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Podcast Seminar: Monetizing Your Podcast

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we discuss a popular topic, monetizing your podcast.

If you talk to 10 different podcasters and ask them how to monetize your podcast, you’ll get 10 different answers. A few of the popular models that I’ll discuss in this post are donations, “premium” subscription, promoting products, pay per episode, advertising, sponsorship, and affiliate links.

First off, let’s get this ugly fact out of the way; unless your podcast is a standout in the thousands of podcasts in iTunes, there’s a good chance you’re not going to make a dime on your podcast. If you’re getting into podcasting to make money, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. At least for right now. There are opportunities to make a few bucks, but basically the monetization model for podcasting is far from fleshed out. Even though that’s the case, let’s take a look at the models listed above.

Donations – The donation model of monetizing is very much like a PBS television station or NPR radio station. The hosts solicit money from listeners or viewers. There is usually a button on their website that says donation or tip jar. The donations can be one time or setup as monthly. Paypal is the usual suspect here in setting up a donation scheme. For an example of this model, check out any of the TWiT podcasts. Leo Laporte has a donation button on the site where you can sign up to give a one time amount, or give monthly. You could also call this a benefactor model.

Premium Subscription – When you subscribe to a podcast, it’s not like subscribing to cable. No money changes hands. You simply add the podcaster’s RSS feed to your aggregator of choice. In the premium subscription model, you still subscribe to the podcaster’s feed, however this time you have a username and password and you pay the podcster to subscribe to the feed. This model is much like the premium channels like HBO. You pay an agreed upon amount each month. There are a few services that can provide this type of service, but the one that’s getting a lot of use is Premium Cast. Check out The Bitterest Pill for an example of this type of podcast monetization.

Product Promotion – If you sell a product as part of your business, then this is the monetization model for you. I made a reference to Gary Vaynerchuk of WinelibraryTV in a previous Podcast Seminar post. The Winelibrary is Gary V’s business. Each episode of the show he uses some of the product available in his store. He doesn’t push the product, but instead gives an honest review of the wines. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I don’t doubt the the number of bottles flying out the Winelibrary has gone up by a large amount due to the show. Take a look at the show and see how to sell products without making each episode of your podcast an infomercial.

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Podcast Seminar: What type of podcast should you produce?

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we answer the question, What type of podcast should you produce?

In general, there are two types of podcast you can produce, audio and video.

MicrophoneFirst let’s discuss audio. In audio there are basic podcasts and “enhanced” podcasts. Basic podcasts are most times encoded with the MP3 codec though they can be encoded in WMA, OGG, or AAC. Basic audio podcasts can be produced on Macs, PC’s, portable recorders, etc. The options to creating a basic audio podcast are almost endless. Also the number of devices that can listen to basic audio podcasts is almost limitless.

The enhanced podcasts are those that are created solely for use on iTunes and the iPod. They contain chapters, images and links that the listener can click on when they are at their computer to get more information on the topics that the podcaster is discussing. Enhanced podcasts are created with a Macintosh computer and the iLife software, Garageband. If you’re only targeting those listeners with iTunes and/or an iPod, this might be the format for you. Keep in mind that enhanced podcasts are more time consuming to produce than basic audio podcasts.

DiggnationHow about video? Breaking down video subtypes, I would make two broad categories: screencasts and traditional video. Screencasts are first person videos where the podcaster/presenter shows you their screen and records a voiceover to explain what and how they are doing on the screen. Screencasts are almost as easy to create as audio p0dcasts with the correct software. I highlighted a free tool called CamStudio that you can use to get started in screencasting with little more than a microphone. You can also checkout the post I made about the Camtasia. If the aim of your podcast is to show users of the software your company makes how it works, then this is the podcast type for you. Also, there are new and better tools being made for this type of video, so don’t stop here if you are interested in making screencasts.

Traditional video is the final type of podcast. Traditional video podcasts come in a huge variety of styles. It could be recording you and a buddy on a couch, Diggnation style, or a fully produced show like TikiBar, or a man or woman on the street show like Mahalo Daily. Traditional video podcasts are going to be the most time consuming to create, edit, encode and the most costly to distribute.

In order of ease of production are audio, enhanced audio, screencasts, and then traditional video.

Basically it comes down to this; will your content be conveyed in an effective manner through audio, enhanced audio, screencast or video?

Other things to consider in choosing your podcast type:

  • equipment needed to produce your podcast: camera, microphones, mixers, lights
  • time required vs. time available to edit your podcast
  • costs for producing your podcast: talent, equipment, opportunity cost
  • costs for distributing your podcast: hosting, bandwidth

Next time, What equipment/software do you need?