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Category Archives: Series 5: Making Money in Podcasting
Thanks for listening to this series which was all about ways to potentially monetise your podcast.
What would you like to hear in the next series of Podcraft? Have your say and get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
In this episode, we’re covering crowdfunding. It’s the fashionable way, these days, to start selling a product, but can it also work for something like a podcast? Well, a number of shows have proven it can. Let’s find out how!
A Question for You
Are you crowdfunding your show, do you know someone who is, or are you planning it just now?
If so, please do pop something in the comments below, letting us know how you’re going about it, or how you plan to. I’d love to know!
Entry Level Crowdfunding
- The Wrestling Podcast
- We need some equipment!
- Raise $500 for new microphones
- The Jerks Podcast
- Tried to raise 2.5k for a bunch of equipment
- Tales of a Red clay rambler
- He’s a potter who interviews other artists and craftspeople
- $7.5k goal – kickstarter – raised nearly $14k
- All to fund season 3 of their show
- They justified their costs very well
- Production costs
- Some very nice listener centric rewards – hand crafted, unique tea-cups, and other pottery from the host, an instructional video fro the host on potting, coaching sessions and seminars,
- The Media Podcast
- UK Based – media industry
- fortnightly shows for a year
- £9000 goal, and JUST beat it
- They promised nothing more than more of the same!
- Rewards included a thankyou on the show, a private media area, advice!, an autumn ball, a tour of the BBC, co-host fun kids, dinner with the producer, Picnic with the host, other unique stuff
Large Show Crowdfunding
- Radio diaries from Radiotopia – may 2014 –
- Tape recorders – self created audio biography
- 40k goal, raised 61k
- Simply to fund the new season, and up it to bi-weekly
- rewards include private footage, swag (t-shirts, flash drives…), shoutout, instruction book to create similar, events, and a vintage radio, visit the office and the crew, abvertising, presentation for your company, one to one storytelling mentoring, a personal episode.
- 99% Invisible
- Goal of 42k for season 3, and raised $170!
- 375k for season 4, after a goal of 150k
- rewards include ver nicely designed things, posters, t-shirts, be a producer for a day, adverts
- Podcasting for Cancer – indiegogo
- VMWare – techy stuff!
- One of their community lost family members to cancer, so they started a drive.
- 5k goal and raised just over 10k
- The offered advertising, show shout outs, for you to choose a show topic – all virtual or digital
- Podcasting Puerto Rico – indiegogo
- This was a school podcasting project
- 5k goal, and raised 4k, but got it was flexible funding so got it anyway
- Raising money to travel to puerto rico, interviews around culture and politics
- Rewards included t-shirts, shoutouts, dinner at the school and CDs.
In this episode, I’m looking at how to make money by selling the show itself. That means either selling episodes, selling upgrades, or re-purposing the show into a related product.
For some, this is the most obvious (and easiest!) way to get started in Podcast monetization. For others, it can be a lot of work, but really effective in the end.
There’s a chicken and egg problem around gating your content and building an audience, but we’ll cover that in full. Let’s have a look!
- Seems the most obvious, but perhaps one of the most difficult.
- How do you sell something that’s generally given away for free?
- Podcasts work because they build trust
- Chicken and egg – can this approach be done right away?
- Gaming shows – Podhammer
- Very funny, really looked forward to it.
- People gladly paid for more
- Take old shows off-line, sell as a package
- Simply Syndicated
- They’ve gone Netflix, but used to sell one-off packages.
- Support Material, summarise the show or provide worksheets
- Allows you to keep everything free.
- Giving away that value, building trust, putting out tonnes of useful content
- The show acts as a lead generator for the support content
- Done very well by Radio Lingua
- Similar, keeping the main show free, acting as a lead generator
- Turn the show into an Audiobook
- Turn the show into an ebook
Upgraded or enhanced content
- Extra material, extra formats.
- Provide a full course based around the topic
- That’s what we’re doing at The Podcast Host
- The seasons of the show are intro material, covers the content.
- Then the course provides extras
- Provides the action and the how-to.
