While attending a podcast conference this summer, I managed to have a sidebar with a prominent executive at a broadcasting company. I was relatively new to podcasting, having only been at it for a few months and I wanted his take on how many downloads were needed to consider things like sponsorship.
He told me that the average podcast, after three months, only has about 1,000 – 1,200 downloads, total. My eyes widened. At the time of our conversation, my podcast was nearing 14,000 downloads. That’s when HIS eyes widened. He asked me what type of show I had; and the minute I uttered the words “faith-based”, his entire posture shifted.
He went on to explain that faith-based podcasts could be difficult to monetize because sponsors are leery about having religious affiliations. Throwing their endorsement behind one faith group or another could be a potential liability or worse, a PR nightmare. After our conversation, I started thinking…”short of passing around a digital collection plate, how CAN faith based podcasters turn a profit?”
Become Your Own Sponsor
Sponsorship tends to work like this: you throw some of your listeners in the sponsor’s direction, and if your listeners become their customers, you receive a portion of the proceeds or some other agreed upon sum.
But instead of getting a “portion” of the proceeds, how about getting ALL of them? Your podcast is a piece of content that has marketing potential. You can develop companion pieces: devotionals, classes, e-books, and live events.
Instead of saying, “This show is brought to you by such and such sponsor”, say “Today’s show is brought to you by this bomb diggety class I just created that offers such and such value. Use promo code: SHOWMETHEMONEY”.
Partner with Faith Based Publishers
Literary agents are always looking for media opportunities for their authors. Cultivating a long-term relationship with publishers can be a win-win scenario for all. You offer valuable media exposure for their clients and the potential for an uptick in book sales. Find out how that can translate into affiliate dollars for you.
Also, if your own podcast has “book worthy” potential, then you can make a pitch for your own book deal. Having a large audience of devoted listeners, coupled with quality content, makes you an attractive candidate for a possible deal.
Speaking of Affiliates
If you have invested in products that make your podcast and your platform run smoothly, find out if they have affiliate programs. For example, Rainmaker PRO, from Copyblogger, offers $150 (minimum) for each successful referral. Companies that offer higher premiums is a good idea if you have a smaller audience.
However, if you have a larger audience, affiliate programs, such as the one offered through Audible can add up quickly:
Having a faith-based podcast may not be the most popular, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be profitable. The faith community is a niche market, and a devoted one, as long as your content continues to offer value and serve their needs.
Dr. Shante’ Bishop is the host of Branding for Believers Podcast where she encourages listeners to Believe Bigger in their dreams.