There are many podcasters that are trying to monetize their content. Many podcasters have heard of John Lee Dumas. Or maybe great podcast teachers like Dave Jackson from the School of Podcasting. Or the award winning Daniel J. Lewis and thought I could do that. That is not a bad thing. Wanting to make money from your podcast today is like the Gold Rush of 1849 where the discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in early 1848 sparked a mad dash to California and the wilderness to find riches. This is why some are finding “podcast” now even though this “roll your own media” has been around since 2005. The rush has been sparked by a handful of hard working and focused entrepreneurs making thousands of dollars a month from their efforts. If you want to succeed you have to understand where that money comes from.
Often the difference between a hobby and a business is cash flow. It’s one way on a hobby— outbound. That is not a bad thing. If however, you would like to grow a show where the numbers of your audience attracts the attention of companies wanting to sell their good or services on it, that’s business. They are seeking to trade dollars for access to your listeners. One of the most important things for your to consider is your audience. You should know if they will accept the interruption of consciousness to receive the advertisement. The good news is that most will and that is the benefit of podcasting. We speak directly into the ear-buds of our listeners. If they like us, they usually like our advertisers or put up with it as a fact of life. They put a great deal of trust in you as the podcaster and if you don’t abuse it you will have a win-win situation. Nobody likes to be sold to. Most understand why you are or want to do it. Some will however stop listening to you if all they perceive from you is that you are pimping.
It’s always about relationships.
In the new media world sponsorship and advertising can be synonymous. The aesthetics of one over the other is in the ear of the beholder. Advertising sounds crass in some circles. Advertising is defined as the thing used to persuade an audience to take or continue some action. A company that “sponsors” a podcast is one that finances that show in return for advertising. Sponsorship just sounds better and the difference to me is the relationship. Advertising is a symbiotic opportunity.
My sponsors are friends that invest in me in return for favorable mention on my blogs and podcasts. I create elaborate and professional sounding commercials for them that I play on my shows. I post their logos on my websites. I subtly mention them in live interviews or drop their names whenever possible. I don’t do that for advertisers. I usually have met the CEO’s and marketing people of my sponsors. Advertisers usually find me on the web after they have seen me on TV or Google’d my name and see that I am all over the place.
I don’t have any advertisers.
And then there are “affiliates.” Another way we make money in podcasting is affiliate marketing. It could come from a relationship like I have with Lucky Gunner family and Dre from Sucurri.net but most often not. Affiliates come from places like Commission Junction, AvantLink and mega-companies Amazon of which hasn’t netted me diddly-squat. Affiliate marketing requires work. Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income says,
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
Pat Flynn is a really nice guy, family man and entrepreneur that has been successful online. He is proof that good guys can win too.
Here’s why I said it requires work. You get paid for each customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. You have to find a system (I haven’t yet but I am getting closer) that works for you.
Crowdfunding is another avenue to pursue if your audience will support it. The new Kenn Blanchard Show podcast is using http://Patreon.com/kennblanchard. For some subjects this may be better than seeking formal sponsorships, advertisers and affiliates.
One of the things you have to do if you want to make money with your podcast is have a quality show. You have to grow your audience. Growth takes time. You have to be consistent and reliable. You have to be a show that your audience, trust.
So, can you make money podcasting? Yes, it is done through sponsorships, advertising, affiliates and crowdfunding. Here are the truths. Like everything, your mileage may vary. It comes after you create a good show. It comes after hard work and consistency. It comes if you have the right niche. It comes if you have a relationship with both your audience and other companies. It comes if your audience is engaged with you. The Gold Rush of podcasting is far from over. If you want to get into the business side of things and monetize your podcast now is a good time to start.