To start, run, and grow a podcast takes time. A lot of time.
Putting in the effort it takes to show up consistently every week and build an engaged audience takes work. A lot of work.
Podcasting is a crappy hobby, but it’s a great job. – Roman Mars of the 99% Invisible podcast
Podcasting is a great job, and the only way for it to become one is through proper monetization.
Attracting and maintaining relationships with sponsors
This past weekend, I had the honor of participating on a panel at Podcast Movement. The panel was hosted by Erik Harbison, CMO of AWeber.
Joining me on the panel was Sarah van Mosel, Vice President of Sponsorship at New York Public Radio; Lex Friedman, Head of Podcast Ad Sales at Midroll; and Pat Flynn, host of the Smart Passive Income Podcast.
Our discussion weaved in and out of the best strategies for attracting and successfully maintaining relationships with your sponsors. The key being relationships, and how these relationships need to provide value to all parties involved.
Erik wrapped up the panel by asking all of us to respond to the same question in five words or less.
The question was: what one piece of advice can you offer the nascent or advanced podcaster or sponsor?
Don’t wait to get started. – Pat Flynn
Make the ads as good as the content. – Sarah van Mosel
Do ads you’re comfortable with. – Lex Friedman
Build relationships and be human. – Jon Nastor
Four podcast monetization methods
Other methods of monetizing a podcast were missing from the discussion, specifically for podcasters who are just getting started.
These methods all vary, but in order for them to be successful, you still need to build relationships and be human.
Let’s look at four other methods of monetizing a podcast.
1. Affiliate sales
Affiliate sales are a great, simple way to get started monetizing your podcast. It’s something you can implement quickly.
Yes, you have to get approved to sell as an affiliate for most products, but that is a much easier process than it is to find a sponsor for your show.
Affiliate sales must be a win-win-win situation for your audience, the company you are promoting, and yourself.
You win because you get to earn a commission on sales from your affiliate link. But even more importantly, the people buying — your audience — has to win.
Remember, the goal is to build relationships and be human.
Don’t make the mistake of promoting items that will pay a good commission but don’t help your audience.
If you don’t use and completely stand behind the product or service, then you shouldn’t be promoting it.
Pat Flynn of the Smart Passive Income Podcast had almost a million dollars in sales last year alone, and most of that was through affiliate sales. He can accomplish this because people know, like, and trust him from listening to him on his show — again, relationship-building.
He also has a strict rule that he will only promote products that he uses himself.
2. Products and services
Promoting and selling your existing products and services with your podcast is a great indirect form of monetization. It is indirect because you are not being paid to podcast, but you expose your products and services to your podcast audience.
The Rainmaker.FM podcast network has not accepted any outside sponsorships. Now, this may change in the future, but for now, Rainmaker.FM is an on-demand audio content machine created to indirectly promote the Rainmaker Platform and exhibit its podcasting features and functionality.
The Showrunner Podcasting Course is another great example of indirect monetization of a podcast. We have created a podcast that is aimed at attracting listeners who are interested in starting and growing a remarkable show.
The reason that Jerod Morris and I can afford to put our time, effort, and resources into creating a remarkable show every week is because we monetize it with the podcasting course.
With a behind-the-scenes approach to creating a remarkable podcast, we are building relationships and being human to our growing audience.
3. Membership sites
The “logged in experience” of a membership site can produce both direct and indirect forms of profit from your podcast.
In a direct sense, you can use your podcast to attract an audience for your paid membership site or private forum. And in an indirect way, you could use your podcast to build an audience and email list with a non-paid membership area.
Jordan Harbinger of The Jordan Harbinger Show has used memberships sites as a direct form of podcast monetization over the years. That resulted in a massive audience of rabid fans by consistently producing high-quality audio content.
He attracted an audience, built a relationship with that audience, and then moved them to the paid membership area to take that relationship to the next level.
As you build your audience, your audience members will begin to know, like, and trust you.
They will understand the way you think and your philosophies — your ideas may resonate with them and what they are trying to accomplish with their businesses.
The intimate nature of consuming podcasts makes them a natural transition into offering paid consulting services.
Which monetization path is right for your podcast?
This is a question that only you and your audience can answer.
But as Pat Flynn stated in his five word response: don’t wait to get started.
Podcasting is not easy, and it will take a lot of time, effort, and resources for you to create a remarkable show and build an engaged audience.
To keep up the effort required, you will need to find your method of direct or indirect monetization.
No matter which path you choose, never lose focus on building relationships and being human.
Are you ready to start a podcast?
Do you want to build a remarkable podcast audience?
Then you need to deliver a remarkable audience experience.
And we want to teach you how, for free.
Join The Showrunner email list today and immediately start receiving our free content series The 4 Essential Elements of a Remarkable Podcast, plus you’ll get information about The Showrunner Podcasting Course and other useful updates.