by Latasha James
Podcasting is incredibly rewarding. It can bring you a passionate community of listeners, growth of skills that you never knew you had, and a huge sense of accomplishment.
But at the end of the day, we all have to make money.
And while producing a podcast doesn’t have to break the bank, it does take some capital to get going.
You’ll need a microphone, a quiet place to record, web hosting, and an editing software or resource to start. To offset this expense, many podcasters choose to monetize their shows through sponsorships, which can be wonderful… but often hard to secure.
And while most audiences are understanding, sponsorships can sometimes come across as pushy, desperate, or phony.
Personally, I decided early on that I wouldn’t immediately seek out sponsors for The Freelance Friday Podcast, mainly because I knew that as a new podcaster, building trust with my audience would be key in those first few months. I also knew that creative control was important to me, and I didn’t want to insert ads into my content just for the sake of making a bit of extra cash.
So in lieu of ads, I turned to promoting my own content… and it worked.
Here’s how I found success selling on my podcast without selling out.
Tips for Selling Your Own Products on Your Podcast
Give a Little First
Before mentioning one of my e-courses, before introducing my 1:1 coaching program, and before even asking for an Apple Podcasts review, I gave away a lot.
Many experts preach to give your best stuff away for free, and I’d have to say that I agree.
I hear over and over again from my listeners that the show has helped them secure their first freelance client, or that it’s given them the courage to write out their first business plan. Now, I can’t take full credit of course (my listeners are incredibly talented, entrepreneurial people!) … but that initial success that they’ve seen does help them believe in me.
It has also opened the door for building my email list, which has acted as a marketing and sales tool for bigger projects that just wouldn’t be as successful if I had to go in blind.
Don’t Overwhelm Your Audience
There are so many different ways that one could work with me.
Need 1:1 business help? There’s a form for that.
Want to launch a podcast and hire me as your editor? Email me. Want self-paced social media management training? Click on a link.
And frankly, that many hard sells is off-putting.
Sticking to one main call-to-action (CTA) per episode has been my main recipe for success. That means that I’m only plugging my editing services if I’m publishing an episode relevant to current or future podcasters, I’m only offering coaching services during episodes about becoming a freelance social media manager, and so on and so forth.
It also means that I’m keeping things simple for my listeners who are listening while driving to their day job, doing laundry, or working out at the gym.
Podcast listeners are often distracted, so keep links short and easy to remember.
I also recommend pointing to your main CTA a few times throughout the episode — usually once at the beginning, and again at the end.
Want your listeners to feel appreciated?
Then appreciate them.
I have an ongoing 20% off coupon code that can be used for my online courses, available exclusively to my listeners. It doesn’t expire, and it is referenced in nearly every episode. It’s there for those that tune in… and more importantly, those that actually listen until the end when it’s mentioned. In other words, it’s there for the people that support me the most.
I also offer my listeners first access to things like coaching programs, event ticket sales, and give out free advice every single day in my Facebook group, Money Making Micro-Influencer, which is an offshoot of the show.
Doing these things strengthens the bond between my listeners and I by making my services more accessible and affordable for them. It also rewards loyalty and shows them that I don’t just care about their cash or download numbers. I care about them as individuals.
Provide Social Proof
What’s the first thing you do when you’re contemplating a big purchase?
If you’re anything like me, you scour the reviews on Amazon before committing.
The same can be said for podcast listeners, or any purchaser of a digital product. And while there’s no mega-marketplace for podcast creators (yet), it’s up to you to showcase the social proof that encourages your listeners to convert.
Traditional testimonials on your website are great, but podcasts allow you to take things up a notch. Consider asking some of your clients to record a short audio message that you can play in your intro. Or maybe you can interview one of them on your show. And if you don’t have any testimonials yet, just remember that data is king. Any compelling stats or case studies that you can point to can really move the needle for you.
Make It Optional
(Most) podcasts are free.
… And I believe they should stay that way.
Don’t get so hung up on pushing product that you frustrate (and ultimately lose) your audience. It’s tough to hear, but growing a podcast takes time. And growing a high-converting podcast sometimes takes a little longer. Referencing your additional offerings on your show is great, but my recommendation is to focus first on creating good content above everything else.
The rest will follow.
- Stick to one main call-to-action per episode.
- Point to your main call-to-action a few times throughout the episode – once at the beginning and again at the end.
- Reward those who listen to your show (coupons, first access to things like coaching programs and event ticket sales).
Have a podcasting tip that you would like to share, here’s how to contribute!
Latasha James is passionate about freelancing and social media, and has been a social media manager for the better part of a decade. She is the creator and host of The Freelance Friday Podcast and the founder of James + Park, a social media and creative agency. Latasha is deeply entrenched in all forms of new media, from managing brand relationships with thousands of influencers to creating content for her 18,000+ subscribers on YouTube, to helping businesses and new creators launch podcasts of their own.
Her mission is to empower others through online trainings, custom coaching packages, and high-value, actionable content. She’s passionate about community engagement, education, and gender and racial parity – and believes that freelancing is a way to break free from the systems that so often, and unfairly, hold people back.