Is podcasting a money-making business for the majority of people? This was a question posed to Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, during his session “The Truth about Podcasting” at the How To Make Money Podcasting Virtual Event.
And surprisingly, for him, it’s a hard NO.
Shocking, right? But don’t be discouraged! We got context.
We’ll recap the data, Rob’s POV and most importantly what you can do to make money podcasting TODAY. Keep reading! We promise by the time you get through the article you’ll have next steps to put money in your pocket.
All the quotes and data that you see in this article were taken from Rob Walch’s presentation.
Looking at podcasting numbers
Apple Podcasts has 2.4 million podcasts according to Podcast Industry Insights
The Podcast Index has over 4 million
Out of those millions of podcast feeds:
- 488,000 had released an episode in the last 90 days.
- And out of those, 400,000 had published at least 10 episodes to their feed.
“For 18 months, the number of active podcasts that have released a new episode in the last 90 days and have 10 or more episodes has been 400,000 plus or minus about 10,000.
“The number of active podcasts that are releasing content and have an audience hasn’t changed in 18 months, but what has changed is the amount of dollars coming into the space and the amount of people listening to podcasts.
“Those have both gone up. So here’s a little message: If you are a podcaster and you’ve been consistently releasing content in the last two years, this is all great news to you because your average number should be up and the amount of revenue you can make is up.
“Even if you take podcasts that release on a regular basis, only about 10% of that 400,000, is going to really make any significant money. 10% of the 400,000 is actually 1% of the 4 million, so you’re looking 1% of the 4 million who are really gonna make money podcasting.”
Overall this is great news for podcasters! And yet, you do have to make sure that you strategize and set yourself up in the best way to make money with your podcast.
Milestones to get you past the hump …
It might feel incredibly defeating to see that there is no quick, easy and immediate way to make money in podcasting. It might make you feel that it’s not worth it.
Rob has some advice to keep you in the game so that you can get to your podcast money-making goals and not disappear (a.k.a .podfade).
“There are two places where podcasters podfade. The first is less than 10 episodes, typically around five. The reason they podfade at that number is because they realized, ‘wow, this is harder than I thought it was going to be.’
“The other group that podfades is right about 50 episodes. Why? They’re releasing one episode a week, and they said they’d give it a year. At a year, they’re not making money, so they quit. You have to give it more time than that. You have to give it a longer period of time to really start building up the audience.”
If you get past 10 episodes, you are on your way.
If you make it past 50, you are winning!
Now, before you get started with figuring out HOW to make money with your podcast, you need to do a bit of a show audit to get yourself ready.
How do you know how well your podcast is doing?
- Are you producing your show consistently?
- Do you foresee or observe any roadblocks to being able to continue to produce your show consistently?
- Are you feeling more confident about being able to produce your show consistently?
However you’re looking to monetize your show, whether through sponsorships, advertisers, memberships or donations, consistency in production is of utmost importance.
People will be counting on you to keep on creating your show, and need to trust that you will deliver.
- Are you satisfied with the production value of your show?
- Do you regularly listen to your show to make sure that the quality of your audio is optimal?
Most of us believe that content rules, meaning that if your content is on point, audio quality can be less than optimal. However, if you are looking to monetize your podcast, especially with sponsors and advertisers, you have to create a production that is above average.
An advertiser not only needs your audience, and to fall in love with your content, but they need to immediately recognize the care and attention that goes into making your show.
THE BEST METRIC
Do not compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to yourself.
- Is your show growing?
- How are your latest 3 month episodes that are 30-days old compared to the 6 months prior?
- Is your audience going up or is it flat?
Growth matters when you want to monetize.
Ready for your first advertiser? What’s next?
If you are releasing consistent content and getting 20,000 downloads a month overall for all of your episodes (new and old) OR 5,000 or more per episode within 30 days, head over to Libsyn’s Advertisecast Marketplace! They’ll help you monetize.
What if you’re getting less than that?
Rob has some great advice!
“Go grab one of those local magazines that you see at your local IHOP, or the local brew pub, or bar-and-grill as you’re walking in and out. Every city has a different one. Grab that. There’s your local advertisers.
“Get the magazine, flip it over, go to the back page. Find everybody that’s a half a page or smaller. Those are your local advertisers that you can reach out to and say, “hey, I got a podcast that covers the Kansas City Chiefs and you’re in Kansas City. Do you wanna advertise your HVAC company on my podcast? If you’ve got 250 downloads for your show, you can get some money that way.”
And for those that are getting less than 250 downloads per episode per month, and maybe are just starting out, here is Rob’s suggestion.
“Glow is the most relevant to those folks that have the lower number of downloads.
“There’s a certain level (of downloads) you need to get advertisers. But with Glow, you can start monetizing your podcast from day one. You don’t need to have your first download, or even have your first audience member. You can go and sign up and start to work on monetization.”
Podcast memberships or subscriptions
Regardless of data, you can start the process of making money TODAY with Libsyn’s Glow. Current podcasters that are using Glow to monetize are using it in primarily 3 ways:
- Offering Ad-free versions of the show
- Extra bonus content
Check out this quick little video giving you a few exciting ideas about how to repurpose content you already have as exclusive to your subscription:
Now, if your heart is set on getting advertisers on your show like Harry’s Razors or Capital One, then here is your goal:
✅ Consistently get 5,000 downloads per episode.
Download numbers must be IAB certified. Those are the stats that advertisers are looking for.
Other things to make money with your podcast
We know for most podcasters getting to that 5k/mo download number is a little bit of a way off, but here are some other ways that podcasters have been making money with their podcasts outside of downloads and advertisers.
- Live shows
- One-off content
- Their own products and services
Your next steps
The path toward podcast monetization is not a one-size-fits-all. It depends on so many variables, but there are some things that are universal.
- Publish consistently
- Be patient
- Compare yourself to yourself and track your growth
- Make sure you’re looking at IAB-verified stats
- Based on your growth, choose the path that fits you best
We hope that this post was helpful. If you have any questions or comments, follow us on Twitter and @ reply! We look forward to hearing from you!