Ditch CPM Advertising: Make Money Podcasting Even With a Small Audience With Michelle Jackson – Episode 8

Have you heard these myths about monetizing podcasts? Myth #1: You need a large audience to make money. Myth #2: CPM (cost per mille) advertising is the only way to monetize. Myth #3: It’s impossible to make a living from podcasting. The truth is that there are many strategies beyond traditional advertising that can help podcasters monetize, no matter your audience size. Our guest, Michelle Jackson, shares insights on how to make money from your podcast, including sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and creating your own products or services. Listen to this episode if you want to learn how to make money podcasting beyond traditional advertising models.

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • [2:30] Common objections podcasters have when thinking about monetizing their shows
  • [7:54] Various reasons why podcasters should consider monetizing
  • [11:53] The significance of aligning your monetization plans with your core values and mission.
  • [15:43] How to earn money from podcasts beyond the typical CPM (cost per mille) advertising.
  • [26:54] Creating a podcast monetization strategy.
  • [29:13] Phasing out uncomfortable methods.
  • [30:41] Unique monetization ideas for podcasters.

This podcast is made with the support of Podbean and Capsho.

How To Monetize A Podcast:

Creating a Podcast Monetization Strategy

Developing a successful monetization strategy involves identifying your goals, understanding your target audience, and being open to trying different tactics. It’s important to focus on your strengths and interests while exploring new avenues for revenue generation, as well as staying true to your values and mission in the process.

Michelle Jackson shared valuable advice on how to create an effective monetization strategy for podcasters. She emphasized that success requires patience, experimentation, and a willingness to pivot. She also noted that understanding your unique value proposition and approach to content creation is crucial. Throughout the conversation, the importance of quantifying specific monetization goals to make progress was addressed, reminding us that success doesn’t always mean earning massive amounts of money.

This is Michelle Jackson’s story:

Michelle Jackson was tired of the traditional CPM advertising model dominating the podcast monetization scene. She knew there were countless ways to make money, and she was already doing it, but convincing others proved to be a challenge.

Frustrated with people’s reluctance to believe in alternative monetization methods, Michelle started speaking at conferences, sharing her own experiences and success stories. Eventually, she created Podcasters Getting Paid, a newsletter aimed at scaling her messaging and providing concrete examples of how podcasters can make money.

Today, Michelle continues to inspire others with her determination to help them find ethical ways to monetize their work while remaining true to their audience and personal values.

Prefer to listen to this podcast episode on YouTube?

Additional Ways To Make Money Podcasting

Making a living from your podcast doesn’t have to rely solely on ads and sponsorships. By exploring alternative monetization strategies, you can not only diversify your income streams but also create a more robust and resilient podcasting business.

This shift can help you weather the ups and downs, build deeper connections with your audience, and reach your podcasting goals. If you are running a show that is consistent, has received feedback from listeners, and has a well defined listenership, the sky’s the limit. You can absolutely attract money to your project.

There’s a million and one ways to make money, and like, 990,000 of them have nothing to do with CPMs. – Michelle Jackson

What are the biggest objections that podcasters have when they are thinking about monetizing their shows and how do you address them?

Michelle Jackson: I think the biggest objection is that podcasters don’t believe they can monetize their show until they get to a certain number of downloads. It’s a talking point that has sunk into the minds of people that it’s very difficult to get them to believe otherwise. They just don’t believe they can. There’s a million and one ways to make money, and like, 990,000 of them have nothing to do with CPM (cost per mille).

Why should podcasters consider monetizing?

Michelle Jackson: I have been in the content creation space since 2012 and I love it. It is not for the faint of heart, but there just came a point where I was like, this is now my business. This is a business and a business needs to generate revenue.

Even if it wasn’t a business, podcasting takes up a significant amount of time to produce good work.

A lot of people feel like, oh well, I’m selling out or I’m going to be sleazy in my approach to making money podcasting. And that doesn’t have to be the case.

I think it’s really important to ask yourself how do you imagine monetization looking like? There’s a lot of ways to make money where you’re not asking listeners to make a buying decision.

I write ebooks, both fiction and nonfiction. You’ll hear me talking about affiliate marketing where a lot of times with affiliates, you don’t even have to have someone make a purchase with your affiliate link. They could just click the link and you make money.

What are some roadblocks podcasters face when monetizing?

Michelle Jackson: First, address any mental roadblocks around bringing money into your project, that’s step one.

What are the mental things that are going to come up that freak you out about making money?

Next, understand who your audience is and what would actually be of service to them. You’re going to have to spend some time observing what they would want and what lights you up. Be honest with yourself.

I learned search engine optimization, I learned how to negotiate with brands on brand partnerships, I learned how to do affiliate marketing. I learned all these things, and it took a long time to do that.

It just means that you need to temper your expectations so you’re not upset or disappointed. Avoid setting unreasonable expectations about what should be happening.

It takes time and you need to set some reasonable expectations on the time component, but dream big, believe you can do whatever you want to do.

What are some lesser known ways to monetize podcasts?

Michelle Jackson: It could be that you make money with your platform that has no direct impact on your audience. Like you’re doing things completely unrelated.

