People create podcasts for many reasons. Whether it is a personal podcast, or a business podcast, at the end of the day, they roll up to three main goals:
1. To reach a targeted audience. You may have this goal if you’re trying to:
- Generate brand awareness. A luggage company might target frequent travelers with a podcast featuring the year’s best travel destinations. A raw pet food company might target affluent urban pet owners with a podcast featuring joyful animal rescue stories, targeting affluent urban pet owners.
- Build a niche community. An association of medical professionals might target med students with a podcast talking about how to thrive in medical school. A beauty product retailer might start a podcast talking about feeling confident in your own body targeting trans women.
- Influence an action. A nonprofit working on kidney donations might start a podcast about the importance of kidney health targeting diabetics. A political campaign might start a podcast about the importance of voter registration targeting university students.
- Enhance your network. An industry professional looking to meet power brokers in the field might start a podcast and invite them to be guests. An executive looking to be seen as a thought leader might start a podcast to be able to post it on LinkedIn with a focus on getting shares and comments.
The goal of all of these examples is to get their messages in front of a specific audience. As Forbes points out, for business podcasts the goals should be less about chart position and more about overall positive influence on your business.
2. To make money. There are multiple revenue paths for podcasts:
- Advertising and sponsorships. Ads can be recorded or read by a host. You can charge more for each as your audience grows. Sponsorships can be lucrative if you have a niche audience. And advertising networks can help you reach the advertisers.
- Donations and memberships. You can ask listeners to donate directly to your show/organization via a link in your show notes and direct calls to action in the show itself. You can set up tiered memberships so that show “members” get access to bonus content that non-members can’t.
- Merchandise and affiliations. You can sell listeners merch that can generate its own revenue stream. Affiliation deals with show sponsors can earn you a percentage of revenue for each sale made to one of your listeners.
- Live events. Live in-person or virtual episodes of your show give you the chance to charge for admission.
These revenue-generating strategies can be deployed even if your primary goal is to reach a targeted audience.
3. To be creative.
Just like painters who never intend to sell their art, and writers with dozens and dozens of unpublished journals, some people create podcasts because they enjoy the process.
It is important that your topic, audience, cadence and style align with the high-level goal you’ve set.