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How to start a podcast and make money from it

Gaming podcaster veteran André Peschke from The Pod shares his expertise on how to start and survive in the podcast market.

André Peschke is founder of The Pod (Opens in a new window) gaming podcast, which attracts over 4500 members, earning 27,670 euros a month. 

The Pod clearly know what they are doing in the podcasting game. André shares his 3 top tips for podcasters still on the starting blocks.

1. Find your podcast niche

This is important to generate interest, according to André. So before you start, consider what specific topic you are focusing on.

Pick a niche where a) you know your way around and b) there isn’t too much competition. Expertise is what counts, and expertise can mean a very high level of specialisation, writes André. For example, there are a lot of computer games that even he, a gaming expert, wouldn’t be comfortable discussing because he doesn’t have the necessary knowledge.

Once you have found your niche, make it your own. Then the people who are interested in this topic will be happy to listen to you. One point that  André emphasises: “Stick to what you know best — even in the long run:

“Concentrate  fully on your niche. Don’t think that you can grow your reach by  producing more and more new topics or media formats. Our original idea  was to create an audio magazine for computer game lovers, and that’s  what we’re still concentrating on today.”

2. Enhance your podcast recording quality

If the podcast recording is noisy, the voices are muffled and the volume fluctuates, it won’t be an enjoyable listening experience. You should not only pay attention to the quality of your recording, but also the quality of your podcast in general.

This is not something you can resolve overnight. It’s something that takes work. But there are many ways to improve the quality, André writes. A few tips he mentions:

  • express your ideas more concisely (e.g. try to make your point with as few words as possible)

  • improve your sound quality

  • learn how to articulate yourself better

  • invite more and more interesting guests

  • choose topics that are interesting to your listeners

  • improve the structure of your podcast

  • see what your competition is doing, and improve on it

  • play to your strengths: If you’re not funny, don’t try to outdo the comedy podcasts. Maybe you are better at research, or something else.

Podcast themes and quality are key factors in determining whether your listeners will enjoy your podcasts and keep coming back:

“You find yourself with your podcast in an almost crowded market. So you need to focus all the more on quality and originality.”

With  André’s podcast The Pod, it was exactly as he describes. He and his  colleagues were lucky to have started their podcast at a good time:

“There  was quite a high demand for what we were doing. We also had little competition. Hardly anyone could keep up with our quality. We were lucky  too, because we started when the market was big enough to make money,  but not as crowded as it is now. That’s why we were successful. Not  because we had such clever growth strategies — we just had the right  product at the right time, and there were enough people who wanted it.”

Besides setting the right topic and working on the quality of your output,  there is a third important point: You need your podcast to be as easy to find as possible.

3. Offer free content and increase your podcast visibility

Few people will pay for your content if they haven’t gotten at least a  small sample beforehand. André writes in reply to community member  Volker, who asks how he can get paying members for his project:

“You  should offer easy access to a free sample of your content. I would like  to be able to listen to your podcast immediately without having to  register somewhere beforehand, so that I can determine whether your  content is worth subscribing to.”

According to André, offering a podcast sample is essential to being discovered and listened to, and eventually to building up your reach.

To make your podcast easier to find, you also need to be visible to your target group in general. You need to make sure that your podcast is listed in several podcatchers.  It is not enough, writes André, to only be available on Spotify: “You should at least be listed on iTunes as well. It can also help to upload  your episodes to Youtube.”

According to André, this can also help you to be seen by the right people:

“What  you need are “touchpoints”. Places where people can discover your  offer. In other words, free content; your own website; YouTube videos in  which you present your know-how; the same on Facebook, etc. Having your  own website or forum is important — like Discord. Do not rely on  Facebook — the algorithm there does not care about what is good for you.  Besides, Facebook is not a good place for holding discussions.”

Podcast guest appearances and even more tips to gain reach

For podcast newcomers, three things count above all else: the topic, the quality, and your visibility. Of course, there are still many other promising methods for winning over more listeners. André says one of  these are guest appearances:

“When  it comes to growth strategies that don’t cost anything, I can only say:  Your best chance is networking with other podcasters. Invite people to  your podcast or appear as a guest on other podcasts. It’s a win-win  situation, it costs nothing and you can reach an audience that already  knows what podcasts are and how to access them (something that can’t  always be assumed)”.

Read more about how The Pod scored so many members in this interview.  (Opens in a new window)

Topic Growth & Monetisation