So in my case, I’ve worked with brands on a video series. It had nothing to do with my podcast. They just saw me in my space and thought I would be a good fit for the project. I got paid a lot of money, has nothing to do with my podcast. Super happy.

Other ways to make money podcasting include:

If you’re not willing to put yourself out there over and over again, it’s really difficult to attract the opportunities that you’re seeking. You have to be a part of the process. You can’t hope that it’s going to happen.

But the flip side is understanding what’s the amount that would really make a difference initially. Think about what your number is. Honestly, you probably need to start earning a heck of a lot less for your monetization goals to be impactful for you, and then you grow it from there.

Phasing Out Uncomfortable Income Streams

As you gain more experience, certain income streams may no longer be in alignment. Michelle recommends regularly assessing how you’re making money podcasting and ensure they align with your values, goals, and ethical considerations.

Be open to phasing out methods that no longer work for you and adapting your approach as you evolve.

During the episode, Michelle mentioned transitioning away from outdated monetization methods like freelance writing which no longer brings her joy. Ultimately, remain flexible and adaptable in your approach, embracing change as you grow.

Noteworthy Quotes by Michelle Jackson

  • “There’s a million one ways to make money, and like, 990,000 of them have nothing to do with CPMs.”
  • “Believe that you can even monetize.”
  • “You can absolutely attract money to your project.”
  • “There’s more than one way to get paid, and I’m living off of my money.”
  • “It takes a real small number of paying folks to change your personal life.”
  • “I don’t need to compete with you because out of 300 million Americans alone, I just need 1,000 people to be buying my stuff a month.”

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.

About Michelle Jackson

Michelle Jackson has established a name for herself as a podcast monetization coach, dedicated to supporting podcasters with smaller audiences in finding effective ways to make money from their shows.

She is the creator of the newsletter and platform Podcasters Getting Paid, providing useful information and different ways podcasters can monetize their skills and shows. Michelle also hosts her own highly successful, award-winning personal finance podcast, called ‘Michelle is Money Hungry.’

By offering her wealth of experience and knowledge, Michelle champions the idea of ethical monetization and supports others in sustaining their podcast projects while getting paid for their hard work.

Website: michelleismoneyhungry.com

Follow on Twitter: @MichLovesMoney

Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy:

What are your favorite ways to make money podcasting? How do you make money from podcasts?

How To Get Podcast Sponsorships With Debbie Arcangeles: 5 Steps To Work With Brands – Episode 1

Are you looking to make more money with your podcast by working with brands? If so, Debbie Arcangeles has firsthand experience to share with you on how to get podcast sponsorships. As the host of The Offbeat Life Podcast, Debbie quit her nine-to-five and became location independent by monetizing her podcast. In this podcast episode, Debbie shares six steps for Women of Color to work with brands effectively. Learn how to get the most out of your show and reach your goals by getting sponsors.  

Debbie Arcangeles was living the “American Dream” but felt something was missing. She started a podcast as a hobby, but when she was approached by a brand shortly after, Debbie knew she had to seize the opportunity. Debbie realized that with the right audience, she could turn her podcast into a business. She began working with brands and negotiating deals. Debbie now works with her clients to find the freedom she once sought, creating an income that works with their ideal location-independent lifestyle.

Listen to the podcast episode here.

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Support the podcast by joining us on Patreon or buying us a coffee.

In this podcast episode, we cover how to get podcast sponsorships:  

  • [3:04] How podcasting has changed since Debbie started in 2017.
  • [4:14] When Debbie knew her podcast had the potential to be more? 
  • [7:25] Why it’s not about having a large audience but the right audience.
  • [10:32] What brands are typically looking for when working with podcasters? 
  • [12:59] Is creating a media kit necessary? If so, what sort of details should you include?
  • [15:35] How to make our podcasts more attractive to brands? 
  • [27:28] How to know you are ready to invest in a podcast coach?

A special thank you to our partners and supporters.

How To Work With Brands & Land Podcast Sponsorships

How to get podcast sponsors – here are five steps to follow.

  • Understand your target audience.
  • Create content that answers the questions they have.
  • Create a media kit that highlights your brand and experience.
  • Reach out to brands that align with your message.
  • Negotiate and explain why you should work together.  
  • Helpful Tip: Be consistent and have patience.

1. Understand your audience

The first step for podcasting as a business is understanding your audience. Debbie started her podcast to explore the lifestyle of remote work and location independence. She did her research, spoke with inspiring people, and listened to other podcasts in order to understand her ideal audience.

To ensure your podcast is attractive to brands, understand the questions and topics your ideal audience is interested in. This can be done by researching online, joining Facebook groups, surveying listeners, and speaking with people who have the same goals and interests as your ideal audience.

Consistency is also important, as it takes time to build an audience and see results.

2. Create content that answers the questions listeners have.

Debbie says, “Your content either has to be helpful or it’s entertaining, or it can be both.”

To understand your audience, research to determine what kind of content they are looking for.

Ask these important questions:

1. What are their interests?

2. What kind of content do they want to hear about?

3. Which pieces of existing content are performing the best?

Reviewing your analytics will help you understand how well your content is performing and signals what learners are most interested in.

Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, you can create both helpful and entertaining content. This content should answer their questions and keep them engaged, coming back for more.

3. Create a podcast media kit.

Next create a podcast media kit that showcases your audience and the topics you cover, as brands will often request this.

Reviews from your listeners can be a great way to show potential sponsors the impact your podcast has had on your audience. Additionally, any experience you have with other companies will help demonstrate you are capable of working with big brands.

Other important things to include in a podcast media kit includes a short bio, who your audience is, downloads (total and average), experience working with other brands and testimonials if you have any. This will help potential sponsors determine if your audience is the right fit for their product or service.

Create beautifully designed podcast media kits with the 2023 Podcast Planner which includes a media kit checklist and Canva templates so you can spend less time designing and more time moving your business forward.

Tailor your media kit to each company

Creating a tailored media kit for each company is a great way to showcase your podcast and highlight the most important aspects of your show that is relevant to the brand.

A great way to do this is by highlighting what makes you and your show stand out. This could be the topics you cover, the style of presentation, or the production quality. You can also include any awards your podcast has won or any press coverage you have received.

Additionally, if you have any current partnerships, or if you have worked with any brands in the past, this is a great way to show you have a successful podcast.

4. Reach out to brands that align with your message.

Debbie says, “Make sure you’re reaching out to brands that really align with your message, and that’s also what they’re looking for.”

Once you have solidified your podcast content and finalized your media kit, it’s time to reach out to brands that are a good fit for your audience. Send them a pitch outlining the value you can bring to their brand.

By creating a tailored pitch for each company, you are showing you have put in the effort to understand their needs. This will help demonstrate to potential sponsors you are serious about your show and you have the necessary knowledge and skills to create a successful and engaging campaign.

It also shows you are willing to go the extra mile to make sure your podcast is successful and you are a reliable partner.

Don’t be discouraged if brands don’t respond right away, as it can take time to build relationships and get podcast sponsorships.

Demonstrate how your podcast can be beneficial to them. When reaching out, make sure to explain how your podcast and audience can help with their brand awareness and purchases, and spell out the ROI (return on investment).

Keep in mind that it may take some time to find the perfect fit, so don’t give up! As you continue to create content, your podcast will only get better and more attractive to brands.

5. Negotiate and explain why you should work together.

Negotiating with a brand and explaining why you should work together is an important step in setting up a successful podcast sponsorship. Once you’ve made contact with a brand and they’ve expressed interest in working with you, it’s time to start negotiating and explaining why you should work together. Be sure to speak to the benefits of your podcast for the brand, such as brand awareness and the potential for click-throughs (no guarantees, though).

Outline the scope of the sponsorship: how the brand will be featured and how long the campaign will last. This could include a podcast intro, episode mentions, or a 30-second ad spot. Outline your expectations, as well as any deadlines you may have. Setting a timeline will help ensure you and the brand are on the same page and understand what each party expects from the partnership.

By being upfront and professional throughout the negotiation process, you’ll be able to explain why you should work together and secure the podcast sponsorship.

By working with brands, Women of Color can create campaigns and initiatives that bring visibility to causes they care about and help brands spread their message.

To work with brands effectively, it is important to understand your target audience, reach out to brands that align with your message, create a tailored media kit that showcases your audience and content, and be consistent.

“I’m almost at five years and we’re still steadily growing.”

Believe in yourself and take action – you can achieve the similar success as Debbie Arcangeles, become location independent and monetize your podcast!

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.

About Debbie Arcangeles

Debbie Arcangeles is a podcast coach and the host of The Offbeat Life, a top rated travel podcast and website. Debbie is passionate about helping experienced podcasters scale their online businesses through profitable podcasting. She has partnered with brands like Johnson and Johnson, Visit Maine, and many other brands. As a podcast coach, Debbie helps experienced podcasters scale their online businesses through profitable podcasts.

Memorable Quotes

  • “It’s very important for you to not only just want something but for you to actually do something about it.”
  • “You could have a podcast that gets listened to by a million people every month, but if only a handful of them are the ideal customers for that brand, it doesn’t really mean anything to them, right?” – Debbie Arcangeles
  • “If you love it, just continue to do it. And at the end of the day, the money is great, but you have to focus on something that you also enjoy so that this could have longevity.” – Debbie Arcangeles
  • “Make sure that you’re reaching out to brands that really align with your message. If your podcast doesn’t make sense with that company, then they’re not going to want to work with you.” – Debbie Arcangeles
  • “I’m a big believer that action is so much more important than book learning.” – Debbie Arcangeles

Listen to this podcast episode to learn more about Debbie Arcangeles on The Thought Card Podcast!

Resources Mentioned

  • How to Create a Profitable Podcast – a guide that shares Debbie’s proven strategies that will help you start a profitable podcast right from the beginning.
  • 2023 Podcast Planner – this bundle includes a customizable Google Sheets podcast production planner and downloads tracker, various sponsorship pitch templates, a media kit checklist, and more.

What other tips do you have for landing podcast sponsorships?