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11 Reasons Why You’re Struggling to Monetize Your Podcast

Beth Worthy
Jul 26, 2018

It's hard to make money on your podcast if you're failing to attract advertisers.

Many individuals and businesses try their hand at podcasting as a marketing strategy. However, under the excited voices behind the microphone lies a dark truth: the revenue is just not there.

If you have been struggling to monetize your podcast, you are probably making mistakes that cost you the attention of advertisers.Here’s where you might be fumbling:

1. Targeting the Wrong Audience

If you want to attract advertisers, you need to attract the right audience. This is the audience that you want to reach, which will also benefit the advertisers. For example, if you are hosting a podcast about financial management, tailor your content around finances to attract the right audience, then obtain advertisers that provide products or services pertaining to finance.

2. Poor Sound Quality

The last thing you want is for listeners to think that you’re recording your podcast in your basement with some archaic recording instrument. Invest in a good microphone such as the Yeti and a sound filter to make your voice sound crisp and clear.

3. Non-Defined Niche

A jack of all trades is a master of none. If this week you are talking about college football and the next week you are talking about small business marketing, good luck building an audience of engaged listeners. Define your niche so that your audience know you as the go-to resource for whatever you will be covering.

4. Poor Marketing of Your Podcast

You must get the word out about your content if you want people to listen. Start by letting all your business contacts know about your podcast. If you have built a following on social media, leverage the audience to give your podcast the initial boost it needs.

5. Poor Quality Content

Just like a website, produce content that your target audience would find valuable. The content should address the subjects that your audience is interested in.

6. Lengthy Episodes

It’s a podcast, not an audio-book. Time is precious, which is why most people listen to podcasts when driving, jogging or during their work break. Thus, you have just about 10 to 30 minutes to present your information. Avoid making long podcasts that stretch over an hour.

7. Not Actively Seeking Advertisers

Yes, you have a great podcast and lots of listeners. But do the advertisers know? You should actively search for advertisers for your podcast. Sometimes, you will get approached by advertisers with offers but most of the time, you will have to do the outreaching by yourself.

8. Not Transcribing Your Podcast

One mistake most podcasters make is not transcribing their podcasts. Optimization of your podcast is important for growing it and increasing your audience. More written content on your website means more search engines will pick it up and index. If you get every episode of your podcast transcribed, it will not only improve your website’s rankings, but also make you more discoverable.

Providing a transcript with your podcast will give your listeners the option to read, even as they listen. If someone is distracted briefly while listening, they can always refer to the transcript to catch up; this is a lot easier than finding a certain point in the audio track.

Transcriptions will also help you with other content marketing initiatives. After multiple episodes are made and released, you will have a huge wealth of knowledge built up that can be used to create courses, blog posts, e-books or a published book.

9. Trying to Do Everything Alone

Many people, rather unwittingly, shut themselves off from the rest of the people and try to do things all alone. We often tend to forget how important relationships can be. Within a related niche, partnerships and collaboration are often very useful for generating quality leads and more engagement.

10. Not Actively Collecting Leads

Advertisers will only want to give you money to advertise their products if you have an engaged audience. One of the ways of building an engaged audience base is by collecting leads of your podcast listeners. Put a form on your podcast page to encourage listeners to subscribe for new content.

11. Ignoring Email Marketing

Some podcasters either ignore or forget about email marketing as a monetization strategy. It happens to be one of the most effective monetizing strategies which you can use online. The email list that you have will always remain a valuable asset that can’t be taken away, while you will also have full control over it. [Editor’s note: Looking for an email marketing solution? Check out our recommendations.]


It’s quite obvious for someone to form an opinion that building an audience is equal to building a monetary value for your podcast. The problem is that it’s not that simple, because money doesn’t just come easily for every thousand downloads you get. You have to properly strategize in order to monetize.

Image Credit:

Prince of Love/Shutterstock

Beth Worthy
Beth Worthy is the President of GMR Transcription Services (GMRT), overseeing client relations, human resources and new business development to accomplish the company's mission and goals. She has enjoyed success at GMR for almost six years now and has helped both companies grow. Within two years of Beth managing GMR Transcription, it had doubled in sales and was named one of the OC Business Journal’s fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she likes spending time with her husband and two kids.