How to Make a Podcast That Makes Money

By Muhammed Akinyemi

NAMIP held its first training Suite of the year on Practical Media Business Tools. While Revenue Strategies Workshop was held, Tevin Sudi and Lucas Ngao from AQStudio also provided NAMIP participants with practical tools on the business of podcasting and how to navigate the challenges of arriving at a good podcast that can be profitable. As Nigeria’s podcast audience grew rapidly (222%) between 2021 and 2022, more podcasting studios and podcasters are springing up and only those who can apply the most innovative techniques can make the most money.

Tevin explained some of these techniques as tips that can help you stand out and achieve profitability in your podcasting journey.

  1. Who is listening and who should be?

While current data shows that 53% of podcast listeners are women, with self help and personal development being the top genres, podcast creators can build niche markets for themselves. To achieve this, potential podcasters should first try to define who they want their audiences to be and why those audiences are likely to listen to the podcast. By defining your audience persona before creating, you get to know the best storytelling styles, presentation, and artistic directions to take in the production process. It is also important to regularly check your data to see who your core audiences are, who it isn’t and to find how to serve the primary audience while thinking of techniques to attract adjacent audiences.

  1. Who is making the podcast?

At least 67% of podcasts are made by women from individual podcast shows to duo shows like ISWIS, and across newsrooms. While this shows a favourable leaning towards female presenters, who is making the podcast could also be a question of the studios and newsrooms. People are more likely to listen to podcasts that appeal to their niche interests and who is making such podcasts matter greatly. Some of the best podcasts are built on lived experiences across different genres and audiences lean towards producers who share their values. As a potential show host, what are your values and how can you make them relatable to your audience?

  1. Get the right equipment.

There is an array of podcasting equipment to tap from based on budget and availability. However, whenever you can, Tevin advises that you go for tools that make your work easy to follow. While new producers in small newsrooms or individuals starting their podcasts may not be able to get high end equipment or skill, intuitive platforms like Riverside, Zencaster and Squadcast can help to lighten the production process with near-pro level of podcast recording guaranteed.

Other platforms for editing your podcast include:

i. Anchor

ii. Adobe edition

iii. Protools

iv. Hindenberg

v. Descript

vi. Audacity

4. Make good stories.

According to The Podcast Host, 48.9% respondents in a survey said they were fine with listening to amateur audio quality if the content is good. While 51.1% want audio quality to be as good as radio. Although many podcasts are free forms and appear unplanned, it is important to either script episodes or to create guidelines around topics to help create more nuanced and interesting podcast conversations that will keep your audience glued to their devices. They will not help you make money if you don’t help them enjoy their time with you.

5. Podcast distribution.

Lucas explained that in the distribution process, you must note the following key terms:

  • DISTRIBUTION: The process of sharing your podcasts on listening platforms to reach a larger audience.
  • RSS FEED: The link between the podcast audio/video files and the audience; it lets subscribers stay up-to-date.
  • HOST: Where you store your podcast episodes and an RSS feed sends updates out to the apps
    • Common host services:
      • Anchor
      • Buzzsprout
      • Podbean
      • LIBSYN
    • DIRECTORY: Where you find and listen to podcasts

To get your audience to listen to your podcast, your distribution must also include a marketing process. Marketing in podcasting involves promoting and growing your podcast to reach a larger audience and potentially monetize your content. This would mean ensuring that you build a recognizable brand identity that stands out before your audience across different platforms where you can promote your work such as Twitter, Snapchat, X, Meta, and on other podcasts. Since more than 40% of people discover new podcasts by searching through app directory, you must ensure that you have good synopsis and an interesting visual representation that can help you attract new listeners. 18% of podcast listeners start listening based on recommendations from their friends. Your ability to convert a random search into a promotion through word of mouth is dependent on the quality of your story and its appeal to the target audience. To boost your visibility, you can also do paid promotion across different platforms for your podcast.

Generally, here are things that draw in podcast listeners:

6. Figure out monetization style

There are two ways of monetizing your podcast; direct and indirect. AQStudio’s Tevin explained at the workshop that direct revenue is defined as those earned directly from the customer – for instance via sales of access tokens such as pay-per-view or revenues earned in royalties from hosting platforms. In this model, the consumer of the content is also the customer. While for indirect revenue, the majority of these revenues are earned via brand partnerships. This path has proven to be more accessible to the podcaster community especially because podcasters can rely on their own personal brands, knowledge, networks, and experience to negotiate and close on these types of opportunities.

Podcast owners can also make money through:

  • Advertisements
  • Affiliate advertising
  • Sponsorships
  • Grant and Institutional funding
  • Crowd-sourcing
  • Pay-per-view/ Subscription
  • Live Events
  • Merchandise
  • Syndicating your show to YouTube

Podcasts are a good way to reach new audiences and while this is not an exhaustive to-do list, this is a useful list on the basic things you need to move from newbie to moneymaking podcaster.