Thanks for tuning into another episode of “I’d Podcast That”
More and more discussion has been going on between me and some of the listeners in regards to when is the right time to monetize my podcast. From the research that I’ve done and speaking from personal experiences with some of the podcasts that I help to run. I wanted to put this show together and share some of my insights with you.
Number one, don’t be in such a rush to monetize your podcast. You should really be focused on growing an audience that loves your show and that’s going to help tenfold in the long run. It’s very, very important that you do that.
I put together some notes here that I want to cover some, some detail with, but if you’re four months in and you’re averaging 30 downloads, great start. Probably not a good time to monetize.
Don’t worry about monetization for you know, I mean months. I was fortunate with “EM Weekly” to where at the tthree-monthmark we secured our first advertiser. At the 12 month mark, we were cash flow positive at, the 14th, I believe it was 14th-month mark, we were paid back and cash flow positive. That initial investment, we kind of rode that for about a year.
It’s a. it’s a very small niche. Not a lot of people are in it. We were fortunate enough to position ourselves and promote that show to a point where we’re attracting some global brands, which is really cool. Not every deal is a winner. There’s advertisers. We’ve turned away because we didn’t feel it was an appropriate fit. We weren’t going to serve our audience with their advertisement because we know this of our audience, we weren’t going to do them justice and we just felt there was such an unbalance that we refused to do some ads.
Keep that in the back of your mind as well. There might come a day and a time to where a company approaches you, but you know it’s not a good fit for your audience. So if you’re putting apples in front of your audience that loves oranges, you’re not doing them any good, nor are you going to do that. Advertiser any good.
Let’s get onto the notes and I first want to go over some numbers. So this is the US via apple, iTunes and their podcasts.
You’ve heard me say it before, there are over half of a million podcasts published on iTunes. However, about 220 thousand of them are active, having published an episode in the last 30 days. So after we take a look at that, we now want to take a look at the categories, the most popular primary categories, are Christianity, music and comedy.
Now we all know with iTunes, you can have one primary category in a couple of sub categories, and those are primary categories.
Christianity has three times the amount of podcasts than music does, and music comes in at number two. So if you’re in the Christianity space, it’s crowded, extremely crowded on iTunes. If you’re in the music space, busy, not as bad as Christianity, comedy, not as bad as music.
However, you get into some of these other niches or categories and they’re not as crowded, so you’re going to be able to stand out a little easier and I’m not trying to tell you to change your passion. If you’re passionate about music and you want to do a podcast about music rock on with your bad self, that is the category for you. You’re going to be able to speak with authority and passion within that category and that’s probably a good fit.
Now, something else to look at the most episodes published per category, the same primary categories, religion and spirituality, music and comedy. So there’s a lot of episodes within those crowded categories, so again, to me that reinforces the fact that being outside of those categories, you’re going to be much, much better off.
You’ve built the show, you’ve taken the time to cultivate an audience in a niche, and you can really stand out to potential advertisers within that niche, offering those brands a competitive advantage. Podcasting is emerging as a solid advertising platform for companies and brands who want an edge, who are willing to step outside of traditional media. You’re at another advantage there.
Podcasts and the hosts of these shows, they offer a looser framework. They’re not bound by, you know, the constrictions of traditional media. We’re more flexible with our content. We’re more flexible with the advertising. We can work in, add in to what it is we’re discussing and it sounds natural and part of that conversation. So keep that in the back of your mind as well. That flexibility is another feather in our hat.
The podcast host. We’ve spent a lot of time developing, again, cultivating that loyal relationship with our listeners and the ability to place a product or a service in front of them that speaks volumes to that audience because there’s a trust going on between them and us.
So me as a host, if I say I run a Behringer mixer, then people are gonna trust that Behringer’s decent. They’ve listened to the show, they liked the sound quality. Behringer must be all right. By the way, this is not sponsored by in any way by Behringer, but uh, I wanted to utilize that as an example.
So we can, we can really focus in with a product or a service to our audience. And another thing that we can do is offer exclusivity within a product category. For example, if I’m going to bring on an advertiser for a microphone, I don’t have to advertise multiple microphones. I can make XYZ, Mic the Mic of my show and only talk about it allowing nobody else in to muddy that water. Again, that flexibility is only going to benefit the advertiser much, much more.
