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Making Money with Internet Radio and Podcasting

A couple of years ago, my business partner and I decided to broadcast our own Internet radio show. We did this for several reasons.. First and foremost, we believe that quality content is king for organic search engine ranking, so anything we did to produce lots of first-rate material was going to help us accomplish this goal. Second, we needed to feed our weekly blogs and social nets. We felt this would distinguish us from the competition. Third, doing a weekly Internet radio show would force us to do a lot of research and help us stay on top of the World Wide Web 

In the beginning, we hadn’t considered making money from our shows, blogs or podcasts. We just wanted to produce high-quality, keyword-optimized content because that would help us get us page one of Google Search.  Fast forward to today: We have a strong Page One position on the top three search engines. We have a hit blog talk radio show and our weekly blog, which is connected to the show, receives more than ten thousand page views per month.  Best of all, we’ve been able to not only monetize the show, but also the blog and several websites as well. So in this article, I’m going to impart five important things businesses need to know in order to make money with Internet radio and podcasting.

How to Get Started

It starts with research.
If you want to replicate our success, here’s your starting point. First, research your keywords and phrases in AdWords. Choose a phrase that has at least 10,000 searches a month and at the same time, shows less competition. Next, you need to create your infrastructure. This includes creating a Landing Page for the show, a blog site for the show, and set up your top five social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ andYouTube).

Show Me the Money

BlogTalkRadio.com provides everything you need to create the show and podcast for as little as $39.95 a month. It even has online support for best practices and show tips. Next, commit to doing your research every week to create a high-quality article to publish as your blog, which you’ll also use as source material for your radio show. (FYI: We also committed to providing a weekly newsletter and sending out a weekly email blast to the connections we generate on an ongoing basis.) Understand it will take a little while for you to get proficient at producing the show. Continued practice will bring improvements, and you’ll be producing the content necessary to drive organic search position.

How to Get Found

Getting found is not as hard as some gurus would have you believe. It’s our contention that there are five key factors your content must have in order to have the power to drive organic position:
  1. It must be delivered consistently
  2. It must be high quality
  3. It must be relevant to the audience
  4. It must be timely 
  5. It must be useful
Content that’s delivered with these four factors will drive organic search position. In fact we feel so strongly about this that we’ve embraced these four tenants as our core marketing principles. Most people fail when they produce content irregularly, or provide mediocre quality, or provide content that’s irrelevant. Worse, they give up before they gain position. 


When we started our radio show/podcast efforts, we weren’t anywhere to be found organically in Google Search. But after three months, we started to show up on Page Four. By month five, we were showing up organically on Page One of Yahoo and Bing periodically, and Page Two of Google. By nine months we were constantly showing up organically on Page One of all three of these main search engines, although not at the top of the page. By the end of our first year, we’d reached the top of Page One organically on all three of the top search engines. Today we have multiple organic Page One positions and own the number one position for the phrase “working the web.” 

What made this happen was following our formula of producing an engaging weekly Internet radio show/podcast and, correspondingly, writing a high-quality, relevant, and timely blogs, which we’d then post to the top five social networks. This meant we were creating a minimum of seven coordinated and keyword-optimized content pieces week in and week out. We also coupled this with email blasts and newsletters. If you add up all the content created in a year, it was more than 800 pieces.

How to Build Your Audience

To gain a dedicated following, you must produce engaging content at least once per week. For “Working the Web to Win,” that means teamwork. Both Hector and I write, so we act as “blog buddies,” editing and proofing each other’s work. On top of that, we both do separate research for the show. In addition to editing each other’s blogs, we also run them past our editor (and fellow copywriter), Robert Kaye. We shoot for the best quality we can produce in the time frame we have.  

TopRank Social SEO Cycle
TopRank Social SEO Cycle (Photo credit: toprankonlinemarketing)
Always look for ways to improve your content and the quality of the show. Reach out to leaders in the industry and ask them for tips. Better yet, ask them to appear on your show as guests and interview them. Nothing can beef up the quality of a show (or a blog) like the presence or input from various industry leaders. We regularly contact leaders in the industries related to the topics we’re writing and speaking about.

Do your research; be cognizant of who the leaders are in your industry. Make sure you court and engage them to share your content. A good way to do this is to share their content first. Then after a while of doing this, send them your material and ask for their opinion. Also, find a dozen or so people who’ll agree to read, comment on and the repost your show and blogs to their social nets. Make sure you do the same for them. This is a very powerful method to create distribution. The trick to this marketing method is managing your team. If people drop out, add others.

Another item we’ve used with success was creating a video cast of our radio show that airs on YouTube a few days later. You can create one using Google Hangouts, or use a screen capture program of your choice to record the screens and voiceover. When we do this, we use two computers, one for the radio show and one for the Hangout. Again, this will become another weapon in your weekly content arsenal. 

However, quality and regularity aren’t enough. You have to push out invitations to followers daily. You have to announce and promote the show multiple times the day before it airs.  We also “push it out to the social nets a couple of times the day of the show (every Tuesday), and again, a couple of times after the show has aired.

Endless choices.
Make sure you’re committed to engaging in weekly marketing. If you stop doing this, your audience growth can slow or even stop. Even if you have a bad week do not give up. When we started, we had less than 200 followers after four months of hard work. However, by month six we had 2,000! You need to be committed to this project for a full year to see if you can make a go of it. Don't forget to add a call-to-action on your blog and the show. Ask readers and listeners to comment and share your material. You never know who will see it.

Publish press releases regularly. This is for the local media as well as regional, national and international outlets if your subject warrants such attention. And, don’t forget your email blasts and newsletters. Send your emails to opt-in subscribers only. Sending email blasts to non-subscribers is considered spamming, which could get your domain address blacklisted.

Monetize Your Efforts

There are many ways to achieve this. You can easily add AdWords network ads to your blog. You can also sell ad space on your blog site, your show’s website and it’s landing page. Blog Talk Radio also has an ad stream and a revenue sharing mechanism you can use. However, this is predicated on having a big enough following that requires generating at least 1,000 page views a month. For example, our radio show has received as many as 30,000 downloads in one week, and our blog receives around 2,500 page views a week. We now have a large enough aggregate following across our seven Twitter accounts (over 50,000 followers) and another 10,000 if you include LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. Granted, we started with zero just like everybody else. It just goes to show what sticking to your commitment can make happen.

Cash
Cash (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
The best way to make money from your efforts is to eliminate the middle man and sell your ads directly. We sell banner space on all our sites and we provide sponsor mentions during the show. Furthermore, we support our sponsors with promo posts across our social networks as well as providing them with testimonials. As a rule, you’ll make more money by going directly to the sponsors than by using Google’s or Yahoo’s ad networks. We’ve found that bundling banner ads with sponsor mentions, along with social media and email blasts, are much easier to sell than just banner ads by themselves. Never underestimate the power of adding more value to the proposal. The more value you can show the sponsor, the more likely they’ll spend money with you. Having lots of page views (i.e., 2,500 a week) and followers (10,000+) is much more valuable than providing nebulous numbers or empty promises. Sponsors are looking for value and ROI, even if they say they’re only looking to brand themselves. 

In short, if you are willing to make the commitment to producing weekly content, online radio shows could be music to your ears.

You can listen to our radio show by going to http://blogtalkradio.com/workingthewebtowin




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