How has podcasting changed during the pandemic? We talk to a panel of international guests Mo (More Sibyl Podcast), Olivier (Awaken the Awesome), Bettina (NRI Woman) to pick their brains about listenership, how to win a sponsor, imposter syndrome and reflections on 2020 for these stellar podcasters in light of Covid-19.
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[00:00:00] Olivier: [00:00:00] I think what worked for Joe Rogan is the community, not just from the fact that he brings a very, wide array of very interesting guests his approach, but what he really bank for him is a community. So Spotify recognize that, and there's a huge potential, a huge community that came with that. And also the numbers showed it on YouTube. So I think the community is a very, is a very big aspect of it.
[00:00:19] Bettina T: [00:00:19] So what are my options? Is it sponsorship? Is it going to be you know, selling merchandise? Is it going to get consulting gigs? Is it about creating a new product? It's exclusively with my audience. Is it about creating a product with a sponsor that then fits with my audience? So there are so many different avenues that one can consider.
[00:00:36]And by sponsoring the podcast, they are reaching out to those women in a way that would be much more cost effective versus just advertising on say Facebook or Instagram or whatever. So I think because of that you know, that niche definition of our audience there is an alignment for certain sponsors who are keen to come on the show.
[00:00:55] Mo: [00:00:55] It took me while can I get comfortable with asking people to chip into my passion [00:01:00] project? Because I felt that when I started, I wasn't putting a lot of effort into it and I felt like a, almost like a fraud asking them to put money
[00:01:08]Naga S: [00:01:08] hey everyone. Hello and welcome to a very, very special episode of the passionate people podcast. Today, we have Olivia Mo and Betina who are all fellow podcasters, and we're going to discuss about how podcasting has changed for them over the last eight to 10 months because of COVID and what they're doing in terms of their monetization efforts.
[00:01:32]Let me again, take a moment to thank you for taking the time out. And I'm just so excited and so pumped to be having this conversation because we've all been part of our community of podcasters, and I'm really excited to know how things have been for you guys. So my first question at the start is that how has your listener numbers changed over the last eight to 10 months?
[00:01:56] And have you. Been running the show continuously, or [00:02:00] are you on a season break.
[00:02:01]Mo: [00:02:01] So my show usually takes a hiatus between December and April, and it was kind of a good opportunity for me to at least at least take that break without having to worry about putting my show on another break because of the virus. And so when April came around, I started really slow.
[00:02:19] Did something on mental health? Check-in I didn't want to get people on zoom and do like a live show cause everybody was doing live shows then. So, no, I haven't taken a break as far as listenership. Well, the numbers are in so good. Cause I use anchor, which is also another thing we can talk about. It's not really great for like tracking a lot of stuff, but I think that qualitatively, the engagement has been good.
[00:02:39] I felt like I made more deeper connections with, some of my top listeners this year. Which is always very important to me. I don't get too bogged down about, you know, how many thousand downloads you have or things like that, because anybody can just download. But I did listen in, I didn't engage in.
[00:02:53] So how I measure engagement is, you know, people commenting or sending me emails or letting me know, what they liked about a [00:03:00] particular episode or what they didn't like and things like that. So in that regard, I would say that my show has been fairly, quite successful this year, despite COVID.
[00:03:08]Bettina T: [00:03:08] Just going to say that it was a little bit different for us because we usually work in seasons. And so typically we do a run from March to June, July, and then another one from September to December. But this time when we were supposed to come out with our episodes in March and COVID happened entire production was delayed because for us, we produced, it works quite well when the children are in school and that, you know, you get that little window because our podcast is slightly different.
[00:03:34] It's like a produced narrative style podcast. So it requires a decent amount of work. And when COVID happened and it started homeschooling and stuff, the entire production thing got shifted. So we actually launched our podcast, I think in October, instead of in sort of March, as, as we had planned initially the numbers definitely we saw a drop because we not consistent, but.
[00:03:58]In the period that [00:04:00] we were consistent the numbers are constantly rising. But the interesting thing is that too loud, the COVID period, despite not having you know, released any new episodes, we still have people come back and listen. We had new listeners coming across from different parts of the world.
[00:04:13] So we don't use anchor. We use a different podcast platform to host a podcast and we can actually track and see how many listens have come, how much they've listened, how much of the episode they've listened. And it's quite interesting. So it's roughly around 20 minutes. We usually get about 80% of listenership of the entire episode.
[00:04:34]Naga S: [00:04:34] That's industry like top of the industry,
[00:04:38] Bettina T: [00:04:38] is it? It's probably because you know, it's, firstly it's produced. Secondly, it's just, it's like 20 minutes. So it's not 25 minutes. Just the whole episode is that much. And the last sort of three or four minutes, it's like the outro, which is, you know, the next episode and you know, thanking the team and those kinds of things.
[00:04:56] So, yeah. So pretty much. So we have a decent listenership. Yeah.
