17 Feb 12 Simple Ways To Know How and When to Monetise Your Podcast
by Natasha Nicholls, Mainyard Studios Podcast Studio Manager | Creative Hub Manager | Superstar
How Do Podcasts Make Money?
If you have ever wondered how podcasts make money, how much money you can make from a podcast, how many downloads you need before you can start making money from your podcast, or when you should start monetising your podcast then you’re certainly not alone.
There’s currently around 850 000 active podcasts out there and over 30 million episodes. In order to cut through all the noise and make your podcast successful, you need to have a clear strategy in place before you begin, and of course you need raving fans.
So what can you do to expand your listenership and increase your downloads, in order to subsequently get that cash rolling in?
Value Value Value
First of all monetisation should not be your main focus.
First and foremost you need to make sure you are creating valuable, quality content that is specific to your niche or audience. People will be more inclined to support you if they believe in your brand, your authenticity and your innate desire to share your voice and message with the world in a way that is beneficial to them. If your sole focus is earning money from your podcast, that will pretty quickly shine through and you will likely lose the interest of your audience after a while.
Grow Your Audience
You want to make sure you can reach as many listeners as possible and they simply can’t subscribe to your podcast if they don’t have access to it on their preferred platforms.
In order to get your podcast discovered, the best thing you can do is to submit your podcast RSS feed, created by your podcast host, to every major podcast directory.
The top directories that will help you get more listeners are:
ITunes / Apple Podcast
Know Your Audience
If you know your niche and are creating show-stopping content you know they’ll love, you’ll have much more success in creating raving fans than if your podcast is untargeted and random. Creating a community around your podcast gives you an opportunity to ask for feedback and answer questions directly, meaning that your audience will then be more likely to spend money with you if you have created something that specifically solves a need, problem or desire that they have.
Quality show notes should be a necessary component of your podcast monetisation strategy. They provide a summary of your podcast and include links to resources that you touched on during your show. In some cases, those resources can be for emotional support if your content is triggering or provoking.
Most people listen to podcasts while they are on the go, so it’s important for them to be able to have access to visual learning as well as audio, so that they can come back to it at any time and follow up on things they wanted to know more about. Providing these notes shows your audience that you care about them and have an interest in their personal development, while also helps to cement your positioning as a thought leader or expert in your field. By making sure you pay close attention to adding keywords and making sure your SEO is top notch, it also means more people can find you online.
You can also include your call to action in your notes, depending on what your goals are.
Your CTA might be to:
- ask for a review
- ask for donations through Patreon
- ask for subscribers
- lead people to your website, social media accounts or your sales page.
Alright! You’ve laid the groundwork. Now show me the money!!!!
There are a multitude of ways that you can monetise your podcast, all depending on where you are in your podcast journey and what will work best for you.
But firstly, when is the best time to start thinking about monetising?
The answer is from the beginning, when you are in the concept stage!
The next best time is NOW!
Whether your podcast is a passion project; or whether it is an extension of your business, once you have an audience that is active and engaged you will be able to monetise on some level. The best thing you can do is have a plan in place from the get go, to make sure you are on track to make your podcast as successful as possible, and be able to reinvest revenue earned into the continuous improvement of your podcast.
So let’s dive in and look at some tactics you can utilise in your monetisation strategy:
Use your podcast to sell your own product / service
This goes back to knowing your audience. What do they need? What problems do they have? What would make their life better? Do you already create products as part of an existing business, or could you create products based on feedback from your audience? Here you have a win win situation, because you are in a position to be able to give your audience exactly what they want. Because they are your products, you receive 100% of the sales.
If you are a service based provider, it’s important to ask yourself how scalable it is to sell that service. How much time do you have? What resources do you have access to? How much demand are you able to meet?
2. Use it to sell a digital online course
Online courses are a brilliant way to generate revenue for your podcast and with so many platforms available to help you set up your course with ease, there really is no better time to start. Platforms like Teachable, Skillshare and Udemy are easy to use and easy for your audience to use as well. An online course is the perfectly practical way for your audience to learn how to apply what they have heard in your podcast.
