Episode 445: How to monetize your podcast, with Stephen Woessner.
Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
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Good Morning Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to this week’s solocast…Episode 445.
During last week’s solocast — we tackled two of three most frequently asked questions I hear from business owners when they are considering having a podcast…which are 1) “Stephen, how much time is this going to take me?”, and 2) “How am I going to get great guests to come onto the show — especially when I am just starting out?”
I appreciate all of the feedback from last week — I’m glad you found the strategies helpful. I also received some feedback letting me know that the monetization topic — which was one of the three FAQs that I skipped last week but promised to share in a future solocast — was a really important topic.
So, based on your feedback, I moved monetization up in our airing schedule and that is what we will focus on today.
I always appreciate your thoughts and suggestions, Onward Nation — thank you!
In today’s solocast…I 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.
If you have been listening to Onward Nation for a while — you know that I like sharing strategies along with all of their tactical step-by-step processes that help business owners create predictable, measurable, and repeatable success for themselves and their teams.
Today’s solocast will be no different.
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, Onward Nation.
To help give you as much context and share as much value as I can…I am going to give you another sneak peek from Chapter 4 of my upcoming book, Profitable Podcasting.
We are going to drill into this chapter because I 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.
And after our dive into strategy…we will go deeper still.
I will share a recent interview that my good friend, Mitch Stephen, fellow business owner and podcaster, and I did on his show, Real Estate Investor Summit. During the show, Mitch shared his story about how his podcast had driven over $60,000 in new revenue into his business within the last 90-days.
I say HAD driven — because I had a quick call with Mitch last week — and he let me know that his podcast has generated another $30,000 in revenue the day before.
I want you to hear Mitch’s story in his own words. It is inspiring and tactical, which is always a great combination.
So here we go, Onward Nation — let’s answer the question — “How can my podcast generate revenue for my 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.
- And…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.
In my opinion, 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, Onward Nation.
It is also important for you 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.
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.
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.”
So Onward Nation…here is the first ingredient to consider as part of your monetization strategy. I call it “The Campfire Pitch.”
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.
This The Campfire Pitch…here’s why.
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, Onward Nation.
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.
Now let’s move to the second ingredient in a proper monetization strategy. I call it the 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!
Okay…now let’s switch gears and really cement this monetization strategy into place by listening to Mitch Stephen — and yours truly — share specific examples about how a podcast has generated revenue for Mitch and his company.
Here’s Mitch Stephen, host of the Real Estate Investor Summit Podcast…
Okay, welcome back, Onward Nation.
My guess is Onward Nation, that the success Mitch Stephen has achieved through his hard work and having the right monetization and business development strategy behind his podcast has been inspiring and maybe helped you think about new directions and maybe some next steps.
But I want to take it deeper still. If you go to today’s show notes…you will find a recent video we received from Drew McLellan, top dog at the Agency Management Institute, where in less than 2-minutes, he describes why he wanted to start a podcast, some of the obstacles that held him back, and how the podcast has generated over $200,000 in revenue for his business in the 18-months that it has been live.
Committing to investing a few hours per week, for 18-months, to generate $200,000 in revenue is fantastic ROI, Onward Nation.
Don’t let the fears, or the imposter syndrome, well up inside and rob you of your destiny — your exceptional opportunity to be more — to share more — to deliver more — to create more impact.
Is having a podcast scary? Heck yes, it is — at first.
But as Dr. Marcie Beigel encouraged us in Episode 144… “Onward Nation…you need to be scared and do it anyway.”
Les Brown once said, “Unless you attempt to do something beyond what you have already mastered — you will never grow.”
Your podcast represents an exceptional opportunity for you to grow your business revenue, Onward Nation — and — it represents an exceptional opportunity for you to grow as a person…as a thought leader…and as someone who your nation of true fans will love and respect.
So with that said…
I want to say thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — your time is sacred and I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.
However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine — I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. My direct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org — and yes — that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.
So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.
We will be back tomorrow with Gordon Tredgold in Episode 446. Gordon shares his thoughts on why as leaders we need to serve and protect our teams — not the other way around. You will not want to miss Gordon — he is rock solid awesome, Onward Nation.
Until then, onward with gusto!