Updated February 1st, 2018
Ready to create, grow, and monetize a Podcast? You’re in the right place!
Who am I?
My name is John Lee Dumas and I’m the host of Entrepreneurs On Fire, a top ranked business podcast where I interview today’s most inspiring Entrepreneurs 7-days a week.
Since 2012, I’ve published over 2,000 podcasts and EOFire averages over 1.3 million listens a month.
We pride ourselves on transparency, so every month we publish income reports to share our biggest wins and losses so you can emulate our successes and avoid our failures.
Here are two FREE resources I know you’ll find incredibly helpful on your podcasting journey.
Free Podcast Course: Create, grow, and monetize YOUR podcast in 15 days.
LIVE Masterclass: Join me LIVE on our Podcast Masterclass and Q&A.
The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting
The 5 steps to creating your Podcast:
- The 8-step process
What should my podcast topic be?
This is the #1 question I receive.
First, get your mindset right. Podcasting is a marathon, not a sprint.
Your topic needs to light a FIRE inside you that will keep burning for the next three to five years, minimum.
Your listeners will be able to sense the passion (or lack thereof) of your content, so make it easy on yourself and choose something you love or are passionate about.
When you choose the right topic, podcasting is not work, but FUN.
You’ll build relationships those whom you admire and learn about a topic that inspires you while teaching others your knowledge as it grows.
Video Tutorial #1: Your Topic
This is the biggest mistake 99% of Podcasters (including myself) make while creating their Podcast; they don’t craft their Avatar.
Your Avatar is your ONE perfect listener.
Your Avatar is the ONE person who will listen to your Podcast and ask him or herself, “Was this Podcast created specifically for me? I feel like the host is talking directly to me, addressing my pain points, and giving me valuable information on how to move past my biggest struggles!”
Right now you’re reading this and saying “But I want my Podcast to be for more than just one person, I want the world to love me and to have millions of listeners!”
It’s a mistake I made.
If you try to create a Podcast that resonates with EVERYONE, you will resonate with NO ONE.
Your goal is to serve a loyal base of listeners at an incredibly high level.
This will only be possible if you know your Avatar inside out and base every decision on what your Avatar would want.
Podcast length? Frequency? Interview-based? Topic-based?
What Would My Avatar Want?
Every question you have about your podcast should be answered by your Avatar, and guess what, YOU create your avatar!
I was so committed to this process that I spent $3,000 creating an animated video of my avatar, Jimmy. I was proud that I knew him so well, and I was proud that every time I got on the mic, I was helping Jimmy.
Should you create an animated video of your avatar?
A pen, paper, and 2,000 words will do.
Here’s Jimmy in action!
So now that you see how deep you need to dive when it comes to fleshing out your avatar, watch the following tutorial as I bring all these points home for you!
Video Tutorial #2: Avatar
3. Podcast equipment
My complete list of recommended Podcasting equipment can be found here.
Buying and setting up podcast equipment is a scary thought to someone who doesn’t consider themselves a ‘techie’. I’m here to tell you it is SO much simpler than you think.
Below is a picture of Kate’s podcasting setup. All you need is a laptop, a mic and recording software.
The ATR-2100 microphone is the best microphone for your money and it plugs into any USB port so you are good to go!
Video Tutorial #3: Equipment
4. Podcast software
How do I record & edit my podcast?
A great question.
There are 3 options I recommend for recording and editing your podcast.
My #1 recommendation is Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition works with both PC and Mac, but it’s not free.
To use Adobe Audition, you’ll pay $20 a month for the Creative Cloud membership.
I believe this is one of the best investments you’ll make in your Podcasting career, as becoming an expert in Audition has done wonders for my Podcast.
If you’re looking to learn the basics of Audition, a simple YouTube search will do. If you’re looking to become a pro, then within Podcasters’ Paradise I have several in-depth video tutorials I created specifically for Podcasters looking to master the Adobe Audition software.
My #2 recommendation is Audacity
Audacity works with both PC and Macs, and it’s free!
There are a lot less bells and whistles than with Audition, but Audacity will definitely get the job done for you in the Podcasting recording and editing world.
Within Podcasters’ Paradise we have plenty of tutorials that will get you WELL on your way with Audacity too!
My #3 recommendation is GarageBand
GarageBand is Mac only, comes pre-installed, and it’s free!
Again, you get what you pay for, so there are a lot less bells and whistles, but GarageBand will also get the job done for you in the Podcasting recording and editing world.