If you have no idea how to create your own course, check out Foundr’s Rapid Course Formula – Learn Exactly How To Create And Market 6- to 7- Figure Online Courses.
This course is so comprehensive and teaches you absolutely everything you need to know about creating your own course and how to market it.
So good in fact, that I’m a student myself on the course and can vouch first hand for how in depth and on point it is.
3. Affiliate Partnership links on your social media accounts and website
You can set up affiliate partnerships and add affiliate links for products and services you believe in and that you know would be a disservice not to share with your audience. This is another podcast monetisation method to think about – selling other people’s products for a fee/ commission – for a cut of their sales. The product needs to be related in some way to your brand, and should be something that is beneficial to your audience.
If you do include affiliate links across any of your platforms, ALWAYS let your audience know that it is an affiliate partnership. No one likes the feeling of being deceived. Make sure that whatever you are sharing is a product or service that you have used, or have first hand experience with, and it’s something that you know, trust, love and that you yourself would spend money on.
Audible has an Associates Program whereby you earn commission when new members sign up, from promotion on your website, social media or your blog.
4. YouTube Partner Program
Youtube Creator Academy also has a Partner Program . If you create Vodcasts while you are recording your Podcast, you can easily upload these to your Youtube channel, which will help you reach a larger audience. The Partner Program allows you to generate revenue through including ads on your content. In order to be able to start showing ads on your content, you first need to have 1000 subscribers and at least 4000 public watch hours in the last 12 months.
5. Repurpose your Content through EBooks
Turning your most popular episodes into an EBook is a great way to give added value to your audience. You can take lessons and learnings from experts and guests you have had on your show and turn it into digestible content that is all in one place. An EBook is a great learning resource that keeps all relevant info structured and in one place, fills a need for your audience, and is immediately accessible and portable.
EBooks are easy to create, by using transcription services that turn your audio files into word files. You can chop and change it to make it concise, and use platforms like Canva to design it yourself for free. You can also hire someone on Fiverr, Upwork or 99 Designs to create your Ebook for you, or just to simply design the art work. Once done, you can either add the PDF to your website, or create a landing page to make sales.
6. Webinars / Online Workshops
Ticketed online live events are great for bringing your community together. It gives your audience a chance to connect with you personally, ask questions and share knowledge. It also gives you the opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your field. Not to mention it’s the perfect way to connect an international audience. You don’t need to have a huge following to be able to start hosting online events. You can start small and scale.
7. App Subscription
If you have an engaged audience, and you know what their needs and challenges are, you can design an app to meet those needs. For example, your podcast may be about health and wellbeing, so you might design an app that gives your community access to fitness classes, or perhaps healthy recipes. If you have a community on social media, you can use the app to create excitement and inclusion, for example releasing new content, or creating challenges that everyone can do together.
Initial outlay for app development can be expensive though and takes time and effort. Apps would likely work best once you already have an existing following. Once you do, you are able to offer a monthly or yearly subscription. Depending on the size of your audience, if you do this right, the sky’s the limit!
8. Generate qualified Leads for your existing business
If you already have an existing business, by starting a podcast and giving valuable free content to your listeners, it positions you to generate qualified leads.
For example, if an audience listening to a podcast on mindset, personal development, performance, behaviour studies and motivation trusts the creator, connects with them and sees them as an expert, they are likely to purchase 1:1 coaching with that creator.
9. Sponsored advertising in your podcast
Once you start gaining micro influencer status of at least 5000 downloads from a dedicated audience, you are likely to be approached by sponsors who will pay you for advertising space in your podcast. Most sponsors tend to go with the CPM model (Cost Per Mille, or Cost Per 1000 Impressions or Listens). The percentage you receive, as well as the length of the ad campaign depends on the deal you agree with them.
However you can also approach sponsors yourself before you reach that level of downloads. Many smaller, local or start up brands may be interested in sponsorship deals in order to gain traction and brand awareness.
According to The UK Domain
The industry standard for podcast sponsorship is as follows:
A 15 second pre-roll costs $18 (around £14) per 1000 CPMs (listens).
