How to Make Money with Internet Radio and Podcasting

By Hector Cisneros

Our show on BTR
Several years ago, Carl Weiss, my business partner and I decided to create our own Internet radio show. Our reasoning was based on specific principles and goals. First and foremost, we believe that quality content is king for organic search engine ranking, so anything we did had to have lots of first-rate material. Second, we needed to produce unique, useful information to post to our weekly blogs and social nets. We felt this would distinguish us from our competition. Third, doing a weekly Internet radio show would force us to do lots of research, stay current, understand the World Wide Web and search technology. Engaging in so much research and writing about what we had learned would facilitate our ability to produce quality content, which in turn would drive rankings for the keywords we’d chosen.

In the beginning, we hadn’t considered actually making money from our shows, blog or podcast. We just wanted to produce high-quality, keyword-optimized content because we felt that doing so would get us on Page One of Google Search.  Fast forward to today: We have a strong Page One position in the top three search engines. We have a hit blog talk radio show and our weekly blog, which is connected to the show, receives more than 5,500 page views a month.  Plus, we’ve been able to not only monetize the show, but also the blog and several websites as well. I’d say we exceeded our goal. So in this article, I’m going to impart five important things businesses need to know in order to make money with Internet radio and podcasting.

How to Get Started

It starts with research.
If you want to replicate our success, here’s your starting point. First, research your keywords and phrases in AdWords. Choose a phrase that has at least 10,000 searches a month and at the same time, shows less competition. Next, you need to create your infrastructure. This includes creating a Landing Page for the show, a blog site for the show, and setting up your top five social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube). BlogTalkRadio.com provides everything you need to create the show and podcast. It even has online support for best practices and show tips. Next, commit to doing your research every week to create a high-quality article to publish as your blog, which you’ll also use as source material for your radio show. (FYI: We also committed to providing a weekly newsletter and sending out a weekly email blast to the connections we already had.) Understand it will take a little while for you to get proficient at producing the show. Continued practice will bring improvements, and you’ll be producing the content necessary to drive organic search position.

How to Get Found

Getting found is not as hard as some SEO gurus would have you believe. It’s our contention that there are five key factors your content must have in order to have the power to drive organic position:
  1. It must be delivered consistently
  2. It must be high quality
  3. It must be relevant to the audience
  4. It must be timely 
  5. It must be useful
Content that’s delivered with these four factors will drive organic search position. Carl and I feel so strongly about this that we’ve embraced these four tenants as our core marketing principles. Most people fail when they try to cherry pick these principles. That is, they produce content irregularly, or provide mediocre quality, or provide content that’s irrelevant, or their content isn’t delivered at the appropriate time. Worse, they give up before they gain position. 


When we started our radio show/podcast efforts, we weren’t anywhere to be found organically in Google Search. But after three months, we started to show up on Page Four. By month five, we were showing up organically on Page One of Yahoo and Bing periodically, and Page Two of Google. By nine months we were constantly showing up organically on Page One of all three of these main search engines, although not at the top of the page. By the end of our first year, we’d reached the top of Page One organically on all three of the top search engines. Today we have multiple organic Page One positions and own the number one position for the phrase “working the web.” 

What made this happen was following our formula of producing an engaging weekly Internet radio show/podcast and, correspondingly, writing a high-quality, relevant, and timely blog, which we’d then consistently post to the top five social networks. This meant we were creating a minimum of seven coordinated and keyword-optimized content pieces week in and week out. We also coupled this with email blasts and newsletters. If you add up all the content created in a year, it was more than 800 pieces.

How to Build Your Audience

To gain a dedicated following, you must produce exceptional quality content at least every week. For “Working the Web to Win,” that means teamwork. Both Carl and I write, so we act as “blog buddies,” editing and proofing each other’s work. On top of that, we both do separate research for the show. In addition to Carl and I editing each other’s blogs, we also run them past our editor (and fellow copywriter), Robert Kaye. We shoot for the best quality we can produce in the time frame we have.  

TopRank Social SEO Cycle
TopRank Social SEO Cycle (Photo credit: toprankonlinemarketing)
Always look for ways to improve your content and the quality of the show. Reach out to leaders in the industry and ask them for tips. Better yet, ask them to appear on your show as guests and interview them. Nothing can beef up the quality of a show (or a blog) like the presence or input from various industry leaders. We regularly contact leaders in the industries related to the topics we’re writing and speaking about.  Do your research; be cognizant of who the leaders are in your industry. Make sure you court and engage them to share your content. A good way to do this is to share their content first. Then after a while of doing this, send them your material and ask for their opinion. Also, find a dozen or so people who’ll agree to read, comment on and the repost (i.e., share) your show and blogs to their own social nets. Make sure you do the same for them. This is a very powerful method to create distribution. The trick to this marketing method is managing your team. If people drop out, add others.