According to a study conducted by the interactive advertising bureau, the (IAB), US podcasting, advertising revenue hit $314,000,000 in 2017.
This is an increase of 86 percent over 2016 and the estimated growth to reach $659,000,000 by 2020.
A lot of money is being spent and continually going to be spent advertising within a podcast. And again, there’s only 220,000 active podcasts out there. Now you divide that into niches. And you can see how you can really stand out above other shows within your primary category.
I mean $659,000,000 by 2020, 2019 next year I’m hoping is a rocking year for the shows that I work on that are monetized. I’m expecting some good things to come out of next year. We’re already in talks with a couple of international brands for next year, which is awesome.
With companies and brands putting that kind of money into podcast advertising. We need to step back and we need to ensure our ducks are in a row before we start chasing that almighty dollar, okay.
Some of the things that we want to take a look at a good hard look in a mirror before we start chasing an advertiser. Is the sound of your show, is it good? I’ve listened to some podcasts in the past where I’ve had to turn it all the way up and it was still so low volume that I just, I couldn’t listen to it. I couldn’t hear it over the home of have you know the car driving, So I would pass on that episode and the next episode be so loud that I had to turn it, you know, volume down to one to be able to consume it. And then the third episode we’re back to a medium volume. So it’s kind of all over the board. So ensuring your sound is consistent is very, very important. And again, it’s very important for your listeners as well, not just the advertiser.
Great sound, consistent sound, again, being consistent across the board. Very, very important.
Consistent publishing schedule. I’ve talked about this before. If you say you’re going to publish a weekly show, publish a weekly show. If you miss a week, not, not great. If you miss two weeks, really bad. If you say you’re going to publish on Thursday, but you publish on Monday because you’re going to be at Disneyland on Thursday, then you know that that’s not consistent. So you want to value consistency in your publishing schedule. Very, very high. It’s important to the listener and it’s important to the advertiser.
I’ve unsubscribed from shows because of consistency. I expected them, they weren’t there, you know, they, they’re on my phone and they haven’t published a show in three weeks. I’m out. I like things nice and tidy. I don’t keep every file I download. My files are well organized in that. That translates over to my podcast feeds as well, I guess, but if you say you’re going to publish, publish.
Does your podcast have a website? If you’re going to chase monetization, I feel that it should and it offers another opportunity for a different type of advertising. You can bundle banner ads with audio ads. You can sell banner ads only. Somebody might really want to advertise with you, but they can’t afford what you’re asking for an audio ad. Well, you can step them down to a banner ad. Obviously audio shows websites typically don’t get a lot of traffic, but some do, and that banner ad spot can hold some value, can generate some revenue and offset your costs. For podcasting.
Having a website that is up to date and well branded is very, very important. On the topic of branding, if I transitioned from Facebook to twitter to Instagram to your website, there should be consistent enough branding, so I know I’m still viewing the same company.
If you’ve got different logos, different color schemes, it. It just adds this layer of confusion that can turn again a listener off, and it definitely will turn an advertiser off so you want some consistent branding across all platforms that you’re with.
Advertisers, they want to bet on the winning horse and having these things lined up in a row consistent for weeks for months is very important to that advertiser whom you’re asking to spend $500, $1,000, $15,000 with you to promote their brands, to tell their brand story and these things, If just one of these things are off, it can kill the deal. You might be derailing yourself, you know you want advertising, but people are taking a look at your messaging and they’re just not convinced that you’re that winning horse for them. So make sure your house is in order before you go after advertising.
And to be honest with you, your house should be in order because you’re going after listeners. Again, insure your house is in order.
With all of that having been said, let’s move on to a nice easy three step process, and when I say easy, it’s not, but these three steps to get some advertisers on your show.
Number one, create a media pack.
I prefer something graphical, easy to read. Most importantly, easy to update because you’re going to update this monthly, that way you have the latest numbers month after month that you can send to that potential advertiser because you might chase an advertiser for two months, six months, 12 months, 14 months, who knows, and if they’re getting a well branded consistently styled stats sheet from you monthly that holds a lot of weight to the quality of your product.
