Improved technology and a growing listener base have made it easier than ever for small-business owners to reap benefits from audio broadcasts. In the U.S., podcast advertising revenue is expected to reach $659 million by 2020. Between 2015 and 2017, podcast revenues increased almost 300 percent.
If you’re putting effort into creating a small-business podcast, take it to the next level with savvy distribution and revenue generation. Use these tactics to find success with your podcast distribution and monetizing.
The good news about podcast distribution is that you can do many of these steps once and benefit multiple times. Try these approaches with your small-business podcasts:
• Connect With Delivery Platforms: Podcast hosting services like Simplecast and Buzzsprout can help you to publish and distribute your work. These services also provide metrics so you can track the number of listeners, where they live and even which segments of your podcasts they share most often. You should also add your episodes to the largest podcast directories, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. Once you’re established on these sites your RSS feed will update your channel automatically when you add new episodes.
• Get Noticed: Help people find your podcast by using keywords in your episode titles and descriptions. Use keywords that highlight the benefits your content delivers. For example, “Five steps to improve your search engine marketing” is more descriptive and benefit-oriented than “Search engine marketing strategies.” You can also stand out from other podcasts visually by creating knockout cover art. This graphic will appear when people view your topic category and when your episodes come up in search results.
• Spread the Word: Promote your podcast every time you interact with customers and prospects. Tell them about it when they’re in your store and at face-to-face events. Share it through direct mail, invoice footnotes, business cards and other print materials — and don’t forget to mention it in your bio. Link to your podcast everywhere your business lives online, including social media channels, your website, email signatures and e-newsletters. Most podcast hosting services offer social sharing tools to help with this.
• Ask for Reviews: Positive comments from listeners can help you increase your podcast audience. Prompt customers to leave feedback and ratings within your audio broadcasts. Add to your efforts by emailing links to your episodes and requests for reviews to customers and business partners. Increase your response rate by running a contest or giveaway. Be sure to thank the people who step in to help.
• Expand Your Network: If your podcast features industry experts and thought leaders, ask your guests to share their episodes with their contacts. Make this easy by creating digital and print templates they can use to spread the word. Include your cover art to grab attention and build brand recognition.
• Add Audio Files to Your Website: Embed your recordings on your website so visitors will find them as they browse. Place a prominent subscribe button nearby. You can also tease your podcast through a banner on your homepage and by writing a blog post about each episode.
• Transcribe Your Episodes: Turn your broadcasts into written words and post them on your website. Online transcription services like Temi and Scribie can help. Offering transcripts of your episodes will encourage search engines to index them and thus drive new listeners. You can also repurpose this content into white papers, guest blog posts, social media content and other forms of marketing outreach.
Monetize Your Podcast
Promotion of your podcast will help lure customers and drive sales. But also consider the following tactics to turn your small-business podcast into a direct money-maker:
• Sell Advertising: U.S. podcast ad revenue is expected to grow by more than 110 percent by 2020. Capture a piece of this market by creating space for ads and product mentions in your episode format. Ad-insertion platforms like Midroll or AdvertiseCast can help you sell these slots to potential advertisers and handle order fulfillment and billing.
• Offer Sponsorship: If you have a dedicated following, pursue a show sponsor that wants to reach your listeners. Be ready to share details about your audience size and demographics to seal the deal. You can also look for professionals who would be willing to pay a fee for a guest spot on your show.
• Accept Paid Subscriptions and Donations: If you offer high-value content, loyal listeners will be willing to pay for it. Set up a platform like Patreon or Anchor to sell and manage paid podcast subscriptions and listener-support donations. Be sure to thank everyone who contributes, and mention these options in the intro and outro of each episode.
• Promote Your Own Offerings: Use your podcast to transition listeners into paying customers.
- Offer listener-only deals on products and services. - Provide introductory episodes for free and those with more valuable content for a fee.
- Create a paid online course to complement your podcast topic. - Sell an e-book or guide that offers a deeper dive into your area of expertise.
- Hold live events for your audience. For example, if you’re a retailer, put together a product showcase. If you work as a consultant, offer an in-person seminar.
- Mention your availability as a speaker, and use your speaking engagements to build your podcast listener base even more.
The market for audio content is burgeoning, so even if you’re just starting your podcast efforts there’s plenty of time to find a niche, distribute your podcast and develop revenue streams. If you’re new to podcasting, learn how to create one that will set you apart and showcase your unique small-business expertise.