With all the hype about podcasting, it seems everyone has a podcast these days. And, as the number of existing podcasts has surpassed two million, that feels fairly accurate. So, how do you make your podcast stand out in the crowd? How do you find an audience? How do you manage to get all this paid for?
Know Who You Want to Reach
You need to know who you want to reach with your podcast. Statistics show that podcast listeners tend to be younger (media age 34), more educated (27% have a 4-year college degree), more affluent (40% have an income upwards of $100,000 per year), white (63%), and male (51%). There is an incredible amount of diversity in podcasters and podcast listeners, but this is who the statistics tell us are primarily listening. Don’t let this dishearten you if this is not your target audience but recognize that you have hurdles to overcome if you’re looking for a different audience.
Find That Audience
When you look at the podcast landscape, it’s not hard to believe that your audience may have trouble finding you. As one observer claimed, “It’s not a podcast discoverability problem, but an audience discovery problem.” With Apple Podcasts offering 500,000 podcasts in over 100 different languages, standing out in that crowd can be daunting.
One option that has been recommended by some is to place your podcast on YouTube. In a recent survey, when asked where they first heard about a podcast they listened to, 50% answered YouTube, and 30% said Google. Apple Podcasts came in with only 2%. In that study, when asked why YouTube, 41% said it was because they were already using the service for other media. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they liked having a video component to their podcast.
Marketing Your Podcast
Although 23% of that same survey’s respondents said they most often use friends and family to discover new shows, you will still need to put in some effort to market your program. Statistics show that podcast listeners tend to be more active than the average person on all social media platforms. If you have a large social media following, that is an ideal way to promote your podcast, giving your followers one more way to connect with you. For example, you can send save-the-date emails and listening reminders to your followers. Other promotional options include banner ads, SEO, and blogging. For podcasters on iHeartPodcast Network, the network regularly blankets its 850 radio stations with advertising for its new podcasts.
Monetizing Your Podcast
Although annual revenues for podcasters are around $1 billion, compared to other media, they barely make enough money to rate a slot on the media formats list. While multiple revenue streams have been tried, including subscriptions, events, merchandise, content marketing, contracts for branded podcasts, and individual listener donations, the most common way by far for your podcast to earn money is through advertising and sponsorships.
Advertising usually takes one of two forms: the host-read ad or dynamically inserted ads. Hands down, host read ads tend to get the best response. They fit more with the nature of podcasts: more informal and more personal. A recent survey found that 64% of podcast listeners trust recommendations shared during a program.
However, dynamically inserted ads are becoming more popular. While it is estimated that only two percent of podcast ads are currently sold programmatically, these kinds of ad sales are beginning to shift a lot of buyers from putting a collection of podcast titles on their order to placing buys based on audience demos—or a mix of the two. This allows smaller podcasters who may not be able to find a sponsor for the “live” reads to share in advertising dollars.
Podcasting is a wonderful opportunity to get your message “out there.” But you must go into it with your eyes wide open. Knowing what to expect and planning in advance to deal with what you encounter will make your podcast venture that much more enjoyable and much more pain-free.
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