make money podcastingBoth professional and amateur broadcasters all over the world are making money by creating and distributing their own podcasts. As a matter of fact, you need not be a professional broadcaster at all.

A majority of the Internet’s podcast success stories are not broadcasters or even public speakers. They’re ordinary people, business men and women, working professionals, hobbyists and people (even teenagers and kids) with a passion and some expertise in a given area. They simply create podcasts (broadcasts in MP3 format) about what they love, enjoy and know well.

What is a Podcast?

A podcast is an audio show on a given subject, like a radio broadcast. It’s converted into MP3 format and then uploaded to the Internet where users can then download it and listen to it.

The term “podcast” derived from “iPod” because it can be downloaded and listened to on an iPod. However, a podcast can be downloaded to any home computer or MP3 player, not just an iPod.

Using Podcasting To Reach the World

Podcasting is simply one more way to spread information using the Web as a medium. It’s simply one more form of self-promotion, just like writing Internet articles or creating videos and posting them to a video-sharing site like YouTube. You might consider it the audio equivalent of an Internet article or video.

Why Podcast?

All three of these things (article writing, video making and podcast recording) serve several important purposes, the main ones of which are:

1) Self-promotion: As already noted, those who have something to share with the world, whether it’s talent or information, can self-promote using the Web. Some media professionals refer to this as “jumping the queue.” No longer must someone wait and hope to be discovered. You can create your own media and draw attention to yourself and possibly find that fame you’re looking for.

2) Business promotion: Many business owners use Internet media like podcasts, article publishing and video-making to promote whatever it is that they sell. Like self-promotion, using Web media is often one of the best ways to appeal directly to potential customers on a wide scale.

3) Generate a following: Maybe you want to carve a niche for yourself in a profession or hobby. Media publishing is an excellent, high-profile way to do this. Take the case of Michelle Phan, spokesperson for cosmetics giant Lancôme.

Phan was an art-school drop out when she applied to work at the makeup counter of a major upscale department store. Phan had a flair for makeup artistry, but was denied the job.

So instead, Phan set out to create her own following. She began by simply making instructional videos about how to apply makeup. Her following grew after posting her videos on YouTube.

Within a few years she had such a huge fan base that Lancôme took notice. In 2010 she became an official spokesperson. She continues to create and star in videos sponsored by Lancôme, using their products to create looks that followers can imitate.

Phan is just one of many Internet media users who have experienced success simply doing what they love to do. In reality, anyone can do the same and generate a fan base just like Phan did.

4) Establish oneself as an expert in a field: Phan was determined to show the department store that rejected her appeal for a job that she was indeed an expert at what she did. Many people, business owners and trained professionals do this using Internet mediums like podcasts. While not everyone will reach the kind of public acclaim that Phan did, many people are looked to and sought out as experts in their fields because of their podcasts or other media postings.

How to Create a Podcast

You need not have fancy equipment or access to expensive studio equipment. You can create your podcast with virtually any recording device that can be connected to a computer. People have used everything from professional sound equipment to cell phones to create podcasts.

Here are some steps that will help you get started:

1) Choose a topic: Obviously this should be something that you know and/or love. You’ll have less competition if you try to carve out a niche for yourself.

For example, let’s say you’re an avid gardener and you want to help other gardeners grow better flowers. You may want to create podcasts which are devoted to a particular species of flower rather than making podcasts about gardening in general.

It’s also wise to choose a topic that you can do a number of different spin-off podcasts on. The more podcasts you can put out there, the greater your potential for making money, and the more opportunities you’ll have to garner a following. So when you choose a topic, try to think of several more topics that are related. Our gardening expert, for instance, might choose to do a series on clematis. She could do a number of podcasts on orchids, on topics like “growing clematis from seed,” “how to fertilize clematis,” “the best light in which to grow clematis,” “how to prune clematis,” and more.

2) Write a script: Even if writing isn’t your cup of tea, it’s best to create a verbatim script for your podcast. If you have to, enlist help to write your script, or pay someone to write a script for you using an outline that you provide.

Writing a script (rather than trying to record a monologue “off the cuff”) accomplishes four things. First, it forces you ahead of time to decide exactly what you want to convey. When you put some forethought into your dialogue, you’ll be sure to cover all of the material that is important to your topic. When it’s time to record you won’t forget anything.

Secondly, you’ll be able to time your monologue. You should always try to keep your podcasts similar in length. Generally speaking, a podcast should be short: five minutes or so at minimum, and 15-22 minutes maximum. This will help you develop a consistent following, because your fans will know what to expect from you and your recordings and can allot an appropriate amount of time to listen to your podcasts.