[00:05:00] [00:05:00] Naga S: [00:05:00] That's great. What about you, Olivier
[00:05:02] Olivier: [00:05:02] for me, actually, I have to say COVID was actually kind of interesting for me. It was actually a great opportunity because I don't run seasons. I basically, I'm kind of a guerrilla style. I try to run it through like, as on a weekly basis, I do a self-imposed break in the summer because you know, running a full-time job, a wife and two kids, I make this podcast happen.
[00:05:23] However I can. So, but I do have a very solid production calendar, but when COVID happens, Then I actually doubled down. Because I basically understood if I'm stuck at home, guests are stuck at home. So that opens up your calendar pretty much. Cause everybody had cancellations, people who had bookings and speaking engagement stuff, all that got canceled.
[00:05:40] So they're stuck at home. So that's where I doubled down and I pitched, I pitched like, Hey, can you record? So in terms of booking guests, that was really helpful helped me out throughout the year in terms of listenership. It actually, I actually did notice a a slow uphill curve.
[00:05:54] Why? Because. I'm not sure if you guys noticed there's an explosion of podcast is going out right now. So a lot of people are [00:06:00] taking this time off to do a little bit, little bit more listening. And I've noticed people not only coming back for new episodes, but going back to old episodes as well.
[00:06:08] So compared to the same period last year we've seen the podcast grow about a good 20% and listenership. So that's a, that's a really good thing. I'm really proud of that.
[00:06:17]Naga S: [00:06:17] That's awesome. And I think that's the beauty of making content that spans across the season, not to have like a bunch of content, right.
[00:06:24] Because once they discover you, they come back and listen to the entire catalog. If that's something that that's interesting. Right. And especially, you know, for the kind of shows that, that we all have. And I'm sure that this is a behavior that we'll see more and more as more people discover podcasts.
[00:06:40]Mo: [00:06:40] Definitely. I agree.
[00:06:42]Naga S: [00:06:42] It's good to know that, you know, all of you have got some amount of additional traction, whether in terms of engagement for more, in terms of, you know, new subscribers, new listeners the amount of. Oh, the the show that people are listing for Betina and for you, Olivia, that you have this 20% rise, I've [00:07:00] seen something similar for the Passion People Podcast as well.
[00:07:03] And for me, like the listener numbers are just directly correlated to how consistent I am. And I don't know if it's something really unique to our show, but I never hear from anyone. But once in a while, I just listen to someone and they're like, I'm a huge fan of your show. And I left you a rating. I left you a review.
[00:07:22] It just that, you know, I'm coming back to you now. So for me, engagement is something that I've always struggled with. And you know, that that's something that I'm interested to know. What do you folks specifically do in terms of spurring engagement, audience outreach, or how do you guys look at it and how are you guys planning about it?
[00:07:40]Olivier: [00:07:40] For this much for this one, the thing is you're not alone because that's the thing the consistency is there and I am, producing more episodes. The downloads are there. It's not that those, those numbers that I'm looking at just like Mo because I would like a little bit more feedback and that's one thing as well.
[00:07:54]Because that's the thing. A lot of people that are commenting, contact me directly via an email or something. But in terms [00:08:00] of, you know, dropping a review on iTunes or leaving a little rating and stuff, I don't get that much. Whether on the social medias as well from time to time, you'll hear someone saying like, Hey, I just love that episode.
[00:08:09] That happened like two years ago. Oh, that's always fun. But that is something I'm really trying to develop. Though the methods I do try is actually a, you know, just dropping an open-ended conversation. Now, what do you guys think is like, you know, go back to this episode, this episode I just posted what did you think about this conversation?
[00:08:24] You try to spread that, but sometimes people are, I'm not sure shy or, you know, the attention span is not there to actually leave an actual open up a conversation, but I really am still getting, I do hear you.
[00:08:34] Naga S: [00:08:34] Got it. So Mo, what are you doing differently that you're hearing so much from your listeners?
[00:08:39] Mo: [00:08:39] Well, I don't know if it's differently as much as just, you know, going with the flow. So let me just put a little bit of a template so you can understand where I'm coming from. I have a full-time life and my podcast it's evolved from a hobby to more like a pet project. And I wish that if I did my job, the way I ran my podcast, I would not probably be very [00:09:00] successful.
[00:09:00] But there's a reason why I keep my podcasts, you know, I just do what I can do. I not stress too much about it because I'm not able to put all the time that I can put into it, just because, I have a full time job and all that kind of stuff. So that said, I really try to do things as best as we can do them.
[00:09:16] So, because my show is for blacks, Asians, and those, all of them, that's pretty much most people. So the people I get on the show, as far as the stories and all that, they're very diverse. So, and I try to like group stories together. So we had a mental health. Month we had when the news of the police brutality broke in Nigeria, I covered that.
[00:09:34] I got one of the protestors on there and that gave a lot of, Attraction people commented and let me know. Thanks for that.
[00:09:40] Took my podcast away from my personal page and I created one for the podcast itself. And so they're in our post only podcast content. And that has really helped
[00:09:48] and so I tried to like repurpose, like audio clips and do things like that. And I also had a virtual assistant to help with that. So it's still very early. It's kinda like. Talk about the [00:10:00] gains, like how monumental that has been. But I see that, you know, people that werent following my page before us, when it was just my personal page, I see more engagement on my podcast to that.
