So you want to start your own podcast?
Well, you’re on the right track, and the numbers are in your favor. Close to 51% of the US population are podcast listeners, and 32% listen every month. That’s a pretty big subscriber base.
But it can get pretty overwhelming with all the steps needed to start one.
Fortunately, we’re here to help! We’ve laid out all the steps you’ll ever need to set up a successful podcast. From planning to recording and all the way to marketing, here is your roadmap for podcast success in 2019 and beyond.
The Benefits of Podcasting
- It establishes you as an authority figure
Being an authority figure in your selected niche is still the best way to build your brand.
Why? Because it establishes you as an expert who really knows their stuff. And people naturally trust experts to solve their problems, or at the very least give them advice.
Podcasts are a great way to build this kind of authority with your audience. Every time you deliver fantastic, valuable content that your listeners can benefit from, you gain their trust. Over time, you become their go-to resource in that particular niche.
For businesses, in particular, this is gold. Say you’re a financial advisor or an insurance agent. Usually, people hate being sold to by these kinds of professions, and that makes it harder for you to even talk with them.
But what if you try running a podcast about saving money? People start listening to you, and they love the practical advice and money-saving tips you give on your show. You slowly gain their trust.
Now, would they shrug you off when you try to pitch them something? Chances are, they won’t because they already trust you and whatever you’ll offer them.
- People love valuable content.
People nowadays are crazy about content. It’s the reason why we’re glued so much on Facebook and YouTube nowadays. We just can’t get enough of those cat videos, apparently.
And more and more people are turning to podcasts to satisfy this never-ending hunger for excellent content.
Want to have a laugh? Pop that podcast from your favorite stand-up comedian. Can’t sleep at night? Podcasts are a great alternative to late-night TV with tons of talk shows on loads of topics.
A vast majority of people even gets on a podcast to learn something. From business topics to mindset to philosophy and even history, it’s a great medium to give your brain a workout.
- It’s a great way to create a loyal following.
We’ve come a long way in terms of building our presence. In the old days, if you wanted a following, you’d appear on national TV or go on the road promoting yourself. It’s both tiring and expensive.
Today, all you need is a laptop, a decent mic, and an Internet connection. And voila, billions of people at your fingertips.
And podcasts can help you tap into that audience pool to build a loyal following. So long as your content is unique, it encourages your subscribers to listen to you regularly. Over time, this can create loyal fans that can’t wait for your next episode.
- It’s more personal
There’s nothing like actually hearing a person rather than just reading what they write. Podcasts make listeners feel as if they’re in the same room with you. They imagine themselves having a conversation with you.
This creates an instant connection to your audience. You can also convey a lot more emotion and nuance to your message through the energy and tone of your voice. A lot of podcasts have even earned fans simply because of the personality of the host.
- People can listen to it anywhere, anytime.
The number one thing that makes the rush hour commute more productive and bearable is listening to podcasts. And a big chunk of people seems to share that sentiment – close to 22% of podcast listeners do it in their car daily.
And get this: 51% of people listen to podcasts while doing something else. Going on a run, working out, going out on an errand.
The reason for this is pretty simple – podcasts are so easy to consume.
You can listen to it literally anytime, anywhere and doing anything. Ironically, since you tend to catch listeners on their most “bored” states, you get to deliver content more effectively even though they’re doing something else.
Laying Your Podcast Foundations
In many ways, starting a podcast is very much like starting a business. It’s actually easy to get it going but takes a whole lot of work, mindset, and preparation to make it successful. You have to be in it for the long haul.
With that, here are some of the things you need to find out before starting that podcast:
- Why Do It?
Why do you want to do a podcast in the first place? Is it to promote your business? Or do you just want to talk about your hobby or views on people?
Figuring out your purpose of doing a podcast is one of the, if not THE, most crucial things you can ask yourself. Every decision you’ll make from here on out will hinge on this one point.
It’s also what will keep you going when things get challenging (and believe me, they will). Going back to your ultimate “why” will keep things in perspective and give you that necessary energy to push through whatever stands in your way.
Your audience should also see and feel your why in every episode you do. You’ll get to connect with them on a deeper level, which translates to more loyal listeners.
- Who Is Your Market?
Speaking of your audience, do you know who they are? I mean really know them? Their interests, quirks, problems, and aspirations? What keeps them up at night?