Another item we’ve used with success was creating a video cast of the BlogTalkRadio show that would air on YouTube a few days later. You can create one using Google Hang Outs, or use a screen capture program of your choice to record your screens and voice. When we do this, we use two computers, one for the radio show and one for the Hangout. Again, this will become another piece in your weekly content arsenal. This will be an ongoing process.

However, quality and regularity aren’t enough. You have to push out invitations to followers daily. You have to announce and promote the show multiple times the day before it airs.  We also “push it out to the social net” a couple of times the day of the show (every Tuesday), and again, a couple of times after the show has aired.

Endless choices.
Make sure you’re committed to engaging in weekly marketing. If you stop doing this, your audience growth stops as well. Even if you have a bad week or even month, do not give up. When we started, we had less than 200 followers after four months of hard work. However, by month six we had 2,000! You need to be committed to this project for a full year to see if you can make a go of it. Don't forget to add a call-to-action on your blog and the show. Ask readers and listeners to comment and share your material. You never know who will see it.

Publish press releases regularly. This is for the local media as well as regional, national and international, if your subject warrants such attention. And, don’t forget your email blasts and newsletters. Send your emails to opt-in subscribers only. Sending email blasts to non-subscribers is considered spamming, which could get your domain address blacklisted; worst-case scenario, you can be fined and black listed.

How to Monetize Your Efforts

There are many ways to achieve this. You can easily add AdWords network ads to your blog. You can also sell ad space on your blog site, your show’s website and it’s Landing Page. BlogTalkRadio also has an ad stream and a revenue sharing mechanism you can use. However, this is predicated on having a big enough following that you’re generating at least 1,000 page views a month. For example, our radio show has received as many as 30,000 downloads in one week, and our blog receives around 1,500 page views a week. We now have a large enough aggregate following across our seven Twitter accounts (over 50,000 followers) and another 10,000 if you include LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. Granted, we started with zero just like everybody else. It just goes to show that sticking to your commitment can really make a difference after two years.

Cash
Cash (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
The best way to make money from your efforts is to monetize the sites yourself. Eliminate the middleman and sell your ad space directly. We sell banner space on all our sites and we provide sponsor mentions during the show. Furthermore, we support our sponsors with promo post across our social networks as well as providing them with testimonials. As a rule, you’ll make more money by going directly to the sponsors than by going thru Google’s or Yahoo’s ad networks. We’ve found that bundling banner ads with sponsor mentions, along with social media and email blasts, are much easier to sell than just banner ads by themselves. Never underestimate the power of bring more value to the table. The more you can show the sponsor your aggregate views, the more likely they’ll spend money with you. Having lots of page views (i.e., 1,500 a week) and followers (10,000+) is much more valuable than providing nebulous numbers or empty promises. Sponsors are looking for value and ROI, even if they’re looking to brand themselves. 

Repurposing Your Content Library

Once you’ve been in the content creating business for a while, you can start to build a library of quality material.  Having a database of well-written blogs, articles, podcasts and webcasts will give you enough fodder to create several books. Online e-books can be created for very little money and self-publishing today is easier than ever. Both Amazon and Barnes and Nobles can be your partners for eBook publishing. You can expect to net between 25 and 50%, on a soft back book, depending on how close you are to the printing process.  If you’re truly self-published, your net will be higher. If you’re using one of the “self-publishing companies”, your true net will be closer to 20% because the “self publishing company” is taking part of the profit to cover printing on demand and a sales mechanism.

When you’ve gained a substantial following (say 50,000 fans) and you have amassed a large library of quality material, you can repackage that same content into a sellable digital library or database. This can be done by subscription, or by creating individual sellable SKUs that are topic specific. They can be sold directly on your blog site, website, in the Apple store, in Google Play and even on Amazon.com.  The product can be all-digital on sold on CD, DVD or on memory cards.
Cash Only!_MG_9718
Cash Only!_MG_9718 (Photo credit: katsrcool (Kool Cats Photography) 1,000,000 + View)

This content can also provide you with another means to make money: You can give it away as a means to attract the right kind of clients. That’s right, you can give it away as a complimentary inducement on Landing Pages, where visitors can get your free content if they provide you with their contact information (thereby providing you with a warm lead). These, in turn, can be used as follow-up marketing tools for your company. You can even ask clients if they’ll allow you to share their contact info with a few appropriate vendors, giving you another source of income.

In this article, I discussed how to make money with Internet radio and podcasting. I provided real-life examples of how we achieved this goal and listed detailed steps so that any business can do the same. This article explains how to get started, how to get found, how to market yourself and how to monetize your efforts.

If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family co-workers and associates. If you want to learn more about this or other Internet marketing subject, browse our other articles or type in “your subject” in the search box at the top of this blog. If you have something to add on this subject or a difference of opinion, place them in the comments section.  It has been my pleasure sharing this story with you.

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will send you this free eBook. Your information is always keep private and never sold.



Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning Working the Web to Win company, based in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on Twitter,  Facebook,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer for EzineOnline and is an active blogger (including ghost writing). He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(on sale at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get for free by entering your contact information in the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on Amazon.com.

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