[00:10:10] So yeah, those are the two things I've done try to do work with like historical events that things are happening. I mean, countries that are important to me and to my listenership and also hiring a VA and creating a big specific for my podcast on Instagram.
[00:10:27]Naga S: [00:10:27] I think that's really important to have that segregation, right.
[00:10:30] Whether it's on any kind of social media. Bettina, what do you guys do for engagement and how have things been?
[00:10:37] Bettina T: [00:10:37] Yeah, I think I have to agree with you Naga that one of the things where we saw the most engagement was when we were very consistent with our podcasts and that was until last year.
[00:10:47] But having said that, even though we will not. We were not coming out with episodes we've been engaging with the listeners through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all the social media channels, sometimes reposting previous episodes, or really [00:11:00] just updating listeners about what is happening in our own lives in some way.
[00:11:04] And one of the things that we did, which we do usually even for other episodes, Is every time it comes out, you put whichever and it'll adjust to fit on all the social media platforms, as well as on the WhatsApp groups, that both Ninorah and me are (co-host) part of, you know, we are part of these moms groups and all kinds of different things.
[00:11:20] And often nobody responds to it, but the strange thing is. So we just finished our season now. And the last episode, then you shared the most recent episode. There was like a flood of messages we must have got, like between us at least 15-20 messages saying, you know, we really love the work you're doing.
[00:11:35] Okay. Thank you so much for sharing. And it's really bizarre because we've been doing it for like three months. And nobody responds and says anything. So one doesn't really know. What we concluded from that is that even if you don't really get that kind of engagement back from people on your social media platform, that doesn't mean that people are not listening and watching you, they may just not react in that moment.
[00:11:54] So the key is to just kind of share, don't be shy. You know, sometimes one can be a bit hesitant [00:12:00] about, or this is like a moms group or whatever. I mean, of course it has to be a target. And like, in our case, it's you know, a women. I focus with sharing women's stories, specifically women from Indian culture and background.
[00:12:12] So those kinds of groups we share them, and this is exactly what happened. We were quite chuffed by the end of it saying that, it's good. Cause otherwise it kind of feels that you're doing this stuff in isolation. If you don't have that engagement or feedback from your listeners unlike you Naga, we don't get it on our social media platforms.
[00:12:27] It's only on a one-to-one when I meet with people, sometimes they say, Oh, listen, you know, I really love the podcast. And it's so engaging. And you know, you guys are doing such amazing work and this random thing, maybe it was just the end of the year. And we wished everybody have a wonderful year or whatever, but, you know, we got a lot of feedback.
[00:12:43]Mo: [00:12:43] I just want to add a little bit too a bit if that's okay. Cause I also put myself at an issue as a listener, even though I'm a podcast creator, I have listened to a lot of amazing episodes that I, I feel like there's a separate bond that comes when you are consuming someone else's podcast
[00:12:58]Sometimes I want to stay in the shadows. [00:13:00] Because I feel like having to like reach out to the list to the creator, kind of break something depending on just what I've listened to. So I think putting ourselves sometimes in the shoes of the listener can really help people and help you understand that people may be listening to minor, which are not because they don't like your podcast.
[00:13:17] What would it still haven't gotten to that point where they feel like bold enough to let you know, Hey, I listened to your stuff. Thanks for doing that. And just keep up the good work. So yeah, that kind of humbles me sometimes. No cause I don't, I know which out to all the podcasts that I listened to it just because I feel like I haven't gotten enough confidence.
[00:13:33] We have pushed them to really know that, Hey, I'm a huge fan of your work.
[00:13:36]Naga S: [00:13:36] That's a really interesting way to think about it Mo. And it's so important, right? Because if we're all listening to like 10 or 15 podcasts between us, like you said, we won't be reaching out to all of them.
[00:13:47] Maybe we'll only be reaching out to a couple of them, but just coming back to Bettina's point about, they might be listening to watching you. It's just that they're not engaging with. I think that's something that I'm just going to write down. [00:14:00] And keep looking back to it whenever I feel like I'm not really getting that feedback because I think it's just a matter of time until that, that moment that happened with you know, with NRI woman where like, they got like 15, 20 messages all at once, right.
[00:14:13] Because it's this step to releasing. So that strikes a chord with the folks that you're sharing your episode with. And, you know, from that on, things are going to move forward is what, what I would say. So we've spoken about podcast growth has spoken about engagement, and I think now is a good time to talk about monetization right now.
[00:14:33]COVID has been extremely difficult for all people, ? In terms of job losses, in terms of whatever it is and podcasting in general I know it's not really like you know, as more lucrative or Well as monetizeable it as YouTube, but I would love to hear all of your thoughts in terms of whether you're currently monetizing a podcast.
[00:14:54] And if you are then how, if you're not, then it's [00:15:00] monetization on your roadmap again. Yes. No. Why not?
