So you want to make money from podcasting?

Podcasts are a crowded marketplace but with the right idea — and lots of energy — there is money to be made from the format. That’s the message from a recent Audiotrain Masterclass I hosted on behalf of Audio UK on The Business of Podcasting.

Microphone and tablet in background
Podcasts can be a valid format for making a profit.

My guests were four experts on the subject of Podcasting. Two of them — Sam Shetabi and Ruth Fitzsimons — are from the biggest podcast hosting platforms, Acast and Audioboom, while Matt Deegan and Neil Cowling both run production companies successfully making podcasts.

Matt’s company, Folder Media, made the daily Love Island podcast for ITV, and it was one of Folder Media’s first dips into the world of audio podcasting.

So what were their top tips?

  • A unique and creative idea with a great format will interest the platforms even if you have no listeners yet they may decide to promote the podcast
  • You don’t have to use a well-known name as a presenter. If the idea is good it will attract listeners
  • You should start with at least 15 editions, less than that is too short a run to be noticed
  • The length should be determined by great content, probably about 30 minutes is ideal but really its as long as it needs to be
  • If you are just starting and want to get more listeners, use cross promotion by making links with other like minded podcasters and any social media platforms
  • To attract advertisers you really need at least 10,000 listeners, but there are some exceptions
  • There are alternatives to gaining funding through advertising for example, subscription, branded content and working with companies who want to promote a specialist subject
  • Remember the laws around copyright – they still apply
  • The audience is international and this provides opportunities
  • True Crime is still one of the most popular topics!

Podcasting is appealing to a younger demographic – the latest RAJAR figures showed around 13% of the population listening to one podcast a week and the biggest audiences were the under 35s. The expert guests were very positive about podcasting being the new way to connect with audiences, and the audience of producers and presenters took home the message that there is money to be made if you have the right idea.

The idea comes first

So the message is, the idea comes first. Start with great content, and work hard on attracting listeners. Think about podcasting as a business from the beginning, and make links with hosting platforms and advertisers and sponsors from the start.

Good luck!

The evening took place at the offices of Simons Muirhead & Burton in central London.