Making Money Podcasting Without Selling Out

Making Money Podcasting Without Selling Out

At some point in your podcast career, you may entertain the notion of monetization — even if you’re only podcasting “as a hobby.”

(By the way… the hobby of podcasting is still quite a bit of work!)

Before I get into the nuts and bolts, please know that I don’t subscribe to one form of advertising over another. MY STRONG BELIEF is that ANY advertising you do on your show should be a “win” for everyone involved. The advertiser gets connected with fans that will buy their product or service, you get paid, and… what else was there? Oh right!

YOUR LISTENERS need to be the biggest winners of all. Make sure whatever you offer is tailored for them, and you should make sure to give them a deal they’ll love and respect. This is the way to make sure you’re not selling out when selling your show.

Now… a little about how advertising works in the podcast world.

Some people will tell you about CPM (cost per thousand downloads), CPA (cost per acquisition) or even negotiating a price between both parties. The reality is that while some methods are more predominant, it’s still kind of the wild west out there. So how do you know what your show is worth?

First: CPM. This is a real thing that a lot of podcasters and advertisers use to determine how much to offer for advertising. Media hosts often work with advertisers to form a direct line to the podcast producers. Libsyn, Podbean, Blubrry and others have a minimum threshold (e.g. Libsyn has a minimum of 5,000 downloads per show) before offering advertising programs. Other hosts like Blog Talk Radio can take on any size listening audience, but they offer less CPM than the others above.

There are also advertising hubs like AdvertiseCast, where advertisers can connect more directly with podcasters through an online marketplace. I’ve never used this service, so I cannot endorse it.

In my research from many different sources, rates range from about $15-50 CPM for podcasting. Compared to radio ($1-20 CPM) and TV ($5-20 CPM), it’s pretty good! Having dedicated fans can really pay off, but you do need to get some numbers before this model will work well for you.

If this will work for your podcast, then you’ll need to know terms like pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll and how long each mention might be — usually 10-60 seconds. Soon you’ll be talking advertising jargon like no one’s business!

Next: CPA. For podcasts, CPA could be the number of people that visit a landing page or per sales conversion. Every time someone buys in, the advertiser pays out. In my opinion, this is the least appealing of the advertising offers unless your audience absolutely NEEDS the product or service being advertised. Rates here completely depend on the ad, so be wary and understand your agreement.

Finally: Negotiating your own deal. This is (these days) one of the more elusive ways to get advertising on your podcast. For this, you’ll need to sell it directly to the advertiser, or perhaps use a boutique advertising agency to help secure it. Either way, this is a much tougher sell. You may only find it through hard work or pure luck.

No matter which type of advertising works for you, always keep your listener in mind. You must be comfortable with how your ads are presented to your audience as well as the quality of the ad buy.

Your podcast is a TREASURE. There’s no need to sell out.

Want to know more? Here’s a pretty good article to get you started. Please note that I have no affiliation with this site, but I found the article useful.