[00:15:04]Mo: [00:15:04] It took me while can I get comfortable with asking people to chip into my passion project? Because I felt that when I started, I wasn't putting a lot of effort into it and I felt like a, almost like a fraud asking them to put money into, but as time went on and I realized that this was a really good quality stuff and I had a love and I had a couple of my top listeners letting me know, Hey, you know, you could set up a patreon and you can totally Get more money for this and that.
[00:15:31] And also bring, say, I bring in people who need it, you know, to raise funds for health issues and all that kind of stuff. So I started with pitching. And I got like, I think three pitchers, but it wasn't a lot coming from then, but that really meant a lot to me that three people would, you know, take a little bit of out of their monthly salary to like fund this passion project of mine and Darien I've also raised some, like, you know maybe like a goal towards like helping people get back on the particular was a lady that needed to give up or, you know, [00:16:00] psychotic medications for schizophrenia.
[00:16:02] And that was quite, you know Very very effective because it was just a one and inoperable chiptune. I've also done some consulting gigs on the side and I have our core set up to also get money from there, but I haven't been very aggressive with asking people for money. Cause I also have a blog where it's subscriber base and that has really, you know, brought in some chump change, but overall I still, I know that the other things I could do, like maybe say merchandise great to like premium content.
[00:16:36] I don't think I've had just the time to like sit down and map everything out. But recently I put my media kit together. I signed up for podcorn. And hopefully I can start engaging some sponsors and another thing I have done was to do like some mid-rolls and open roles when I I suppose I shipped through corresponds and you know, that person some money, but it was just like, you know, like two or three [00:17:00] opportunities that came from, and that certainly options too many times, but I feel like it's always, almost.
[00:17:05] Consumer to commensurate to the effort you put in. And I think that's what has been the source of my hesitation for so long because of my full-time job and all that kind of stuff. I, I don't want to ask people for money when I'm not really showing up and by showing up, I mean, like, you know I hadn't, I hadn't gotten that out as, at that point to the confidence level that I needed to really tell people, Hey, this has been your stuff you're listening to.
[00:17:28] How about chipping into it? Yeah, got
[00:17:31] Olivier: [00:17:31] it. Totally a courageous thing you're doing wrong because you know, it's important to not acknowledge the work that you have done, but also bring, because if you're not the biggest cheerleader for your product and your content, you know, people are not going to buy into you anyway, but it's good that, you know, you're basically testing the waters and to see there are different avenues, but good on you there.
[00:17:49]Bettina T: [00:17:49] Yeah. So I'm just going to add to what you know, more sad was basically definitely it's directly related to the effort that one puts in into finding sort of sponsors and wanting to [00:18:00] monetize it. I mean, podcasting as a medium is. So in itself is not particularly easy to monetize unless one is committed to it like a full-time job almost.
[00:18:09] So we did a couple of different things. So when we started off the podcast, I mean, we did want to monetize it, but people also like, listen, we have to establish our product. And I think it's a little bit of like what most said, right? Is it was not about going and asking for money if you want shorter about how people are going to receive it.
[00:18:23] But once people kind of show it about the product itself, the first thing that we did to monetize was actually created some of our own products. And again, even not very ambitious, we to cover our costs. And that was our objective, which was met. But this year we had that was the other interesting thing about COVID because when the whole dynamic of, you know, people working from home and all those kinds of things change just the sponsors themselves.
[00:18:49] So the advertisers were looking for newer opportunities and ways to reach out to their audience because they wanted to try something different. So we ended up getting a sponsor for our episodes. So [00:19:00] he didn't go for the whole season, but they did take a few episodes. And it's interesting because now we actually have data of how that kind of worked out and it lets us put a better package together when we were pitching to other sponsors.
[00:19:10] So, because we had one sponsor on board, we have somebody else who's interested for the next season already.
[00:19:16] There's, it's a little bit interesting because the thing is the audience that we're talking to. And I think that's an important thing to remember
[00:19:21] our audience is a very niche audience. It's women of Indian origin. So the kind of sponsors that are kind of lining up to us, it's not your generic larger brands like L'Oreal or Dove. For example, the response that we had was a jewelry company based out of India who was targeting these very specific women.
[00:19:39] And by sponsoring the podcast, they are reaching out to those women in a way that would be much more cost effective versus just advertising on say Facebook or Instagram or whatever. So I think because of that you know, that niche definition of our audience there is an alignment for certain sponsors who are keen to come on the show.
[00:19:58]Naga S: [00:19:58] Is that that's a, that's a [00:20:00] fantastic point that you just made Bettina about audience overlap, right? What is the audience overlap between your sponsor and. You got an audience and the more that overlap is, then that's correlates to like a direct increase in ROI for your sponsor, because they're just reaching the target audience that they want.
[00:20:19] And it also ties back to what theme of your show? Why are you talking about what you're talking and is it specific or is it general? Right? Because if it's too general, Then no one is going to come and want to do anything like this because you know, you don't really have like a demographic or a target audience that you cater to.