- Videos demonstrate techniques
- text supports re-reading, revision
- Activity supports and encourages success.
- Plus there may be direct support in there, or community support
In the episode we’re looking at the slightly tricky world of donations. Can you make money through donations in Podcasting? Yes, you definitely can, and I’ll talk you through all of the different methods within this episode. New platforms such as Patreon which are starting to make this even easier, and there are approaches to asking, too, that make you more likely to succeed. So, why wait, let’s get started!
- This is one of the easiest, possibly the most attractive for many
- It doesn’t take any more work than setting up a paypal or a patreon account
- It doesn’t feel salesly, it’s just going on goodwill
- Donations really do require an engaged, loyal and passionate audience
- Possibly works best for those in a small niche
- Serving a hobby market where everyone is fanatical about the subject
- Or, serving brilliant, funny, entertaining content that people have grown to love you for
- Teaching too, though, you’re giving value, you can ask for something in return
- There are a few ways to play it
- Simple ask – talk about how you’re doing this for free, ask for a small thankyou in return
- The metaphor – ask for a ‘cup of coffee’ or ‘buy me a beer’
- Gets away from the money aspect, even less salesy
- The upgrade – set targets, for equipment, software or studio upgrades.
- “Once you all donate $100, I can buy a Shure microphone and improve my sound.”
- The incentive
- Read out their names
- Or add name to your donor page
- There’s plenty of research around this of course, mainly for charitys
- Celebrity endorsements have been seen to work
- More realistically – matching donations works well – can you match it to buy the upgrades?
- Raffles too – might work well for a show. Give something away each month to donators!
- There are a few ways to take your payments
- Paypal – most well known, by far.
- Everyone knows it, trusts it.
- Very easy to set up a payment button which pays direct to your account
- It can be one-off, or even a subscription
- The fees aren’t exactly small, though…
- And their dashboard is awful. Hard to track customers over time
- If you want to put in the effort, Stripe is an amazing alternative
- Great dashboard, simple, clean.
- A fair bit cheaper
- It does subscriptions too, and it can handle direct payments, but you need a bit of programming knowledge.
- Harder to create that payment button.
- Tonnes of WordPress plugins deal with it, though, ecommerce and the like.
- Very simple to use
- Can set up levels and rewards, if you want, or keep it simple
- works well with upgrades – that’s how many people play it
- some treat it almost like crowdfunding – tangible rewards, like t-shirts!
- community access for a monthly donation
- The last is verging into selling a product or a service here
- It’s interesting because people think, oh I’ll donate for the show, but that’s a bonus!
- They’ll handle all of the technical elements
- It’s becoming pretty well known and trusted
- It makes it a little more official/professional!
- Patreon works well with
- There are a lot of small podcasters at least covering costs with donations
- Paying for hosting, equipment, bills
- Here are some examples from larger shows that demonstrates what can be acheived!
- This American Life –
- A couple of years ago, they asked for donations to cover their bandwidth costs
- A horrendous $170k!
- They covered that pretty quickly.
- I realise they’re on a whole other scale, but it proves people are willing to donate to keep great content going
- Serial – donations
- The haven’t talked about how much, but that show costs a lot to produce.
- They’re making money through advertising too, but fans love it.
- It was worth asking
- A network that does it well.
- You can donate to the network (100 gets you a shoutout)
- Or donate to shows – all kept on-site, very neat and tidy.
- Rob Cesternino
- Patreon – $8.7k per month
- Answers questions from his patreon supporters
- Facebook group at $5
- He sends out an autographed photo for $25
- Tom Merritt – $16k per month – patreon
- Daily tech news show
- There’s humour in his pitch – can’t exchange an mp3 for food!
- He talks about upgrades, all the things they could do with the money
- Talks about the benefit of being ad-free
- Talks about the exchange – he gives value, you might want to give value back
- How do you get people off the show and to the donate page?
- prettylink – again! Straight to the paypal or patreon page.
- If they make the effort to follow the link you read out, then they’re pretty well sold
- Call to action in very briefly at the start of the show, pave the way
- Then a full call to action at the end
- Ads/sponsors tend to run 30 to 60 seconds – feel free to do the same!
