Podcast Essentials: What You Need to Succeed

podcast essentials

The best way to increase the number of listeners you have is to tell everyone about your new podcast.  If you have an email newsletter, then promote, and link to your podcast in your emails.  If you have a blog, promote and link to your podcast there.  Include a signature “visit my podcast” or “listen here” in every email.  And of course, don’t forget to promote your podcast on your website!  Place a link to your podcast on your website, with a headshot photo, a call to action like ‘listen here” and an intriguing headline. Now, let’s check the technicalities for having a successful podcast:


The great thing about podcasting is that you can do it at home with a basic Mac or PC and an inexpensive microphone, but a better microphone will improve your sound quality. Some podcast hosting sites even make it possible to podcast with your cell phone.  You simply register with the service and create your podcasts by recording them when you’re on your cell phone.

If you want to kick it up a notch, there are several ways to set up a podcast recording “studio.”

For serious podcasters, the list of necessary equipment is as follows:

  • Microphone
  • Preamp
  • Digital recorder (or computer)
  • Headphones
  • Sound-editing software


Podcasting on a consistent schedule is important when building a community and a wider audience.  In fact, don’t expect your podcast to have a large audience in the beginning.  But with proper promotion, quality content and a regular schedule, your podcast audience will grow.  Many podcast audiences number in the thousands.

Decide, before you get started, how often you will be able to broadcast.  Each podcast will take time to script, rehearse and record.  You are likely to want to commit at least four hours of planning and production time for each podcast.


To determine how long your podcast should be, you’ll want to consider how frequently you’re going to broadcast, what content you’re delivering, and who your audience is.  For example, if you’re doing a daily podcast you would be likely to want to keep it short.  Five to ten minutes is a perfectly acceptable length for a daily.  It is enough time to offer an inspiration, a tip for the day or an insight.  If you’re doing a weekly and you know that your subscribers generally listen to your podcast on their drive to work, then a 20-30 minute podcast would fit perfectly into that time frame.


Great news!  Podcasts can actually be free.  If your computer came with a microphone or you use the cell phone type set-up, then you already have your recording equipment.  All you need is a podcast host and, like blogging hosts, many are offered for free.  Simply use your favorite search engine and you’ll find numerous choices.

Of course, for a few extra dollars you can find podcast hosts that offer sound editing software, more storage and unlimited bandwidth.  To choose the right podcast host, it really depends on how many podcasts you want to produce per month, how big they will be and what kind of subscriber base you are expecting for your shows.

music for podcast

Adding music/sounds to your podcast

Adding music to your podcast can:

1. Set the theme of your podcast
2. Prepare your listener for individual segments or features within your podcast
3. Entertain your listener

When selecting your music, remember to consider the theme of your podcast and your target audience.  Since each podcast is different and has a unique audience, the music used should reflect both.

Royalty-free music can be used in productions without recurring fees, i.e. without paying royalties  each time the music is played.  An alternative to royalty-free music is “podsafe” music.

Podsafe music is acquired by partnering with a musician and crediting their work during the podcast. Independent artists are making their compositions available as podsafe music in exchange for publicity and airplay. Sound effect libraries can be subscribed to for a modest fee, or podsafe CDs can be purchased and imported through your computer’s media player.

Naming Your Podcast

The name of your podcast is important.  It not only reflects your business and your brand identity, but it also needs to inspire people to download it, listen to it, and come back for more.  Choose a name for your podcast that matches your content topic.  People generally search for a particular subject when they visit podcast sites, like “meditation”, “marketing”, “investing” etc.

Like any other online content, publicity is all about using the right keywords.  Your podcast can have your company name on it but you should also consider having a secondary name.  Dating the podcasts is also suggested, because it helps subscribers organize them and know what is new content and what is old content. 

For customers that download onto their iPod or other MP3 player, they will see a 255 character id tag that scrolls across their screen.  Be sure to include your URL (and possibly your phone number as well) in thattitle.



Always script your podcast before you record it.  Make sure to outline your point or points first.  What message do you want to get across to your subscribers?  Make sure you are able to address this point accurately and completely in the time that you have allowed.  Make notes of where you want to add inflection.  Podcasts that are without inflection or a range of vocal emphasis are not interesting to listen to.  Add emotion to your voice; if you are excited about your material show it, and if you are discussing something serious or sad, let your voice demonstrate that too.

Don’t forget to plan pauses and breaths into your script and where you’re going to place your advertisements.  Advertisements work best when you can easily transition into them.

For example, “Speaking of making money online, head to our website now and save 10% on our new book 101 Ways to Save Money.”

Here’s a sample format outline:

  • Introductory music
  • Introduction of host or hosts
  • Host introduces topic (with an appealing title and teaser)
  • Couple of minutes of content
  • Advertisement
  • More content
  • Promotional mention of an upcoming seminar, sale or new product
  • Teaser for next podcast topic
  • Closing music


Make sure that your audio or video includes an easy to remember phone number, because many people will be listening to your offers while they’re driving or working out.  They won’t be able to simply click through to your website.  That being said, make sure you also include your URL in your call to action so that those that are listening on their computer can immediately visit your site.