[00:20:36] And that over lap with the audience that the sponsor's looking to tap into. That's the beauty of having like a specific or a niche audience. And that's one of the big reasons why I made sure that for season three of the Passion people, podcasts that we're talking about, the creative economy, we're talking about, you know, how content creators and other patient pronounced that monetizing in the context of COVID because then my audience now is overlapping with the other companies who [00:21:00] are trying to sell creator tools who are trying to sell, you know, abilities for these kinds of folks to monetize.
[00:21:07]Olivier: [00:21:07] Good point. Just that it just like totally sparked what Bettina said in regards to the importance for any people listening to us who are considering the marketing and like taking on sponsor aspect, you have to know your audience. So that way you're better positioned to actually pitch, you know, your show to a potential sponsor.
[00:21:22] And you have to make sure that your sponsor, you know, responds to your listeners needs. Okay. Cause nobody wants to end up with a toothpaste commercial on their podcast. You know, cause that's the thing when you get, when you get on the podcasting hosts you know sponsorship platforms or ad platforms, sometimes you might be surprised, unfortunately, because I have been listening to some podcasts who out of nowhere, you know, take on, you know, the, the ad platform.
[00:21:45] And then you realize, what does this ad have to do with the show I'm listening to, and it totally basically alienates your listeners. And that's that, that was just something that came up in my head when Bettina was talking about how the sponsors would directly, you know, in correlation with [00:22:00] her listenership, which is, I believe is a very important thing.
[00:22:02]Naga S: [00:22:02] Absolutely. Olivier, you wanna share some of your insights into how you're monetizing and or what you're thinking about it
[00:22:09] Olivier: [00:22:09] currently, I've just like, I've been on the fence about, you know, the next the next step towards monetizing the podcast. So far I haven't been monetizing it at all, but what COVID has done is actually helped me cause you know, you always try to do better try to learn the best tactics and you know how to actually, you know, make the podcast grow.
[00:22:24]I'm not even looking at options for merchandise. I've been testing a shoe. Products and just to see, okay, what, the pros and the cons of doing that and how to set that up. So I've been doing that internally, I'm still in that process, but one thing that has worked for me, because again, you just look at the landscape and see what's happening.
[00:22:39] A lot of people have been reaching out to me in regards to consulting. Because as we've seen, there's an explosion of podcasting right now to listen to people who just want to start a podcast is amazing. So a lot of people are reaching out in regards to, you know, okay, how do I start a podcast?
[00:22:54] What is a podcast host? How does this happen? So of course, You know, people can be looking at [00:23:00] options of, you know, putting out, you know, either doing some consulting or doing some online classes, something I'm looking to do. Also something as, you know, we are communicators. We are, you know, working with our voice.
[00:23:10] So I'm also looking at, doing some voiceover gigs. That's always a really fun thing. Cause you know, this is basically the second radio. And I am looking at sponsors so far. I haven't really found anything that seduces me. But again, it's all about putting in the work.
[00:23:23]Like Mo I have a full-time job, you know, with the two kids and everything. So the days are really long. And sometimes, you know, you do want to kick yourself in the back of like, you know, saying that, you know, okay. The sticks would probably be a lot farther if you putting in the work. But these are different avenues that, you know, people can explore, you know, taking on sponsors, putting up a patient program, selling merchandise, or try to do side gigs, just like voiceover work or, even lending your voice to reading an audio book, different avenues people can try, but these are all things I'm exploring as well.
[00:23:50]Naga S: [00:23:50] I just want to go back to both the, the point that you and Mo made about being on the fence because you feel like you're not doing this as a full-time job. Right. Do you think that is something [00:24:00] that's holding you back or do you think it's a mindset? Or do you think it's the effort because I want to call out both of you and say that it's not a thing,
[00:24:10] it's just because you're not doing something at a full-time job doesn't mean that you can't ask people for money. Because I believe that every minute of content that all of our podcasts puts out is what is keeping so many people sane, because let's look around and see what are we all doing?
[00:24:27] During COVID, we're consuming content. We're watching videos, we're watching movies, you're listening to podcasts, which are made by people like us. And that's keeping us sane. That's what is keeping us going. Right. And I think it's absolutely within our right to ask our listeners for a donation, ask our listeners for merchandise merchandising or something that's done reasonably okay.
[00:24:47] For me. And what I've realized is that people want to want to pay. And buy merchandise for the podcast, not just because they're listening to the show, but they also like the feeling that they're supporting a cause [00:25:00] that they like the idea of someone who runs a podcast. They like to support people who are doing interesting and cool things and they're okay to pay something that's like two X, three X, more expensive than like a regular t-shirt or a regular hoodie, because it's a passion people, podcasts hoodie, passionate people podcast t-shirt because.
[00:25:16]That is a sentiment attached to it. And the sentiment is that I like the show and I want to support it. And I am also getting something in return.
[00:25:23]Mo: [00:25:23] I mean, well, I was j ust chuckling when you said that. I agree with it.
[00:25:28]Because I tend to be very high strung about things and. tend to always want to give a hundred percent to everything I do. I don't want my podcast. I haven't given quite a hundred percent and I think that's where the cautious does comes from. And I do agree with you that a little, what goes into podcast.