- Put donate buttons throughout your site.
- Could persuade someone who’s just browsing your shownotes
- bottom of your posts
- Hellobar at the top?
- link to a landing page, rather than the payment page.
- Sell them on the donation with a video, the benefits, etc.
- As always, email list too.
- Get them on, give value, keep updated, and make the sale(donation!).
This is probably one of the most awaited episodes of the series, because sponsorship is seen as the ‘holy grail’ of podcasting for many. Think about it – you record a show on something you love, you enjoy the process and thousands of people listen. Then, somehow, some way, you talk for 30 seconds about a product and subsequently get paid for it! It’s a great outcome, and many podcasters do make very good money out of sponsorship, if not a living.
It’s not easy though, and there are a lot of pitfalls along the way. The vast majority who secure sponsorship don’t make much more than covering their costs. But, then, even that is a pretty outcome for many.
So, how does it all work? How much can you make? How do you find podcast sponsors? These are all answered in this episode. Have a listen and then, please, ask me any questions you have in the comments below.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- BluBrry provide both media hosting and stats. The stats are essential for a podcaster seeking sponsorship. BluBrry also run advertising campaigns that are worth registering for.
- Midroll are a podcast advertising agency who can help you to find sponsorship. Possibly for those who have a larger audience, eg. 3k+, but worth exploring for those with fewer.
- PrettyLink is the tool I use to create every link I read out on a podcast episode. It lets you create easy to say URLs, and it lets you track them. This is essential for tracking your sponsor conversions and provides great stats to appeal to existing and future sponsors.
* One of the most obvious ways to make money.
* Applies to any type of business - entertainment, news, etc
* It's not easy
* Takes time to build a reputation
* HOW TO GET TO SPONSORSHIP
* 2 x approaches
* 1 build an audience, then look for a sponsor
* traditional method
* 2. Build a project, and pre-sell it to a sponsor
* Probably need reputation here
* Need to have a route to market
* Can work well though, and funds the creation of seasons.
* HOW IT WORKS
* The normal methods for placing ads
* pre-roll - say 15 to 30 seconds.
* mid-roll - around 60 seconds
* post-roll - probably short, and call to action based. "if you enjoyed..."
* Generally get the key points from the advertiser
* then put it in your own words
* it's that personality and transparency that works well
* I know some shows that play the same pre-recorded ad every time
* I just fast forward. I've heard it.
* give it personality each time. Make people listen. Make the effort.
* Will work better for your sponsor, and so better for you.
* Look at Gimlet - advertising done via interviews - stuff that's entertaining
* In terms of quantity - up to you how many you take on
* Many choose one big sponsor only
* Some do two or three
* Getting to trust-breaking point, though, when you have more than 2 or 3.
* It's a personal thing
* THE NUMBERS
* Now we've done the mechanics
* Payment Methods for sponsorship
* some 'standards' but it's pretty early days
* midroll CPMs - $6 to $13 for 20 second pre-roll - $11 to $18 for 60 second mid-roll
* Some say it's closer to $20 for a pre-roll and $25 for the mid-roll
* It's contextual too - how relevant is the audience?
* how high are conversions likely to be?
* how engaged is the audience?
* One show's 1000 listeners can be worth far more than another show's 1000
* You can offer testing - 1 month at a lower set rate, see what click throughs you get. Agree if you get more than X clicks, the rate will be put up to X
* Flat Rate
* Value based - how much is this making for the sponsor? how does it compare to other advertising methods they're using?
* This can work for smaller shows with really engaged audiences.
* Really targetted, really trusting, therefore conversions are likely to be very high.
* the CPM model wouldn't represent the value the advertiser is getting
* Needs heavy tracking, but it's a decent model.
* Easier to get advertisers on board, perhaps for less well known shows
* they only pay if a customer takes the action they want them to take
* basically an affiliate model
* so you don't actually need a formal sponsorship for this!
* Audible / Amazon - remember to use an evergreen link on your own site
* Can set it up more formally though - referral codes, etc.
* How many listeners do you need?