Within Podcasters’ Paradise we have plenty of tutorials for you on GarageBand, too!
The recording and editing video tutorial is below.
4b. Recording Interviews
Every single episode of the 2,000+ I have recorded for EOFire has been on a Skype to Skype call.
Why do I insist on Skype to Skype? Unlike landlines or mobile phones, Skype uses technology called VOIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol.
There is no need to get technical here (you can google it if you wish to learn more); all that’s really important to know is the VOIP to VOIP calls sound MUCH better than using a cell phone or other call-in software.
If one of my guests says “I don’t have Skype”, then my response is this:
Please create a free Skype account and send me your user name, as Fire Nation deserves the highest audio quality I’m able to provide, and Skype will ensure that.
What if they decline to do so?
Simply put, they are not right for Fire Nation, and I move on to the next potential guest.
**Note: I’ve never encountered someone unwilling to join Skype.
Recording audio interviews on Skype
There are three ways of recording Skype calls that I recommend.
- Directly into your software (Audition, Audacity, or Garageband).
- eCamm Call Recorder
5. The 8-step Process
Here is the 8-Step process of publishing a Podcast.
1. Press Record
This is actually a lot harder than it sounds, because this is when the imposter syndrome sets in.
You’ll hear a voice saying:
“Who am I to share my thoughts with the world?”
“Who would want to listen to me?”
“Who would want to come on my show?”
As someone who has personally mentored over 70 Podcasters, I can say with confidence that you cannot avoid these thoughts. They are innate, they are part of being human, and the best step we can take is accept they exist and always will.
I have to overcome the imposter syndrome almost every day. In the beginning, I delayed my launch for over 5 weeks because I was so scared to launch.
How did finally overcome it? I pressed record. I spoke. The words will come. Trust me.
This is where you can fix mistakes, add intros, outros, calls to action, etc.
Adobe Audition makes this process simple and in the video below I’ll show you how!
3. Export file as an MP3
Exporting an MP3 file is just like saving a document in Microsoft Word.
The export specs I recommend are: 44100 Hz 16-bit, Mono, 64kbps, CBR (constant bit rate).
Exporting in this format will create audio file sizes approximately 60% of the number of minutes your podcast is.
For example, a 30-minute audio-only Podcast should be in the neighborhood of 17 MB.
4. Tag your MP3
Tagging your MP3 is an important step as it adds important information to the file, such as title and description.
I recommend the tagging software ID3-Editor for this task.
You can see an example of how it will look in the ID3 editor here:
5. Upload to your media host
You will need a media host to store your audio files.
My #1 recommendation is Podcast Websites.
Podcast Websites is your all-in-one solution and will provide:
- Website hosting
- Podcast hosting
- 24/7 support
- Podcast specific plugins that are included in your package
- A drag & drop builder that makes it super simple for anyone to create a beautiful looking website
- A community of incredible podcasters in the Private Facebook Group!
Click here for a free 15-minute consultation!
My #2 recommendation is Libsyn.
It’s an amazing service and if you use the promo code Fire, you’ll get the rest of the current month and all of next month for FREE!
6. Schedule your Podcast’s release date
In May of 2014, Kate and I took a trip to Europe for 14 days – completely unplugged from our business.
The #1 questions we received before and after the trip was: “How are you going to/how did you keep your Podcast episodes going live every day while you were gone and unplugged?”
Simple question, simple answer :-)
Your media host will allow you to schedule Podcasts to release on any date and at any time you desire.
I always stay 40-ish episodes ahead with EOFire, so it was fairly easy for me to schedule each episode to go live every day at 3:30am Eastern.
Once you have all your settings correct on your hosting platform, and you have double checked the release date, it’s time to PUBLISH that episode!
When you publish through your media host, nothing really happens as you have yet to take step 8, which is submitting your RSS feed to the directories who will display your Podcast to the world.
Step 7 is, however, a necessary step before you go on to step 8. You have to make sure at least one of your episodes is ‘Live’, meaning the ‘release date’ is not in the future, in your media host.
8. Submit your Podcast to the directories
This step will only have to be done once. Afterwards, every-time you publish an episode your Podcast will automatically be sent out to every directory you have submitted your Podcast to.
Video Tutorial #4: The 8-step Podcasting Process
Now you have successfully created your Podcast and released it to the WORLD!
The rest of this guide will be focused on ways you can grow and monetize your Podcast!