Now, why is this important?
The fact is, your podcast needs listeners – unless you just want to talk with yourself.
To get listeners, you need to be talking about topics that resonate with them. You need to hit a nerve that gets them to say, “I feel like this guy knows me!”
You can’t do this without actually knowing what they want to hear.
A good way of doing this is by doing an audience avatar. This is a detailed representation of your ideal listener and includes everything from his problems and dreams, to what his typical day looks like.
This works best if you put a name on it. Not only will it make him much more real, but it’s also much easier to refer to him when brainstorming (“what would Adam want to hear from me next?”)
Say you want to make a podcast about craft beer. To find out about your ideal audience, you create an avatar. Let’s give this guy a name – let’s call him Bob. Now as a craft beer drinker, what would Bob’s other interests be? What type of content would he like? What craft beer trend would he want to know?
Sometimes it’s easy if you’re coming from a hobby perspective. Let’s say you’re an avid gardener and you want to start a gardening podcast. Being a garden enthusiast yourself, you’d know what type of content clicks well with people like you.
On the other hand, if you’re doing this to promote a business, things might not be super clear from the beginning. In these cases, delving into market research or surveys can prove valuable.
- Who Are Your Competitors?
Time to face the cold, hard truth early on – you’re not alone in this. No matter your niche, there’s probably another podcast that exists talking about the same thing.
And even if you’re the first, chances are high that another one will pop up sooner or later. The world just operates like that – it’s a free market, after all.
Now, we’re not saying this to discourage you. Quite the opposite! The key to standing out is to do something better or different than what other podcasts are doing. So, you first need to scan your niche and see what the other guys are up to.
Once you know that, you can now differentiate yourself.
It can be anything to the specific topics you cover or the format of your show. You can even differentiate yourself with your unique personality – now that’s hard to replicate!
The bottom line is to find your unfair advantage – the one thing that will make your podcast unique and attract listeners.
- What’s In It For Your Listeners?
So you’re already clear with why you’re doing a podcast, who is it for, and who else is doing it. You now need to take all of that and package it in a way that answers the question: “what’s in it for me?”
Why would someone listen to your podcast? What specific value would they get from you that they won’t get anywhere else?
You need to give people a compelling reason to not only listen to you once but to do it again and again. Your goal is to be their cup of coffee – they can’t live the day without you in it.
For example, if you’re doing a podcast on investing, you need to give actionable insights an investor can do right away. If you do a podcast focused on cooking, a hack or recipe tip is a surefire way to keep them hooked.
And even if you’re just entertaining through your podcast, you need to make sure it’s valuable entertainment. If you do horror story podcasts (which are wildly popular), you need to really scare your audience off their pants. If you host a comedy podcast, it has to be funny as hell.
Get this right, and you’re already way ahead of most beginners or even established podcasters.
- What’s the “Big Idea”?
Today’s podcast scene is more cluttered than ever, with new shows popping up every day. Today it’s not enough to simply have a “Business” podcast anymore. You need to delve deeper into that.
You need the “Big Idea” to stand out.
This is the overarching theme of your podcast. It gives your potential audience a general idea of what to expect. But more than informing them, it’s also a great way to make you stand out.
For example, there’s a podcast named “Business Wars” that has the big idea of talking about all the big business rivalries in the past decades. Think Netflix vs. Blockbuster. It’s still a podcast about business, but it presents it in a very intriguing way.
Another example is the top-rated “Freakonomics” podcast. Their big idea is on exploring the economic side of literally everything from sleep to working out.
These podcasts work are popular because they have a new angle, an idea that hasn’t been discussed before.
So try thinking about a unique spin on your niche. Maybe you have personal experiences or unique insights that can be made into a podcast. You can also try combining two wildly different topics that generally don’t go together.
Explore and see what you come up with.
- Getting Into The Right Mindset
Whenever starting any major project, you need to have the right mindset for it to succeed. It’s no different with podcasting.
Building up an audience takes time, patience, and mental fortitude. To succeed, you need commitment and grit from the get-go.
Remember that podcasting is a long-term project. You have to be consistent with putting out great episodes, week in and week out. Along the way, laziness, mental blocks, or a host of other stuff will try to derail you from this goal. Don’t let it!
