Podcasts. Internet radio stations. They are booming in the modern world, despite many forms of media becoming more and more irrelevant over time due to on-demand services. But podcasts are incredibly convenient and even more portable. They can be on a wealth of topics. Hosts such as Joe Rogan regularly interview presidential candidates and Jackass cast members within the same year.
Spotify and other streaming services are starting to understand the importance of hosting podcasts on their services, to compete with Apple who spearheaded the movement, giving Podcasts their titular name. No matter if you wish to know how to start an internet radio station, how to start a podcast, or how to promote yourself – one question presides over all – what do you do when gaining semi-success?
How can you monetize your internet show with care? Is it possible to make a business of this, or perhaps run a side hustle through these means? If you’re asking these questions, we applaud your spirit of entrepreneurialism. Let us consider what that might mean:
Patreon, formally developed by Jack Dorsey of Twitter fame, is known for giving content creators a regular income. ‘Patrons’ donate a regular, subscription-like monthly amount to a content producer they enjoy, be that a YouTube, Podcaster, or writer. The categories are much broader than this, but the fact remains, this can be one of the most reliable means of supporting a creator you enjoy. In return, they (you) can offer reward tier options. So, for example, for a $1 a month donation they get a thank you email. For $5 they might have access to your particular Discord server, or learn about upcoming projects. For $10 a month you might offer them a special podcast per month, or access to your internet radio station. For upper limits, such as $50 or even $100 a month, you might offer them a signed autograph, the ability to vote on all of your project polls, a thank you at the end of the podcast and their name in the thank you section of any videos you upload.
These are just some examples. However, Patreon has given many a platform to help with the operating costs of running a podcast, internet station or website, and that can often be worthwhile. There’s a finders fee of course, but it’s often worth it for the incentives Patreon can provide.
People love merch. If they enjoy a particular piece of content, they often wish to support it. This means that selling merch can be the way to go. Your branded logo, if designed by a graphic designer, could look great on a T-Shirt, on a mug, on a pin or badge, or perhaps further clothing option such as baseball caps, beanies, hoodies, jackets, socks, or underwear. A novel design or something limited edition can often incentivize people to buy said merch, because it surely looks fantastic and allows a listener the bragging rights they might be after. That’s no problem to you, of course.
Sponsorships & Advertisements
It could sometimes be that having your podcast sponsored can help you deal with the costs of running it immediately. For example, business such as Squarespace, Meundies, Casper, Legalzum and LEESA mattresses all sponsor extremely popular podcasts, such as Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, the Joe Rogan Experience and Giant Bomb’s Bombcast.
On your website, a link for getting in touch with sponsorship as a subject should be featured prominently, but still in a subtle manner. Then, at the start, the middle or the end of your podcast, you might read an advertisement for them. This can be fairly easy. Most businesses will give you marketing copy to read so you can stay within the parameters, but many are quite happy for you to improvise, provided you are careful.
Unfortunately, this can limit the content of your podcast in a certain manner, and of course, an endorsement of a certain product can alienate listeners if the product turns out to be low-quality. Advertisers can also pull out should you make offensive jokes, or simply are less careful with a turn of phrase than you should be. However, sponsorships and advertisements can still be incredibly important methods of keeping a podcast or internet radio station running, and so should be considered a more than viable alternative in the long run.
With this advice, we hope you can better fund your dream of running an online show, in whatever context that might be found.