How to Podcast: Grow
So your Podcast is live, now let’s talk about getting you to you those 1,000 raving fans!
During our weekly Podcast Masterclass, I share 5 amazing growth strategies that are not mentioned here, so if you are looking for even more great podcast growth strategies, join us on the free Masterclass!
We also have a stand-alone post that covers 7 strategies to grow your podcast audience.
For now, let’s check out 7 incredible ways you can start growing your podcast audience TODAY, right here, right now.
1. Have a Headquarters – and send listeners there!
Every Podcaster needs a place to host all the resources, tips, and tactics that your valuable Podcast is sharing; however, most forget to send their listeners there!
This headquarters is your website, and the host and platform that I recommend for you is Podcast Websites.
As I mentioned before, Podcast Websites is your all-in-one podcasting website solution.
If you’re looking for 24/7 individualized support, an amazing community of podcasters, AND an easy website solution you can have up and running in a matter of hours, then Podcast Websites is for you.
Already have a website?
Podcast Websites will happily help you transfer your existing website onto the Podcast Websites platform. Plus, Podcast Websites is built on top of WordPress, so anything you can do on WordPress, you can also do on Podcast Websites!
If you’re not looking to center your entire website around your podcast, then I also recommend BlueHost as a website hosting provider.
As a VIP affiliate, you will get the LOWEST cost plan Bluehost offers AND you will receive my 23 WordPress video tutorials as a thank you for using my affiliate link!
These video tutorials will walk you through the process of setting up your WordPress site, and get you on your way to creating an amazing HQ.
To sign up for a BlueHost account through my affiliate link, simply click here, go through the sign up process, and then email our team here so we can send you the link and password to your 23 WordPress video tutorials!
Once you have your website up and running, don’t forget to let people know about it!
You can share the resources you’re creating on social media, email your family and friends about it, and of course, once you launch your podcast, don’t forget to let your listeners know where they can find more great resources from you!
2. Create a Landing Page to Collect Emails
In order to grow your Podcast audience, you need a simple, fast, effective way to create landing, sales, and email opt-in pages so you can start growing your email list.
An email list is one of the very few direct connections you have with your audience, and once you’ve built a strong, engaged email list, the sky is truly the limit.
An amazing platform that can help you do this is Click Funnels.
Click Funnels will not only help you build these types of landing pages, but it will also help you build an entire email funnel around it! Best part is, everything is already built for you, so all you have to do is customize the pages and emails to fit your brand.
Click here to watch a free workshop that I did with the creator of Click Funnels, Russell Brunson. He walks through Click Funnels and provides a ton of free value for those looking to increase opt ins and conversions through their landing, sales and email opt in pages!
If you’re simply looking for a quick and easy tool to create pages without the funnel aspect, then Leadpages is also a great software option!
3. Commingle Audiences
There are going to be other amazing podcasts in your niche who are reaching the same or similar audience that you are.
Reach out to the host’s of these Podcasts and suggest an interview swap! This is an amazing way to commingle your audiences and gain awareness and traction for your podcast.
I spend a full 8-hour day one time per month being interviewed on 16 other shows because I know that being exposed to other audiences, no matter the size, will continue to grow my name and reputation.
It will do the same for you!
Be bold, make the ask, and you’ll be surprised with the responses!
4. Ask for Ratings & Reviews
At the RIGHT times and in the RIGHT places.
SOOOO many people get this wrong.
I hear it all the time on intros, outros, during the episode… heck, I used to do it myself until I wised up. Podcast hosts LOVE asking for ratings and reviews during their Podcast episodes.
But if you think about it, what are most Podcast listeners doing when they are hearing your voice?
They’re driving, walking, folding laundry, at the grocery store… you name an active activity, they are probably doing it.
Now, what are most Podcast listeners NOT doing when they are hearing your voice?
They’re not sitting in front of a computer where they can do what needs to be done to make a rating and review happen.
I have nearly 2,300 reviews and the reason for this is simple: I ask for reviews at the RIGHT time and in the RIGHT place.
Every day my listeners email, tweet, and FB message me thanking me for the show, asking a question, or any number of things.
I love taking the time to respond to these inquiries, and I always make sure to end each response with the following:
An iTunes or Stitcher review would be SO appreciated!
This one response accounts for 90% of my rating and reviews!
Why does asking for Ratings & Reviews this way work so well?
A. You’re reaching people when they are in a position to quickly click on a link and take immediate action, and people like taking immediate action.