A 60 second mid-roll costs $25 (around £19) per 1000 CPMs (listens).
A 30 second post-roll costs $10 (around £8) per 1000 CPMs (listens).
So, let’s say you have a regular average listenership of 10,000 per episode, then you’ll receive:
£14 x 10 = £140 for a pre-roll sponsorship slot.
£19 x 10 = £190 for a mid-roll.
£8 x 10 = £80 for a post-roll.
Pre, mid and post roll refers to the space before, in the middle of and at the end of your podcast.
It’s important to find sponsors that tie in with your brand, and that your listeners are also interested in, so that the partnership is beneficial for everyone.
Some sponsors prefer to work with a CPA model, or Cost Per Acquisition or sale gained through advertising on your podcast. This model is similar to an affiliate partnership.
There are two different methods for placing ads in your podcast:
- Live Reads or Baked – In Ads
- Dynamic Ad Insertion
Live Reads or Baked – In Ads
Baked in ads are read by the host as part of the episode, and are permanently there. They are usually more personal to your podcast and to your audience, and have higher conversion rates.
Dynamic Ad Insertion
A dynamic ad is one that has not been recorded as part of your audio file. It can be inserted during post production, it can be moved around in your podcast and can also be deleted. It can either be read by the host, a third party like a professional voice over actor, or by the Sponsor themselves. It means that you can change the ads in previous episodes, up to years back, without having to reload your episode. This method works well if you have agreed a certain number of impressions with your sponsor – as you have more opportunity for it to be heard by more listeners.
Spotify have recently been working on improving their ad tech, introducing Spotify Podcast Ads in Jan 2020, powered by Streaming Ad Insertion. This system allows advertisers to buy targeted ad space, and also to measure insightful data relating to audience and impact.
10. Built in monetisation
There are several companies creating platforms that are making it increasingly easier for podcasters to monetise, without having to do much at all.
These platforms allow you to utilise ad management systems, whereby your ads can be scheduled into your podcast post production. This allows you to make use of targeting capabilities, and to gain greater insight and more in depth analytics relating to your audience.
Two of these platforms that have built in monetisation options are Podbean and Anchor.
Podbean has a PodAd program that allows you to run ad campaigns across multiple podcasts, find out where your listenership is coming from, use geo targeting and track your campaign results. You simply load the text you want included in the ad, and Podbean will have a professional voice over artist record it, or you can record it in your own voice. They even have an Ad Marketplace that connects advertisers and podcasters! It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Anchor also allows you to connect directly with Sponsors through a type of match-making system. It then allows you to choose which ads you want to include in your podcast, where to position them and you can read them in your own voice.
11. Subscription / Paid Membership
Offering a paid subscription or membership allows you to offer:
- VIP access to exclusive content
- Special, premium or ad free episodes
- Discounts to your events and products
- VIP access to your social media groups.
Patreon is one of the largest membership platforms for podcasters, and allows for greater connection with your community.
Alternatively, you can also ask your listeners to donate to your show, by adding a PayPal link in your show notes. It’s important to be transparent with your audience. Why are you asking them to donate? If it’s to help you grow the podcast they know and love, they are likely to be inclined to want to support you.
12. Paid Speaking Opportunities
Professional and public speaking opportunities are a natural progression from podcasting. You’ve had tonnes of practise with a mic whilst creating your podcast series and you probably understand how to be engaging and how to communicate well. By this point you may have made a name for yourself and people trust you and see you as an expert, or just find you highly entertaining. You will be in a position to connect with others in your industry and to create a network of peers. You probably won’t gain Tony Robbins speaker status overnight, but there is potential to earn thousands per speech.
And there you have it! There are a myriad of ways in which you can monetise your podcast, and we certainly haven’t touched on them all here. As we said, we don’t recommend starting a podcast with the sole purpose of making money, but having a monetisation strategy in place from the beginning will help you generate revenue over the course of your podcast journey.
If you need support with monetising your podcast, Get In Touch With Us Here