3 Mistakes to Avoid When Monetizing Podcasts

Podcast monetization and sponsorship image

Podcasts provide entertainment and high quality information to millions of listeners every day - and because of that, many businesses invest in advertising and sponsorships with podcasts. In fact, podcast advertising revenue is on a rapid growth track, nearly doubling from 2017 to 2018, with even higher projected spending over the next several years according to a recent study from PWC. However, in the larger scheme of marketing spend, advertising dollars spent on podcasts are still a relatively small chunk compared to other mediums. In 2018, when podcast had its booming growth to $650 million, radio advertising revenue totaled $45.2 billion. 

All that to say - while the outlook is strong for podcasting revenue opportunity, the current state doesn’t leave a whole lot of money to go around. Since it’s already hard enough to make money on a podcast in this relatively small industry, you can improve your own outlook for monetization by avoiding some simple, basic mistakes. It could be a 'how to', 'skill' or even a 'DIY' podcast, but if you don't fix these mistakes, chances are you'll end up frustrated with an empty wallet. Here are 3 simple mistakes to avoid when monetizing your podcast.

1. Having Poor Quality Content

You’ve put in a lot of hard work, completed your recordings, and uploaded your podcast to hosting sites. However, just like nobody knows their own baby is ugly, your podcast content might not yet be up to the level of quality to keep your audience coming back for more. No audience, no advertisers, no dollars. 

To combat this, have a friend that doesn’t pull punches take a listen and give you their honest feedback. Just because your first few episodes may not be there content-wise doesn’t mean you need to keep the same pattern. Learn from it and pivot! It’s often easy to overlook what others think of the content since you’re having fun producing the content, and monetization may seem like an afterthought. It might not be perfect right away, but make sure you are generating quality content before approaching advertisers for your podcast.

2. The Wrong Target Audience

Targeting a specific audience is key to staying focused with podcast content and any promotions. It’s also key for your potential advertisers. For example, if you host a podcast about power tools, that’s what your audience wants to hear. When looking for advertisers, you should find advertisers with the same target market as you. Dewalt might be an excellent choice for an advertiser for you podcast since your listeners are likely also interested in Dewalt’s products. On the flip side, mismatched target audiences can leave frustration all around. Your listeners will be annoyed with irrelevant ad content, and your advertising partner likely won’t do business with you again if they don’t see results. Again, no matter how good your content is, it'll be wasted on an advertiser that simply isn’t a good match for your podcast audience.

3. Bad Sound Quality

With audio-only delivery, podcasts grab attention more than many other advertising mediums that are more prone to distractions. They also have nothing else to hide poor audio quality from listeners. In light of that, you should do everything to ensure your message is heard properly. It doesn’t have to cost very much - in fact, you might already have some of the gear you need when you’re just getting started. While it’s relatively easy to get started podcasting, a huge mistake to avoid is thinking you can get away with bad sound quality. It doesn’t have to be perfect at first, but you definitely need to avoid the quality being at a distracting level. If this is the case, you’ll lose both listeners and advertisers and hurt your chances for monetization.

As you grow your podcast, you should start to foster realistic advertiser relationships to monetize your podcast while avoiding these mistakes. Be willing to learn from your own mistakes and those who have already successfully monetized their podcasts, and you’ll be well on your way to taking a part of the fast-growing podcasting advertising trend.


Sound Emblem provides audio logos and intro sounds for podcasters, YouTubers, Alexa skills, commercial ads and more. Check out our sounds here.

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