[00:25:42]When I spoke to a mentor about that, it was after talking to them that this Edison thing he did was while I was able to set up a picture and was like, no, you are creating like people that want to consume your content.
[00:25:55] I think another point to be made here is that podcasting as a medium has a very low. Barrier to [00:26:00] entry. And so the commonplace nature of it kind of makes it feel, I think a little bit weird for people like me to want to charge for anything.
[00:26:07] But then if you know, Joe Rogan is getting a million-dollar deal from Spotify and every kind of underdog there, you know, and to like, you know, make a little piece of that Apple pie while just, you know charge for what you're doing. So I'm slowly changing my mindset about it, but I know it's going to take awhile to be.
[00:26:22]Naga S: [00:26:22] Yeah, exactly.
[00:26:24]Olivier: [00:26:24] It's the fear. It's the imposter syndrome. It's the in process in gem within you? That also rested with because I've been doing this thing for the past three years now, and sometimes, you know, we're talking about the long hours time away from your family.
[00:26:34] You're talking about, you know, putting the kids to sleep and then going to editing and all that stuff. And it's not just. It's not just the fact that, you know, we're giving away our time if we can't get back, but we are putting out quality content that people, the numbers show it, that people resonate with and want to keep, supporting.
[00:26:49] And at some point you have to tell yourself, what is that worth to you? And it's not even, you can't put a monetary value on your time, but. When people are legitimately [00:27:00] from just talking about my own case, the most recent email I got, I know definitely the person said, you know, they wanted to, you know, some consulting and helping and launched our podcast.
[00:27:07] I'm like, okay. For this one time, after a lot of people in my close circle telling me like, you know what? You should elevate your game, you should charge for your services. I'm like, okay. So I reached out to this person, I say, yeah. Okay. I'm totally happy with helping you out, but just know that there are fees for my services and then, and crickets,
[00:27:23] and you know what? I was okay with it because there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting out footing, you know, a value in regards to you, if your work has worth, if you want to reach out to me, You recognizing that I have a skill that would be beneficial to you. There's it's totally okay for me to want to be compensated because of it.
[00:27:40] And I think it's this discomfort that we have in regards to what right do I have to ask to be compensated for my work? Hey, you know what, at a wedding, the cake maker gets paid. The dress maker gets paid. The caterer gets paid. You know what, if you want my time to help you out to launch a podcast properly and efficiently, There isn't, there is a [00:28:00] cost associated to that and you know, you need to get easy with that.
[00:28:03] But thank you for calling me out on that Naga
[00:28:05]Naga S: [00:28:05] So Bettina how did, you folks go through this journey of monetization and landing the sponsor? We would be really keen. To know how you got the sponsor on board. What kind of analytics you shared with them?
[00:28:18] And like what kind of ROI is that they saw and how were you able to measure that?
[00:28:23]Bettina T: [00:28:23] Okay. So the thing is, in terms of the sponsor, what we did was upfront on our website. And I mean, this is something that, you know, we always recommend to people who want to do a podcast is to have a dedicated website for your podcast, because it's a great way for people to engage.
[00:28:39] With your content outside of sort of the hosting platforms and stuff. And also it's a great field for you to be able to track how many people are coming how much time they're actually spending in addition to really just just to the podcast metrics itself. So for us, the sponsor reached out to us because they were looking for a different platform to engage with.
[00:28:58]They were interested in, [00:29:00] Exploring podcasts. And they will looking for, non-resident NRI women across the world. So we kind of just fit the thing and all the information about our sponsorship was on the website available for them. So they knew exactly what. You know what our numbers were, how much we charge per episode, what they're going to get.
[00:29:19] And so they were comfortable with it. And so they reached out to us and that's how we actually got the first sponsor, not by actually reaching out. And I honestly, I feel that if we had to reach out to people. Earlier we would have got a sponsor much sooner, but we've learned from it now in terms of the metrics that we shared with them, we shared with them exactly the same things.
[00:29:38] The number of downloads per episode you know, the engagement rates in terms of how much they're listening. We are nowhere close to the industry standards of, you know, 5,000 or whatever per episode. But it doesn't matter because we are, again, going back to our earlier point, it's a niche audience.
[00:29:53] And we are focused on who we're targeting. And if that matches with the sponsor. Then it [00:30:00] works out really well for them because one of the good things about podcasting, as well as that you have, it's not like once it's the podcast is aired, that's it. Right? You, you have other lessons, you have new people coming back and discovering the podcast.
[00:30:12]Yeah. And, and, and your ad then is pretty much for as long as the podcast is available to be listened to it's there in perpetuity almost. So you have so, so that is one of the things that we highlighted to the sponsor themselves. And before they actually got on board, they wanted to, you know, do a little metric in terms of engagement, just with audience on social media.
[00:30:34] So we were hesitant at first when they said, why not? You know, let's just see what happens. And we were quite surprised cause we got, we got about a 10% engagement rate on. On the survey they did, but the actual content that they put out in terms of their ads and stuff, didn't see the same kind of thing.