B. You’re giving listeners an opportunity to show they are thankful for your Podcast and the time you took to respond.
Believe me, they will be grateful to be able to express their thanks with a rating & review! Words mean a lot – actions mean much more – and humans recognize this.
Once you have ratings & reviews rolling in, the iTunes algorithm will see you are a relevant and loved show, and your ranking will reflect this.
As a result, your organic traffic will increase in direct reflection of your ranking increase!
5. Create Question & Answer shows
Your audience will grow to know, like, and trust you if your show consistently delivers high value.
However, everyone likes to be involved, have an impact, hear their name, and best yet, hear their question answered by YOU on an episode.
Whether you have an interview or topic-based Podcast, spice things up every now and then with a bonus episode where you take questions from your listeners and answer them!
I used to do this on the weekends back when I interviewed 5 guests per week; I’d have 2 Q&A episodes on the weekends, and Fire Nation loved it!
It doesn’t need to be all the time, but if you let your audience know you care about them and the questions they have enough to create a bonus show around it, then they will become even more loyal and share their featured question with their entire network when the episode airs!
6. Interview Movers and Shakers in YOUR Industry
Every niche has its rockstars.
And what is one thing rockstars have in common?
A massive audience.
Once you’ve built a platform, reach out to these rockstars and ask for 25-minutes of their time for an interview on your show.
Be sure when you ask to share your current numbers, images of you in New & Noteworthy, and any other social proof you may have. Also, be sure they know what’s in it for them (hint: exposure, an opportunity to share what they have going on right now, etc.)
When you release the episode, reach out to your guest and let them know their show is live. Be sure to include a link to the show and a request to share with their audience (sending them an easy “click to Tweet” will make it more likely they’ll share.)
This single tactic is a major reason for EOFire’s success.
Seven days a week an email goes out to today’s guest with the above request, and 7-days a week EOFire is being shared with a new audience, some of whom are listening for the first time; some of whom are choosing to subscribe to EOFire; and some of whom become raving fans.
For the email template I send to my guests when their interview goes live click here!
**Note: getting the “biggest names” on your podcast doesn’t always guarantee success.
Some of the “fan favorites” here on EOFire are people who aren’t very well-known in the industry at all, and some of my guests who share their episodes and EOFire with the most passion are ones who have very small audiences.
The size of your guests’ audience isn’t the point; the point is that your show is being shared through word of mouth, and once that snowball gets rolling, the momentum will be impossible to stop!
How to Podcast: Monetize
EOFire monetizes to the tune of over $200k every month, so yes, there is potential in Podcasting.
Let me break it down…
There is money in growing an audience, and Podcasting is the best way to grow an audience in today’s online world. I truly believe this.
I am going to take you through the top four ways to monetize your Podcast.
If you are interested in learning about all the ways EOFire monetizes on a monthly basis, you can check out our monthly income reports.
I also talk about monetizing in great detail during our weekly Live Podcast Masterclass, so if you want to come join us to hear more, they are free and a blast! Join us on The Podcast Masterclass!
1. Products and Services
This one will start off being your smallest source of revenue, but as your audience grows, it will quickly turn into your largest.
You might be wondering, “But how do I know what products and services to create?”
Simple answer: you don’t.
Here’s how to find out what products and services to create for your audience
1. Create valuable, free, consistent content.
2. Grow an audience who knows, likes and trusts you as a result.
3. Listen to your audience as they share their pain points, needs, desires, obstacles, and challenges.
4. Track this feedback in a spreadsheet or other document.
5. When one or two pain points are repetitively brought to you, create the SOLUTION.
6. Offer that solution to your audience.
7. Ask for honest feedback and pivot / improve what you have to offer as necessary.
This is the exact process we used during the creation of Podcasters’ Paradise and WebinarOnFire.
It’s not easy, it takes time, and you will fail along the way; but when you finally get it right, put the pedal to the metal and IGNITE!
2. One on one mentoring
Over the past few years I have personally mentored over 70 Entrepreneurs who are looking to launch their Podcast.
I no longer mentor 1 on 1, but if you would like to see an example of what a mentorship page might look like, you can check mine out here.
Note: I do have a shortlist of highly recommended Mentors, so email me if you would like an intro!
So why is mentoring such a great monetization opportunity for Podcasters specifically?
Simply put, as a Podcast host who provides free, valuable content to an audience who wants and needs it, you will become an authority figure in your niche.
You will gain a following of listeners who know, like, and trust you.
