Should I Start A Podcast? And How Do Podcasts Make Money?

Podcast studio - should I start a podcast? Yes

If your goal is to earn a decent income via your online business, you need to think about podcasting differently from the average podcaster. 

Plus, it’s doubtful that you want to achieve average results. 

So, should I start a podcast?

Yes, you should start a podcast — but only if you’re committed to doing it correctly and profitably. 

Podcasters like The Mom Hour or Smart Passive Income became successful because they correctly positioned a podcast around their businesses. 

In 2021, U.S. podcast listenership will have increased by over 10% to around 120 million information or entertainment hungry listeners. 

Let’s help you grab your slice of that audience by starting a podcast. 

By the end of this post, you will have learned the following:

    • The pros and cons of starting a podcast
    • What you need to start a podcast
    • How podcasts make money

Should I Start A Podcast? Let’s Take a Closer Look

Two men in a podcast laughing

With so many successful podcasts out there, like King & the Sting above, it might be tempting to wonder, “Should I start a podcast?” 

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of starting a podcast. We’ll go into each one in detail, but here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of a podcasting business. 

The Pros of Starting a Podcast

#1 – Grow Your Audience

You start an online business to gain the attention of your target market. You can do this in many ways, such as:

    • A blog
    • Social media
    • Paid ads
    • Partnerships
A podcast business allows you to work from home. A couple on the couch discussing a podcast.

Why do a podcast? Add podcasting to the list of ways to grow your audience. 

Starting and growing a podcast helps you reach a section of your general audience that you wouldn’t have reached otherwise. Some people read blogs to learn. Other people would rather listen via podcasts.

#2 Build Trust With Prospects

Something happens when your target market listens to your voice on a weekly or monthly basis. Your audience comes to feel as though they know you more than if they read your blog posts or saw your social media posts. 

Does that mean you shouldn’t do those other activities? Of course not. But adding podcasting to the mix helps gain additional trust. 

Closing sales and earning the income you desire becomes easier the more you build trust and that’s one of the keys to the podcasting business. 

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#3 Get More Attention in an Attention-deficit Society

The exciting thing about podcast listeners is that they pay close attention when listening. 

People in our society have too many inputs:

    • Netflix
    • Hulu
    • Amazon
    • Social media
    • YouTube

The list goes on. Often, your audience is reading a blog, looking at YouTube, and looking up at Netflix or Amazon on their TV simultaneously!

However, people listen to podcasts differently. They focus on the podcast because they typically listen when they can’t jump on Hulu or YouTube.

They listen to podcasts while driving, jogging, walking, or doing the laundry. Your words get 100% of their attention and your words can reach literally anywhere in the world.

Man listening to a podcast while waiting for his laundry

That’s powerful in today’s world.

#4 Easier Than Writing

Some business owners love writing blog posts. Many others don’t enjoy sitting down to type out 1,000 or 2,000 words at a time. Even if you enjoy it, it takes a different kind of thinking to get your thoughts out on a Google doc. 

Talking out your thoughts (particularly if you’re an extrovert) is easier than writing them out. If you think about it, podcasting is like sitting at a coffee shop talking to a friend. The only difference is that you’re talking to a few thousand friends all at once. 

Use podcasting as one of your marketing methods if you’re a natural talker. 

#5 Exclusive Attention From Your Audience

I touched on this above when talking about our distracted world. It deserves more attention here because it’s so crucial to understanding the power of podcasting. 

Don’t underestimate the power of gaining complete and exclusive attention from the people in your target market.

Nothing beats getting your voice into someone’s headphones. 

Even though you can talk to people via video, it’s different. Video still allows for the visual aspect of watching your body language to cause distractions in people’s minds. If they’re watching YouTube, they can click off on other videos that pop up to the right or underneath your video. 

If I’m listening only to your voice, I need to concentrate on your words more. You’re directly in my head, providing me with positive messages or excellent tips that make a difference for me. 

You have my 100% attention, and that’s a vital business currency in this world. Let that sink in as you consider starting a podcast.

#6 Work From Home

Is there anything better than working from home to earn your income? Maybe you’d rather travel in an RV while doing it… but you get my point, right?

Podcasting allows you to work from home

Podcasting can happen from the comfort of your home studio, your lounge, and even outside. Use it to build an audience, gain their trust, and convert a percentage of them into customers.

#7 Make Money Podcasting

The bottom line is that you start a podcasting business to make money. 

Do podcasts make money?

Many misconceptions exist in the online marketing world about how podcasts make money for their owners. Most podcasting novices focus on building their download numbers so they can make money from sponsorships. 

That’s a short-sighted way to look at the potential podcasts offer. 

If you reverse engineer the money top podcasters earn, then you’ll notice that they don’t look at their podcast as their business. 

They look at their podcast like they do their:

    • Facebook group
    • Twitter account
    • YouTube channel
    • Instagram platform

Successful business owners look at these entities as marketing channels that funnel audiences back to their primary revenue generator: their websites. 

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A website is the one online entity you own and control. If you consider YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter as your business, then what happens if you violate their terms and wake up to a deleted account? 

If you think your podcast is your business, then you’re at the whim of the podcasting platforms because they own your audience. 

There’s a huge distinction there. If you see your website as your primary revenue generator and view your podcast as a means to send people to your site, then you’re on the right track! 

So, should I start a podcast? Let’s check out some cons so you have a balanced perspective.

The Cons of Starting a Podcast

If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, it’s good to consider the disadvantages or challenges involved in turning a “podcast idea” into a podcasting business.

Cons of podcasting - thinking emoji face

#1 Time Involved: You Need to Create Content Consistently

Many podcasters start the process and then quit after the first five or ten episodes. It’s hard work to stay consistent because you need to plan quality content every week. 

