There are over one billion podcast subscriptions in iTunes. Since podcasts have become so popular, they are perfect for promoting services and products. Throw in some social networking, and you’ll be gaining new customers in no time. Most podcasts are free, and yours should be, too.
Charge Nothing to Make Money
Entrepreneurs find the concept of giving away content to make money difficult to digest. I know I did. I learned the hard way, as described in my last article. I lost out on tens of thousands of sales because I didn’t give it away. It took me too long to get it.
Please don’t make the same mistake I did.
It seems backward, but giving away content is the best way to promote your product. Just take a look on Twitter and watch all the sales pitches stream by.
Buy my book.
Hire me as a consultant.
Weight loss tips—just $10 a month.
Life coaches & counselors.
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Pick the right gear, and learn how it works: from USB mics to mixers.
It’s unending, and people are sick of it. There’s a reason so many mistrust salespeople. All too often, salespeople put their quota above what’s best for their customers. They have to make a living like the rest of us, but they sometimes do it at the expense of the consumer.
This is why you give content away: to build trust.
Build Trust in Your Audience
Send the message that you care about your audience more than your wallet. It's an important message to get across in today’s marketplace. Providing free content does this.
Your audience will trust you when they enjoy your content without stretching their budgets. Once that happens, they will look more into you as a person and the content you have for sale. They will be ready to buy when they trust they will get their money’s worth.
Passion Paves the Way
Podcasting can be quite time consuming. It’s essential you have a lot of passion for your topic. You must genuinely love your topic, and you must also thrive on helping people. After all, if you produce all these free podcasts, you must truly enjoy doing it. As many of you have already discovered, recording quality audio can be frustrating. Editing it can take most of a day, and you’re doing it all for free.
You must love it. You must do it with a genuine desire to help people first. Making money is secondary, albeit the ultimate goal.
Subtle Product Promotion
Through your podcast and your blog, you subtly promote your product. Make it part of your intro and outro. For example, if you have a book to sell, you can say:
“Welcome to another episode of Caught in the Cogs. I’m O. M. Grey, author of the Amazon Bestselling Steampunk Romance Avalon Revisited. Today, I’ll be sharing one of my short stories with you, so grab a cup of tea, pull up a chair by the fire, and get ready to hear about a ghostly love affair in Victorian London.”
After you’ve wowed them with your podcast content, remind them again at the end:
“Thank you so much for listening. Again, my name is Olivia Grey. I write Steampunk Romance under the pen name O. M. Grey. If you enjoyed this story, please take a look at my blog for more short stories and novels.”
Give them the URL and sign off with a short description of what you’ll be offering next week.
Voilà! Instant, subtle promotion.
The Benefit of Bonus Content
Bonus content is where you start to make some money for your time and effort. Give your audience a complete experience in your free podcast. Then offer some bonus content for a little money. A little something extra for a little something extra.
Maybe you're podcasting a short story to find a paying audience for your novels. Don’t be that podcaster who gives only part of the story and makes them pay for the rest. No. That’s sneaky and just mean. Give them the whole story, but then offer bonus content afterward. For example, offer a podcast that gives the background of the story. Or you could tell them how you came up with the plot. Perhaps how you took your revenge on a nasty person by writing a real nasty character.
Extra content enhances the experience for financial supporters without taking away from the story . Listeners won’t feel short changed (even though they didn’t pay for it). Those who do pay will feel they got something special.
They’re willing to do this because you gave it away.
Over time you build an audience, and a fraction of that audience will buy your product. Get to building that audience. The more listeners you have; the more will buy your product.
It is a numbers game after all.
Over the next few days, jot down some ideas on how you can subtly promote a product while benefiting your audience.
And, importantly, let me know your plans in the comments below. Tell me what you're planning to do, commit to it publically and it'll make success all the more likely!
Here are some starting points:
- Script a new intro and outro that you can tailor to each week's content. There should be a clear, concise explanation of who you are and what you do (or what you sell!).
- Brainstorm for 15 minutes on ways you can add bonus content to your podcast. After those 15 minutes, organize your thoughts into a 10-item action list.
- Make a schedule for you to create/record those items over the next month.
- Implement your new intro/outro into your next podcast and mention upcoming bonus content.