Imagine a world where your podcast made enough money that you could quit your day job and become a full-time podcaster. Sounds pretty perfect to us! But what does it take to get to that point?
First Things First... It Won't Be Easy!
Let’s debunk this right now as we're not going to sugar coat anything... making money through podcasting won't be easy. There's no 'get rich quick' schemes or magic wand to suddenly make money come pouring through your laptop screen (though that would be pretty nifty!).
Just like anything, making money is tough, but with enough hard work, dedication, and passion, you can turn your podcast into a full-time hobby.
Getting a podcast to a point where it can be your primary source of income takes time and effort, but if you’re willing to put the work in, then we have a few handy tips that may be of interest to you!
How Other Podcasters Make Money
Podcasting has been around for ages (like nearly 3 decades), but it's only until recently that things have taken off. Back in 2005 "podcast" became the word of the year. Since then others have seen the potential for growth and ways to make money.
Besides from taking donations, there are plenty of other ways podcasters like these make some extra money on the side.
Promoting to The Right People
This may sound obvious, but there are some people that miss this step completely and wonder why their podcast isn’t attracting an audience. Make sure you promote your podcast in the right places and to the right people!
If you post on places like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, make sure you use #hashtags that are relevant to your podcast. This way new people who may not follow you, but would be interested, can find it. Somewhere down the line you might even have your own hashtag like #myfavoritemurder.
Thank you Hawaii for a great show and for showing us that #aloha spirit! If you’re in the Fan Cult you can watch a video from backstage made by our friend and vacation +1 @lizzycooperman!— My Favorite Murder (@MyFavMurder) February 12, 2019
🏝 👙🌸 #myfavoritemurder #ssdgm #murderino pic.twitter.com/Wcpy05Pmhp
There are also targeted ads on Facebook to help you narrow down the target audience you want those adverts to reach! As the old saying goes, you gotta spend money to make money!
Talking to a mass audience instead of honing in on a more niche one (that’s relevant to your podcast), you'll probably find it a lot less effective. Pinpoint your promotion to focus on your ideal listeners and you’ll actually see way more interest in your podcast, creating a pretty faithful audience right off the bat!
Sponsor My Podcast!!!
Sponsorships are kinda like retainers. People pay you in advance for your services, in this case for you to talk about whatever product or service the sponsor is flogging. The catch? You need to have built up a significant audience before companies will consider sponsoring your podcast (like thousands of followers).
You’ll need to be able to prove that you get a decent amount of listeners per episode, otherwise, why should the company bother sponsoring a podcast where their message is only going out to a few dozen people?
Now, obviously this one isn't low hanging fruit, but if you attract the right people it's easier to pitch to sponsors. For example, if your audience is primarily trades people (like self-employed workers) or DIY enthusiasts, then places like Wickes or B&Q (home improvement retailers) are more likely to sponsor you. Speaking of finding sponsors for your podcast...
Shake What Your Mama Gave Ya 💃
Now, I don't mean literally dancing about, but instead, offering your skills to your audience. Maybe you’re great at marketing, designing, or amazing at editing? Make a course on what you’re good at and sell that during your podcasts.
The more places you promote your skills or courses, like on your website or as a guest on another podcast, then the better the results. Utilise any skills you have, especially if they’re relevant to your audience. Your knowledge and expertise in an area could be very useful to others seeking it.
Doing Live Shows
Now, this is something you’ll want to do when you’ve got a bit more money under your belt, but a lot of growing podcasts decide to start doing live episodes in front of an audience! Just look at big podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale and The Adventure Zone!
Speaking of Welcome to Night Vale, we recently attended one of their live events. If you're a fan of audio fiction podcasts up close and personal, then it's definitely worth checking out! See why fans love watching live shows so much...
Most local venues are usually more than willing to host a live episode of your podcast. Start small, then grow from there!
Also, a clever thing that Night Vale did was upload recordings of live episodes to Bandcamp, so that fans who couldn’t make it to one of their live shows could buy it for a small donation, usually for a small fee like 99p or 99¢.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for HELP
Honestly, there's no shame in asking your listeners for help. Create a Patreon account and pop the link to it in your show notes. Make sure you mention it at the end of your episodes so that if your listeners like what they hear, they can go and support you.
Make sure you create decent donation tiers on Patreon though. Don’t just put “A shout out on the podcast!” for every single tier. Make each tier unique so people have a reason to donate more. For example:
- Tier 1 - $1/pm: Don’t necessarily get anything, but let them know that you’re grateful.
- Tier 2 - $10/pm: Show appreciation with a shoutout at the end of shows.
- Tier 3 - $30/pm: Send out merchandise like stickers and t-shirts.
You get it the idea. Build on each tier with something new that’s worth the difference in price. Check out The Sword and Scale tier plans:
Put a Bow on It, Because That's a Wrap 🎀
So that’s just a few ideas to help you gain financial freedom through podcasting and (hopefully!) turn it into a full-time gig. Time for a quick roundup!
- Look to other podcasters to get inspired - what works for them might for you.
- Be sure to promote your podcast in the right places and to the right people.
- Try and get sponsorships, but focus on relevant ones.
- BIG UP your skills! Offer courses, workshops, consultations, commissions, etc.
- Try doing live episodes (scary but worth it!).
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help through donations.
And finally the main point... lots of hard work and dedication! It won’t happen overnight, so you need to be able to stick at it no matter the setbacks you might come across. Work hard, keep at it, and you’ll get there! We believe in you!
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