Did you know that half of all podcasts have less than 14 episodes?
Why do you think that is?
I have a hypothesis. I suspect at least half of the podcasts spring into existance like this:
- Person gets excited and has a “brilliant” idea for a new show. This typically sounds like “it will be a little like the Joe Rogan Podcast meets…”
- Person buys some equipment, creates some cover art, and proceeds to record 2-3 episodes.
- Person launches the show and then anxiously checks to see if they’ve appeared in iTunes new and noteworthy, yet.
- They share it a few times on Facebook then take the afternoon off to imagine how they will read the Squarespace ad at the beginning of their show or whether they’d consider going exclusive on Spotify…you know, or hold out for a better deal.
- Several weeks go by, they see their episode download stat peak at 18 downloads, and they realize that they “got really busy and just don’t have the time”
For brands, it’s eerily similar except it’s usually driven by some misguided assessment about the total addressable market for a show featuring conversations about sewer pipe maintenance, accrual accounting tips, or regulatory compliance for offshore drilling.
The Dominant Narrative
Like everything else, we can often only conceive of that which we are exposed to. For most, podcasting is influencer marketing…it’s the modern radio DJ. The popular conception of the path to victory, for most, is to amass a huge audience, become a podcast celebrity, and then cash in on that attention through ads, affiliate links, and merch sales.
I’m not knocking it, but what if I told you there was something else that most people are overlooking simply because their egos are getting in the way? There’s actually a better and more direct reason why most brands should seriously consider podcasting.
Why A Brand Should Podcast
While everyone is looking at their download numbers and how many countries their audience spreads across, smart brands could be driving hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of dollars in revenue. Instead of feeding their ego with download numbers, they could be filling the coffers with cash.
How can I be so sure? Because Shareable has generated over two hundred thousand dollars for me since 2016. It wasn’t through ads, it wasn’t through affiliate links, and it wasn’t through merchandise.
Forget marketing, the most direct path for ANY business to generate revenue, is through sales. How do you succeed at sales? By having sales conversations with people who fit inside your ideal customer archetype. How do you set up those conversations, by inviting those people onto your podcast.
The conversations I’ve had through my guests on Shareable have generated revenue for me that FAR exceeds even the most generous sponsorships and ad placements based on my download numbers. I’ve directly and indirectly gotten clients and speaking engagements through my guests on the show… not to mention a network of some of the most interesting and intelligent people I could have ever hoped to meet.
It’s not the only way, it’s just the one you’re overlooking
I’m not telling you to throw out your 10-episode true crime podcast idea, or not do a talk-radio podcast that you intend to monetize through ads or Patreon. More power to you. In fact, here’s the most incredible resource for understanding podcast monetization I’ve ever found: James Altucher’s answer on Quora for “What is the best way to monetize a podcast?”
I’m telling you there’s another option and I think you should consider it.
If you are a brand, it’s unlikely that people, in large numbers, care what you have to say. No one is waiting around for brands to create podcasts. When they do and they do it right, we will listen…but no one is waiting. Your download numbers will reflect this, be prepared.
If you are a person who is pinning their hopes on building a giant audience as your path to revenue, you may be missing the bigger opportunity.
- I have been in digital marketing for more than 10 years and I can recite strategy to you backwards.
- I have 138 episodes of Shareable under my belt after 61 episodes of my previous podcast.
- My average downloads per episode (first 7 days) is around 700 over the life of my show and currently between 150-500 per episode.
- Shareable is about to hit 100,000 total downloads.
Chances are extremely high that you will not reach those numbers, not because they are extraordinary and out of reach, but because they are substantially better than average and well above the median.
I know marketing, and while I still do an incredible poor job of promoting my work I’ve managed to get into the top 10%. I’m still light years away from anyone wanting to give me money to run ads, and truthfully, I’m not sure if I’d do it anyway.
So, my point is, you should start a podcast if you want to, but you should understand that there are a lot of ways to monetize it beyond popularity. And, if you know anyone who needs to think about brand, leadership and culture, I’d love to talk to them. Maybe send them my way: email@example.com