They will reach out to you with questions and ask for your time, and it is your responsibility as an entrepreneur and business owner to value your time.
Take these relationships to the next level and offer them a mentorship package.
This was my earliest monetization method, and it could easily become yours, too!
What should you charge? How long should the mentorship last?
These are all questions you’ll have to answer based on what you know about yourself, your avatar, and your industry.
A great place to start is to put a monetary value on your time (seriously ask yourself, how much is an hour of my time worth?); then figure out how long it will take you to truly make a positive impact on your mentee.
Your package might be a 1-hour session, 1 time per week for 3 months, and cost $3,000.
It might be a 1-hour session, every other week for 1 month, and cost $1,000.
You need to put a monetary value on your time and offer what feels right for you and your business.
3. Create a Mastermind
Fire Nation Elite was created in response to the massive amount of requests we were receiving from Fire Nation.
These requests expressed desires for something more: More engagement, more support, more community, more feedback.
Well, Fire Nation Elite was just that, and on the day we announced our intentions, hundreds requested to be part of this mastermind!
While it took us several months to actually formulate and create what Fire Nation Elite would become, overall 1,000+ applications were submitted for Fire Nation Elite.
We decided to cap the mastermind at 100 members in order to deliver the highest amount of value possible, but that would be up to you to decide for your own mastermind community.
Was it a success?
We celebrated over 2 years with our Fire Nation Elite family before making the decision to close the doors in order to focus on other projects and offerings we knew could impact thousands of people in a positive way.
If you’re looking for a mastermind, then we know, love and recommend Fizzle: Honest online business training and a community of entrepreneurs who won’t let you quit.
Why is this exciting for you?
Fire Nation Elite proves beyond a doubt how much demand there is for masterminds that provide incredible value.
People want to be part of a tribe; they want to be held accountable; they want to invest in a community where EVERYONE is in it to win it.
Model what we have done with Fire Nation Elite: offer a community to your tribe sooner than later and you may be surprised with the result!
4. Affiliate relationships
Creating relationships with others in your industry or niche who have products and services to offer you know will be valuable for your audience is powerful.
Not only are you creating a strong relationship, you’re also offering something to your audience that will help them on your journey. The cherry on top is that you’ll actually earn an income when your audience decides to take action and buy whatever it is your affiliate partner has to offer.
So who in your industry or niche has something to offer you know would be of huge benefit to your audience?
Now, get to know them and their products and services intimately.
If you feel great about promoting their products and services, then propose an affiliate relationship, where you receive a commission for every sale you send them. This is oftentimes 50%, but could be completely different based on how the product or service is set up, and how they choose to run their affiliate program.
EOFire has generated millions of dollars in sponsorship revenue since 2013.
The first month we brought sponsors on the show, our total revenue was $12,350 (30 episodes).
Since then, our monthly income from sponsorships has risen to over $100,000 some months.
There is real money in sponsorships, and I will take some time to really break down what sponsorships are, how you can implement them in your Podcast, and much, much more.
Let’s Get Real About Podcast Sponsorships
Can you start a podcast today and have sponsors lined up at your doorstep tomorrow?
Probably not (actually it’s very likely the answer to this question is: no.)
Can you start a podcast today in a niche you are passionate and knowledgeable about, (the knowledge part can come with experience); work hard to provide free, consistent value to your audience for a significant amount of time (6 months… a year?); build a captive and engaged audience as a result; and then have sponsors beating down your door to get in front of your listeners?
Yes – this is very possible.
My first 6 months at EOFire
Let’s take a minute to turn back the clock and go through my first 6 months at EOFire, which we’ll call the “Pre-Sponsorship Days”. This is just one example of how to go from launch to sponsorships.
I launched on September 22nd, 2012 to four straight days of crickets, AKA no downloads.
Zero, zip, zilch (unless you count my personal downloads).
Then, as my guests began sharing their interviews with their audiences, my download numbers began to climb.
Next thing I knew, I was ranking high in “New and Noteworthy” on iTunes, which began to drive a ton of organic traffic my way.
My first email every morning was to my featured guest, whose interview went live that day.
Here’s what the email said:
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing journey on EOFire. I would be honored if you would share with your audience.
Here are the links if you decide to do so. <insert links here>
Thank you again for igniting the world!“
The template I use today is downloadable at the end of this post.
Is this email corny?
Is it effective?
Heck Yeah! :-)
Soon, the combination of EOFire being shared with a new audience daily, and the organic traffic coming my way as a result of ranking high in New and Noteworthy on iTunes, got the EOFire “snowball effect” rolling.