Keep your advertisements short.  Listeners can easily ”fast forward” and not listen to your advertisements.  If you keep them to 10-15 seconds they won’t make the effort to skip over them.  Additionally, you should transition into them as you’re speaking so that the listeners aren’t  immediately aware that they’re listening to an ad.

Make sure that you keep the ads free of time constraints.  Due to the nature of a podcast, a person can listen to it today or six months from now.  If your advertisements have a “limited time offer” call to action, then you’ll miss out on a lot of potential customers.

Hook your audience with interesting content before you insert your ads.  Placing your ads in the beginning of your podcast can cause some listeners to tune out; however, if you’ve already hooked them with interesting information, they’ll listen to a quick plug to hear the rest of your information.


The use of a podcast or the format of your content is virtually limitless.  You can podcast on the following topics:

  • Instructions or training manuals of your products
  • Company news
  • Commentary on your industry or industry analysis
  • Creative endeavors like singing, reading poetry, reading fiction
  • Behind the scenes information
  • Interviews with experts
  • Seminars or workshops
  • Reviews on products or services
  • “How to” guides
  • From the field information
  • Lessons
  • Inspirations
  • Meetings or mastermind group discussions
  • Call in shows
  • Monologues
  • Dialogues or conversations
  • Quiz shows
  • News magazine format


Like any online tool, content is king.  In your podcast you absolutely must provide content that offers a benefit to your customers and target market.  A podcast that is simply an advertisement for your services may get listened to once but it won’t be revisited, and it won’t be forwarded to friends, family and associates.  However, a podcast that entertains and informs will grow and build your sales and your online presence.

Make sure that the content that you offer via your podcast differs from the content that you offer via your blog, newsletter or on your website.

How to Make Money from Podcasts


Advertising is one of the best ways to make money from a podcast. It’s one of the most common ways to make money from a podcast. Advertising allows you to get paid for each podcast you produce, earning much more per visitor than you would from web advertising.

In order to get advertisers interested in your site, you need to have a podcast that gets at least a moderate amount of traffic. Unlike AdSense, where just anyone can get started even with next to no traffic, most podcast advertising deals tend to be with at least somewhat established podcasts.

Your website needs to look professional and your brand needs to be positive. Advertisers and sponsors will advertise in part because they want the exposure and the traffic, but also in part because they respect your brand and want to be linked to your podcast.

And remember: Unlike standard ads which are put up and taken down over time, an audio inserted into a podcast generally lasts forever. Advertisers love that.

Here’s what you need to know about landing advertising deals and keeping advertisers happy.

Where Do You Find Advertisers?

whoThere are a few main places you can find potential advertisers.

First, look within your own industry. Look for people who have money and might benefit from exposure to your audience. Start to build a relationship with them as early as possible, even if you’re not ready to ask them to advertise yet.

There isn’t a real directory of potential advertisers. Instead, you have to do some thinking about who to reach out to.

Look within your own network. Are there people who already love your work that might want to be associated with your company? Start a conversation with them about potential advertising opportunities.

Look through your Twitter feed. Look for people who’ve commented a lot on your content or retweeted your content frequently. See if they’re tied to any company that might become an advertiser.

Download shows from all your competitors, as well as all the other shows in your industry. Listen for what sponsors and advertisers other shows have. Contact those advertisers and let them know you’re open for advertising as well.

Mention advertising and sponsorship opportunities in your show. Don’t do it every show, just every two or three shows so potential advertisers who listen to your podcast will know about the advertising opportunity. Make sure you phrase it as an opportunity and whatever you do, don’t sound like you’re desperate for advertisers. It’s simply an opportunity you want to inform them about.

These are just some of the places you can look. Because there’s no set place to look, you always have to keep your eyes open. A lot of sales will happen through relationships, so always keep an eye out for influential people you can connect with.

Create a Podcast Advertising Page

On your website should be a podcast advertising page with all the details about advertising. On this page, include:

  • Audience numbers. This is one of the things your audience cares about most. Include your website’s traffic, your downloads per episode and your subscriber counts.
  • Talk about your demographics. Who tends to listen to your podcast? What are their age ranges? Are they die hard fans or just anyone in your industry? Are they hard to reach through other kinds of media?
  • Talk about your brand. How is your website and your podcast perceived in your industry? People advertise and sponsor websites that they’re proud to be associated with.
  • Unique things about your audience. What sets your audience apart? For example, if your audience has proven that they’re willing to try new products, make sure you mention that on your advertiser page.
  • Publishing schedule. How often do you publish? How often will the advertiser’s ad be inserted in the show?
  • Prices. Consider mentioning prices, though many podcasters choose to withhold this information until they’re on the phone with a potential advertiser. You can also just put up web advertising prices and leave podcast advertising prices for an actual conversation.
  • Contact information. Make it easy for advertisers to contact you by giving them your email and your phone number.


