There are many media you can use online to create and distribute great content that keeps your audience engaged.
But along with blogs, video, infographics, and other common forms of content, there's another option that people tend to overlook:
Podcasts are more popular than you might think.
They can be ideal for workouts or long car rides, and people stay engaged with them for their full duration — there's no skimming an audio file, for the most part.
You can even monetize the podcast itself, rather than using podcasting for content marketing as a means to an end.
These audio broadcasts can be a great way to make compelling affiliate offers, and some of the most popular podcasts have become surprisingly lucrative.
A recent blog post from Smart Passive Income gives some of the reasons that podcasts are getting more popular among entrepreneurs and content marketers.
1. There’s Less Competition in Podcasting
Podcasts are a growing content platform. There’s no denying that. But there are still far fewer podcasts than blogs and YouTube channels. The statistics speak for themselves.
Podcasts vs. Blogs vs. Videos
- 200,000 active podcasts / 19 million active blogs / 1 billion YouTube users
- 98 million people listening to podcasts / 409 million people view more than 23.7 billion pages each month (WordPress.com only) / 4.95 billion videos watched on YouTube every single day
- 23% podcast listenership growth between 2015 and 2016
- 75% monthly podcast listening increased since 2013
- 36% of the worldwide population is listening to podcasts
Sources: HubSpot State of Inbound 2016; WordPress.com/activity; StatisticBrain.com/youtube-statistics
Podcasting, in my experience, allows you to compete with the big guns, creating a more even playing field. For example, I’ve consistently outranked The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review in the realm of podcasting. In a traditional media setting, I wouldn’t even be seen. But in podcasting, I have the edge.
2. You Can Connect with Influencers
In addition to connecting with your audience, podcasting is an amazing platform for you to connect with influencers—people who you may look up to, other thought leaders and authorities in your industry. If you were to go and ask a person who you look up to if you could spend thirty minutes to an hour speaking with you, they might say no. Or they might say yes and charge you for the privilege. But the moment you have a podcast, it shows them immediately that you have something to offer. You have a stage to give them. An audience. An opportunity to speak about themselves and show off their service or product to an entirely new group of people.
3. Monetization Possibilities
You don’t have to monetize your podcast, but there are many ways you can, and many ways monetization can benefit your podcast and business. Even if you don’t directly monetize from your podcast, you will indirectly benefit from it in many different ways, some of which I’ve mentioned already.
But there are ways to directly generate an income through your podcast.
First, advertising is probably the most popular way to monetize your podcast.
This is how it works: you get a company to pay you to give exposure to their brand on your podcast, whether in the pre-roll (before the main content of the podcast), mid-roll (middle of the show), or post-roll (at the end of the show).
But, with that said, it’s not one that I would recommend sticking with for the long run. There are other possibilities that can benefit both you and your audience. I’ll talk about those in a second.
Typically, advertisers will pay a certain dollar amount, anywhere between $15 and $40 CPM (cost per thousand) downloads. Since the advertisers only pay for every thousand downloads, it can be for fairly cheap, compared to paying a flat fee for something.
Affiliate marketing is another way you can monetize your podcast.
If you don’t have your own products, or even if you do, you can recommend products that make sense for your audience to use, such as services, tools, and apps. If you have an affiliate relationship with those companies, you can earn a commission if your audience purchases a service or product through your affiliate link.
Note: If you do have affiliate relationships, and you earn a commission on those affiliate links, it’s very important that you mention they are affiliate links on your podcast. You can get in trouble if you don’t. Plus, it’s just about being open and honest with your audience, which they’ll appreciate.
Affiliate marketing can be very profitable. I’m the first to tell you that. I’ve been doing affiliate marketing since 2010 on Smart Passive Income, and I feel it’s still one of the most underutilized forms of monetization out there.
And guess what? You can start affiliate marketing today.
Find a company that you’ve used, that you work with, that you trust. Make sure it’s one that you’ve used, so that you don’t potentially tarnish that trust that you’ve grown with your audience.
Create an affiliate relationship with that company, and you can start generating affiliate income. What’s nice about the podcast is, if the content is evergreen (which it should be, for the most part), you’ll continue making affiliate commission from those podcast episodes.
Hot Affiliate Marketing Tip:
If you want to boost your affiliate earnings for a particular product that you know has been proven to be helpful for your audience, and you know is working for you, invite the CEO or founder onto your show to talk about the story behind the product and things that are happening. What that does is it allows the audience to build a relationship with the product and that product owner and it will make them more likely to actually follow through on a purchase going through your link.
Another way to monetize your podcast is to sell your own products. It’s a lot more difficult to do it directly on your show, but there are workarounds to that.
One of the workarounds is to build your email list from your podcast. I see a lot of people doing this.
You build your email list by giving away freebies or incentives to bring people onto an email list, which is essentially the beginning of a funnel. A number of emails down the road, after a certain amount of time, you promote a product that is related to that freebie or the episode that person subscribed from.
Finally, there’s another monetization mode you should be aware of: the “paid for by viewers like you” model.
There is a tool called Patreon that allows your fans to pledge a certain dollar amount per episode or per month on an ongoing basis. If you have a podcast on Patreon, you create the pricing tiers, which can be as low as high as you want.
Imagine if you had 1,000 listeners, your 1,000 true fans, who pledged at the $1 per episode tier. That’s $1,000 per episode right there! If you come out with four episodes per month, four dollars per person, you’re going to make $4,000 a month. I had the founder of Patreon on the SPI podcast if you’re interested to learn more about that monetization option.
You can learn more about podcasting over at Smart Passive Income.