Podcasting expectations for beginners

When I first started podcasting, I thought that I was going to hit the jackpot with one of these super popular shows and rake in thousands of dollars of sponsorship advertising.

Haha, it hasn’t happened (yet). But, I am 100% glad that I started podcasting.

I want to set some expectations if you’re a beginner and new to podcasting. I’ll be talking about downloads, progress, and monetization. This post won’t be too long.

Let’s get started!

1. How many downloads can you expect?

This is exactly what I was wondering seconds before I hit the launch button and published my podcast into the iTunes marketplace.

According to Rob Walch, VP of podcaster relations at Libsyn and the School of Podcasting blog,

“In September of 2013 a podcast episode that has been live approximately 30 days averages 141 downloads. If you have over 3400 downloads you are in the top 10%. If you have over 9000 downloads you are in the top 5%. Lastly, if you have over 50,000 downloads per episode (again after having it live for 30 days) you are in the top 1% (this would be the Marc Maron, Adam Corrola, Jay Mohr, etc).”

According to this quote and other research I’ve done online, the average podcaster is getting 150-200 downloads per episode in the span of 30 days.

I currently have 81 episodes of my show out.

I’m averaging between 300-400 downloads for my episodes, with my highest at 800 downloads.

2. How much income can you expect?

There are a lot of ways that you can make money from your podcast. Right now, I’m mainly doing sponsorships and driving traffic to my own products and services.

Based on sponsorships, you can charge $25-35/1,000 downloads for one spot on your podcast. You can include a spot at the beginning and middle. Some podcasters will also have sponsorships at the end.

Considering that the average podcaster is getting 150 downloads per episode, you could be making about $8 for each show. If you were to release 5 shows per week, that would be about $160/month. By the way, when I increased my podcasting to twice per week, I saw a huge jump in downloads.

If you’re doing 1,000 downloads per episode, making $50 per episode, and doing a 5 day a week podcast, you’d be seeing a grand total of $1,000 per month from sponsorship income.

As you can see, the sponsorship monetization route is tricky if you’re going with the standard figures. The gains, like with most marketplaces, go to the top 10% of the performers. If you’re going to be using the podcast to promote your own services and products, then it really comes down to conversions from the audio to a website or email list.

3. How much equipment do you really need?

Personally, I just use the blue yeti microphone, a box that I made with soundproof material, Skype, ecamm call recorder, and my laptop.

my podcast set up

In total, that’s maybe $200 worth of equipment at the very most (not counting the laptop obviously).

You can get started for pretty cheap. In my experience, the real difference between podcasters actually comes with the strength of their voice, their interviewing skills, and the topics they choose to cover or talk about.

Feel free to ask any more questions by leaving a comment below!