When in doubt, always go back to your why and get yourself back on track. Your listeners are counting on you.
Planning Your Podcast
Now that you’ve established the why of your podcast and who it is for, it’s time to go into a little more detail. Here we’ll talk about fleshing out the podcast itself.
- Podcast Name
Naming your podcast has more of a significant impact than you might think. Taking the time to really think of a great podcast name can pay dividends down the line.
To help you out, here are some approaches you can use when naming your podcast.
The easiest is just to use your name. It’s simple really – just use your name and attach the word “Show” or “Podcast” after it. But this is generally not a good idea. The fact is that people won’t really know what your show is about just by seeing your name. Unless you’re Martha Stewart or Elon Musk.
The more common way of doing it is by using a Searchable Title. This is basically a descriptive, plain vanilla title that’s as straightforward as you can get. So if you’re hosting a podcast on how to save money, you’d name it “The How To Save Money Show.”
Before you dismiss this kind of name as boring, it has its advantages. The most crucial is that it makes it easier for your potential audience to find you. So if someone were to search for a podcast on how to save money (because that’s what he’s interested in), he’d definitely find you. Because it’s already in your title.
If you want to go the opposite end, you can opt for a Creative Title. Podcasts with these names use clever wordplay, puns or other language voodoo to come up with names that stick. Examples include the architecture podcast “99% Invisible” and Seth Godin’s marketing podcast “Akimbo.”
Creative titles are catchy, but they run the risk of not being that easy to find. So to get around this, you can try combining Creative and Searchable Titles by incorporating subtitles or taglines.
For example, there’s this horror podcast called “Let’s Not Meet: A True Horror Podcast.” The added tagline makes it easier for people searching horror stories to find it. But at the same time, it has a clever title that makes it memorable.
Oh, and one tip: make sure the social media handle and website domain name for your chosen title is available. Once finalize, reserve those immediately. You’d want them to stay consistent all throughout to make it easier for your listeners to find you.
There are lots of other hacks, like using common phrases or insider jargon.
- Podcast Artwork
Think of your artwork as your podcast’s face. If a potential date (a.k.a. listener) finds your name intriguing, then your face has to seal the deal. It’s the first impression that will either lead to a second date or an unceremonious dumping.
Your artwork needs to be compelling enough for people to click on when they’re searching. It also needs to reinforce your brand or the topic you’re talking about.
Remember, people will be seeing a lot of it while they’re listening to it on their phones or computers. So make it count. If your budget allows, hire a graphic designer or professional photographer to help you out on this. Trust us, It’s money well spent!
- Podcast Format
Podcasts have come a long way from just being one-man shows talking endlessly on air. Today’s podcasts are becoming more like TV shows. They come in a variety of formats, from late-night show style interviews to documentaries.
What you ultimately pick will depend on your topic and the resources you have access to. Some formats require lots of planning, while others involve tons of extra equipment. Sometimes you’ll even lockdown on a specific format before you even start planning.
But if you haven’t thought about it yet, here are a few you can consider:
- The Solo Show or Monologue
This is probably the most common podcast format because it’s the simplest to produce. Simply talk and riff on your chosen topic, and that’s it! It’s also the most personal and is a great way to build a profound connection with your listeners.
While it’s the easiest from a technical standpoint, it’s quite tricky to sound engaging pulling off a monologue. We’re conditioned to carry out a conversation with someone else, so doing it with yourself might seem unnatural at first.
- The Interview or Talk Show
The interview (or what we like to call the Talk Show) format involves you, the host, interviewing a featured guest every episode. Usually, this is a recognized expert or personality in your niche.
The great thing about interview shows is that, with the right guest, you’ll never run out of things to talk about. It also gives your show tons of variety from episode to episode.
This format takes a totally different skill than doing it solo. These are things like being an engaging host, asking juicy questions, and carrying a great conversation.
Also, this format involves quite a bit of preparation and coordination. You need to contact guests and work off their schedules ahead of time.
- Panel Group Discussion
The Panel Group Discussion takes the interview format and kicks it up a notch. Here, you have a large group of people discuss (or, more commonly, debate) on some hot topics. Done right, the back and forth exchanges of opinion are quite entertaining.
The biggest challenge of this format is getting all of these people together in the first place. This can both be a technical and logistical nightmare to deal with.