[00:30:49] But you know, that that can be quite vague because you don't know what resonates, it's a jewelry piece. It may resonate with Amy, not resonate with B. So it's, it's difficult to judge that, but [00:31:00] overall, they were able to get just from the initial engagement itself, they were able to get certain email addresses you know, people's information.
[00:31:07] So which worked out well for them in that sense.
[00:31:10]Mo: [00:31:10] And I think I want to also add to what, but you're not just say that's okay. Is that issue of how little sponsors sintering bogged down by the numbers, to determine if it's, what's invested in your platform, as you know, one of your potential sponsors of a saw like me that cause I used to host my podcast solely on Squarespace, which was my host for my website.
[00:31:31] And then I. Transition to Encore, I think about two years ago and, you know, encore has gone through a lot of stuff and they just were trying to go IAB certified, but it's not really being the best platform out there because if something is free, guess who's paying for it. So as a matter of fact, because of that, I think I, I kinda lost my ability to like track the downloads and all that.
[00:31:53] Cause I've switched out on a lot of stuff as well. So I think losing out on that ability to have that [00:32:00] continued Tracking of your listenership and the download rates. I think also excludes. Potentially, you know, sponsors who seem to be very big on, you know, how many dollars was the CPM and all that kind of stuff.
[00:32:14] And so I think that's why it's taking me a little bit of time to be able to approach sponsors directly.
[00:32:18] So, yeah, that's another challenge that I should mention.
[00:32:22]Naga S: [00:32:22] The reason it is like that Mo is because. What we fall under the broad category of is digital marketing, right? And when we talk about digital marketing, what comes to people's mind is like Google and Facebook, which gives a hundred page analytics report to say that these many people viewed your ad.
[00:32:37] This many people clicked on your ad. This many people went to your website and here we are, we are not able to give them the same kind of visibility. Right. And that's the reason that I was asking, but you know, the questions that I did because it's interesting to know what is working. And my the sponsors coming to a particular show.
[00:32:55]Bettina T: [00:32:55] If I can just interrupt, I just want to add to something that you know, that you [00:33:00] said for the listeners. One of the, things that one can actually do, right? Because when you, when you talk about Facebook and Google analytics and all of the hundred thousands of pages of results, and, you know, the quotes that they actually generate that is the expectation of the large sort of multinational at the bigger companies.
[00:33:15] But there are a big chunk in the middle of which is your small and medium enterprises or, you know, little mom and pop shops or whatever who wants to get onto it. The podcast is a great affordable way for them to do it and their expectations when it comes to the ROI or the analytics is far lower. Because we honestly, we were not able to provide our sponsor, the exact ROI or the metrics but, we were able to provide him with exactly the same data after compared to.
[00:33:42] You know, like before, like this was the number of downloads and their address at at the top of the episode. So it's very likely that the person has listened to it. You know, if it comes at the end of the episode, maybe people drop off, but a hundred percent, if you've had like, Oh, you know, like a thousand listeners of 500 [00:34:00] listeners, you know, that all 500 have listened to the sponsor's ad because it's come at the top.
[00:34:04] So one of the things to consider also is not to really look at your larger. Multinationals, but look at the middle bands. if you know that a large chunk of your listeners are coming from a particular area, maybe consider targeting or reaching out to a sponsor who is from that area, who might be interested in teaching, so to me, all the data that you have at matches the consideration set of your sponsor and their expectations is going to be completely different.
[00:34:26] So you can take some of the pressure off about not being able to provide those kinds of metrics.
[00:34:30]Naga S: [00:34:30] You have actually made my job easier, but never because my next and final question, as we wrap up the show was.
[00:34:38] Is sponsorship or advertising really the best mode of monetization of a medium like podcasts, or do you folks think that there's any other way, do you think direct donation or Patreon or subscription models are more in tune with what works for podcasts?
[00:34:53] And whether that is a, like a one size fits all answer or does it really doesn't really change from one podcast to another [00:35:00] podcast. And does it really change in terms of the size of the audience size of yours? Sponsored like very rightly pointed out,
[00:35:06] Bettina T: [00:35:06] I think the first thing is to really ask why he wants to monetize.
[00:35:10]All of us has this thing at the back of our mind that we want to monetize it. And like I said earlier for just for ourselves, we want ambitious, we wanted to monetize it to cover costs. And if that is the benchmark. You don't want me to do just that much? So one has to look at it. If it is, if the idea is to actually build another stream of income, then one has to look at it that way.
[00:35:32] Okay. So what are my options? Is it sponsorship? Is it going to be you know, selling merchandise? Is it going to get consulting gigs? Is it about creating a new product? It's exclusively with my audience. Is it about creating a product with a sponsor that then fits with my audience? So there are so many different avenues that one can consider.
[00:35:49] So the first thing is to I would say, and this is, this is what we've been talking amongst ourselves as well. Why do we really want to do it? The first thing is we enjoyed into podcasts. So I, [00:36:00] you know, even if you'd been, we didn't make the money. We were, we still continued doing it in a, sponsoring it from our own pockets, but we reached a point where we feel we're creating good, good content.
