Sponsors, Ads, Lead Gen, Subs – These Podcasts Are Leading to Revenue

In a podcast last year for Putman Media’s International Women in Manufacturing series, Christine LaFave Grace spoke with Nandita Gupta, process controls engineer at Georgia-Pacific and a 2019 IWIM honoree. They talk about Gupta’s experience entering the workforce with a mentor, and “how she hopes to provide new engineers with a similar or better experience through a formal mentoring program at Georgia Pacific.”
An article on the Media Voices Podcast site last week gave eight ways publishers are bringing in revenue from podcasts. Number eight was promoting other revenue streams. “Whether it’s mentioning an upcoming event or referring to other products across a portfolio, a bit of self-promotion can help make podcast audiences—who are often a little different to online or print ones—aware of what else you offer. A podcast audience is a particularly strongly engaged user base, and is likely to be extra responsive to messages that fit their interests.”
Through IWIM, Putman Media has brought in significant sponsorship dollars, and happily, the popular program continues. So including one of the honorees as a speaker on a podcast amplified the program’s success.
Here are other ways podcasts are bringing in revenue.
Selling subscriptions. At the beginning of the pandemic, MedLearn Media increased their crisis coverage by boosting their popular podcast, Monitor Mondays—which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary—from 30 to 60 minutes. “Because of the pandemic, there was so much confusion to deal with and just a tangle of regulations,” said Chuck Buck, publisher of MedLearn’s RACmonitor. “So we would have 30 minutes of content with our regular panelists, and then field the questions, which just kept coming on a daily basis. We saw big audience numbers. Wanting to leverage that and create more engagement led us to doctors on frontlines dealing with these issues.” This has helped MedLearn Media sell more subscriptions.
Advertisements. According to the Media Voices article, revenue for The Economist from podcast ads increased by 50% in 2018 across its five podcasts. They use hosting and analytics platform Acast to serve podcast ads. “There has been so much demand for sponsorship that it more than pays for itself,” Economist’s head of digital strategy, Tom Standage, told NiemanLab. “The big change is commercial, which is that we had advertisers who started to come to us last year and say, ‘We are only going to buy two kinds of ads next year: print and podcast. What have you got?’”
Sponsors once a series gets going. Lessiter Media has enjoyed success with podcasts. They recently reposted one of their best ones with this intro: “In this episode of the Precision Farming Dealer podcast, ‘How We Did It: Conversations with Ag Equipment’s Entrepreneurs’ (sponsored by Osmundson Manufacturing), Executive Editor Dave Kanicki sat down with Frank, Pam and Mike Lessiter of Lessiter Media. Osmundson then gets another shout-out in the podcast’s opening.
Sponsors from the start. Some publishers have developed podcasts from scratch alongside a sponsor, Media Voices reported. “Mail Metro Media launched The Wellness Connection podcast in association with Pukka Tea, in order to leverage podcasting’s appeal to younger audiences. ‘Knowing that 71% of our audience leads a healthy lifestyle, we seized the opportunity to create a podcast and content series that would promote the product, while providing the health education that our readers love,’ Mail Metro Media said in a case study.” The series resulted in 50,000 downloads over the six episodes, with nearly 1 in 3 listeners buying Pukka teabags or searching for more information.
Good lead generation. Both Spidell and EB Medicine use their SIPAward-winning podcasts in this manner. “It’s a big lead gen and brand-building effort, and also adds value for our subscribers,” said EB Medicine CEO Stephanie Williford. [We] have “seen an increase in our renewal rates and revenue since we’ve launched it. We think it has played a significant role based on feedback we get.” One move that Spidell does to give subscribers more value is to offer them free access to transcripts. They have also done a Salvation Army Listener Drive where they contribute money for every new name that people send them.

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