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Podcasting Monetization Strategies for Publishers
By Rok Hrastnik
With the growing popularity of podcasting, publishers and marketers around the world are asking themselves how to monetize this content channel and make delivering audio content via RSS profitable.
Today, let's take a look at how publishers can expect to generate podcasting revenues both directly and indirectly - by combining monetization through ad sales and content sales with using podcasting as a marketing vehicle itself.
a] Smaller market players with small mid-value listenership, reaching mostly general audiences, might find their profits come through podcasting-oriented ad networks or perhaps even content networks providing access to multiple podcasts for a small subscription fee.
b] Large players reaching the masses or small players reaching high-value niche audiences will surely be able to sell their ad venues via their own sales forces or specialized media planning/buying agencies, perhaps even via large traditional ad agencies.
And according to a case study done by MarketingSherpa, GoToMeeting actually found that podcasting sponsorships have done very well in their integrated ad campaigns, with overwhelming responses.
c] These same publishers might also get away with subscription sales, provided they can offer unique content not easily available elsewhere.
It however remains to be seen whether listeners will be prepared to pay for podcast access. As noted by InformationWeek, a recent European young consumers study by Forrester Research found that 46% of 16- and 17-year-olds would consider paying for podcast content, while only 33% of those surveyed would accept advertising in podcasts.
It's clear that people will always be willing to pay for unique high quality content.
But are young consumers among those willing to pay? History shows that regardless of what anyone says, most consumers still preferr advertising over having to pay for content.
d] Other publishers, especially independant or smaller publishers using direct marketing tactics to facilitate sales, might generate revenues by providing podcasts in combination with their other products --> selling packaged access or offering podcasts as bonuses upon purchase.
But, let's not also forget that podcating itself can serve as a marketing channel, giving publishers many additional marketing  opportunities ...
a] PR: Audio press releases, messages from company executives, expert interviews and other industry related material, all delivered directly to the media.
b] Direct marketing: Sales letters and other ad creative, delivered in audio and directly to your prospects.
c] Customer Relationship Management and User Support: Personal messages and greetings from company executives, persoanlized messages to key clients by key account managers, educational content and industry interviews, seminar or conference recordings, product support information and tutorials, ...
e] Promotion: Achieving additional company/brand/product exposure by providing podcasts and promoting them via podcast directories and search engines.
f] E-commerce: Audio product announcements and presentations, delivered to prospects that opt-in to receive latest product information. In the case of audio products, podcasts can also carry short excerpts or previews of new editions, thus enticing prospects to order.
g] Branding and Prospect Conversion: Educational content and industry interviews that help shorten the sales cycle or generate/improve company credibility and enhance its brand.
There are three main ways in which you can make money with your podcast.
1. Generate Revenue through Commerical Sponsors
One of the greatest ways to generate revenue for your podcast is through commercial sponsorship of your show. If you are able to obtain a major sponsor, you can bring in large revenue for your podcast. As time goes on, major companies are beginning to recognize the true importance of podcasting.
Two Moms, Paige and Gretchen, from Virginia understand the significance of commercial sponsors. They host a weekly show called MommyCast that focuses on mothers. Paige is a mother of 5 and Gretchen is a mother of 2.
They have obtained two major sponsors for their show, Earthlink and Dixie. As a result, they are making substantial revenue just from commercial sponsorship to their show. When they started podcasting, they probably had no idea how popular their show would become. However, Earthlink and Dixie recognized the impact of their show and decided to become sponsors.
If two Moms from Virginia can do this, anyone can accomplish this same goal. It doesn'tmatter where you live or what you are podcasting about. If you are able to generate a substantial listening audience, the chances of obtaining major sponsors for your podcast will increase.
Commercial sponsorship for your podcast is an excellent way to generate a great source of income. If you are able to obtain a big sponsor, this could bring in large revenue for you as a podcaster.
When two major corporations like Earthlink and Dixie recognize podcasting as a way to reach potential customers, this is great news for all podcasters. When a major sponsor advertises on traditional radio, the radio stationsignal is limited by wattage to a specific geographic region. However, with podcasting, there is no geographic limitation. Anyone in the world with a computer or mp3 player can potentially hear the show. Thus, this is an excellent selling point to potential sponsors.
2. Make Money with Donations
Another way to generate revenue with your podcast is with donations. For example, Adam Kempenaar and Sam Hallgren host a twice-weekly film podcast from Chicago called Cinecast. They review different movies and give their opinions. Their podcast is becoming very popular and continues to grow on a daily basis.
If you visit iTunes, you will see that they are listed as a featured podcast in their podcast directory. This is a major plus for Cinecast.
Adam and Sam have decided to make money by requesting donations for their podcast. When you go to their website, you will see a button for PayPay in which listeners can make a donation to their podcast. PayPal has a positive reputation and offers an excellent way for accepting donations.
If you provide valuable information to your listener, they will appreciate your efforts and be more likely to make a donation. However, in time, Cinecast will probably be able to acquire national sponsors.
When you first start podcasting, donations are an excellent way to generate revenue as your audience grows.
3. Get Money from your Website or Blog
The third way that you can make money with your podcast is with advertisements on your website or blog. Google Adsense is one way that you can accomplish this goal. Adsense places ads on your website and when someone clicks on the ads, you get paid.
Another way to make money with your website or blog is by promoting different products through Clickbank. ClickBank offers over 10,000 products that you can promote as an affiliate. It is free to sign up as an affiliate at ClickBank and you make money every time someone purchases a product through the links that are displayed on your site.
The key element to generating revenue is getting your podcast noticed. The best way to accomplish this goal is by getting your podcast listed in iTunes and also listing your podcast with other podcast directories. You need to let people know that you are out there so that you can obtain a large audience. Over time, as your audience grows, the potential for commercial sponsors will also grow.

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