Today we will share several practical and tactical strategies you can take and apply that will help you monetize your podcast — which is a trendy way to say — “How your podcast will generate revenue” — or grow revenue for your business.
Here’s the reality…when it comes to generating revenue for your business as a result of your podcast…there are significant challenges. It is not as simple as turning on the microphone, recording a conversation with a guest, sharing it on iTunes, and then all of a sudden — you have thousands of people beating down your door to do business with you.
There is so much marketing hyperbole circulating around the web and social platforms — and it makes business owners think there is some sort of “pot of gold” at the end of their podcast rainbow.
But…are there business owners whose podcasts are generating hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year in revenue for their core business?
Absolutely. But this doesn’t happen by accident.
It takes intention. It is the result of a lot of hard work, decades of subject matter expertise within their core business, a commitment to creating content with excellence, a heart that wants to give way more than ever asking, and ultimately, a smart strategy that ties their podcast into their core business.
There is no such thing as an overnight success
To help give you as much context and share as much value as we can…we are going to give you another sneak peek from Chapter 4 of our book, Profitable Podcasting.
We are going to drill into this chapter because we use it to focus attention on the recipe — the practical and tactical steps — any business owner can apply to craft the right monetization strategy behind their podcast.
How a podcast generates revenue for your business
When executed properly, your podcast will be uniquely suited to accomplish three vital priorities:
- Expand your platform or extend your thought leadership.
- Build a nation of true fans.
- Grow your business revenue.
And…your opportunity to grow revenue will likely fit into three primary categories:
- Offering premium priced services to the business owners who have appeared as guests on your show.
- Offering less expensive, entry-level programs to your concentric circles of lesser fans, which I cover in chapter 6 of the book.
- Attract the right sponsorships to boost revenue and credibility with your listeners, which I cover in chapter 17 of the book.
You will have a healthy and stable core business when you sell your services directly to your guests — and — this represents the majority of your podcast-related revenue.
This sales strategy will ensure there is ample revenue flowing into your core business to cover overhead, generate profit, provide ample funds to reinvest and further expand by introducing new services to continue the life cycle of a balanced business.
It is important for your podcast to feed your core business and not to become distracted with creating a passive revenue income as your first step. Passive revenue streams can be helpful and provide high-margin sources of revenue.
However, it can sometimes be tempting to want to create a passive revenue stream first because it feels less like selling. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up each morning and see all of the successful credit card transaction receipts in your inbox?
Of course it would.
But not at the expense of your core team not having enough work to do. If you pursue the goal of creating a passive revenue stream for your business — before you address the lead gen and revenue needs of your core business — you run the very real risk of losing valuable time, getting sidetracked, and going out of business.
And that is expensive.
So let’s focus our attention on your guests.
Podcast Monetization Strategy #1: Trojan Horse of Selling
You will maximize your revenue opportunity, and ensure the health of your core business if you quickly begin using your podcast as what I like to call your “Trojan Horse of Selling.”
Selling directly to your guests represents your lowest hanging fruit, your shortest path to revenue, and it is not a complex sales strategy. It could be as simple as sharing ideas with a guest following your interview, in an informal manner, looping back to them after you flesh out the ideas further, and then asking for their permission to proceed.
Podcast Monetization Strategy #2: The Campfire Pitch
Lee Caraher, host of the “Focus Is Your Friend” podcast, shared her sales strategy with me.
She said to me…
“Stephen, there’s usually 15-minutes before we start the interview where I say, ‘Oh my gosh, Hi. Blah, blah, blah.’ Then afterwards, I am sharing with them, ‘I have an idea for you’, which is where I’m really good. That’s one of my strengths. ‘Oh, here’s an idea! Or, here’s a different idea!’ I share the ideas after the interview is over. Depending on how my guest reacts, if they say, ‘Oh that’d be a great idea. How do I do that?’ Then I say, ‘Let me think about it some more.’
“A week or two later, I’ll noodle on the idea a little more. Then I’ll email them with, ‘You know, I thought about that idea. Here is how I think you could implement it. Here is what I think the lift will be. Here is what I think the cost will be. We can’t do that for you — or — we can do that for you.’ Of that, 25 percent of the time the ideas are coming back to us in some sort of project. Our podcast has been super helpful in growing revenue for Double Forte.”
Lee developed a straightforward sales strategy. Her podcast opened the door with the right decision-maker, she conducted a rock solid interview, and then she enthusiastically shared ideas with her guest.
We call this the “The Campfire Pitch.”
When you were a kid, did you ever go camping with family or friends, or have a bonfire in your backyard?
Maybe you were sitting around the fire, feeling warm, and sharing stories with your friends. The energy of the group was awesome. But then the party was over, it was time for bed, and when you woke up the next morning, the same people were with you but the energy of the moment was gone.
That’s what entrepreneur and brand expert Chris Smith calls the Campfire Effect.
It happens in business — after a great interview, for example — and it happens in social situations.
Lee knows this and has astutely aligned her sales strategy to the Campfire Effect. When the energy of the interview has climaxed, she smartly shares an idea or two.
The prospective client (her guest) on the other end of the Skype connection is receptive to the ideas, because of several key ingredients:
For one thing, Lee is brilliant at what she does, and she is sharing excellent ideas. Also, the guest is receptive because of the Campfire Effect and the value Lee has just shared by inviting them onto her show.
Lee is airing approximately 50 to 70 guest interviews per year — so if her team continues to close 25 percent of the opportunities, then her podcast will help Double Forte onboard approximately 15 new projects every 12-months.
Think about that in the terms of your core business and revenue model. If you could take on 15 new projects from clients within the next 12 months, how would your business change?
No doubt the change would be substantial.
One of the reasons Lee has been successful with her Campfire Pitch sales strategy is because she doesn’t approach the conversations with her guests as selling at all.
She enthusiastically shares ideas with the goal of delivering value. One Onward Nation guest told me, “Selling is simply the transference of your enthusiasm over to your prospect.”
Lee has mastered this principle. Her guests don’t feel “sold.” In fact, the exact opposite happens: They feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a guest on her show.
Lee’s ideas were a value-added bonus.
Podcast Monetization Strategy #3: Social Media Warm-up
The Campfire Pitch Lee Caraher uses is masterful. But, I also realize it might not be for everyone because not everyone will feel comfortable to share ideas and sell so early in the relationship. I respect that.
So the Social Media Warm-up sales strategy is already baked into the overall recipe of your Profitable Podcast. In Chapter 12 of my book, you will learn how to promote the airing of each of your guest’s episodes via social media using two key ingredients — but — I am going to share some highlights right now. The two ingredients are:
- First, promote the airing of each episode and the wisdom shared by your guest to your social media community.
- Then, tag your guests in each post whenever possible so they are nudged to share and retweet your content. This helps build your nation of true fans by exposing their community to your content.
But in addition — your social media strategy does more than help you promote your episodes and build your nation.
By highlighting your guest’s wisdom in each tweet, and by tagging the guest, you are continually reminding your guests of the value they shared with your community.
This makes your guests feel good – and rightly so.
After all, they delivered massive value – you recognized that – and you are now shouting it from the rooftops. By doing so, you are continually stoking the Campfire Effect with each of your guests.
With some of your guests, the fire will begin burning hot so that when you reach back out to them to discuss how your core business might be able to help their business, one of the first things they may say to you at the onset of the call is, “Thanks for all of the tweets!”
Then you will know that your social media warm-up opened the door exactly as you intended.
You will smile when it happens — trust me — it’s rock solid awesome!