Thirdly, it keeps you on track when you’re actually creating your recording. When you speak “off the cuff,” you tend to forget points, take too many pauses, and stumble over words. A podcast, like a radio broadcast, should be succinct and should definitely not have pauses or “dead air” (unless they are a crucial part of your script, and even then you should never pause for more than a few seconds). There will also be much less of a chance that you’ll have to do more than one take of your recording.

Fourthly, it will sound more natural to your listeners. Sometimes people think that speaking off-the-cuff comes off as more natural-sounding. Actually this is rarely the case except for a very small percentage of naturally gifted people.

Your recording will be more believable, professional and natural if you know what you’re going to say before you say it. Creating a script beforehand allows you to practice, including rehearsing sounding natural (just like an actor). Even professionals do it this way.

3) Record your script: Again, you don’t need a studio or professional equipment. If you’re using basic recording equipment (a cell phone or your computer, for instance) just make sure that you’re in a quiet room and that you seal out external noises as much as possible. Close doors and windows, turn off appliances, etc.

Speak slowly, succinctly and deliberately: Talk confidently and loudly (but don’t shout). Put expression in your voice, just as you would if you were talking with a friend. Unless you’re proficient with editing software, you should plan to do your entire monologue in a single take, rather than recording sound bytes and editing them together after the fact.*

4) Proof your recording: Play back your recording, making sure it sounds natural and that every word is clear and can be understood. Doing more than one take is a hassle, but it’s worth the time to get it right.

* A note about editing: If you’re handy with a digital editing program you can play around with your recording and add appropriate sound effects, music, etc. However, this is not necessary, and shouldn’t be attempted unless you’re very proficient with digital audio editing software.

Making Money Off of Your Podcast

There are several ways to potentially make money of off your podcast. We’ll outline five of them here:

1) Online revenue sharing: You can upload your podcast to one of the many podcast submission Websites on the Internet. Not all are revenue-sharing sites. The ones that are offer you the opportunity to share in their advertising revenue.

How it works: The site will place ads on your pages with links that are relevant to the topic(s) of your podcast(s). Whenever a site visitor clicks on one of the links, you make money.

2) Get a sponsor: Lots of podcasters get paid by sponsors who add their recorded advertising to the creator’s podcast. Enticing a sponsor may mean that you’ll have to build up a following first. You’ll have to plan to do a number of podcasts for free in order to get this following.

Once you do, it’s not hard to find sponsoring companies to put paid advertising into your podcasts. Media advertising companies such as Mevio and Podtrac welcome those who have a following to apply for sponsorship. Or you may even be able to approach prospective advertisers on your own and form an advertising partnership.

3) Ask for donations: Why not? Public television does it. Actually, people are sometimes surprised to learn of the number of listeners and followers who are willing to donate to a podcaster that they enjoy listening to. (Asking for public donations works for all kinds of Internet media purveyors. Just look at Wikipedia.) Create your own Website, offer your podcasts, and add a PayPal “Donate” button so listeners who feel so compelled can contribute.

4) Create series and charge for some: Give people a reason to want to pay for your podcasts. Do a two-part series, offer the first part for free and charge for the second part.

5) Promote a product: Choose one or more affiliate products and then create podcasts that promote those products. You’ll make money every time you sell an affiliate product.

These are just a few basic ways to make money off of your podcasts. Innovative entrepreneurs will probably find all kinds of unique ways to make money by podcasting. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. The better you get at it, the more money you’ll be able to make.

Hope this helps,

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(6) comments

Dave Jackson says:

November 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Scott,
Great article. Also you can get paid in thing besides money (like free stuff to review and talk about on your show), you can get asked to speak at conventions, and you build a loyal audience. Michael Butler had his listeners chip in and fly him to London, put him up for free, and fly him back.

Gregory Lumbar says:

November 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

Hi Scott, I am really fascinated by the way you spread these good news of money making activities. Like podcast, it is more convenient to do than article writing but most ordinary people aren’t aware that they could earn from it. I hope you continue to post more information. Wish you well always!

Zacharias Suarez says:

November 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I enjoyed reading this article. It seems I could finally make use of my gadgets and start earning money. For sure, I will visit this site again.

Myrna Dacodao says:

November 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

No wonder why my best buddy referred me to this link. This is not only new to me but also inspiring. I want to communicate, share and earn using the modern ways of broadcasting my thoughts to the world from the comfort of my room. Love this idea!

Vladimir Klavich says:

December 5, 2011 at 6:50 am

This sounds exciting! Audio memory aid is becoming a fad in our community. It is very much possible to sell my own podcast. I have so much to tell the world. Hear me soon!

Alfred Vargas says:

December 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

You’re right man, this will make make income. But the problem is in sustaining the cash flow to your account. Let me put this way; this is so difficult to sustain. You can make one or two but how can you make even more?

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