I was just reading Paul Colligan’s latest post about growing your podcast’s audience. He made some great points and I agree with all of them. It prompted me to discuss my view of how to make money with podcasting.
“One legged stools don’t work very well.”
Producing a podcast and waiting for the big bucks to roll in is a failed strategy. The podcast can’t be the sole “product.” When I talk to people about starting a podcast, I make it make it clear the podcast can be a product, but it is ALSO a channel – a tool. It has to be part of a bigger plan – one leg of a many legged stool. The podcast has to point to other legs of the stool – a website, vidcast, forum, book, Facebook page, email sign-up, meet-up… There can be many legs to the stool. Each of these legs must support the other legs of the stool. It is the combination of all of those channels and spaces (read: legs) that will help build stable platform where you can build a following that can lead to income.
Notice I said “following” and not “audience?” You may have people who don’t listen to the podcast, but read the blog. Or, who discover, buy, and read your book. Or, who follow you on Twitter and buy your next book.
As Paul Colligan points out, it is very hard to generate a real income just by advertising in podcasts. If advertising in your podcast is your main focus, then you are selling your audience’s attention to the advertisers. Your audience is your product. If you don’ t have an audience, you don’t have a product. Your efforts should focus on audience generation. As Paul points out, you can’t depend on anyone else to do that for you. Your focus should be on building an audience outside of the podishpere.
If your income generation plan is broader, to include premium services, books, affiliate programs, paid gatherings, then your time should be spent on fostering the relationship with your narrower, niche, following. A smaller faithful, following can produce more income than a larger transient audience.
With all this said, we are still VERY early in the growth of new media. Tell me how you do it…