Our guests sharing EOFire with their audiences resulted in more downloads; more downloads resulted in higher rankings in New and Noteworthy; higher rankings in New and Noteworthy resulted in more organic downloads; and more coal was being added to the fire daily!
Within 2 1/2 months of launch, EOFire was generating over 100,000 unique downloads a month.
This success landed me a speaking engagement at NMX Blogworld in Vegas, January 2013.
This was the same conference I had attended just six months prior, which is when I actually approached people like Pat Flynn and Andrew Warner and asked them to be a guest on EOFire.
Yes, I got my first guests for EOFire from going to NMX and walking up to them, introducing myself, telling them about my vision and mission, and then asking if they’d be a guest on my show.
The conference was powerful, and the credibility from speaking at NMX in Vegas landed EOFire interviews with Tim Ferriss and Barbara Corcoran in rapid succession.
In February 2013 I published Podcast Launch: A step by step guide to launching your Podcast.
Podcast Launch immediately became the #1 ranked book in Amazon on Podcasting (and remains so), with over 450 5-star reviews.
Podcast Launch established EOFire and myself as an authority figure of sorts on Podcasting, and because of that, other opportunities began to appear.
In mid-March 2013, I was approached by 3 sponsors.
I kindly replied by asking for a week to consider the opportunity, and then I immediately got on the phone with a friend and fellow Podcaster who had been in this game for a while to ask for some unbiased advice.
During our conversation, I found out what sponsors had come to expect from sponsorships and podcast hosts.
Here’s what I learned on that call, and in the months that have followed while working with dozens of sponsors for EOFire.
Below is the “Industry Standard”; always remember that YOU are the host of your show and should propose any arrangement you feel is best for you and your listeners.
If the interested sponsor is not game, then, bye bye.
I only partner with sponsors who will add value to Fire Nation, and I never hesitate to turn away sponsors that do not have my listeners’ best interests at heart.
I have created many valuable relationships this way, and many of my current sponsors stay with EOFire month after month because I strive to create a win-win-win in every partnership.
I will share how and why in just a minute.
Industry Standard for Podcast Sponsorships
The current “Industry Standard” podcast sponsorship is a combo 15-second Pre-Roll and a 60-second Mid-Roll.
Pre-Roll: Prior to launching into the main content, the host will talk about the sponsor’s product or service for 15-seconds.
On EOFire, our Pre-Rolls are right after the intro music. Click here to listen to a sample.
Mid-Roll: A lot more flexibility here.
Typically inserted somewhere in the 40 – 70% mark of the podcast episode. The host will talk about the sponsor’s product or service for 60-seconds this time, often sharing a personal story if possible.
On EOFire, our Mid-Rolls are right before “The Lightning Round”, which puts them close to the 70% mark on most episodes. Click here to listen to a sample.
**Another opportunity for sponsorships is during the outro.
EOFire has experimented with this for the first time in Q4 2013 with great results. This is the last call to action your listeners will hear, and on EOFire, it’s proving to be a call to action that is driving results.
So what exactly are these “Industry Standards” anyhow?
A 15-second Pre-Roll commands $18 per 1000 CPMs (listens).
A 60-second Mid-Roll commands $25 per 1000 CPMs (listens).
For ease of math purposes, let’s say your podcast averages 10,000 listens per episode.
18 x 10 (for the 10,000 listens) = $180 is the cost to the sponsor for a Pre-Roll.
25 x 10 (for the 10,000 listens) = $250 is the cost to the sponsor for a Mid-Roll.
Therefore, your 10,000 per episode podcast would cost a sponsor $430 for a Pre-Roll/Mid-Roll combo.
Let’s say you allow 2 sponsors per episode, now you are making $860 per episode.
4 episodes a month: $3,440
8 episodes a month: $6,880
30 episodes a month: $25,800 (now you can see why I love doing a daily show :-)
The above model is only the “industry standard”, and I have structured deals with both higher and lower CPMs; however, most of my deals are at this CPM rate.
A common question is, “How do I know what my ‘average’ listens are so I can determine my CPM rate?“
Look at the download numbers of your episodes starting at 6 weeks out.
Remember, you’re guaranteeing a MINIMUM number of listens, so you need to be confident that you are fulfilling your end of the contract.
Once you see that EVERY episode is over a certain number of downloads by week 6, that is your CPM. You can adjust this as often as monthly (I adjust quarterly).
