As podcasts continue to become more and more popular people are creating new shows to leverage themselves as industry experts. They do this by building an audience, connecting with more influencers, building personal brands and boosting exposure for their businesses. We often discuss this during our free webinar training, and it's exciting to learn that a lot of people are using their online business, and explicitly podcasting as their primary revenue stream. If you too are interested in starting your own business online and perhaps making money from podcasting, here are some intriguing approaches to help you secure a profitable venture.
If you decide to take the leap and start podcasting, The Balance Small Business recommends choosing on a specific topic first. Figuring out what you’d like to talk about can get those creative juices flowing and help you think of other ways to target your audience.
When selecting the topic of your podcast there are two directions you can go; you can go with a very big mass market audience or you can go with a narrow niche audience.
Why are profitable niche markets like dog training and fly fishing tailor-made for podcasting? Simple, because they work! A solid niche makes it easier for you to define your ideal audience as well as the types of sponsors and advertisers to target. There's also less competition making it easier for you to claim your stake in the market.
I usually always recommend targeting a niche market when starting an online business, creating a YouTube presence, or creating a blog… and podcasting is not different.
If you start a niche market-based podcast, you can always grow the scope of the podcast to reach a larger audience; but as far as starting a new podcast it will be a lot easier to build an audience and following more quickly if you speak to a very specific niche audience.
Think about a niche podcast as being a big fish in a small pond.
With a mass-market podcast (such as politics or general weight-loss) there's a lot more competition but the market is so big you should be able to capture a segment of the market as long as you are interesting and have a unique point of view.
Again, keep in mind is that you can always start by targeting a smaller segment of a larger niche market to gain market share and build an audience, then as the podcast grows you can expand into broader topics within the larger market.
Don't feel like just because you start in a smaller niche market you'll be stuck or pigeonholed to just that one thing.
Relationships are essential in any business, which is why Entrepreneur says you shouldn’t ignore building relationships while podcasting. You can do that by networking with fellow entrepreneurs and looking for guests to interview, and we discuss more below:
Some may not consider relationships a profitable element within the podcasting world. Ilunga, however, disagrees. “Regardless of whether you’re hosting an interview–based podcast or not, relationships are a very powerful element in podcast, just like in business,” he says.
“After interviewing several top podcasters I can say that networking is the number-one reason why many entrepreneurs, marketers, authors and coaches decide to start a podcast.”
When looking for guests to interview, don’t focus exclusively on their status, but think about your business. “Many hosts want to interview A–listers on their shows, and there isn’t anything bad with that,” says Jessica Rhodes of Rhodes to Success. “Think about your business, though. Instead of chasing guests because of their status, be strategic and try to interview people who you may collaborate and actually do business with.”
After you do enough podcasting and have a lot of content Entrepreneur says you can recycle your content and make books and audiobooks. Doing this is an excellent way to earn income from your podcasts.
As a podcaster, you spend hours creating high-value content, which you give away for free. People tune in, get advice and have the option of applying it to their business. In “3 Content Marketing Trends You Need to Be Addressing in Q2,” I talked about repurposed content as a powerful content-marketing practice.
Who says that you can’t apply repurposed content to your podcast to make money?
Hack the Entrepreneur host Jon Nastor is a great example of a podcaster who repurposed part of his content and created a product people pay for: a book. To write his book, he simply took some takeaways from the interviews he hosted on that podcast and combined them with brand new content.
Not that everybody is a writer, and writing a book may not be your thing. But, what about audiobooks? “As podcasters craft their art, they become better communicators and better storytellers,” says narrator and audiobook creation expert Krystal Wascher. “Why not take your recording skills and create an audiobook? You probably have content and know how to record. It’s a no-brainer, really.”
Podcasting is an excellent thing for people who like to help others. Use podcasting as an opportunity to help solve problems, offer advice, and eventually release products. The Balance Small Business further discusses how to use your podcasting skills to your advantage:
You’d be amazed at all the talented people who try commercial podcasting for just a few episodes or just a couple of months and give up completely, determining that podcasting doesn't work for their business. Little do they realize that along the way, they have developed skills that are in high demand.
Your advantage is having devoted the time and energy to becoming a podcasting expert. 99% of people are not as skilled as you but need your expertise – provided you can prove it to them. Sell your services as a consultant or podcast producer if your own podcasts are not immediate money makers.
Podcasting is usually lumped along with other online activities like social media marketing, getting website traffic, and search engine optimization as if it predominantly about the technology. In reality, it is still one of the most relationship-based media in existence, and any success a podcaster enjoys is mostly based on the hosts/experts’ personalities and host-audience interaction.
You can make money by helping others set up their podcasts, produce and edit shows, and effectively market their podcast online.
Another idea is to promote a membership site. According to Navid Moazzez, creating a membership site is a smart way to have members subscribe and pay for a monthly subscription.
A membership site is an entire website of premium content.
Membership groups allow listeners to become more deeply engaged in your community.
Nick Quah of the Hot Pod podcast runs a membership group called the Hot Pod Members Only Forum.
Membership costs $3 to $7 per month.
Not a bad price to get access to actionable, expert-level advice.
The Podcast Host started the Podcast Launch Mastermind in June 2018.
Members of there Podcast Launch Academy get 50% off (discounted from $395).
The Podcast Host ran the mastermind once a week for six weeks.
Each 1.5-hour session combined group discussions with Q&As.
They ended up getting great feedback from their members!
Don McAllister of ScreenCastsOnline.com has been running his podcast and membership site since 2005.
He offers detailed advice and tutorials about Mac and iOS applications.
He was one of the first ever podcasters to offer a premium podcast service built around the membership site model.
Another approach you can try to make more money podcasting is by selling merchandise. Buzzsprout explains more about how you can use this technique to your advantage:
Typically when you think of custom t-shirts, you think about rock bands going on tour around the country. But selling merchandise isn’t just a rock band thing, you can do it for your podcast as well!
Put an inside joke that only fans of your podcast will recognize on a t-shirt. Make stickers and coffee mugs with your podcast’s logo on it. Make phone cases, hats, hoodies, and anything else you think would be fun. Your fans will love wearing your podcast swag and letting their friends know all about their favorite podcast.
To sell merchandise without turning your garage into a warehouse, you’ll want to utilize a print-on-demand service. These services make new items as people order them, so you don’t have to handle fulfilling orders, shipping your stuff, and dealing with returns and customer service. Just upload your designs, set up your online store, and send people to check it out.
Printful is a great website that will allow you to offer a wide range of products. They allow you to upload your artwork and print it on anything from t-shirts, to iPhone covers, to bathing suits.
Podcasting is an excellent way to put your talents to good use and make money online. Beyond the approaches we mentioned in this article, we offer more tips not only for podcasters but how you can make money by starting your own online business. Learn more during our next free webinar training. Join us for our upcoming webinar and find out how businesses reach their profit potential!