How to Produce Revenue-Generating Association Podcasts

New reports show that podcasting is steadily growing in popularity, especially among millennial consumers. Here’s how associations can make use of podcasting—and bring in some nondues revenue dollars in the process.

When I want to get my mind off a tiresome task—like jogging on the treadmill or riding the metro—and into a more interesting, uplifting, or even hilarious place, I tap a podcast.

And I’m not alone, according to a survey from Edison Research [PDF], a growing minority of Americans are listening to podcasts. In 2016, 21 percent of Americans ages 12 and older listened to a podcast in the past month—this is up from 12 percent in 2013.

Why should associations care?

Podcasts are a potential source of nondues revenue. I subscribe to This American Life, so every week I hear a plug for Squarespace, “the all-in-one platform that makes it easy to create a website, a portfolio, or online store.” I’ve almost got that tagline memorized. When I listen in on Here’s the Thing, I hear from Alec Baldwin, the show’s host about Blue Apron—a company “which delivers farm-fresh, perfectly portioned ingredients and step-by-step recipes so you can make incredible meals at home.”

My point is that podcasting promos are memorable, and recent research released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, shows that 65 percent of listeners are more likely to buy the advertised product after hearing about it on a podcast. That’s good news for advertisers looking for ROI and good news for associations looking to cultivate another crop of nondues revenue. Still, most major advertisers might not immediately jump on direct sponsorship opportunities.

Associations “have to get a little creative with it since podcasting is kind of an unknown for advertising,” says Craig Sorrell, marketing manager at Results Direct. “Now they’re starting to see, ‘Wait, people are really listening.’”

Still, Sorrell recommends that associations go ahead and seek out those direct sponsorships, even if they’re just starting a podcast or don’t have data on how many are listening in. “Luckily with associations, they already have what would be assumed their guaranteed audience,” Sorrell says. “They can say, ‘Hey, we’re just starting out, but we have 10,000 members. This is something for our members.’”

If associations are having a tough time finding direct sponsors for their podcasts, they can go about it indirectly. Sorrell recommends that if they already have advertising on their website, in their magazine, or at the annual conference, that the association go to these advertisers and ask if they’d like to add a mention on the podcast to their advertising package for an additional amount.

Affiliate marketing is another way to bring in some revenue on association podcasting. With a quick mention about a certain product and a special code, associations will make a percentage of the sale every time one of their listeners buys the product with the special code.

Podcasts are relatively cheap and easy to produce. Because there’s not a lot of overhead costs associated with producing podcasts, they have the potential for acting as a great stream of nondues revenue for associations.

According to Sorrell, associations can get a podcast started with a mixer, a USB mic, and podcasting software for as little as $200. Since sound quality is super important, investing in a good mic is paramount to the success of your podcast.

When it comes to the time expenditure, Sorrell estimates that a weekly 30-minute podcast will take beginners about 45 minutes to record and an hour to edit. Planning out the shows and creating an outline of the discussions should take upwards of an hour a month.

Plus, podcasts might even help reach millennials. Those previously mentioned stats from Edison Research [PDF] also show that 38 percent of millennials listen to podcasts—which is nearly double the national average. If you’re wanting to market your association to the largest and increasingly influential population segment, podcasting might be a good way to do it.

Has your association ventured into podcasting? Please share your experiences in the comments below.



Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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