Podcasting is one of the best ways to find and connect with your customers. Do it right and you’ll engage a growing community of loyal fans who hang on your every word and buy all your products and services. Do it wrong and you’ll end up broke. Most podcasters – some 85% – miss the opportunity to profit from podcasting while wasting precious dollars on fancy equipment. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
4 Ways To Actually Profit From Your Podcast | Stephanie Burns
Melinda Wittstock, a serial entrepreneur, growing four businesses to seven- and eight-figure success, put her business talents to use growing her podcast Wings of Inspired Business to more than 1 million listeners. Here are Melinda’s four proven hacks to monetizing your podcast audience.
1. Be Your Own Sponsor
“Your podcast is the best lead magnet you’ll ever have,” says Wittstock. “With every episode, you are developing valuable ‘know, like and trust’ with your listeners so they will want to engage with you and your business. So use your episodes to direct listeners to a special offer you know will benefit them.
“With Wings of Inspired Business, I created a 5-day online summit called Wings of Success with the teachings of 50 of my most popular guests. They were all women founders with multi-million-dollar businesses sharing their specific strategies for scaling their business and creating a magnetic brand. Wings of Success became a six-figure product. First, when people paid to download the video trainings, and second, when it evolved into the evergreen membership site and the online mastermind it is today. Then, I created two more highly profitable business lines which I also promoted on the podcast: The high-ticket Wings of the Empowered Woman transformational mastermind retreats and the 12-week Wings Podcast Intensives for business owners and entrepreneurs to launch a magnetic and profitable podcast.”
2. Reverse Engineer Your SEO
In order to get more listeners (and potential customers) you need to use your podcast to answer the questions that keep your audience up at 3am. In the Google search bar, type in the first few words of a common question you think is relevant to your listeners, and then let the search engine autofill the rest. You’ll see which pain points are most popular and how many people are searching for answers to the questions your podcast can answer. Then focus on answering those questions in upcoming episodes—especially in your website “show notes” for your episode.
“You can also use the language of the specific question so Google crawlers will find and reward you. You’ll want to make sure your keywords are popular—but not too popular—so you’re not competing with too many others so you can dominate a category,” suggests Wittstock. “Consider also creating short audio snippets or ‘vignettes’ that answer the question because Google Search is increasingly focused on audio questions and answers—a massive and underutilized opportunity right now.”
3. Incentivize Engagement With Gamification
“It’s possible to grow an avid and loyal audience quickly with contests and challenges. When Wings of Inspired Business first launched, we created a contest for those who subscribed and reviewed the podcast on iTunes,” says Wittstock. “One winner was picked by a draw each month for a one-on-one VIP day with me. Each recipient advanced their business significantly and then joined me on the podcast to review the ‘before and after’ – attracting more listeners to the podcast and more customers.”
You can “gamify” engagement and incentivize your listeners by rewarding them when they suggest topics and guests for your show, share episodes with their audience, put lessons learned on the podcast into action or join in a social mission that you’ve highlighted on the show. Besides free services, rewards might include mentioning them on your podcast or social media, a physical gift or even a gift card.
4. Know And Understand Your Audience
“Podcasting is still a guesswork game for sponsors and advertisers, who need big audience numbers to justify investing. But the number of downloads isn’t enough to tell the story—and you don’t need tens of thousands of downloads to profit. I know from building all four of my media-tech businesses that you can monetize even a small audience (250 listeners per episode) if you know a lot about them. Podcast networks and distributors on the market now keep all the data to themselves. I’ve just launched Podopolo™ – the first network to openly share listening data and deep audience intelligence with podcasters along with highly targeted and interactive advertising and sponsorship,” shares Wittstock.”
Once you know and understand your target market with this detailed data, you’ll be able to address your avatar’s needs and fears and you’ll be assured that your content solves their problems and improves their lives. That means you’ll know exactly how to engage and what products to sell to your captive audience.
Stephanie Burns is the founder of Chic CEO, a resource for female entrepreneurs starting businesses. Download a free business plan template and follow Chic CEO on Twitter and Instagram