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Top 4 ways to monetize a podcast

In the past year, we’ve seen a considerable increase in terms of podcast consumption. As we speak, there are 62 million Americans listening to audio content each week. Around the world, there are 800,000 active podcasts with over 54 million episodes available. Due to a low cost of entry, a record of 192,000 new shows were launched in 2019.

This considerable increase in audio consumption is mainly due to innovative gadgets such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s AirPods. As more people are attracted by this relatively new trend, content creators keep on finding effective ways to monetize podcasts. Even if there are many was for that, we couldn’t find a dedicated platform capable of accepting several income sources and methods.

In this article, the focus will shift towards common and efficient ways in which content creators can begin to monetize their own podcasts.

1. Podcast Sponsorships

This seems to be the most common way to monetize podcasts. Popular shows can generate thousands of dollars per month through sponsorships. However, some creators and listeners feel like including sponsorship slots within their shows can get annoying. For this reason, it is important to contract sponsors that can relate with the presented content in your show.

If you start a podcast today, do not expect sponsors to line up at your doorstep tomorrow. Like most things in our lives, it takes time to reach a desired level. First, begin to host free podcasts in a niche you are passionate and knowledgeable about. The key is to be consistent, to build a captive and engaged audience before monetizing content through sponsorships.  So, what are the common standards for Podcast Sponsorships? Based on the CPM (cost per one thousand visitors), content creators can monetize through sponsorship based on the number of downloads (listens). Therefore, sponsors will pay different amounts for Pre-roll, Mid-roll, and Post-roll slots.

Pre-roll – In this stage, the host will talk about the sponsor’s product or service for 15 seconds before jumping into the main content. To give you an idea, a 15-second Pre-roll generates around $18/1000 listeners.

Mid-roll – This one comes with more flexibility and is included around the 40 – 70% mark of the podcast episode. It lasts for 60 seconds and the host talks about a specific product or service, most of the time sharing a personal story where possible, covering some of the features and benefits. Sponsors are willing to pay more for Mid-roll exposure and it tends to generate $25/1000 listeners.

Post-roll – This stage represents the last call to action your listeners will hear. It lasts around 15 to 30 seconds and purchasing behaviors are influenced the most within this stage, because of the final call to action. For 30 seconds of Post-roll exposure, sponsors pay $10/1000 listeners.

2. Ask for donations

Asking for donations might be the simplest way to monetize a podcast. If you are confident that your content is valued by listeners, you are set to succeed in terms of receiving contributions. Of course, it will only come from engaged, loyal and passionate audiences. Monetizing through donations is a good way to avoid giving portions of podcasts to advertisers. The simplest and most common way to receive donations from listeners is by adding a ‘donate’ button to your podcast page. Before asking for donations, make sure that your followers are well informed and aware of where the money goes. To keep inspiring them, you’ll certainly need to invest in equipment and other tools to deliver better and better content. Therefore, create an authentic call to action that makes it clear where you’ll spend money coming from donations and for what purposes.

As a host, you can receive donations by simply adding a PayPal button or by creating a Stripe account and add it to your page. At Streams.live, we have well-established partnerships with both PayPal and Stripe and opening up an account enables you as a host to receive donations within the platform.

3. Paid premium podcast content

Let’s say that you have some audio content that you’ve worked really hard on. This can be a longer podcast that provides high-value content for listeners. This is where you can add another layer of monetization and create paid membership tiers. Of course that reaching this level will take some time before your listeners pitch in to access such content.

Price customization is under the host’s complete control and the available platforms usually take a small percentage from the revenue earned. With Streams.live, you can add this small percentage on the customer’s side, meaning that you as a creator will end up with nothing to pay in exchange. Usually, creators consider lessons, bonus series, exclusive interviews and more to fall under the ‘exclusive content’ umbrella.

4. Sell products during your podcasts

According to a recent study, 65% of US listeners are very likely to further look into a company they find out about during a podcast and 64% of them have actually bought a presented product or service they’ve heard about during an audio show. It seems that audio tends to be a successful medium for sales due to its intimate relationship it creates between brand and listener. Without any images displayed, listeners can only imagine what is presented during a podcast, making them eager to see it for themselves. The one-on-one relationship audio creates is much stronger and effective than a 30 second TV commercial. There are different ways and techniques for selling products within podcasts and these are:

  • Branded Podcasts

With this method, there is no need to pay for external advertising and you can get as creative as it gets with the narrative of your podcast. Starbucks is among those using this method and it presents several stories about ordinary people doing impressive things, to create positive change. Afterwards, the important brand is immediately associated with positive social causes.

  • ‘Supply & Demand’ Podcasts

To fully take advantage of this method, you need to know what your customers like. This way, you can build a podcast around a theme which meets their interests. With ‘supply & demand’ podcasts you can even sell affiliate products which you are not in competition with. It is a great way to form collaborations that create a mutual benefit.