- Group Hosted Show
To take the pressure off doing it solo, why not get a co-host? This is what the Group Hosted Show format is all about. Having someone to bounce conversations around can be engaging. This is especially true if your hosting styles complement each other well.
The challenge is still getting together to record, although it’s relatively easier than the Interview format. And an often forgotten but essential consideration in group hosted shows is: “who owns the podcast?”
- Podcast Theater
Podcast Theater is all about telling stories. It’s the closest a podcast can get to a TV show. They can be as simple as one guy narrating the whole thing. Or it can involve a full-blown production with sound effects and voice actors.
What makes Podcast Theater so engaging is the same thing that makes those soap operas so darn hard to turn off. It’s intrigue, plot twists, and cliffhangers! This can be a great way to reel your audience in and keep them hooked week in and week out.
If Podcast Theater is the podcast equivalent of “Days of Our Lives,” then the Documentary format is your National Geographic. Here the host presents some commentary to guide the audience on a clip, like an interview or speech.
This is an excellent format if you’re great at analyzing someone else’s content and giving your audience clear insights. The challenge here is in sourcing intriguing clips to feature regularly.
- Recycled Content
In this format, you don’t produce the content at all. Instead, you use pre-recorded stuff made by others for a different purpose. Companies often do this to repurpose content. They might take an excellent audio piece, such as a speech or a workshop, and distribute it via a podcast.
Some podcast might feature a “collection” of talks and seminars from a known personality and is often done with coaches and business gurus. While this is quite easy to do, it’s also not as engaging and flexible as the other formats.
- How Long Should Each Podcast Episode Be?
If you take a look at successful podcasts long enough, you’ll see that their runtimes differ by a pretty wide margin. Some are 7-minute tidbits, while others are as long as a feature-length movie.
Naturally, this begs the question:
“How long should my podcast be?”
And the quick answer to that is: “As long as it needs to deliver great content.”
The more detailed response is that your podcast shouldn’t be too short that it omits out valuable content. On the other hand, if all you’re adding is fluff and filler, then, by all means, cut that out. What’s important is the value being delivered.
The length is also dictated by the format that you’ll go for. Story-based podcasts and interviews are usually longer, running an average of an hour.
Some “tips-based” podcasts are best delivered in short, regular bursts that inspire your audience to take action right away. An excellent example is the “Kwik Brain” podcast by Jim Kwik. His episodes are concise and actionable, and they rarely go beyond 20 minutes.
That being said, a length of 15 – 45 minutes is an excellent place to start. This is about the average length of a car ride home, which is perfect for those listening during their daily commute.
But remember, you must always tailor-fit your show to your audience. If they find it too long, by all means, cut it shorter next time. You can always split a long show into multiple parts. This has the added benefit of creating anticipation among your audience.
- How Often Should You Release Episodes?
Next, to the question about podcast length, this is probably the second most asked one.
This is admittedly harder to answer. Your podcast frequency depends on factors that are unique to your topic, situation, and audience.
But let’s revisit the quick answer we gave in the question about length, as it rings true here as well:
“As often as it takes to deliver great content.”
Sticking to a schedule is a product of the time and commitment needed to create spectacular episodes. If you need 2 weeks to create a single great episode, then stick with that. It’s infinitely better than coming out with daily episodes that plain suck.
But whatever you choose, the important thing is to set your audience’s expectations. Tell them when how often you’ll be coming up with new stuff. Or better yet, announce it to them a few days before you do (this is where having an email list is very useful; we’ll talk about this one later)
- Naming your Episodes
Just like your podcast itself, naming each episode is an essential factor to consider. And unlike the former, descriptive names work better with episode titles.
The reason is simple: the goal of your title is to make people want to listen to it. To do that, they need to have a clear picture of what it’s about.
Think about it. Would you listen to an episode named “Episode #4”, or “EP4: How To Think Like a CEO”? The latter gives a preview of what to expect, so if the person is even remotely interested in becoming a CEO, he’ll click that episode.
Having a descriptive name also makes it easier for potential listeners to search for your episodes.
Now, having a descriptive name doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Far from it! You might want to take a page off a marketer’s book and treat them like headlines. Create intrigue and mystery that makes them WANT to listen to that episode.
So instead of “5 Ways to Save Money”, maybe you can do something like the “The 5 Money Management Secrets That Will Change Your Life Overnight”. Which one would you pick?
