Podcasting is fun, but the novelty of simply putting out episodes gets old fast. If you want to build your show into a business, you want to aim for audience growth and monetization. But how do you get there? What are the tools to earn with your show?
Luckily, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that should get you pointed in the right direction. From growing an audience to building a press kit, there are some simple things you can build and practices you can implement that will help steer you towards a full-fledged podcast business.
Honestly, podcasting is a lot more fun if you’re making a little cash (or you simply don’t have to spend all of yours to get it done). So let’s see if we can get you any closer with these six growth tools!
1. Email List
While social media can be a great way to promote your podcast, the email list is really where it’s at. The truth is clickthrough rates on social media suck.
Social media platforms have a real stake in keeping people on their sites – this is how they make money. That’s why platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram don’t make it easy for you to promote off-platform content, they want you and your followers to interact in their territory.
What does your email list have to do with this, you ask?
When someone signs up for your email list, they’re explicitly saying that they want to hear from you. That’s something you want to take advantage of. This is the place where you can put links to all your best stuff and promote your latest episode. They want to know what’s happening. This direct connection with your audience is a powerful tool to earn with your show.
Your email list can also be a source of revenue. If you promote affiliate links or sell your own products, your email list is a great way to connect with your audience and sell. Though, when it comes to affiliate links, you’ll want to double-check the terms of service.
You don’t want to use your regular old Gmail account to send marketing emails. That can get messy, fast. Instead, you’ll want to use a specific email marketing platform. My favourite platforms like Flodesk and ConvertKit cost money, which you might not have the budget for.
So, I recommend trying MailerLite.
MailerLite allows you to have a free account with up to 1,000 emails in it. Not only can you create and send out newsletters, but you can build email sequences and set up sign-up forms. It’s well worth it to get started here. Then, as you grow, you can move to a different platform if you choose.
2. Lead Magnet
Lead magnets aren’t just for internet coaches scoping for clients, podcasts can use them to grow too!
What is this “lead magnet” thing I speak of, you ask? It’s a free something that you give away in exchange for an email sign up. While I mentioned email lists as one of the most important growth tools, you need a way to get those emails on your list. This is one of the best ways to do it.
A lead magnet can be anything you’re interested in giving away that’s relevant to your audience. Popular choices include:
- A free episode of your show
- A relevant, accompanying eBook
- A fun quiz
Or really anything else you can think of.
You can build lead magnets like checklists and eBooks in free software like Canva. When it comes time to give them away, you can upload them to a non-indexed page on your website or use your email marketing software. (And, if you use our affiliate link, we get a small commission, at no additional cost to you.)
While the first two tools on this list are necessary for growth, you need somewhere to house them. That somewhere is your website.
Many podcasting experts recommend you start a website. They don’t explain how or why, though. Podcasting is a lot of work, and often, podcasters don’t add website design to their list. But, if monetization is important to you, then you should include it. Again, it can contain many of the tools you need for monetization.
Unlike every other platform out there from Instagram to Spotify, your website is the only place you have full control of everything that goes on. That is not the case anywhere else. There’s real value in a tool to earn with your show that gives you control.
Your website is the place you can house your lead magnet and build your email list, but it’s also a great marketing opportunity. You can use your transcripts to help build SEO through blog content, embed your episodes, and publish extra content. Plus, you can add ad revenue for high traffic sites.
While a website takes work to set up, it’s well worth it in the end. If you don’t have one, now is the time. As far as website builders go, WordPress gives you the most as far as customization goes. But some podcasters who are new to website building find Squarespace easier to get a handle on.
4. Social Media Scheduler
Your podcast deserves to be promoted. But, chances are, if you’ve tried promoting on all the platforms you’ve realized how much of a challenge it is. That’s where a scheduling tool comes in. Powering your marketing with a social media tool, such as Meet Edgar, allows you to access and update all your platforms from one hub, saving you a TON of time.
Using a scheduling tool doesn’t excuse you from interacting on each of the platforms. You need to do this if you want to see real growth. But some tools out there let you interact within their tool instead of jumping into the actual platform. This isn’t the case for all platforms or tools. But, it’s helpful where it’s possible.
What social media tool you use depends highly on what platforms you’re promoting on, and the budget you have. If you’re using just Facebook and Instagram, there’s an in-house tool in Facebook that you can use. But if you want to schedule something like Tik Tok, you’re going to be looking at something like Later, Loomly or Social Pilot.
5. Podcasting Friends
While “podcasting friends” aren’t really a tool, they can help grow your podcasting experience a ton.
Most industries refer to those that operate in the same space as them as “competitors.” This is not the case in podcasting. There is more than enough space for every creator out there, and connecting with those in your industry can help you widen your audience.
There are plenty of ways to make new podcasting friends, but one of the most effective ways to connect is through online groups. Plenty of podcast-focused groups exist on Facebook, in pretty much every genre. You can connect with those that talk about the same thing as you, or something similar where your audiences overlap.
You can exchange promos, do cross-podcast episodes, or simply guest. Cross-promotion is an impactful tool to earn with your show, and all you need is mutual respect. These can all help get your podcast in front of a new audience.
6. Press Kit
You wanna bring in that cash? Chances are, at least one part of your monetization strategy involves advertisers, or “sponsors” as a lot of podcasters call them.
There are a lot of podcasts out there, and unless you’re My Favorite Murder or The Office Ladies, chances are sponsors aren’t knocking down your door. That doesn’t mean you suck at podcasting, it simply means you need to get your name in front of the right people. A press or media kit isn’t just for promotion, it’s another tool to earn with your show.
Pitching is a great way to hit up brands that you’re interested in working with and propose a working relationship that can put more cash into your podcast’s pocket. But to approach these brands, you need some professional information you can share with them. That’s where your press kit comes in.
Press or media kits are relatively easy to make and simply share the most pertinent information with prospective advertisers. This can include things like:
- Your download numbers
- Social media stats
- Website visitors
- Email list subscribers
- Target audience information
You’ll also want to include a quick bio, and add some colour to your story by including fun things like your most popular episodes or other fun facts. Press kits can be made for free via Canva.
Start Growing Today
There are a ton of tools to earn with your show if you take a minute to scope them out, but not all of them are going to be right for your show. It’s important that you dust off and jazz up that old business plan (or make one if you don’t have it) so you know where your show is going.
Brand new to podcasting or need some help growing your show? Check out Podcraft Academy where you can find a ton of great resources for building and growing your show. With a little bit of effort, you can make a big splash.