How to Make Your Podcast Profitable - Advice from Podcast Advertising Experts
Since Ranieri & Co. was founded in 2019, our team have managed hundreds of podcast advertising campaigns, represented leading Australian podcast talent and developed two original podcast series. Through this journey, we have gained critical insight into what makes a podcast successful and therefore profitable - hitting the sweet spot between what brands want to talk about and what audiences are genuinely interested in.
Drawing from our rich experience in the podcast, radio and influencer marketing industries, we’ve compiled our key advice for those thinking of starting a podcast, or already recording and looking to get investment and support from brands. How do you make sure you don’t alienate your listeners? How do you appeal to brands without compromising your integrity? Read on to find out.
1. Start now!
Haven’t started yet? We advise building the plane after you jump off the cliff. It can be daunting to make the leap, but once you have, you can figure out the details on the way. The best way to advance is by testing and learning.
Our Co-founder Nick Randall elaborates
“Start now - in 6 months time you will be glad you did. Get your flying hours up and get all of the awkward interviews, tech issues out of the way now.”
2. Make sure you choose a topic you LOVE
Our Head of Commercial & Partnerships, Zach Kangelaris cut his teeth in the influencer marketing space, giving him first hand insight into the importance of monetising at the right time.
Zach says, “Passion is tangible. If you are creating content for the love of it, it will shine through and attract an audience. I would recommend not monetising too soon as it can come across as too commercial - first, get consistent in creating and uploading podcasts and carve out your space as a host. Once your audience trust builds, it will be more organic to introduce ads and partnerships, especially if you have already spoken about the brand/product early on and have genuine enthusiasm for it.”
This is beneficial to brands also. If they see that you are willing to advocate for their product or service without being paid, it gives them a reason to partner with you.
Nick agrees, advising that you need to embed your “why” into your content proposition.
He says, “Be honest here, if you want to eventually make a living from commercials - put that in your 'why'. It needs to be something that motivates you and is authentic.”
For example, we represent The Mind Muscle Project, who live and breathe fitness and self improvement. The team have recorded over 900 podcast episodes and also own a gym. This deep rooted passion and drive is evident to a listener in every episode. This makes ads from products such as protein powders and exercise equipment compelling to the audience as they know that the hosts are experts in the space.
3. Put your audience first
It is important to consider who you are talking to and what drives them. If you have a detailed understanding of your target audience, this will help you to create content that is relevant to their lifestyles and passion points.
“Make sure you are always investing in knowing and growing your audience.
This is critical to think about at the beginning and can be tweaked as you go, but knowing who you are speaking to will help not just in content composition but also when pitching to a brand.”
Case Study: Creating The Long Haul
When creating our original podcast The Long Haul, we identified the question that the series aimed to answer for the listener early on. TLH is all about the reality of professional sport. We’re often called a sporting nation, but what do we really expect of our sportspeople? And what does our relationship to them say about our country? We knew that our sport-obsessed nation would love to delve deep into this topic. Executive Producer Simon Portus explains:
“The Long Haul is great for parents. It relates to their kids’ experience with sport, but it’s also full of issues we can all reflect on in our own lives and choices, so there is something for everyone.”
4. Invest in the right tech
If you want your show to be taken seriously, your podcast needs to sound professional. A quality microphone is essential, and you’ll probably want decent headphones and basic editing software. We love Omny Studio and for audio management. If you record on your phone, it will show!
Zach advises: “Use a hosting platform like Art19 or OMNY to help distribute content out to all listening platforms and aid with dynamic ad insertion.”
5. Strategise promotion
To be attractive to a brand, you don’t have to have millions of listeners (although it certainly helps!), but you do need to demonstrate that your audience engages in your content and that you have a differentiation in the industry.
To achieve this, social media can be your friend. Podcast listeners are some of the most active users of every social media channel (Podcast Insights.) Investing your time and networking skills to grow a community to engage with your listeners can speak volumes to the relationship between the podcast creators/hosts and their audience.
We would also advise creating a slickly designed deck to showcase your offering for the brand/agency. You need to make it easy for them to sponsor the show. Demonstrate your expertise and passion in data wherever possible.
6. Do ads the right way
Once you’ve got to the stage where you can start featuring advertising in your podcast, make sure you align with ones that make sense for your brand. If you’re a fitness podcast, featuring a chocolate brand is going to be jarring and confusing for your audience. The best ads speak to personal experience, capitalising on the intimacy between host and audience. There needs to be a benefit for the audience. If you genuinely like the product, chances are they will too.
For example, we helped impact.com (a partnership management platform) work with leading podcast Business Wars. Custom segments were broken up into three sixty-second slots and dispersed within the show sequentially (the same podcast listener is served all three placements within the one episode). This allowed impact.com the ability to really create a narrative and drive an authentic connection with the audience.
Nick adds, “Do not bake your ads into the content.
Use ad tech so you can deliver relevant, targeted, time-based ad messaging.”
Monetising your podcast in an authentic, effective way that works for the host, listener and brand is tricky. Best to chat to the experts on this. We may know someone. Click here to contact us.