Countless podcasters dream of hosting a show that can also improve their bottom line, yet many aren’t sure of exactly what types of monetization strategies are at their disposal. This week, we wanted to cover this hot topic to give you a bit of insight and ideas on a few of the ways you can put some money in the bank from your show.
Let’s start with the biggest, most commonly-talked-about strategy - getting sponsors. Having a third-party company spend a portion of their advertising dollars to promote their product or service on your show is often the first, and most common avenue many podcasters consider when they want to monetize their show.
Some savvy (or maybe lucky?) podcasters can generate enough income from their sponsorship packages that the out-of-pocket expenses required to produce the show is cut in half - or even eliminated altogether! Other great shows are even turning a solid profit from their podcast through sponsorships.
Getting sponsors can be a great way to bring in a bit of additional revenue, but it’s not always to accomplish. If you’re thinking about searching for sponsors to partner with, here’s a few questions you should ask yourself before searching for (or saying “yes to) a sponsor.
1. Is this company or their product the right fit for my listeners?
- Targeted, niche ads often work best - for the sponsor, the audience, and the host.
2. What is my audience size?
- To advertisers, size does matter
- The larger your listener-base, the greater your chance is that your sponsor will reach their marketing goals - and you will keep that sponsor longer.
3. Will I reinvest - and how?
- If you're earning revenue from your show, it's probably a good idea to reinvest some - or all (at first) - of that money back into the show. (We will cover this in more detail in a future blog post. Stay tuned!!)
4. How much will I reinvest?
Small Business Ad Spots
Similar to getting big name sponsors, you could also offer smaller advertising packages to smaller businesses. While you may typically earn significantly more from the bigger name companies like Freshbooks (because, let’s face it, their advertising budget is usually much bigger!), offering smaller packages to smaller companies - or even multiple ad spots - could be a great way to start small while cushioning your investment.
After all, small businesses want to be able to advertise just like the bigger fish, and for some businesses, podcast marketing can be a great way to connect with their ideal markets. Your show could be the push a small business needs to help them reach the next level in their business! Just remember - make sure their offering is suitable for your audience!
Sell A Product or Service
If you created your podcast to bring awareness to your own brand or business, then it only makes sense to periodically include advertisements in your show! Thousands of businesses around the world are creating podcasts as a marketing tool - similar to the way the use their blogs.
The difference? You can listen to a podcast anywhere and while doing anything. After all, you can’t - nor should you - read a blog post while driving… but you can listen to a podcast show!
Another way some podcasters monetize their show is by selling “show swag.” This strategy, however, may not be suitable for all types of shows.
Have you ever read a blog post and saw a disclaimer stating that the post (or website) may contain affiliate links? This is a common monetization strategy in the blog-o-sphere, but it can also be used to monetize your show.
Like anything else in marketing, though, you need to make sure you are using services and products that will interest your audience. Then, if you write show notes (and if you don’t - you should!) you can simply link to them there. It also may not be a bad idea to mention it in your show, too!
A lot of podcasters may feel uneasy about reaching out to - or accepting offers from - sponsors for their show, for a variety of reasons. But, monetizing your show is still important. After all, unless you are doing everything yourself - audio-editing, writing show notes, guest sourcing and booking, promoting - the list goes on - podcasting can be a pretty expensive venture.
If you’d rather not search for sponsors, run ads on your website, or create show swag - you may want to consider a listener-supported approach. Many podcasters use services like Patreon to allow their listeners to support their show through donations. Some have even used Kickstarter campaigns to help cushion their out-of-pocket expenses when launching a new show or season.
In A Nutshell...
There are many different ways that you can monetize your podcast. We have only touched the surface in this post. Whether you choose to use one of these strategies, experiment with a few, or come up with a totally different way to monetize your show, that’s completely up to you!
Over to You!
Are you a podcaster who is currently monetizing their show? What monetization strategies have you used and found successful?
Help another podcaster and share your strategies in the comments below!