I listen to a ton of shows each day and some are clearly better or even worse than some. Running the AMPN puts me into that position and I gladly accept the challenge. I listen for several things beyond just the content. I consume what the hosts are saying without actually saying it. That's how they project the value of their show.
You can talk all you want, but what you do with your content after you produce it tells me so much about who you are and what drives you. I am talking about "selling out" to a third-party sponsor. You may think you are paying the bills, but you are telling your audience something completely different. I know, this isn't true, and I am being dumb...am I?
The internet has changed the game. When we would drive our cars back in the 80's/90's from point A to point B we had no choice but to listen to FM radio. That is unless you had a tape deck and then a CD player later on. Technology has evolved so much that people can plug in their iPods, phones, USB sticks and even SD cards into the vehicles. People have never had so many choices in human history to listen to anything they wanted. That choice is a negative for you and your content. Respect it and understand it.
You now have to fight for an audience. What makes you different? Why should I listen to you over your competitor? Do you even value me as a fan?
Those questions are real even if you think putting ads into your episodes are normal and an expectation from listeners in 2015 and beyond. The internet has changed people. They can block ads and they can click away. This is the biggest thing that scares the shit out of Google, Facebook, and any other company that relies on advertising to support their product.
You can make money in many other ways. I am not saying don't monetize at all. Far from it. My goal here is to get new podcasters to stop the relentless question of how to get sponsorship for their shows. Pull your shoulders up and have some self-respect. People want your content and not your bullshit. They want a reason to like you and come back. They want to send you $10/month through Patreon if you are worth it. The sad fact is most podcast shows aren't worth it. They don't care.
How to monetize your show beyond a readable ad:
Not everyone that creates things online deserves to make money from it. Remember that it was your choice to create content. No one owes you a single penny for doing so. You can think of it as a business and make money, but you aren't entitled to it. You have to hustle and build relationships for it. I discuss this extensively in other articles.
- Sell merch on a Squarespace or Wix store. Easy to setup and sell things. Go onto Alibaba Express and find a place that will make items for you with your show logo or something. They sell and ship.
- Open a patreon account after you have a good following and ask for support without begging. You shouldn't have to talk about it for 5 minutes each show and explain that it helps you out. No shit, that's kind of obvious.
- Ask for direct donations through Paypal.
- Hold a "telethon" like PBS used to (maybe still do?) once a year and make it a huge event.
- Hold a local event and charge for entry. Think about the election dinners. Maybe this is a panel of experts the crowd can listen to over dinner or lunch.
- Take on side work to support your hobby through eLance or UpWorks.
Is your show valuable? If I pay you $30 to read a ridiculous ad on your next episode, will you do it? If you said yes then please reread this article and take the weekend to think about what you are doing. You need to be more than your podcast and this is part of that journey. Stop thinking ads and start thinking content and loyalty and the money will come. Don't expect the money upfront. This is why this medium is an investment and not a payoff.
I hope this makes sense and gives you something to consider. I want to help push content creators to view their contribution to the world in a different light.
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