If you start a podcast, commit to yourself and your listeners to show up every week. You don’t stop going to work because it’s hard. Don’t do it here. 

#2 Requires Additional Equipment

So, what do you need to start a podcast? Here’s a list of the basic equipment for starting a podcast. 

    • A laptop or computer plus suitable cabling
    • A microphone – not just any microphone. As you’re going into the business of recording and publishing sound, your microphone is one of the most important pieces of equipment. Don’t just rely on your laptop’s audio, invest in a good quality USB mic or an XLR microphone preferably with a pop filter. In a nutshell, a pop filter helps to prevent the “pops” from the pronunciation of certain letters such as “p’s” and “t’s”
    • A microphone stand – to position the microphone correctly
    • A good set of headphones – preferably noise cancelling earphones (not earbuds)
    • An audio interfacethis piece of equipment converts audio into digital so that you can capture them on your computer
    • Recording and editing software
    • A podcast hosting platform

Don’t forget, you might want to invest in soundproofing material if you’re recording from home or in a room that’s particularly echoey. 

A part from the equipment, keep in mind the background work to create the podcast such as:

    • Editing
    • Scheduling
    • Uploading
    • Graphics
    • Show notes

You can eventually outsource the above tasks but budget those expenses as you consider the cost of buying equipment to get started.

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#3 Lacks the Power of Video Content

I spent considerable time discussing the superiority of audio content over video content in a previous section. However, video does have advantages over audio. 

Many people are visual learners. They need to look at video content to internalize it best. A podcast won’t reach those people as effectively as a YouTube channel. 

The solution? Consider running your podcast both on YouTube and the various podcasting channels like Apple or Podbean. 

#4 Needs a Long-Term Strategy

It takes time to build a podcast audience. It’s similar to any content-based platform such as a YouTube channel or blog. 

Most business owners realize that they’ll need to post a blog or video content for a long time before their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts kick in. It can take several months or years before a blog or YouTube channel gets enough traffic to generate leads and revenue. 

Podcasting works the same. Go into it with a long-term mindset.

How Exactly Do Podcasts Make Money?

Let’s take a closer look at how podcasts make money and if they actually can and do make money. 

How do podcasts make money? A money tree to illustrate.

Do Podcasts Make Money?

Why start a podcast? You start one to make money in your online business… eventually. 

When you want to know how to make money podcasting, an excellent place to start is looking at podcasts that already make money. 

Some podcasters release monthly or quarterly income reports to reveal how much they earned and how they did it. 

Wouldn’t you love to run a podcast that earns you $35,000 to $228,000 every month? 

Let’s get real for a moment. Go read those three income reports and come back. 

What did you notice? 

Ellen, John, and Shannon didn’t make all of that income from talking on a podcast only.

Remember when I said above that you need to look at your podcast as a single component of your overall online business? I hope that thought process now sits firmly at the front of your mind. Too many beginner podcasters think that a podcast is all they need. 

Should I start a podcast? Only if you’re beginning to understand the bigger picture that I’m revealing for you. 

A podcast isn’t a business by itself. Your podcast can become a crucial component of a successful business.

How Do Podcasts Make Money?

I think it’s exciting that a podcast can turn into a fantastic traffic generator that funnels new prospects to your website so that you can make money online.

Use your podcast to build interest and funnel your customers to your website.

Use your podcast to grab their undivided attention, and build their trust and interest so that they move on to purchasing from you. 

How do Podcasts make money? Here’s how your podcast can make money for you:

#1 Affiliate Marketing

You can sign up as an affiliate to sell products and services other people already offer. The advantage is that those product owners already paid for product testing. They invested time and money into making sure their sales pages convert well. 

All you need to do is invest time creating podcast content, staying consistent, growing the audience, and then pointing that audience to your affiliate-coded sales page. 

The product or service owner completes the sale and handles delivery.

#2 Your Own Product or Service

Do you have your own product or service? Then simply duplicate what I said about affiliate marketing, except now you point your podcast audience back to your sales pages and offers. 

You can create different offers, discounts, and specials each week or month to generate new engagement and interest in your products. 

By the way, the most effective way to sell affiliate products or your own offers is typically by focusing on lead generation first. Send your podcast listeners to a free lead magnet opt-in page. Bring them in as email subscribers by delivering them a free report or video. 

Then, sell affiliate products or your offers on the backend via email marketing.

#3 Sponsorships

Yes, sponsorships still work. Just don’t depend on them as your only source of podcast revenue. 

This strategy is a very long-term play. You need to build up your podcast’s listener base to the point that companies become interested in paying you to access that audience. 

Sponsorships won’t happen overnight, though. That’s why beginner podcasters who don’t know this quit too soon. They don’t realize they need other ways to monetize a podcast until sponsorships become viable. 

#4 Paid Content

This one isn’t as popular or effective as affiliate marketing or selling your own products. However, you can consider charging a certain amount of money for access to listening to each episode. 

#5 Donations or Crowdsourcing

You can send podcast listeners to crowdfunding websites such as:

    • Kickstarter
    • GoFundMe
    • Patreon

Or, you can set up a donation page.

This typically won’t net a considerable income, but it’s a good way to start.

#6 Merchandise

Once your brand gains a certain level of followers, then you can create merchandise to sell. Getting your audience to wear branded t-shirts or drink from branded coffee cups means you’re gathering super fans.

How do podcasts make money? Now you know! It comes from a variety of revenue sources. 

Conclusion

Starting an online business is fun and profitable when done correctly. It’s also hard work, and you will encounter frustrations along the way. 

Should I start a podcast? Yes, as long as you use it as one marketing tool to flow an audience back to a money-making website.

Did you enjoy this post? If you learned something new, then I’d love it if you would share it with others who might also enjoy it. 

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