To be clear, sponsors only care about how many downloads you are guaranteeing for the specific episode they are sponsoring. Go to your stats, look at the downloads you have PER EPISODE, and use that information to find your CPM rate.
Pricing Model: CPM vs CPA
There are 3 routes you can take with your sponsors:
- Cost per mille (CPM): Cost per thousand views (listens in the Podcast world).
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA): Cost to acquire 1 customer.
- You name the price, sponsors say yes or no. (This model is underrated for newer shows, and I like it… Remember, this is YOUR show!)
Cost per mille (CPM)
This is the only way I deal with sponsors. If a sponsor wants to partner with EOFire, I will send them a proposal (example template at the end of this article), and they can accept, reject, or negotiate.
Negotiating has not been a great option for interested sponsors of EOFire, as we receive way more inquiries (demand) then we could ever accept (supply).
My Q4 sponsorship inventory was 100% sold out by September because my current sponsors accepted my proposal when I sent it, which was based off the current industry standards. Those who tried to negotiate missed out on reaching EOFire’s massive audience with their message.
Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
One of the first ways I started monetizing with EOFire was by using this model.
In Podcasters’ Paradise I have a great video tutorial that walks you through the entire process of setting up a partnership with Audible, where you will get paid $15 for every person you send to their sales page that results in a sign up for a free audio book and free 30-day membership.
There were a couple months in a row where I generated between $2-3k per month using this model, and I was making Audible very happy. For those of you that have heard me say “EOFireBook.com”, that was its original use.
In the Podcasters’ Paradise tutorial, I delve into why it was so strategic to use that domain as a forwarding domain instead of the link Audible provides.
This strategy has allowed me to stay in control of my evergreen content, and now I use its power for my current sponsor, Audiobooks.
So why not bring more sponsors on?
Valid question! I will say once again: Your podcast is your show, and therefore it’s your decision. However, my opinion on this matter is as follows:
I am a believer in the law of diminishing returns.
In this case, I believe having 3 or more Pre-Roll and Mid-Roll sponsors is bad for everyone involved.
- It’s bad for the sponsor.
Their message is getting diminished, less listener action is being taken, and therefore, it is less likely that the sponsor will stay with you when it comes time to talk extension.
- It’s bad for the listener.
Your listener loves listening to podcasts because it’s free, it’s on demand, and they don’t have to put up with annoying commercials on the radio. Podcast sponsorships work so well because it is YOU, the host, that is promoting the product or service, and your listeners trust you.
That trust will deteriorate if you make it seem more about the sponsorships than the listener. My listeners understand that after 30 seconds of me sharing two 15-second sponsorship slots, we will dive into the content. 30-seconds is not too much to ask, especially when my sponsors are all relevant to Entrepreneurs.
- Finally, it’s bad for the host… you!
Why? Your goal is to provide so much value and high-quality content that your listeners not only keep coming back for more, but they tell their friends and family about it. Your goal is to provide great content, increase your listener base, and by default, increase the amount each sponsor pays you per sponsorship.
The math is simple.
It’s better to have 2 sponsors paying you $430 per episode than 3 paying you $287 for all the reasons above and every other obvious one.
I will never have more than 2 Pre-Rolls and 2 Mid-Rolls on EOFire because I care about Fire Nation, and this mentality generated over $40k in sponsorship revenue in November of 2013.
I will only partner with sponsors that I believe benefit Fire Nation in their Entrepreneurial journey.
Don’t believe me?
I was approached by a Pay-Day Loan company that offered me double my going rate to sponsor EOFire. I do not believe in Pay-Day loans for many reasons – especially as a recommendation for Fire Nation – so my answer was simple: No.
Saying yes would have generated $18k MORE in sponsorship revenue for Q4. Not even close to worth it… no dollar amount would be.
Show the same care for your audience, and you will be better serving yourself, your sponsor, and most importantly, your listener.
When should I bring on sponsors?
My first recommendation to each podcaster that is interested in going the sponsorship route is to sit down. Sit down and think. Sit down and think about the LEAST amount of money it would take for you to dilute your podcast with a sponsorship.
Did I just say dilute? Yep… and I meant it.
Dilute is not meant as a dirty word here. It is meant as a reality. When you bring on a sponsor, no matter how relevant, and no matter how awesome, you are on some level diluting the message of your podcast.
