There are many of us out there who don’t necessarily relish the idea of standing in front of the camera or want to write thousands of words to create a blog or an ebook – but at the same time want to earn money through a side hustle.
There is a great option that sits slap bang in the middle of the two. Becoming a podcaster. You can think of a podcaster as a talk radio presenter, but just not on the radio. In this post we’ll show you how to become a podcaster and earn an extra income.
What is Podcasting?
Before video took off mainstream on the internet, and you used to pay for each minute you spent on the dial-up internet through an AOL disk found in every letter box and petrol station pay desk (who remembers those days!?), it simply wasn’t feasible to watch much video online. It was too expensive.
Text of course is the format that uses the least amount of bandwidth, and videos the most – but audio and the spoken word, which again uses a bandwidth somewhere in between the two, became possible to do through the early days of the internet without it becoming too expensive for every day users to consume.
Podcasting was invented. It was a way of having an audio blog. You could have your say and use your voice to create a show – like a radio show.
Unlike a radio show though many podcasts do not include music, and this is simply down to music copyright laws.
So, people created podcasts usually on a particular topic. You can create a podcast about almost anything, and people pretty much did. You could download podcasts about sport, history, space, politics, education, comedy and so on.
Is podcasting still worth getting in to?
It’s no secret that since the days of unlimited bandwidth from internet providers like Virgin, BT etc… that video ‘podcasts’ through platforms such as YouTube have taken an audience away from audio to video – but people consume content in all different ways.
Some would rather log on and search through YouTube videos, but others prefer to listen especially when in the car driving, travelling and just on in the background while working or doing household chores. This is why services such as Audible from Amazon and Spotify have become so popular.
They allow people to listen to all the things that interest them at a time where watching videos just isn’t possible or practical.
Never underestimate the demand or need for the spoken word.
If you can or have built a following through a blog or social media account, you may find that same audience would listen to what you had to say through a regular podcast.
What could I podcast about?
The options are endless, but what is important is picking a subject that not only interests you but also would interest a large number of listeners.
It wouldn’t be very good to choose a subject 10 other people are interested in. It wouldn’t make for a popular podcast, and the earnings you can make will often be relative to the size of your audience – just like a radio station.
It’s worth taking a look through podcast websites such as Google Podcasts, or through Amazon’s Audible podcast section, and look for popular podcasts. What’s currently topical and popular, and do you think you could put together a podcast to rival your competitors, or perhaps come at the topic from a different angle that would appeal.
How could I earn money through a podcast?
Of course, it’s not worth putting in all this effort if you can’t find a way of earning through it. That’s why you’re here after all. To earn some extra money.
There are a couple of ways to earn money through a podcast:
It’s well worth at this stage downloading a few popular podcasts and just listen and make note. How do they start their podcasts, do they have an intro jingle and do they have some sponsorship ‘messages’, which is another fancy way of saying advert.
If you have a sizeable audience then companies, who would want to target your audience, would pay for you to read out their advert or talk about their product of service.
For example, imagine you ran a popular and successful podcast about gardening, and had a good many thousands of regular listeners. A lawnmower manufacturer has just released on to the market a new lawnmower that’s designed to cut grass like no other and feed the lawn at the same time. Revolutionary!
Your audience would be exactly the type of media the lawnmower manufacturer would want to advertise on to promote their new lawnmower. So the lawnmower company could sponsor your show, and pay you to market and promote their lawnmower to your audience.
Promote your own product or service
There are many in the podcasting world that set up their own podcast to help promote their own products and services.
If you run a business and have a lot of knowledge in your field, you may find a podcast is not only a great way to help people and provide advice, but also promote your own products or services at the same time. It’s great free marketing for you, and helpful advice for your audience. Win-win.
What does it cost to get started with podcasting?
Although the cost is practically nothing, you will need to invest in a half decent microphone. Using the microphone on your computer, or mobile phone, just won’t do.
People care about the quality of their audio content, just like you would care about the quality of the videos you stream over Netflix. If the videos from Netflix buffered and looked grainy on screen, you would quickly give up.
Although it’s possible to spend thousands of pounds on a new microphone, it’s not essential in the early stages. You should ideally be looking for a good podcasting microphone for around £100-£200.
The quality of your podcast would then be at least passable on the podcasting stage.
Other than the cost of the microphone, all that’s then needed is your time to record, edit and publish your podcast.
You may want a fancy intro jingle though for your podcast. Fortunately, you could either create one yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. The cost of an intro jingle shouldn’t really set you back much more than £30-£50, but considering you can put this on the start of every podcast you produce, it can be a good investment and something your audience relate to you.
If you would like to find a podcast intro provide have a search on a gig providing platform such as Fiverr
Where can I publish my podcast?
There are thousands of places to publish your podcast, but many aren’t worth the time or effort, and stay away from podcast directories charging you to list your podcast. Often you won’t see any new listeners.
You should though look to get your podcast on
Amazon Podcasts (although this is a much harder effort),
Although the podcast audience is reducing, there are still millions of people every day tuning in to their favourite podcasts.
You need to also understand it will take time. Like any business, blog or channel it will take time to build an audience. It rarely happens overnight.
You could be podcasting for many months before you really start to see a good number of followers.
You need to be patient but if you can keep delivering great podcasts, with engaging content, it could be a great way to earn a second or extra income!