[00:36:10] And like you said, when you create good content, you have the right to ask people to pay for it. I'm not sure that money's going to come from the listeners you know Personally, we're not big fans of sort of Patreon or you know, those kinds of platforms, but definitely sponsorships is one way, again, it's not going to make you big money, but if you look at the other aspects where you, if you can create niche products that you can sell to your listeners, if you can tie up with other companies that again, produce certain products or whether it's merchandising or those kinds of things, I think you'll have a better opportunity of earning more.
[00:36:46] That's that's our point of view.
[00:36:47]Mo: [00:36:47] I do wish said about knowing your why's and I think Knowing, I mean, going at it naturally and using your style, like when I sat my podcast, I never thought I could ever do like live shows or do like video [00:37:00] engagements or even like start doing a consulting gigs and teaching people how to podcast.
[00:37:04] But those. Things came as I slowly acquired more confidence and more competence of what I'm doing. And I know that I've only just started. Eventually I think I'm going to come at a points where I can really engage those that I know are really very important. And what I mean, put them, I mean, like, like my top listeners, they give them that space to show like, They have like some stake hold on on the show as well.
[00:37:26] And they feel like it's part of this. So, yes. I don't think there's a one size fit all, I think commanded as, as best as you can, but slowly make sure that you're not just stuck in whatever field you started with keep going from it and engaging with podcasts, other podcasters. See what has worked because what works for people might not work for you.
[00:37:44] And then, then you get to that point where you feel like, okay, I think I'm good. And you know, I can make this my default option for monetization.
[00:37:51]Olivier: [00:37:51] That was it really good points? What I want to stress is for me, basically, I think it's never one size fits all and there's no [00:38:00] specific formula. Every podcast is different, which means every audience listener is different. I think for me, yeah if you want to, we'll always want to take the unicorn example of Joe Rogan.
[00:38:09] I think what worked for Joe Rogan is the community, not just from the fact that he brings a very, wide array of very interesting guests his approach, but what he really bank for him is a community. Cause he came from the comedy background. He came from the TV background and he came from the UFC background.
[00:38:25] So you have all those people actually tuning in to actually also tune into stuff that he has to say and not just the wonderful guests that he has on. So Spotify recognize that, and there's a huge potential, a huge community that came with that. And also the numbers showed it on YouTube. So I think the community is a very, is a very big aspect of it.
[00:38:41] Like you said, basically, the people coming into your show, coming in to listen to your show and tuning into your show are the people who are going to be there for you. And as we know, it's a hell of a lot easier to cater to the current listeners or customers, if you will, that you have now, as it is to actually acquire new customers, which is always fun.
[00:38:57] But it's a lot harder. So as long as you have a [00:39:00] clear definition of what it is, you want to bring as value to the listeners, you have a, they can carry you pretty far. And that we all know that, you know, these people want to invest into us. And as long as we know how to directly speak to them and we keep bringing them this value, this genuine sense of service that we think they deserve.
[00:39:17] I think you know, it's not just about the money, but it could be worthwhile. But for me, I think it's not just sponsorships. For me, I think it's one, podcasting is one Avenue you can take actually, you know, broaden your horizon in terms of communication skills.
[00:39:30]Mo: [00:39:30] That's a very key point.
[00:39:31] You just created about community. I think a lot of us, eventually we forget why we started podcasting. I think it goes back to what also Bettina said earlier, like learn your wise. Like, I really enjoy people. I lost our storytelling. I like, you know, showcasing processes and I think focus going back to my community.
[00:39:49] Through qualitative engagements that I get, I think that gives me the most fulfillment. And I know that as time goes on, I'll be able to define what my fan base looks like, because right now within it feels so diffused as I don't have that problem with [00:40:00] podcasting. If you don't have like a Facebook group or like a discord channel, it's hard for you to really find out, you know, what's, that was that gathering hole where people can gather, and then you can, you know, And give you a demo and see what's working, get a pause and the bit of the community.
[00:40:14] So I think being able to like clarify that, I think also use the strength of your your platform and that can also make it very easy or relatively easier pathway towards one physician. And then for that reminder, Bertina and Olivia.
[00:40:28]Naga S: [00:40:28] So folks, as we, as we conclude, we've had like a phenomenal discussion in terms of engagement. We've spoken about how our podcasts have grown. We spoken about monetization and all of your various thoughts on it. My favorite bits. But obviously from the fact where you said that, you know, it's not a one size fits all solution.
[00:40:48] That's something that I absolutely agree. I also like that back and forth between all of us about, the imposter syndrome, whether we should charge for content, whether we shouldn't charge for content. And the insight that [00:41:00] Betina gave about. What is, or is the size and the analytics expectations of your customers.
[00:41:07] And, maybe you just talk to the smaller customers and you can still cater to them. I think that was a phenomenal insight. So thank you guys for taking the time and you know, for being on the passionate people podcast and talking about your podcasting journey and monetization journey during COVID.
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