You’re going to turn off some listeners, (although very few if you do it right), you’re going to be sending some listeners away on actions that do not involve your platform, and you will be distracting some focus from the main content of your podcast.
Are any of these things bad? No. But I bring them up because they should come with a minimum price tag. Sit down and come up with that baseline price tag. Your listeners are valuable, don’t sell them out as otherwise.
For me, $500 was my baseline number. I said to myself that if EOFire could bring in $500 per episode, that would be $15k per month at 100% capacity… and that made sense. Anything less – nope, not ready yet.
In April, I hit that magic number, and my sponsorship revenue has been growing ever since!
What is your number?
If you know your number, you will be in a MUCH better position come negotiation time with your sponsors.
How do I find sponsors?
Within Podcasters’ Paradise, I have some great video tutorials on how to find the perfect sponsors, how to email them, and how to lock in the best possible rate for your show.
For purposes of this post, I will share some of those great tips with you now.
What is your niche?
What companies currently market to your niche? Is your Podcast about raising children? I am sure Babies “R” Us would love to offer value to your audience. Fishing? L.L. Bean and Cabelas are already lining up!
Listen to other podcasts in your niche. Do they have sponsors? If so, a well-crafted email to that sponsor could yield a partnership. It has for me on numerous occasions.
You see guys, the secret is out! Podcast hosts have a captive audience. We have engaged listeners. We have followers that know, like, and trust us, and when we put our stamp of approval on a product or service, then that means a lot to our listeners, and sponsors know it!
Think of the podcasts that you listen to regularly. Don’t you feel a closer connection to the hosts than you do to the author of a blog, or some unknown voice on a radio ad?
How should I approach sponsors?
I have linked to a well-crafted email template to the end of this post that I have used to successfully approach many sponsors. Enjoy!
I have interested sponsors, now what?
Now it’s time for you to decide what your number is. As discussed above, you should have a minimum. If your downloads don’t command that minimum right now, then that is fine.
Let your sponsors know what your download numbers are and what it will cost for them to sponsor an episode. They can take it or leave it, and you will be better off for it whatever decision they make because you stuck to your guns.
At some point, your download numbers may be able to be inserted into the above “Industry Standard” CPM rate and command a higher price than your minimum baseline number. At that point, it’s time to go back to the negotiating table with your sponsor, and start increasing the amount you receive per episode.
Summation of Sponsorships
Fire Nation, I would like to end this section on sponsorships by saying this:
Building an audience is an incredible way to create a viable business, and Podcasting is an incredible way to build an audience.
Everything I shared here today is to help you turn your podcast or business into a viable one, and I hope you are able to take some of the information provided to create your own freedom!
For further reading on Podcast Sponsorships, visit our Ultimate Guide on Podcast Sponsorships!
Is podcasting right for you?
This has been quite the journey walking through this guide with you! By now, you should have a pretty solid idea as to whether or not podcasting is right for you.
If you know that podcasting is right for you, then we have an amazing community in Podcasters’ Paradise, and we’d love to welcome you to the Paradise family.
The 100% focus in Paradise is on helping you create, grow, and monetize your podcast via the following:
- A community of over 2,800 passionate podcasters who are here to support you on your journey.
- In depth video tutorials that give you the step-by-step for your podcasting journey.
- Email templates, sponsor documents and samples you can replicate for your own podcast.
- Monthly LIVE webinars with top podcasters, where we share everything that is working for them and why; plus, monthly LIVE Q&A’s where you can ask me anything!
Podcasters’ Paradise has turned into an incredible place to take your podcast to new heights, and we welcome the beginner, intermediate, and expert podcaster alike!
Until next time, Fire Nation…
Prepare to IGNITE!
Email template of How to approach a sponsor for the first time
EOFire’s Sponsor infographic
Email template of Sponsorship Proposal
Excel spreadsheet template of Dates and Dollars sponsorship proposal
Email template for guests: Your interview is live
How to Podcast: Overall Summation
That section about sponsorships was a doozy, am I right?
If you made it this far in one sitting, then congratulations! You’re an amazing human being.
If it took you a few sittings to get through How to Podcast: The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting, then no worries, you’re still amazing :-)
So there you have it – How to Podcast: The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting has been written, and I am committed to updating this regularly, and more often if/when major news happens in this exciting world of Podcasting.
Now that you have the knowledge of how to Podcast, join our Free Podcast Course and learn how to Podcast in 15-days!
Until then…prepare to IGNITE!
**Some of the links above are for affiliates from which we’ll receive compensation.