* numbers vary
* I've heard the guys from midroll say 3 to 5k minimum per episode
* It's good to give a good time period, but not too long to take your numbers.
* You could go for the month
* You could go for 6 weeks.
* HOW TO FIND SPONSORSHIP
* First off, you're looking for things that would be relevant
* don't bore your listener
* don't sell them something completely unrelated
* Find something they'll be really interested in
* Something they'd WANT to own
* If you've used it, and can say so, all the better
* Look at Tim Ferriss' sponsors on this - they're all personal recommendations
* you're giving people value in this way, not just putting in a 60 second section they're forced to listen through.
* FINDING IT ON YOUR OWN
* what products do you use already? Look up whether they have affiliate deals
* Approach those products and ask.
* Talk to people in your industry
* Search in google for stuff in your area - see who's advertising on adwords
* they have a marketing budget
* Listen to other shows in your niche - do they have sponsors?
* Magazines are a great source - mountain biking
* USING A SPONSORSHIP AGENCY
* very varied - you just have to be using their stats
* good for small shows - they have buying power, so no minimum number
* Probably bigger shows
* that 3k or so
* CPMs - $6 to $13 for 20 second pre-roll - $11 to $18 for 60 second mid-roll
* NEXT STEPS
* Preparing for sponsorship
* first off - branding
* cover art, website, domain
* What's your target - keep content friendly to that
* ie. swearing
* Get good stats
* blubrry or libsyn do it well
* new platforms too
* create sample ads
* create a 60 second show promo - this is something blubrry work with.
* Then start the search!
Last time around we covered affiliate marketing for podcasters. That basically means selling other people’s products and services through your show.
This time we’re moving closer to home, and that means selling YOUR OWN products and services as part of a podcast. This is aimed at anything from startup businesses looking to promote and service, to established companies that have been selling physical products for years. If you’re looking to widen the reach of your products, then this episode is for you.
Show Notes (Transcript)
- Examples of Businesses that we’ll cover
- Office Furniture
- Books – Person writing science fiction
- Photography lessons
- Event tickets
- Veterinary Services
- The aim of your podcast
- Building Trust
- Building Credibility
- Building Authority in your niche
- Building your brand (this is big for local businesses)
- Even if your listeners aren’t prospective customers, they’ll help promote your brand, which filters back to the local community.
- Teaching, not selling
- Answer your customers questions
- Look at the big 5
- Looking at the examples
- Office furniture
- What’s the best chair for my back?
- How much does a 4 person office cost?
- Best sci-fi of all time
- Top 5 scifi authors
- Review of another author (real authority/trust builder)
- Is time travel possible?
- When will we colonize mars?
- What’s an IPA?
- Why do we use HOPs?
- What’s the best beer in the world?
- What’s the most expensive beer in the world?
- What’s the best camera?
- What makes a picture out of focus
- Events (take the event subject)
- What does content marketing cost?
- What are the best content marketing books?
- What’s the best pet insurance?
- Dogs vs cats!
- Secondary aims of the show:
- Building networks
- Partners to help promote your service
- Partners who may have a complimentary product
- Talking to others in your space, expands your own knowledge
- Shy away from interview only
- Great for building connections
- Changing up the voice every now and again
- Covering gaps in your knowlege
- But… doesn’t build your own authority and trust half as quickly
- Get a co-host if you can.
- Preferably a colleague/Business partner
- Maybe a beginner?
- Maybe an industry partner
- I always argue for the season approach
- choose a topic, cover it start to finish
- If that topic can relate well to a product, then excellent
- Service businesses find this easy. Eg. Julie Christie, who’s a photographer. Did a season for beginners.
- If not seasons, then you’ll be trying to cover something new each week
- Something related to your product/service
- If you were to choose seasons:
- Bar – the poser’s guide to beer
- How it’s brewed, the different types of beer, what ABV means, how to taste a beer correctly.
- This will build huge authority for the bar, showcasing it’s knowledge, it’s specialities, it’s point of difference.
- Say you open a little brewkit, suddenly you have a way to draw customers in from further away.