Source: http://prettygoodpodcast.com/the-pretty-good-podcast-2011-media-kit.html

How Much Should You Charge Advertisers?

As a rule of thumb, you can expect to charge between 2 cents and 5 cents per download for a 30 second advertising spot. The actual rate you charge depends on a few things:

  • When in the podcast is the advertisement played? Ads played in the beginning of the show are more valuable, because everyone hears the ad. Ads in the middle or the end of the show are less valuable because a certain percentage of your audience won’t get to that part of the show.
  • If you (the podcaster) read the ad rather than the advertiser, you can often charge a little more for that.
  • The length of the ad. The longer the ad, the more you can ask for.
  • Your brand and your audience. The more established your brand and the larger your audience, the more you’ll be able to ask for per-download.

For example, let’s say you average 10,000 downloads for the average show. You’re charging 3.5 cents per download, which brings in $350 per advertiser, per download. If you have two advertisers per show and one show a week, that’s $2,800 a month.

These are just rules of thumb. You can also charge on a monthly basis or charge a flat fee per episode produced. The 2 to 5 cent guideline is just a starting point for you to set your prices. You can also start low, with the understanding that as your show gains popularity prices may rise.


Source: http://robocaster.com/help_files/patriotsdaily/podcast_advertising_rates_prices.aspx

Different Types of Podcast Ads

There are quite a few different ways you can promote an advertiser on your podcast. These are the most popular types.

  • Audio provided by advertiser. Your advertiser simply records their own audio segment and gives it to you. You insert it in the beginning, middle or end of your podcast.
  • You read the promotion for your advertiser. This helps build your advertiser’s credibility, because your audience already trusts you. Your advertiser might choose to write the script for you, or you can both co-write the script for the best results.
  • A “brought to you by” segment. You might have a specific part of your show be “brought to you by” the sponsor. For instance, let’s say you run a science experiment podcast. Right before you embark on the experiment, you’d say something like “This experiment is brought to you by XYZ company.”
  • A simple sound bite. Instead of a 20 to 30 second ad, your advertiser might simply want a 3 to 5 second ad saying something like “XYZ podcast sponsored by ABC.” This allows them to pay a lot less for air time, while getting their brand exposure out to a lot of people.
  • Advertising on your website. Instead of having their audio inserted into your podcast, they can advertise on your podcast website instead.

In addition to these five types of ads, there’s one more type that deserves special mention. That’s the response driven affiliate advertisement.


Affiliate Advertisements on Podcasting

Did you know that you can do affiliate marketing or performance-based marketing through podcasting?

The easiest way this is done is through coupon codes. The ad in your podcast will say something like “This podcast brought to you by XYZ. To receive a free ______ product from XYZ, go to XYZ.com and enter the code 1234ABCD.”

Audible.com does this brilliantly. They advertise on prominent shows like NPR and offer a free audio book download to their subscribers. Each podcast gets their own unique coupon code, which allows Audible to track where each sale comes from.

Often time’s the payment from these kinds of programs is blended. That means you get a certain amount per download, plus a commission fee for every purchase made from your visitors.

Unlike web affiliate programs, getting on these kinds of affiliate programs requires you to actually pick up the phone and build a real advertising relationship with your advertisers. It’s a more involved deal than just generating a link online.

Ask for the “biz dev” (business development) department when you call, if you’re calling a larger company.


Help Your Advertisers Succeed

Advertising on your podcast should be a win/win deal for your advertisers. If they’re not getting a good deal, if they’re not seeing a return on their money, if they can’t track their results, if they aren’t sure that advertising with you is a great deal – Then eventually, they’re going to cancel their advertising deal.

It’s your job to help your advertisers succeed. How do you do that?

  • Help them track their results. Use coupon codes, as described above, to give them concrete numbers how their ROI.
  • Survey your audience. Use online survey tools to ask them about products and services they want, as well as products and services they like or don’t like. Include your advertiser’s brand in your survey. Use this information to help inform your advertisers about ways they could improve their ads or their offerings.
  • Help them record great ads. Ads recorded by you will almost always have more of an impact than ads recorded by your advertiser.
  • Vary up their ads. Your audience will get used to an ad after hearing it a few times. Help your advertiser get more attention by rotating ads or varying the ad up every couple months.
  • Help hone their ads. Is the message right? Does it strike your audience’s emotional cords? How could it be improved? Use your knowledge of your audience to help your advertisers succeed.
  • Talk to your advertisers. Are they happy? Are they getting the results they want? If your advertisers are getting disgruntled, you should find out as soon as possible. Don’t wait until they’re ready to cancel to talk to them. Stay in contact and make sure your advertisers are happy at all times.


Source: http://mixergy.com/are-you-using-my-sponsors-tell-me-i-want-to-talk-about-you/
You now know where to find advertisers, what information to give them, how to price your ads, the different ad formats you can use and how to keep your advertisers happy. That covers everything you need to know to use your podcast to generate a consistent stream of income.