So you’re done with the actual planning and fleshing out of your podcast. Awesome. Now that you have the concept, it’s time to get the tools necessary to bring it to reality.
- Podcast Hardware
To record a podcast, you actually just need two things: a microphone and a computer. Most modern laptops even have a microphone built-in, so in that case, you only need one.
Unfortunately, with that setup, you’ll get lousy audio quality, at best. If you want your podcasts to sound great, you need to invest in better gear.
The good news is that you don’t need to shell out thousands of dollars to achieve acceptable sound quality. Especially since most podcasts are just voice only, which is more forgiving. In this case, a decent USB microphone will do wonders.
Beyond the microphone, you can consider other equipment, depending on your format and goal. If you’re having multiple mics and audio sources, you might find a mixer. You can also use digital recorders if you’re doing specific episodes while on the go.
- Podcast Software
Once your podcast is recorded into your computer, you now need a way to edit, export, and upload that into the Web. For this, you’ll need specialized software.
At the minimum, you would need a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). This is a piece of software that allows you to edit and export your audio tracks into an uploadable file format, usually MP3.
While there are lots of powerful (and expensive) pro-level software available, we couldn’t recommend Audacity enough. This is a free (that’s right, it’s free!) DAW that’s more than enough to get the job done.
After you have your podcast file, you would then need a way to share that to the world. For this, two things are required: a podcast host and a podcast directory.
A podcast host is where the actual podcast file is stored. This is a cloud-based, high-speed hosting service that’s optimized for streaming audio quickly and efficiently.
Once hosted, you’ll get an RSS link to your podcast show. You now use this link and post it in a podcast directory. This is where people will actually get to listen to your show. One of the biggest directory is, you guessed it, Apple iTunes.
We’ve got a great guide on digital audio workstations, podcast hosts and directories if you want to learn more about them.
Recording Your Podcast
You’ve got your podcast idea ready, and your equipment is set up and raring to go. We’ve now come to an important milestone in your journey – recording your first podcast.
Recording a podcast is actually a pretty simple operation. If you’ve taken the time to build out a plan for your podcast, recording day should go without a hitch.
Here’s a quick overview of what will happen.
- Pre-production Work
As with anything, preparation is key. Here you run through your equipment and check if they’re working as intended. The last thing you want is a glitch after an hour-long recording session (it’s enough to make a grown man cry)
This is a pretty straightforward, self-explanatory step. You simply press Record and start talking. Your podcast can be recorded in one go, or in chunks that will then be assembled later on. It really depends on your podcast length and format.
Once the recording is done, you then do the necessary magic in this step. You can assemble tracks, spice it up with music, or adjust the audio for better quality.
Happy with the recording? You now export the podcast into a file you can upload. This is usually MP3. You’ll also need to fill out your podcast’s meta tags in this step, such as the title and creator.
In this step, you upload your MP3 file into the podcast hosting of your choice. If your show is already listed in any directory, your newly added episode will automatically show up there.
If not, you’ll get an RSS link, which you’ll need in the final step, which is …
Publishing involves registering your podcast show into a directory using its RSS link. Take note that you only need to do this once per directory.
Getting More Podcast Listeners
Congratulations, you’ve successfully published your podcast. Now, all that’s left is to sit back as the listeners come pouring in…
Well, not quite.
Gone are the early days of podcasting when you can count on organic listeners without much effort. In today’s busy scene, you need a little bit of work to get noticed. You got to have a serious marketing strategy in place for your podcast.
Before delving in, it’s worth mentioning that the best marketing in the world can’t save bland, crappy content. You need to make sure your podcasts are giving value and that it resonates with your listeners. This is your first step.
With that, here are some ideas you can use to kick your podcast off the ground and reach your first 100 or even 1,000 listeners.
- Using Podcast Transcriptions
One of the easiest ways to market your podcast is through transcription. Basically, this is the entire podcast episode in written form. This is very powerful than you might initially imagine.
For one, you can reach a wider audience. People who have hearing problems will still be able to access your podcast. Plus, words have way more reach than audio. You can put it in a blog post or email it, where people can easily quote it or share it. Or you can even compile it into an eBook. The content possibilities are endless.
