Anyone can make a podcast, right? Just pull up a microphone, hit record, then publish it out to the world.
While it can be that easy, it’s not always that straightforward, particularly if you’re looking to use your podcast as a source of revenue. If you’re not considering who you want to reach and what would actually help them, you’re just a person on a mic shouting into the void. With just a little attention to your intentions, you won’t just have a tuned-in, active audience, but you’ll also have an easy pitch for sponsors and affiliates.
In a recent episode of Make Money Podcasting, I cover the three basic questions you need to answer to make sure your podcast is hitting the right target. Don’t have time to listen? Here are the key takeaways from this episode:
- Define or redefine your podcast mission statement. Use this formula: my podcast helps [audience] solve [problem] by [goal].
- These three questions will help you make your podcast profitable:
- Who are my listeners?
- What problems do they have?
- How can I help solve that problem?
Your mission statement is mission-critical
Mission statements from a stuffy corporation sometimes get an eye roll. But in podcasting, they’re non-negotiable.
Think of your podcast’s mission statement as your road map: Point A is your starting point, and Point B is making money from your podcast. A whole lot has to happen in the middle before that money comes rolling in.
To get from Point A to Point B, use this road map to develop your mission statement: my podcast helps [audience] solve [problem] by [goal].
Using this framework to develop your podcast mission statement leaves no room for fluff and drives home exactly what you intend to do. If at any point you lose your way with your content, you can come back to this mission statement as your guiding star.
If this topic is making you panic and say, “But Joe, I have a mission statement and it’s not working,” fear not. You don’t need to burn the whole thing to the ground.
Instead, look for which parts of your mission statement you need to tweak. What key elements are you missing? Is the audience too general? Or maybe the problem you think they have isn’t their biggest problem.
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Another common issue I see with podcasts not providing value is that they’re not giving actionable advice.
Sure, it can feel good to vent. But more likely than not, your audience is already well aware of the problems they face. They want to know how to fix their problems. I’ve rejected many a podcast guest for just wanting to self-promote and not giving actionable advice to our listeners. Make sure that what you’re providing is actually adding value, not just talking around a problem.
3 questions to answer to start monetizing your podcast today
Let’s dive a little deeper into the three parts of that mission statement format (audience/problem/solution). Here’s a breakdown of how to satisfy your audience and how to get sponsors lining up to work with you.
1. Who are my listeners?
Who do you think you’re talking to? No, really! Think about the ideal listener for your podcast.
For Make Money Podcasting, my audience is podcasters. For How I Built It, my audience is creators of all kinds. These are two separate podcasts for two separate audiences, and they have two different mission statements.
2. What problems do my listeners have?
Think about what your audience needs. What are their daily struggles and pain points? It’s fine if they have many pain points. That’s fodder for future episodes. You could even break down different issues into different seasons to use the topics more effectively.
🎙 Top tip: I’ve found that the interview format works best for extracting key insights from guests. Two people simply speculating on a problem isn’t particularly helpful to your audience. Having thought-out questions prepared for a guest keeps listeners coming back for more.
3. How can I help my audience solve those problems?
This is where the rubber meets the road! Break each problem into bite-sized chunks. Consider the solutions that you or your guests have to offer your audience.
Each solution you can think of is a potential new episode for the show. The first 10-20 episodes of your podcast can be born from this thinking.
Why mission matters
If you’ve read this far and you’re still not sure why your podcast’s mission statement is important, let me drive it home with a further thought.
If you have a well-defined audience with a well-defined problem, you can also attract sponsors who help solve that problem. The lead-ins are easy: “I help you solve this problem. This is how this sponsor helps you solve this problem.”
Let’s say your podcast helps people learn about new varieties of apples. A sponsor who might be attracted to your show’s audience would be an apple orchard that ships unusual varieties of apples directly to customers’ homes.
Because the audience is primed for wanting to try new apples, the orchard would be a natural fit for sponsorship, helping you (and them) to make money on the podcast.
This applies to services or products you provide as well. Want a prime example? Look no further than my friend Sam Munoz. I recently had her as a guest on How I Built It, where she shared how she uses her podcast as a sales funnel for her mentorship program.
How does she get people lining up to sign up for her program? Sam knows her audience and the problems they face well. By talking about those issues on the podcast, she helps new customers find her mentorship program.
Whether your goal is to connect new customers to your services or to gain sponsorships and affiliate programs, your mission statement is your secret weapon. When you keep your audience, their problems, and the solution in mind for each episode you create, you’ll be well on your way to monetizing your podcast.