Growing and monetizing your podcast is easier and more accessible than you might think when you use the right platform and technology. Whether you’re podcasting as a side hustle or trying to make it your full-time gig, there are many ways to earn money from your content. This article will share the tips and tricks:
1. Sell ads in both programmatic and host-read formats
Programmatic Ads are typically professionally pre-recorded advertisements. These ads range from a large variety of categories including entertainment, education, real estate, technology, and more. “Programmatic ads make your shows easy to buy,” according to Tom Webster at Sounds Profitable. Because of the efficient programmatic ads marketplace of buyers and sellers, it helps independent podcasters earn money while they focus on crafting their content. While a programmatic ad format is a great start, the host-read ad is the most popular ad format for podcast monetization. Host-read ads are read by the host(s) of the podcast, usually including a personal endorsement.
The good news is that you don’t have to cold email the brands. With the RedCircle Ad Platform, you can connect directly with brands and receive advertising offers directly to your account. RedCircle’s dynamic insertion technology automatically places ads in your episodes’ available inventory to generate revenue. While monetizing your shows via host-read ads, it’s important that you understand your audience and what they need and want. For example, you can consider asking listeners to take a survey about their interests. This can help you partner with the advertisers that are more likely to perform well while keeping the listener experience great!
Tip: You may wonder how many downloads a podcast needs to make money. On RedCircle, you can start running ads with as few as 500 downloads a week. You can calculate your potential podcast earnings here.
2. Ask for donation or sell exclusive content
Asking your audience for donations is a common practice for podcasts at an early stage. It’s also a fast way to start earning, and you might be surprised how much listeners are willing to support you. Aside from accepting donations, you can also sell premium content or subscriptions. Besides your free episodes, which should still offer value to your listeners, you can sell premium content such as special guest Q&A, live content, or early access to your upcoming episodes.
3. Make a website
Creating a website is one of the best practices for growing and monetizing your show. It’s important to have an online presence to tell people about you, list your episodes, and offer other information products or merchandise to your listeners. Companies like Squarespace can help you create an affordable and user-friendly website without needing a web developer. Once you make your website, make a page listing all your sponsors, and include links and promo codes. You can also use your website to promote your social channels and sell merchandise. Corporate Quitter and Balanced Black Girl are some examples of top-performing sites from RedCircle podcasters.
4. Promote your podcast on social media
Take advantage of Instagram and Tik Tok to scale your message and grow your audience. Having an audience that feels like a community and is invested in your podcast’s message is critical. If you have a penchant for creating content, use Tik Tok and Instagram Reels to your advantage! Create a short video using audio that’s currently trending on Tik Tok, and repurpose it on Instagram Reels, Facebook, and Twitter. Post about your podcast and link to it in your social bios. More listeners = more downloads = more money for ads! Advertisers pay based on impressions, so the more impressions you bring in, the better.
5. Attend industry events or join a podcaster community
Industry events are a great way to connect with potential advertisers and learn more about what advertisers are looking for. Networking in the events can help you foster relationships with other podcasters, which may lead to cross-promotion afterward.
Events and communities to join:
- Podcast Movement is hosting its annual conference in Dallas, TX, in August. It’s the largest annual gathering of podcasters in the world, featuring speakers including Phoebe Judge, Mark Cuban, Delia D’Ambra, and more.
- She Podcasts Live is hosting its second annual conference in Washington D.C. (and virtually), the world’s largest gathering of women podcasters, audio content creators, and storytellers.
- Afros and Audio is a community of independent podcasters dedicated to curating accessible/inclusive events and spaces for and by Black Podcast Creatives & Audio Professionals. They’ve established themselves as a trusted community of support and resources for podcast creatives, networks, Audio Professionals, and podcast-related businesses.
- RedCircle’s Facebook User Group is a community we created for you to connect with other podcasters (hello, cross-promotion!). You can share thoughts, ask questions, and learn more about how to make your show successful.
- The Podcast Academy is one of the professional membership organizations uniting podcast creators and industry leaders. Their mission is to support podcast makers and advance the cultural merit of the medium.
6. Create and Sell Merchandise
For many podcasters, advertising represents the largest portion of their overall revenue, but it’s important for podcasters to expand their revenue streams beyond advertising alone. Once you’ve built a good-sized and loyal audience, consider creating branded merchandise like shirts and caps. They’re low-cost and can reinforce your brand and keep listeners intimately involved. Take advantage of companies like RedBubble, which allow you to order custom items on demand without placing a large order in advance.
7. Cross Promote
You may be wondering how to promote your podcast. Cross-promotion is a great way to bring in new listeners. Most of the time, other podcasters will do cross-promotion as a trade, meaning it’s free to both of you. Email the podcasters you meet at industry events or RedCircle’s FB group, or do a cold reach-out. Focus on podcasts with similar listener demographics to yours to ensure you bring in listeners who will be interested in your podcast. A bigger audience ultimately leads to more downloads and more money from ad sales. RedCircle has built-in cross-promotion capability. Read about it here.
Besides all the above, being consistent with creating new content and choosing the right hosting platform for your podcasts are the foundation of your podcast business. RedCircle provides cutting-edge technology to help you make more money and grow your podcast. At the same time, you can focus on creating content for your listeners. You can also learn how other podcasters succeed on the RedCirce Ad Platform.
Relevant post: 5 Ways to Make Podcasting Easier (reposted on May 2, 2022)