The only downside is that it can be a tedious process. Fortunately, you can easily get a transcriptionist to do this for you for a fee.
- Use Social Media
If you’re not considering social media in your marketing efforts, either you’re crazy or spent the last 10 years sleeping under a rock.
But seriously, you should make social media a crucial part of your podcast marketing efforts. Most especially Facebook. If only for the sole reason that everyone’s there, including your target audience most likely.
The great thing about social media is that you further the connection you made in your podcasts. You can post new episode updates and other relevant content. You can engage with your audience and get feedback on your episodes. You can even do your research and survey your listeners for episode ideas in the future.
Facebook is also a rapid audience-building tool if you have the budget for it. Its targeted paid ads allow you to hone in on your ideal audience, getting you more interested listeners.
- Have an Email List
If you think email is outdated, you’d be dead wrong.
Email still is a fantastic and cost-efficient way to connect and engage with your audience consistently. It’s the only medium that allows you direct access to a person’s personal space – their inbox. That makes it more likely for someone to read your email once you’ve established trust.
And the good thing about your email list is that it’s yours. If Facebook suddenly closed down tomorrow and that’s how you engage with your audience, you’re out of luck. No way around it, because you don’t own it.
But no one can take your email list away from you. You can always connect with your audience anytime you want to.
So really, make it a point to get your audience’s email address if you can. There are lots of ways to do this. You can start by flat out asking them to subscribe to your list at the end of each episode. Or you can use a lead magnet – something valuable you can give in exchange for their email address. An ethical bribe, if you will.
- Have Your Own Website
Websites are still one of your best pieces of real estate online.
At the most basic, you can use it as a space to tell your listeners more about yourself. Give a face and a story behind the voice that they hear. This can make you more relatable and create a more meaningful connection with your audience.
On top of that, you can also use it as a hub to post relevant content, episode summaries, and other exclusive stuff not found anywhere else. You can use it to host your blog (which we’ll tackle in a bit), or even an e-commerce portal where people can buy the stuff you promote in your shows.
The crucial thing is to get your domain name (the URL people type in the address bar) right away once your podcast title has been finalized. Fortunately, it’s easy and inexpensive to do that. Some web hosting services will even include this in their packages.
- Have a Blog
Maintaining a blog is a great way to extend the reach of your podcast. The most basic strategy is creating a blog post to provide a sneak peek of an upcoming episode you’ll be doing. Or, you can do an article as supplementary content to the topics you covered in an episode. The opposite can also happen – you can use a podcast to promote a blog post as well.
Blogs and podcasts go hand in hand in funneling subscribers to each other and is a fantastic way to double the promotion of your personal brand.
- Use YouTube
While a podcast is mostly an audio-based medium, it doesn’t mean you can’t host it in the world’s biggest video platform, YouTube. The fact is you’re missing out on millions of potential listeners if you’re not in the world’s biggest search engine (yup, YouTube is technically a search engine!)
You can also go beyond just posting your podcasts there and do all sorts of content to extend your reach further. You can do exclusive YouTube-only content like interviews or episode previews. And hosting a full video podcast is also gaining in popularity.
It’s actually not so difficult to upload your podcast to YouTube – you just need to include a visual with your MP3 podcast file. The most common is a static logo of your show. But you can also include animation, live video feed or even a custom-made video clip.
The key is making it engaging for viewers (remember that people in YouTube are highly visual). It’s really easy to learn how to upload a podcast to YouTube.
- Make Your Podcast Searchable
For most beginning podcasters, especially those without huge budgets, getting organic listeners is the key to growing your audience. At least initially.
Organic listeners are mainly people who discover you through non-paid means, making them very cost-efficient. The most common ways to achieve this are through word-of-mouth, endorsements, and searches.
Making your podcast searchable might be the quickest, long term strategy you could go for. This is done through a process called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. While mostly done through websites and blog posts, they can also apply to podcasts as well.
SEO is a complex topic with lots of techniques, but all of it is based on three essential principles. They are having valuable content, getting others to link to your podcast, and using relevant keywords.
The easiest place to start is with your show and episode title. You need to name them in such a way that it will be easily found by your target market. For example, if you’re doing a personal finance podcast, you can use keywords like “personal savings” or “money.” That way, when people search for these words, you’ll be part of the search results.
