Do you really want to monetize?
Definitely an odd question since you’re reading this article, but monetizing your podcast even a little bit can alter the dynamic.
Listeners aren’t aware that they are profitable until you start pitching ads and giving them calls to action.
Chances are you’re not currently a paid podcaster. That is perfectly normal.
- You aren’t dealing with bad partnerships
- You can gauge how much your audience likes you
- You can figure out if you can actually make money and if it’s worth it.
- You can take your time finding good partners.
- You can decide that it’s a passion project and you don’t want to monetize
(Note – Try to be patient. Assess where you are and be ready to say ‘not yet’)
What is my show worth?
Unless you’re getting into the high thousands of downloads, or super niche, you probably won’t be making much money.
Most podcasts charge a ‘CPM’ which means “cost per mille” (1,000 downloads). CPM can vary between $10-$50, usually averaging at $20.
Math: 1000 listeners x 4 episodes = 4000 listeners. CPM of $20 equals $80
If you can run more than 1 ad per episode then you’re probably covering expenses and making a small profit. However the more ad spots you have, the harder they are to fill.
If you’re podcast is very niche, then you might be able to get a higher CPM.
It’s about conversion rates. If you have 1000 listeners, what percentage of them is going to make a purchase after hearing something 1, 2, 3 or 4 times? If they haven’t after the 4th the probably never will.
If an advertiser isn’t seeing sales increase then they probably won’t continue.
How do I start?
Slowly and carefully. Your entire existence is mostly about pleasing your initial audience. Now it’s going to be pleasing both them and your new advertising partner.
Here’s a few tips:
- Be as honest as possible with what you THINK you can provide an advertiser, and be really honest with yourself too. Can you deliver them value?
- Who is the best possible fit for your audience? What is the most obvious deal you can make whereby both the audience and the advertiser go ‘Yea of course, great choice.’
- What are the values you represent as a brand?
- Are you willing to work on a performance basis (if you’re small)? As in, someone buys a underwear and uses your code; then you get a small commission.
- Is your podcast long enough to warrant more than one short ad? If it’s under an hour then I wouldn’t have more than 2 mins of total ads. 30 second pre-roll, 60 second mid-roll and 30 second pre-roll.
Here is a template for contacting a potential sponsor:
We would love you to consider us for a marketing partner for your wonderful vitamins business.
We are a vitamins podcast that discusses the truths behind supplementation.
Our 3000 weekly listeners are very engaged, often reaching out to us directly regarding the best possible way to improve their health and wellness. We also have a social following of 700 people where we have consistent comments and reviews of different products.
Your business is such a natural fit and as such we’d be willing to offer a very good deal for you to join us, even a free trial, I do hope you consider.
Would you be open to a call this week some time?
Getting any type of response is good; even if it’s no. Having no response gives you nothing to work with. An email like this is about the right amount of sales with enough stats for them to know you mean business. At this stage you really just want to start having those conversations and get used to talking about yourself as a business, because you are one now.
(Note: Send well written and researched emails that are easy to read and even easier to respond to)
What about my audience?
A really great way to start advertising and not making an enemy of your audience is to bring them along the journey with you.
Explain to them that you love podcasting and want to put more time into it, but you can’t afford that, so you need to whore them out to the highest bidder.
Don’t say it like that. That’s a joke.
The main reason I would do it is because you can ask them:
Would you prefer to support this podcast directly and keep it ad free?
Yes. Ask them directly for cash.
It’s not uncommon for niche podcasts or podcasters who don’t want to go through the mill of rejections etc to set up a Patreon or simply ask their listeners for a donation. This is why I think having that proximity to your audience is super necessary, it means they’re more likely to want you to themselves.
Don’t forget, if you have a regular audience of 1000 or more. That’s a lot of people, in a literal sense. That’s any decent sized theater packed out to see YOU. What are the chances that a few of them have a business that would support you… probably worth asking right?
Taking them on this journey is quite a good way of peeling back that fourth wall, they’re in the room making the decision with you.
(Note: A great way to test how much your audience likes you is to carry out this very simple exercise just once. Ask for a buck. See what your return is)
What are the different and best deals?
I would be shocked to hear of any greater deal than a CPM + Bonus Commission + Sign up bonus deal for either an advertiser or a podcaster.
This is when an advertiser pays you to shout them out on a podcast, gives you a slice if they checkout using your code name, then gives to the new customer as well.
The reason this deal is so good is because the advertiser is already paying for the ad space, then they’re incentivizing the host further by adding commission to the deal, meaning the host is actively selling for them. Then they’re giving the new customer something in return for signing up.
On the opposite end, we are looking at a simple performance package where the advertiser only pays you for what you bring them. There’s no CPM at all and the advertiser may give your audience a pretty minimal % off the products you’re pushing. This deal is also hard for you to track, but if the advertiser doesn’t cancel then you’re likely performing.
The best opening deals are usually ones that require very little from both sides. My favorite sounds like the following.
‘Welcome to the Build a Cast show. This episode is brought to you in Partnership with Shure Microphones, the best microphone for podcasting. I’m using the SM7B to make this episode and I love the way it sounds. Now on with the show.’
The above is an example of a company happy to be associated with you and maybe spot you a little bit of cash. We’re talking maybe $80 a month. The slight nod of brand association along with personal recommendation is probably all this takes. They’re also pretty likely to stick around for a while as it’s hardly an overhead.
These kind of deals are a great start and don’t harm your audience at all, they’ll probably even like it. It’s 20 seconds and it’s a nice localised native ad.
(Note: There’s no right answer to the best deal. The most successful podcasters in the world work at a deal until everyone is happy. My advice would be to go as local and non professional as possible, aka a ‘partnership’; you get a kick back, your audience get used to the feeling of an advertiser, you get a case study and foot on the ladder.)
This article was originally written by Jack. He gave me permission to share it here. I just made a few small adjustments.
Jack is co founder of a social app called Syncify that lets you listen to podcasts with friends. You can visit the site and sign up to be on the wait list for early release.