MF 417 : Podcasting in 2022-23: tangible and intangible benefits to a podcast, listener engagement
Updated: Mar 8
Today, I conclude the podcasting miniseries with some final thoughts on monetization, including tangible and intangible benefits to podcasting, and look at different ways to engage with your listeners. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Moving Forward is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio,iHeart, CastBox, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Anchor, and Audible.
Tangible and intangible benefits to podcasting
Last week, I covered the "building blocks" concept for creating a podcast episode, including incorporating ad spots and promos, along with a brief overview of sponsorships and third-party ads. Being paid to promote a company's product or service is one of the oldest and most traditional ways to monetize your content. However, there are now more avenues for podcasters to monetize their shows. For instance, podcasts can work with small local businesses that may want to advertise their services or products. The difference is that small businesses normally have tighter marketing budgets such that in lieu of dollars, podcasters may have to come up with more creative ways to get compensated. For more on this, check out last week's episode.
Subscriptions are another way to monetize podcasts by offering additional, exclusive content to a show's most ardent fans and subscribers. While the majority of a podcast's content is offered for free, hosting platforms like Anchor now provide ways to put additional content behind a paywall. The so-called "freemium model," which consists of using free content to draw in subscribers towards premium add-ons is prevalent in the YouTube space. As I discussed on MF 362 a few years ago, YouTubers who command large audiences will often offer additional content for paid subscribers on platforms like Patreon. Examples of exclusive content includes shows that may never be released on the main free platform, ad-free versions of existing episodes, or advanced sneak peeks of episodes before they're released to the public at large. Similarly, podcasters can do the same thing on Patreon or in-house options if available on their hosting services.
Additionally, content creators can allow ardent fans to become supporters through "tipping:" small donations paid through external sites like PayPal, Buy Me a Coffee or through in-house tools such as Anchor's "listener donations" feature. Unlike subscriptions, tipping is usually a one-off or occasional gift rather than an ongoing commitment. Sometimes, content creators will shout out donations or offer special QA sessions with patrons who donate to their show.
In addition to the direct monetization avenues discussed above, there are many ways for a podcaster to indirectly monetize their content.
If you have an accompanying website or blog, you can use affiliate links to marketplaces like Amazon or Audible to receive a small commission from sales. The most natural fit is for book or product mentions from you or your guests. Just make sure to be upfront and disclose any links that are affiliates.
Your podcast can serve as a great gateway for potential customers to learn about you and your offerings, especially if your show is an extension of a business. If you are an expert in a certain field, your podcast can serve as one of the most powerful and effective ways to market yourself without sounding like a commercial. You can, as in the case of books or other products, run ad spots or integrate promos naturally into episodes, as discussed on last week's episode.
Finally, don't overlook the many intangible benefits a podcast can reward you with for your efforts. Beyond numbers, sales, ads or sponsorships, your podcast is your audio calling card. Stick with it and you'll discover many intangible benefits you may not realize are possible. Through Moving Forward, I've gained coaching clients, speaking engagements (paid and unpaid), and numerous friendships and connections.
While harder to quantify, the intangible benefits can be as valuable, if not more so, than the dollars you may earn through direct monetization.
Related to the above discussion, listener engagement is an important part of any content you create. When I started Moving Forward in 2015, marketing a podcast was mostly an external effort: you create a new episode and share it out, whether on social media or to a mail list.
Today, the channels, avenues and ways to engage with your fans has evolved tremendously. Let's take a look at some of the ways you can connect with listeners while supplementing or expanding your content.
I use bemovingforward.com as a way to create spinoff content and as a central hub for all of my projects, including the podcast, books, and more. A website or blog can help you engage with listeners or gain new followers that are more interested in reading your content rather than listening to it. For me, the weekly write-ups are also an excellent way to "exercise" my writing muscles. For more on websites, check out MF 411.
Whether you choose to engage in social media or start as a result of your podcast is up to you. There are many channels available to get the word out. Be aware though, as with your podcast, you don't want to spread yourself too thin. You're better off focusing on one or two outlets rather than trying to do all of them. For me, I find LinkedIn and IG are great ways to promote the podcast. Others may find Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, or another platform a better fit. And, some of you may eschew social media altogether, preferring to focus on internal channels such as a mail list or to simply let your show grow organically. I've listened to a few podcasters (and not just famous ones) who've cultivated very popular shows without being on social media at all and others who use it regularly as a way to engage with their listeners. How and whether you choose to use social media is up to you.
One tool I will highlight is Headliner, which allows you to take snippets of your audio content and create short sizzle videos with graphics, visuals effects such as audio waves, and even transcription. The platform offers free and premium versions. These short videos can be great teasers or sneak peeks to post to social media.
Some podcasts allow their guests to call in and leave recorded messages. Anchor has this function natively on its individual show pages while other podcasters may use third-party services to do the same. This is a direct way for listeners to engage with their favorite creators, and some podcasters will even weave recorded messages into episodes; making listeners a part of the content creation process.
Anchor now offers a polling feature for listeners to vote on host-created questions tied to the podcast. Currently, polls created on Anchor appear on Spotify. Other hosting services may provide a similar feature. Polls are yet another way for podcasters to get a "temperature check" or listener feedback on topics or questions.
Today, there are many ways for podcasters to engage and connect with their listeners and fans. I've only covered a few. You don't have to use all of them and probably shouldn't as it can get overwhelming. Rather, I think it's better to focus on your content first and put your efforts there. Map it out, plan it out, and establish your exit, goal, and result. As your show grows, then you can start looking at different ways to monetize your show and connect with your listeners.
More resources on podcasting
The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses is now available as an audiobook
Try out Audible and get The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses audiobook for free (Audible affiliate link).
The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses is also available to purchase from Apple audiobooks.
My books on Poshmark
The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses (Paperback, Kindle, Audible)
The perfect office or work-from-home gift
Check out the Moving Forward mini-series collection
Get your news with Morning Brew (free)
Morning Brew (affiliate link): a fantastic free newsletter that's a quick read and a great way to get your morning briefing on what's happening in the market, the economy, and the larger world.
What I’m reading / read
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (*** 1/2)
Audiobook narrated by John
Get the Audiobook of I Am a Professional Metalhead, by Angelo Spenillo and narrated by John for free with a trial to Audible.
Get a free trial to Audible and I Am a Professional Metalhead (Audible affiliate).
Support the Podcast
The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses -and- The Poshmark Journal for Individuals and Small Businesses are available on Amazon.
The Corporate Cliches Adult Coloring Book: makes the perfect stocking stuffer or white elephant gift.
Try out Audible (affiliate link).
Try out Amazon Prime (affiliate link).
Follow John on IG
Follow John on Goodreads