- You may even brew on it and sell by mail order, reaching that wider audience
- Vet – The First Dog Owners’ Guide
- Training the dog, dog food, insurance, grooming, problems that crop up, etc.
- Again, grows that authority, reputation.
- It can lead to other products – a book, or an audio course?
- “But I’m giving everything away!”
- People want:
- to be guided
- to be reassured
- to save time (collation, pathways)
- People often know how to do things, but still want to have their hand help.
- OR, simply don’t have the time.
- Some people argue: “Tell them the Why and the what, but not the how”
- I’m not sure I agree. Many examples of successful companies that give away EVERYTHING, and only sell more of the product or service they offer.
- “I don’t have the time”
- This does take time, committment, but the long term gain is HUGE
- Just imagine, one of your competitors starts doing this in 6 months time. Next year they end up being the best know bar in the country, or the vet starts appearing on TV as the UK’s go-to animal expert. You have the chance to hit this now.
- Get them off the podcast
- Prettylink for easy redirection
- For low cost products/services
- If it’s a product for sale online, straight to the sales/landing page
- If you’re offline, direct them to a contact form. Get in touch.
- Or, talk about your outlet. Invite them along, but don’t labour it .
- This is different to blogging, or video perhaps. You’ve already built trust and credibility through your show
- For high cost products/services
- Direct to a free download or a free course
- This requires an email optin, which then leads to an email sequence to offer even more value.
- Increase trust, increase authority through a second medium > leads to the sale of high value products
- I’d recommend this for local businesses too. This is how you start to grow your loyal audience, and make sure you can contact them with big events, or even future product launches which may be relevant to them.
Now we’re we’re into the detail of Series 5, exploring in-depth the range of monetisation methods for podcasting. Today, it’s affiliate marketing, and how you can use affiliate deals to monetize your show. Affiliate marketing is a great one to start with, I think, because it really is available to anyone, right away.
Podcast affiliate marketing takes little preparation, no product creation time and you can start out even with a very small audience. If you have a group of listeners that trust you, and you search out products and deals that will benefit them, then you can make money with affiliate marketing right away.
“How?” you may ask! Well, let’s find out.
Introduction to affiliate income
How can I earn affiliate income?
- A guitar show, who might recommend equipment, pedals, speakers etc
- A gaming show, who might find a game or a platform with an affiliate deal
- A sports show, who would have access to potentially huge amounts of equipment companies.
- A business show, who could look into the many SAAS companies, books, or software programs out there.
What if I Have an Entertainment Show?
Courses or Services as Affiliates
Building Affiliates into your Content
Within this episode I mentioned a few affiliate marketing resources, all of which may be useful to you at some point.
- Prettylink, great for easy referring to affiliate links, on your shownotes, website, social media, or elsewher
- Amazon, a first stop for many. Especially when recommending tech, music, books, DVDs, etc. With amazon, use EasyAzon for geo-targeting
- Affiliate Window are someone I’ve used often. They have a good range, good dashboard, and quite a few sports outlets.
- Commission Junction also have a decent range, but I’m not a huge fan of their system
- Or someone like Skimlinks. They deal with many many providers, make it very easy for you, and convert your links.
- Identify your show aims and target audience
- Build a strategy towards creating a great show
- Learn how to record and edit your episodes
- Find the right equipment for your needs
- Find great artwork and music
- Publish your show to iTunes and other podcast directories
- Create a launch plan for your show to help find your first listeners – and keep them listening
Image credit: adavidholloway on Flickr
Some people earn a living from their podcast. Others are happy enough just to bring in enough to cover their hosting costs, and perhaps pay for a takeaway every few weeks. Whatever your aims are when it comes to monetization, experienced podcaster, The Real Brian, explores all possible routes in his weekly show Profitcast.
On this episode, I have Brian’s help in kicking off Series 5. This series aims to cover each method of monetisation, what context it’s suited to and to outline some case studies around each method. By the end of the series we’ll have a catalogue of methods anyone can try out.
This episode is an introduction to monetisation, looking at each of the most common methods in brief. It should give you an overview of the monetisation methods, and help you decide which one might suit you. Then you can dive into the detail when we get to the episode on that method later in the series.