There are tons of other SEO strategies you can tweak to up your podcast’s organic visibility. You can click here if you’re interested.
Monetizing Your Podcast
Once you’ve built up a substantial audience base for your podcast, the real fun begins. You can now start to earn some money off your efforts.
Before we go on, the most critical thing with monetizing a podcast is not breaking your audience’s trust. Remember, they subscribed to you because they want to listen to something valuable. The last thing they want is to be sold to.
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t sell things. That’s perfectly fine. In fact, if done right, your listeners will even thank you for recommending to them a great product or service.
The key is not to overdo it and balance it out with tons of value.
The most common way is to promote a product or service to your listeners to boost sales. But even if you’re just a hobbyist podcaster, you can still earn a buck through sponsorships or affiliate sales.
There are numerous different ways to monetize, and you get great results if you combine one or two of them. We list some of them below:
- Attracting Sponsors
This is one of the easier ways to earn a little bit of money from podcasting. You can reserve a portion of each of your episodes for sponsors and sell it to them. In exchange, they then use that spot to run ads and promote their products or services to your listeners.
Pricing can vary widely, and there is no set standard for it. But expect it is mostly dependent on the number of listeners you have. You must also be careful not to overdo it and risk annoying your audience. To help prevent this, pick a sponsor that your audience will find interesting.
- Becoming an Affiliate
Want to sell a product or service, but you don’t have any of your own? Easy – just sell someone else’s!
This is called affiliate marketing, and it’s one of the best and risk-free ways to earn money with your podcast. As the affiliate, you promote another company’s products/services on your shows. Whenever one of your listeners buys from them, you get a commission from the sale. Simple, right?
Affiliate works incredibly well with podcasts because you’ve already built trust with your audience. Any product or service you offer them will sound like a recommendation more than a hard sell. And this will increase the chances of them actually buying.
Of course, you need to make sure that the product or service is excellent and relevant, to begin with. The best way is actually to use the product/service yourself. You can then use your first-hand experience to make your recommendation more authentic.
- Selling Your Own Products/Services
The most straightforward way to earn from podcasts, of course, is to promote your own products or services. This is a fantastic way to boost your company’s sales, especially if you run an e-commerce store.
You can be as direct as asking them to go to your website and buy your latest product. Or you can offer exclusive discounts and offers to podcast listeners by giving them a coupon code. This is a right way of tracking the impact your podcast is having on your sales because you’ll know how many listeners availed of your offer.
You can also promote free stuff that will eventually lead to a sale. Examples include encouraging them to sign-up to your service, offering free trials, or giving away a free e-book. This is a good option if directly selling in your podcast sounds too “salesy” to you.
- Promoting Events/Summits
Aside from physical products or services, you can also get people to attend your events and summits. This works particularly well with virtual summits and online workshops since you won’t be limited by location.
Podcasts are a great way to drum up anticipation for a big event. You can ask the organizers or speakers to be guests on one of your episodes to help promote that event. You can even offer this to third parties and get commissions in return.
- Getting Clients
By giving people tons of value in your podcast, you become an expert in your audience’s mind. Some of them would naturally want to hear more from you. They would even want to work with you as a paid client.
This works exceptionally well in the coaching and consultancy industries. In fact, it’s one of their better channels to get clients, since they get to demonstrate their value upfront. And the best thing is that this is all on autopilot – prospects get in touch with you, not the other way around!
- Using Patreon
Patreon offers a new and innovative way to earn with your podcast. With their platform, you actually get paid for creating the podcast itself. Yup, cool, eh?
Let’s expound on that concept a bit. Instead of listeners, you get patrons on Patreon. Patrons pay you to listen to your podcast. In addition, you can offer them exclusive benefits. This can be anything from early episode listens, patron-only content or access to your membership site.
The platform is excellent because it gives you a consistent and stable income for your podcast. Combined with other sources like affiliate marketing and sponsors, this can make your podcast self-sustaining.
Patreon also allows you to develop a deep relationship with your best fans. You can get their feedback and even let them help you decide on future episodes and topics. This can help you create engaging content that will help attract even more engaged fans.
So there you have it – all the steps you could possibly do to create and sustain a podcast from conception to success. And while it might seem daunting at first glance, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither will your podcast.
So hang tight, put in the work each day, and check out our other guides if you’re feeling stuck. Happy podcasting!