Many opportunities are available to you when you want to monetize your blog. There are countless advertising networks that you can consider and they can take on different parts of your website’s real estate. You can have in-line text ads, pop-under ads, banner ads and more. That’s because someone visiting your blog is actually looking at your website.
Podcasting represents an entirely different kind of proposition. While it is possible to embed your podcast on your blog and have listeners visit your website directly, the majority of your podcast subscribers likely won’t do that. They’re likely using some sort of podcast client, either on their desktop or through a mobile device. In the case of an audio podcast, you only have access to their ears and not their eyes.
Does this mean that monetizing a podcast is impossible? Certainly not! There are many ways to make money from your podcast too.
Let’s start with one of the most obvious. When you have an audience that is significant enough in size, you can start to attract direct advertising from brands and companies who align with your listener demographic. They may approach you or, more likely, you can approach them. The nature of the sponsorship is up for the two of you to decide. The most common would be an audio snippet in the beginning, middle or end of each episode to indicate that your podcast is “brought to you by XYZ company, makers of the famous ABC product available now.”
Especially when you are first starting out, you may struggle to get a deal with an advertiser directly. Truth be told, this is also the case for monetizing your blog or any other web property. Thankfully, you can still make money through affiliate marketing. I know. Your audio podcast hardly has clickable links or spaces for affiliate banners. This is why you need to create “pretty” URLs with redirects, like johnchow.com/aweber that can easily stated and remembered “on the air.”
A very common misconception is that your podcast or blog needs to make money directly in order to be profitable. That’s not true at all. Instead, you can use your podcast as a branding and marketing tool to get you in front of your potential customers. Let’s say that I started a podcast on business writing. It could serve as a terrific referral source for business customers who need writing services. If John started a podcast about making money online, it could attract people who may be interested in a mastermind or training course.
Tangentially related to the previous point, your podcast can be a way to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list. It has been said so many times before that the money is in the list. If someone is already subscribed to your podcast, they’re clearly interested in the content you provide. Getting them to sign up for your newsletter should be easy and can result in plenty of back-end opportunities for you.
Similar to the idea of using your podcast to generate business referrals, your podcast can also be used to generate sales of your existing or new products. People who subscribe to a podcast I create on starting their own freelance business might be interested in the book I wrote on the same topic. You can promote any of your own products in much the same way.
While native advertising is most commonly discussed in the context of website content and sometimes in the context of social media, it can be just as easily applied to audio or video podcasts too. Partnering with the right companies, sponsored content as part of your podcast can be lucrative to you, useful to the listener and invaluable to the advertiser.
Give them a taste. This is not dissimilar to the strategy of giving away a free e-book on your blog and using that e-book to promote your (paid) premium content on a membership site or in a larger e-book that’s for sale. With your podcast, you can provide the beginning of a useful guide for free and then tell listeners that they can get the rest of the guide by visiting your website. That’s your upsell opportunity.
Podcasting may not yet be at the same level of blogging, since putting together and hosting an audio program is more intensive than simple text, but it’s definitely growing and there’s definitely money to be made. You just have to think about it in a different kind of way.