weekly listeners (i.e. community members) who spend X dollars monthly on dog food, that’s a better proposition than some blog drawing fifteen thousand anonymous and unengaged readers with no specific targeted interests.
In the online world advertisers and sponsors care more about being able to reach a very specific, targeted demographic and interest group rather than just large numbers of people.
That's why earlier on we recommended targeting a smaller niche market for your podcast. The power of having and targeting a niche market can't be understated enough.
Going to Broad Can Make it Hard to Monetize Your Podcast
Advertisers want dedicated readers within a specific demographic (different demographics appeal to different advertisers). If you're podcast is too broad and doesn't appeal to a specific audience you may have a harder time finding sponsors.
4. Make Money with Your Podcast
Once you have your podcast up and running you'll find there are several ways you can make money with it, even if you're just getting started.
If you already have your own products and services than certainly, you can mention those on your podcast. If you don't have your own products or services you can promote other people's products and services as an affiliate and earn a commission for doing so.
Once your podcast grows and has a large enough audience you can receive income in the form of sponsorships and product mentions. There's really no limit to the number of ways you can make money with your podcast.
While the three ways mentioned above are the most common ways of making money with a podcast, you are only limited by your own imagination and creativity in the ways you can earn money from your podcast.
5. Make Money Helping Others with Podcasting
You’d be amazed at all the talented people who try commercial podcasting for just a few episodes or just a couple of months and give up completely, determining that podcasting doesn't work for their business. Little do they realize that along the way, they have developed skills that are in high demand.
Your advantage is having devoted the time and energy to becoming a podcasting expert. 99% of people are not as skilled as you but need your expertise – provided you can prove it to them. Sell your services as a consultant or podcast producer if your own podcasts are not immediate money makers.
Podcasting is usually lumped along with other online activities like social media marketing, getting website traffic, and search engine optimization as if it predominantly about the technology. In reality, it is still one of the most relationship-based media in existence, and any success a podcaster enjoys is mostly based on the hosts/experts’ personalities and host-audience interaction.
You can make money by helping others set up their podcasts, produce and edit shows, and effectively market their podcast online.
Final Thoughts on Making Money with Podcasting
Making money from podcasting is not automatic, and even experienced, talented marketers need at least a year to really get things to click. That being said, starting and building a podcast is a great way for you to reach your target audience, provide valuable content, and make money in the process - whether you do it for your own business or help other businesses along the way.