The number of podcast listeners is on the rise. Currently, 32% of Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, while in 2018 that number was at 26%.
Content creators are aware of this upward trend, so the number of podcasts posted online (and the number of people who would like to learn how to start a podcast) keeps on growing as a result.
If you’ve recently started podcasting, or you just started to research how to start podcasting, chances are that this new passion of yours hasn’t turned into an extra source of income yet.
And maybe that wasn’t even your goal in the first place. But who could deny that making money while doing what you truly love is the ultimate professional goal?
Now, we know that among all the 750,000 active podcasts there are today, it might seem impossible for yours to stand out. And of course, as a market grows, the competition becomes stiffer. But there’s no need to use the word impossible!
Being successful in online radio hosting, a.k.a. podcasting, is a matter of putting in the work and following the right podcast tips. Like the ones that we’re about to list!
Table of Contents
Tip 1. Be Authentic
No one enjoys listening to a podcast with fake people who pretend to be someone they’re not. And in podcasting, it’s not difficult to spot a host who’s not being genuine. So one of the pest podcasting tips to remember when it comes to online radio hosting – or putting out any type of content, really – is to just be yourself.
Another part of being yourself is allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
Of course, we’re not saying you need to tell personal, sad or embarrassing stories on every episode you publish.
But being honest about your experiences, whether they’re positive or negative, is a great way of retaining listeners. Why? They can see themselves in you. They related to the stories you tell and that makes them curious about what you have to say in the next episode.
Tip 2. Do Your Research
A podcast usually consists of a monologue or dialogue that (hopefully) flows naturally. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have homework to do before you start recording your next podcast!
The best thing you can do is write down a rough outline of how you want the episode to go down. Make a list of all the topics you want to touch on and if you have a guest, of the questions you want to ask them.
You can try just trusting your memory or creative mind to direct the episode as it goes. But by doing this, your chances of ending up with a confusing episode that just doesn’t flow well are much bigger.
So take some time to do your research before starting a podcast and find topics that are relevant to your audience and to your guest.
Tip: If you’d like to sound good on a podcast, then you should research the best type of podcast recording and editing software, format, audio files and format, and microphone to use. A great way to start your research (and to start a conversation with your favorite podcaster) is to simply ask the people behind your favorite podcasts which podcast tools they would recommend. Asking those you look up to for podcast tips might work better than you think, not only is it a boost to their ego, it can help you gain the knowledge you need to be successful.
Tip 3. Find the Right Guests
Having guests just for the sake of it doesn’t work. Try to invite guests for each podcast episode that make sense considering your niche and your target audience. But if you can’t get a guest, doing solo episodes is perfectly fine!
Keep in mind that finding the right guests might mean sending thousands of emails and being ignored most times. But as your podcast grows, you’ll be able to get hold of more people to interview, so don’t give up!
Tip 4. Use the Feedback You Receive to Improve
Comments and direct messages are two things anyone who posts content online has to deal with at some point. Hidden among these comments however are some valuable podcast tips, let’s elaborate.
Sometimes you’ll receive feedback with nothing but praise and compliments. Other times, you’ll receive feedback letting you know things you could work on to have an even better podcast.
This second type of feedback usually comes in one of two forms: constructive comments or rude ones.
Getting constructive comments (like how to make a podcast sound better with special equipment you’ve never heard of) is great and you should never ignore them. The rude ones aren’t so nice, but people who send them aren’t trying to help you, but rather to provoke you. Don’t let them!
Tip 5. Take Advantage of Affiliate Programs
Have you ever heard of Audible, the audiobook brand?
If you watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts regularly, you probably have. Many content creators promote the brand on their videos or episodes, and it’s not hard for you to do the same and start making $15 per trial membership you generate.
Like Audible, there are many other brands with affiliate programs where all you have to do is sign up, tell them where to send the payments and start promoting.