Let’s get to it!
Before you think about monetizing…
Brian explains that there are 3 main things you need to think about, and make sure you are hitting these goals.
- Presentation, Delivery, & Performance
- Building Relationships & Community
Are you being “the best you?” Is your content and your podcast sustainable?
Brian’s Profitcast tagline is “Where passion meets profit.” By passion, he means the topic that best resonates with you, and by profit, he means that this also resonates with your listeners. Get the first part right and you will have the opportunity to profit, not just financially, but from relationships and by making a difference in people’s lives.
2. Presentation, Delivery, & Performance
How do you come across when you are behind the microphone? You can have the best topic and message in the world, but if the listener is bored, they either won’t care, or won’t listen.
This doesn’t mean you should act like someone else, but be aware that in audio, your body language is channeled through your voice and your vocal inflections. Audiences are drawn to passion and enthusiasm, so make sure that comes across in your presentation, and always strive to improve your performance.
3. Building Relationships & Community
Brian believes that “if you don’t have time to build a community, then you don’t have time to do a podcast.”
Audiences are galvanised by interactions and conversations, not only with you as the podcast host, but with other listeners who share a passion for your topic. If you have no community and no interactions then it isn’t a conversation, and you are just talking at your audience and not with them.
People want to feel involved, and if you give them that, they will like you all the more for it. They will trust you more, and they will strive to support you.
The Methods of Monetisation
Firstly, ask yourself what your strengths are. Are you a teacher, a coach, a thought leader, a performer, or a creator? What kind of podcast do you do? What is your topic, and who is your audience? These are all relevant questions to the various monetization options available to you.
1. Creating Courses
If you like to teach others the nuts and bolts of your subject matter, break things down and explain them in a simple way by creating a course. This could be in video, audio, or written form.
2. One on One Coaching
If you’d like to get on Skype calls and talk people through processes, answer questions via emails, and offer general guidance and advice, then you can charge for this service.
One problem with sponsorship is that many companies are still fixated on numbers rather than interaction. If you’d like to get a sponsor for your show, choose someone that fits with your topic and your audience and approach them. Try smaller or local companies, and talk to them about the ways they can benefit by supporting your podcast.
4. Write an eBook
A popular option. You can self publish an eBook on virtually anything, find something that’s hot in your topic and write about it, but make sure the reader will get something from it. Can you identify a problem and solve it?
5. Create a Product
Again, think of the problems your listeners face, or better still, survey and ask them. Can you create a product that will make life easier for them?
6. Sell a Product or Service
You can sell your skills as a service, or find a product created by someone else that is relevant to your topic, and offer to sell it for them, taking a percentage of the profit.
7. Affiliate Income
Every time you mention a product favourably, your listeners might be interested in buying it. You can easily set up affiliate programmes on Amazon, or approach companies directly to request becoming an affiliate partner. A good way to earn affiliate commission is to create a free course or eBook which has affiliate links in it.
8. Premium Content
Some podcasters sell their back episodes, or create extra episodes for sale on top of their free content.
9. Sell Yourself as a Podcaster
Are there businesses in your niche who don’t have a podcast? If you have the expertise, offer to make one for them.
More suited to content creator and hobbyist podcasts, if you have a loyal listening community, ask them to help support you by pledging a small amount of money to the show.
11. Create an Email List
No matter what strategy you choose, make sure you have an email list. Not only do they help strengthen connections and interactions with your audience, they also help supplement each of the monetization methods we’ve mentioned above.
What’s Next on the Series?
The rest of this series is dedicated to looking at each of these methods in detail. I’ll be covering each one in the method we do best here on Podcraft: in depth, in bite sized chunks. After that, I hope to get a range of case studies together showing how real podcaters are using these methods to profit.
This series will be running weekly over the next few months, so keep your ears peeled!
Come on the Show and Share Your Story
I mentioned case studies above – if you’re making money with your podcast, even just a small amount, then please do get in touch. I’d love to get you on the show. We’ll get a great example of how money can be made, and promote your show to a new audience at the same time. Win-win!
I look forward to hearing from you!