You get immediate pack things you want to focus on as far as data within that media pack.
How many downloads per episode, average downloads per episode year after year, your social following. If you’ve developed a social following, that’s something you can leverage for your advertiser as well. Maybe you can do branded posts, sponsored posts, things of that nature. You can work in conjunction with one of their campaigns. You might just drive traffic to a giveaway, but that is something you can leverage for money for that advertiser.
Are you cultivating email addresses for a newsletter? If so, what’s your open rate? What’s your click rate? What are your demographics? What percentage of your audience is male over female? What percentage of your audience is 18 to 25, verses 26 to 34. These are numbers you should be checking on, have that the ready and update your media pack with monthly.
Again, I like a graphical style media pack. I think it increases the value of that document in the value of your show, but it’s, you know, not the only style out there.
Get a media pack of some sort together in this can develop and change slightly over time, but having something consistent is very important in my opinion.
So moving onto number two. I’m a big believer in lists and I liked the dream lists. So for the shows that I work on, what are my top 10 dream guests? Let’s get a letter together and let’s hit them with it. Every so often always chase that dream.
Same thing with advertisers. If you’re into hiking and you love and use Osprey backpacks, again, not a sponsor that might be a dream sponsor for your show. So their name Ospreys should be put on this list and continue on down. Put that top 10 list together. Those are the names we’re going to start chasing to become an advertiser on that show, top 10, your dream advertisers, very, very important.
And then lastly, step three, start selling.
Find these brands online. On occasion, you might find a link, an email address to the marketing department. Start there, hit LinkedIn up, search that company, go to its employees who’s got marketing as a job title. Start sending these emails, send that media pack out. Let them know what you can do to facilitate their story. That’s what they care about. They’re not gonna care about you, your background off the off the bat. They want to hear how you can tell their brand story to your audience. Then they’re going to want to know how big is your audience, what are the analytics like, what are the demographics like?
So if you make it easy for them to say yes or no feather in your cap, I would rather chase somebody for a week and get a no than chase them for four months and get a no.
Don’t overwhelm them. You shouldn’t be emailing them even weekly. You know, I, I tend to go to three, maybe four weeks in between emails when I’m chasing somebody to, uh, to be an advertiser. You definitely want to be direct into the point when you are communicating with them. Their time is valuable, your time is valuable. Let’s not waste anybody’s time. And again, tell them how you can help tell their brand story. That’s, that’s their mission. That’s what a marketers job is. Find that new market, tell that brand story, get them into a sales funnel. That’s what it’s all about.
And lastly, pricing your spot. This is obviously tricky and it’s going to vary month to month. It could very season to season if you happen to be in a niche that runs seasonally. Take a look at what others are charging, assign a value to a 30 second spot and stick to it.
Marketers are gonna. Push back. Don’t let their negotiations with you devalue your ad spot. You’ve assigned a value stick to it. If you find yourself not selling at all at that value, maybe you are priced too high. Come down a little bit and try again.
And remember if you talked to a company this week and they say no, three months from now, they could be a yes, so don’t burn any bridges. Treat everybody with respect and something else. That individual working for company a this month might be working for company D in four months that you’re now contacting with, so if you’ve offended them in any way, they’re probably going to remember your name and your show and not want to do business with you based off the past experience they’ve had with you.
Treat everybody with respect. Don’t overwhelm them. Don’t waste time and try to sell some ad spots and you’ll be amazed at just how easy it is and something else I kind of keep close to my vest, but I’m gonna. Go ahead and share it with you. If it’s a small local brand, they’re not going to have a budget that a large national or maybe international brand will have.
So you might sell an ad to a local company for $200 a month and that same ad spot can sell to that national brand at $2,000 a month for the same amount of time, same amount of work. And to be honest with you, if you told that national brand $200, they’re going to think something’s wrong. They’re going to think you’re not worth their time. So don’t have a published price list. Evaluate every advertiser and assign a price that you believe is fair for them.
I hope this has helped answer some questions. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org Let me know if I’ve confused the situation and, uh, if there’s any questions at all, hit me up, let me know. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter.
Until next time. Talk soon.