Business Overview


A podcasting business provides entertainment by uploading audio files online for listeners to subscribe to. Normally listened to over a smartphone app, a podcast generates money for the creator via advertisements. Listeners can also pay to get access to ongoing podcasts, bonus material, and extra episodes.

Who is this business right for?

The podcasting business is perfect for those who enjoy public entertainment. Podcast creators can join a slew of commercial and public networks, connecting with listeners, celebrities, and industry specialists. A good podcast business owner will have a niche subject to discuss, be tech-savvy, and understand modern entertainment.

A good podcast host can also focus on being clear, not clever. Those with pre-existing businesses often make great podcast hosts. They’re also skilled with artwork, news gathering, and equipment management. On every level, a podcast host needs to be a capable interviewer. Those who’re great at networking are often great at hosting podcasts.

What happens during a typical day at a podcasting business?

 

At the start of every podcaster’s day, they plan their content. A podcast’s popularity is spawned by its relevance, uniqueness, and attention to detail. For this reason, it’s mostly a creative endeavor. A podcaster needs to conduct research, plan their episodes and commit them to paper.

A podcaster usually spends time narrowing their topics, too, finding their best niche. More time is spent handling the podcasting software, microphone, headset, portable XLR recorder, audio interface, and computer. Audio is recorded, edited, and exported. During this time, a podcaster normally edits their content to assure accuracy, coherence, and a high entertainment factor.

A podcaster’s time can also be spent dividing podcasts into different chapters, finding good music and listening to fan feedback. Often, a podcaster will finish their day by promoting themselves on social media.

What is the target market?

A podcaster’s target market is large. Because a podcast can be about anything, it’s up to the podcaster to determine their niche. In general, however, a podcaster’s market is anyone who listens to podcasts. People who drive often, go for walks, or simply download smartphone podcasts. Listeners who are prone to e-commerce purchases are particularly lucrative.

How does a podcasting business make money?

A podcaster can make money in several ways. First, they can have sponsors. Every time a sponsor is used, a podcaster is paid. A podcaster can also ask for donations. Some podcasters give away free episodes, charging listeners for other episodes. Others, meanwhile, might offer free partial shows while offering entire shows for a fee. Social media advertisement can also generate money, as can a podcast’s website.

Successful podcasters often build an entire brand around their services, becoming product providers and even consultants. If a podcaster is well-connected in the mobile app world, they might sell an iPhone app alongside their podcast.

What is the growth potential for a podcasting business?

A podcast can become pretty popular. If the podcaster extends their episodes across Stitcher, iTunes and BlueBrry, they can catch a large audience. A successful podcaster should, however, have a plan to scale effectively in the online world. Because a podcasting business primarily relies on e-Commerce, the podcast’s owner will need to make sure their buying portals are organized. Eventually, a podcast’s owner can do live events. If this is the case, the live events will be hosted in large cities.

Getting Started


What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful podcasting business?

As a podcast owner, an individual should be able to build their brand, sell their services and promote an iPhone app. For this reason, they should be knowledgeable about marketing, management, and promotion.

A podcast owner should similarly be good at integrating sponsorship with a show’s different editorials. Shows should be seamless, and they should have exciting, memorable content. On every level, a podcast owner should be able to expand their audience, build a deep connection with visitors, and promote themselves. As a general rule, podcast episodes should have a “low barrier to entry.” They should be easily accessible and relevant.

What are the costs involved in opening a podcasting business?

A podcast owner will need to purchase a portable XLR recorder, which costs between $100 and $500. An audio interface, meanwhile, will cost between $30 and $300. A basic laptop will be needed, too, which will cost about $700. Good audio editing software can be purchased for as little as $300. Publishing software is available for about $20. All in all, basic start-up costs amount to a little under $1,000 if the business is being start as a low-budget one.

What are the steps to start a podcasting business?

Once you're ready to start your podcasting business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:

  1. Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
  2. Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your podcasting business is sued.
  3. Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
  4. Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your podcasting business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
  5. Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
  6. Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
  7. Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
  8. Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
  9. Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Where can I find a business mentor?

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Recommended: Fizzle.co offers video courses and a supportive online community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Try one month membership for for free.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a podcasting business?

Narrow your podcast’s topics. Find a niche, and stick to it. Similar to blogs, podcasts need to be relevant while targeting specific audiences. A lot of broad topics are already covered, so niche topics can make a lot of money.

It’s also a good idea to invite podcast guests. These guests can garner a lot of exposure, and bigger names can promote your podcast across the industry. To get podcast guests, make a list of industry leaders. Then, prepare an email list. Set up some interviews, and be sure to compensate any guests for their time.

Growing Your Business


How to promote & market a podcasting business

Be recognizable on a small scale. By representing your podcast’s unique value, you’ll be able to promote it effectively. As for marketing, contact well-known podcast owners. Ask them to promote your podcast on their podcast, and offer to do the same in return. A lot of successful podcast owners promote one another. Different than radio stations, podcasts rely on direct word-of-mouth promotion, rather than physical advertisements. Where advertisements are considered, social media ads tend to work.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

How to keep customers coming back

Attract customers by having content which crosses into other podcasts. Retain customers by offering rewards programs, membership discounts and—of course—great content. Your podcast should constantly be updated. It should also feature newsworthy material.

How and when to build a team

A podcast can be operated alone, but having a team of two to three others can assure consistency and adaptability. To save money, operate a podcast alone for the first year. Consider adding a partner as you become established.

Legal Considerations


State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a podcasting business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, check out our informative guide, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Trademark & Copyright Protection

If you are developing a unique product, concept, brand, or design, it is prudent to protect your rights by registering for the appropriate trademarks and copyrights.

Learn more about trademark and copyright protection

The nature of legal requirements in distance education is ever changing, especially in regards to copyright laws. Here is a frequently updated resource, which can help keep you aware of the legal requirements.

Sublicensing

Love a product or idea owned by another company or individual? You can contact the rights owner or manufacturer and negotiate a sublicense to use the product or idea under a royalty or fixed fee arrangement. It is never smart to use content without authorization from the rights holder as this could have serious legal ramifications for your business.

Reduce Personal Liability

Structuring your business as a limited liability company (LLC) ensures your personal assets are protected in the event your business is sued.

What is an LLC?

Form an LLC in 5 easy steps

Earning Potential


How much can you charge customers?

Podcast memberships are usually between $1.99 and $9.99 per month. If you’re selling an app, consider pricing it at about 99 cents for a download.

What are the ongoing expenses for a podcasting business?

Technology maintenance and upgrades are inexpensive; normally, they’re about $500 per year. Much of your ongoing expenses will be directed towards information gathering and real-life experiences, which can include variable travel costs.

How much profit can a podcasting business make?

A highly successful podcast can make as much as $50,000 per episode. Small podcasts, however, make as little as $2,000 per year. Typically, average podcast owners make about $12,000 per year as a side job. Expect to make about $30,000 as a moderately successful podcaster.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Start out with general knowledge, even in your niche. As you develop an audience, become more specific. The more specific your podcast is, the more attention you’ll attract.

Next Steps

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