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Brian Baltosiewich

Can You Make Money Podcasting?

7/15/2011

by Brian Baltosiewich

It's the million dollar question. Its the question I get asked most often. Can you make money podcasting? Full disclosure:  I dont know.I believe you can. But it aint easy. If you look at the podcasters who are successful it starts and ends with Adam Carolla. Carolla is building out his own studio now where his podcast empire will continue to grow and set the standard for all of us.

He started podcasting a month before Radio Exiles went live in 2009. I believed he and Exiles were on the cutting edge, out on that limb together. What I didnt know until recently was that he has a major corporate radio entity behind him. The limb just got a little more fragile, didnt it? So here we are. We have the venue, the audience, the talent and passion. How do you turn it into money?

Ive been advised that Google Adworks is the way to go, but at a fraction of a penny per click that seems like its just not enough. There are affiliate programs- for example Dell will offer you a percentage of ad sales from computers purchased after a consumer clicks through from your site to theirs. That has potential, but I wonder how many listeners will land on our site and think oh thats right, I need a new laptop! Not exactly an impulse purchase and Im just not sure if a podcast site is the right venue for most affiliate programs.

At the other end of the spectrum, I have also been told we need 100,000 page views A DAY to make any money. Were a long way from there. It is my belief there has to be a middle ground between a fraction of a penny per click and 100,000 page views a day, and Im turning over every rock until I find it.

So if monetizing a growing network of podcasters is challenging, where does that leave you, the independent podcaster? If I were you (take that for what its worth) I would model my podcast site after a successful blog (your choice here.) There is some money to be made in blogging, although it can be hard to come by and small in quantity. Be interactive with your listeners (that can be tricky too and Ill address that in another blog) and be a relentless self-promoter. Its helpful, as a blog, to have a specific topic. This will attract products to your blog, and sometimes that can generate more traffic if not actual income.

I just went back and read what I have written here. Its not as bleak as it sounds, but if you are just climbing on board be prepared to do it on a shoestring unless you have a corporate radio entity behind you.  Focus on building consistency out of the gate. It is my belief- and Im clinging to it with everything I have- that by offering a quality product consistently (be there when you tell your consumers you are going to be there) and by promoting relentlessly - you will build traffic. When you build traffic consistently, you will eventually reach a point where income becomes a reality. But it starts with you, in a little room, all by yourself.

Brian Baltosiewich has been a broadcast professional for more than 20 years.  His podcast website, www.radioexiles.com features professionally-produced podcasts from radio pros who have lost their gigs. Reach out to him at brian@radioexiles.com or through their twitter account @radioexiles and on Facebook at radioexiles.com




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