  • Podcast Guests

If you are hosting podcasts, you can have dedicated sessions for guests. You can give them the opportunity to market themselves as a brand and be an authority in a given sector. As a host, you can simply negotiate with your guests and receive a percentage from every sale that takes place during your sessions.

At Streams.live, our mission is to create a platform that enables content creator to easily monetize their passions and hard work. By looking more into the podcast world, we’ve identified a gap in terms of a dedicated platform designed to accommodate several monetization methods. Our goal is to accommodate these needs in a user friendly and intuitive environment.

Events need sponsorship. Learn how to approach your future partners

Money is not the most important thing in life. The same goes for the event management scene: all the money in the world won’t guarantee that you’ll offer your guests the best experience. On the other hand, we must admit that money is an important asset when organizing events (conferences, festivals or concerts, it counts less). Those who have experience on their side know that there are two important aspects when looking at your cash-flow: smart tools (that give you instant access to ticket revenue) and sponsors. Obviously, there’s also the money that you are investing, but that’s a separate thing. And today I want to share with you some tips on how to do a better job when seeking (and negotiating) sponsorship for your next event.

Sponsors blog

There are different types of sponsorships, like cash sponsorship, media sponsorship, barter, and these ideas are useful for all; but initially, cash sponsorship stuck out.

*Disclaimer – I pinned down these ideas after a discussion with a friend of mine, a friend who’s job is to decide which events her company will sponsor and why.

 

1. Start with market research

It’s not easy to get sponsors for your event (that’s if you don’t have them crowding at your doorsteps already). And I assume that you don’t want to waste precious time with companies that wouldn’t sponsorship your event (there are many reasons for which someone would sponsor you, but there are also reasons for which it wouldn’t – and it’s not personal). It’s better to research which organizations sponsored which events and try to understand why. Look for:
-events similar to yours and the companies that offered sponsorship
-new companies that are trying to make themselves known (companies that offer small sponsorship to a large number of events)
-new companies that are trying to penetrate new (geographic or demographic) markets
-entities with the same set of values as yours (like Ted and Rolex for example, both treasuring time)

 

2. Your approach counts

Imagine these 2 different scenarios:
a. You receive an email from a stranger claiming that he organizes a conference that offers you the perfect chance to get brand recognition and leads. Although she/he has a nice proposal you find out this is the first edition of the event, meaning that the whole thing involves some level of risk.
b. Your friend calls you to invite you to a 3-way lunch: you two plus his/her former colleague that now owns an event planning business. And guess what: right now they are working on a conference that would offer you the perfect opportunity for fresh leads and brand recognition. Plus it’s their first edition so you can even negotiate a long-term partnership at a lower cost.
In which scenario do you think you would be more willing to sponsor the conference (assuming that there are no major differences between the two of them).
Fair or not, it’s also important how you get to present your offer. Before cold-calling, see if there are no common friends that can introduce you to that organization/person.

 

3. Get your numbers straight

If your event isn’t in its first edition you should be able to easily answer the popular questions about your attendees. Organizations willing to sponsor you are trying to get visible to certain categories of potential clients/stakeholders, so they will be interested to see some demographics. If you used the right access management tools (that track check-in, cashless payments, interactions etc.) for your previous events you will have all data stored and ready to be used; If this is the first edition you should present your (very realistic) expectations, and also be ready to uphold them with solid arguments. Will you provide brand recognition and/or leads?

 

4.There are more layers of involvement

And I’m not referring to your gold, platinum, and adamantium sponsorship packages (which, to be honest, are kind of out-of-date). I’m talking about how a company may look at you: as a one-time deal (sponsor) or a long-time partnership. And this is why it’s crucial to do your homework before you go out and meet the ones that hold the financial resources. If you approach a company that has the same values as your event there are greater chances to get yourself with a new longtime partner.
P.S. the layer of involvement may depend on the department that you approach; people from PR & Communication are interested in a sponsorship that brings quick results, the CSR department is interested in a partnership that can consolidate the company’s position as an important social player (a long-term goal).

 

5. It’s not all about you

Dale Carnegie once said (and I quote): “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”. When someone accepts to meet and discuss a sponsorship it means that they see potential in a future collaboration. Listen, see what motivates them and which are your common points of interest, and your chances of getting a new sponsor/partner will increase dramatically.

 

5bis. Listen. Listen. Listen

This part is connected with the one above but I kept them separated because I wanted to highlight something: it’s more than possible that your future-to-be sponsor/partner knows better than you which are the needs that can be filled with your help (but you must see how). This is why I think that your sponsorship standard packages are out of date and you should always be willing to listen to what your possible partners have to say; maybe you offer a 25.000 $ sponsorship package (that includes signage and media coverage) to someone willing to sponsor you with 50.000 $ if you implement their workshop into your event. Be open-minded, otherwise you will lose many great opportunities.

Funding is crucial and we all know that great partners are hard to find, so you should always show interest in your partner’s goals. After the whole thing is over meet with them and review the event: see if they have accomplished their goals, if there were any problems or new ideas. Your interest will show that you are willing to put in the work that’s necessary when building a long time relation.