Tip 6. Ask for Donations
Think about the podcasts you listen to regularly. How many of them ask, at some point in the episode, for their listeners to donate some money via Patreon or Venmo or to subscribe to their podcast channel?
There’s nothing wrong with asking for what you need.
If you do a good job and give it your all for your podcast to be great, your listeners will tell. And some of them will be more than happy to give you a small amount of money!
Our advice is that you use Patreon to receive donations. There you can create memberships and create exclusive content for each tier. Your listeners will be getting something back for their money, instead of just giving it to you. Everybody wins!
Tip 7. Promote Products You Believe In
This one is strongly related to our first tip. Promoting a product you don’t believe to be good simply because of the money you’ll make goes against everything we said about authenticity.
Plus, if your listeners end up buying the product and realize that it isn’t good, that damages your own reputation, not just that of the brand you’re endorsing.
Be mindful of the products you choose to advertise. Not only will your listeners appreciate it, but brands might end up noticing you and offering you a deal.
Tip 8. Offer Coaching or Online Courses
Let’s say you started a podcast on healthy eating and fitness, both because you’re interested in the topic and because you’re knowledgeable about it.
Do you see the opportunity you have right there?
You’ll obviously be sharing relevant and helpful information in your podcast. But why not take it one step further and offer coaching services or an online course to people who are interested in knowing more and willing to pay for it?
Tip 9. Speak at Events
It’s not uncommon for podcast hosts to start speaking at events within their niche.
Once opportunities start to pop up, you should definitely take them, no matter how small the event in question might be.
Everyone who hears your podcast’s name is a new potential listener. If they listen to an episode, they might talk about it with their friends and family, spreading the word even more. And hey, is there anything more powerful than word-of-mouth?
Just like you prepare for each of your episodes, you need to prepare for each event you speak at. Do a good job and you’ll see more and more people will be interested in listening to you.
Tip 10. Host Your Own Event
While we’re on the topic of events, if you have the resources to do so (a.k.a time, money, and connections), why not organize your own event?
It’s a great way of promoting your work, but also of giving other small podcasters an extra platform to speak about their projects. Promote your event properly on social media and you’ll certainly have people attending.
Charge a small amount per ticket, and there you have it: a little bit more money to invest in your show.
Tip 11. Sell Merch
This is one of those podcast tips that isn’t ideal for an initial phase, but it’s definitely something to consider when things start to pick up. This is only because you’ll need to make an initial investment; so if you’re not sure there’s a loyal enough audience to buy your merch, it’s better to wait.
But once you start to establish your name in the podcasting world, why not get a few t-shirts done and try to sell them to your fans?
Tip 12. Monitor Each Episode’s Earnings
How can you understand what works and what doesn’t if you don’t look at the numbers and compare them?
This is probably the most boring part of creating content and monetizing it, but it’s definitely a necessary one, and one of the most important podcast tips for long term success. What you want is for your earnings to go up over time. If that doesn’t start happening, you need to ask yourself what you can change in your approach.
Do know that these things take time. Don’t expect to start profiting from your podcast at the get-go. Rather, expect a slow development that will eventually become steady.
Final Podcast Tips for Success
All of the podcast tips we listed are proven ways of achieving success. However, there are two other tips that are probably just as important as all the technical and marketing-related ones: be patient and don’t lose yourself.
“Be patient” because of what we already mentioned: projects like a podcast can take a long time to grow.
And “don’t lose yourself” as in don’t forget why you started your podcast. It’s easy to start seeing dollars everywhere and forget the passion that got you into this project. So stay grounded!
If have any questions about podcasting as a side hustle, we’d be more than happy to help you. Feel free to send us a message or add a comment below!
Before we go we would like to offer you this free infographic we created that summarizes the 6 most important tips you should know when starting a new podcast.
In the upcoming weeks we will be publishing a post that will take you through each and every step you need to start, grow, and monetize your podcast; but until then we would like to leave you with this:
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