Earlier this week, I saw this tweet from the Return Home (And Stay There) Twitter account. It made me stop, not only for the comment that the team behind the podcast made, but also the reason for it.
As you can see from the number of replies it received, as well as the likes and retweets, it caused quite the conversation.
There are some really good talking points in these replies, including this one from the Trolls of the Two Tonne Bridges podcast.
The point made about art being devalued was particularly pertinent, and one that I don’t feel a lot of podcasters necessarily remember, or believe.
Because making a podcast is art. If you look at what “the arts” as a medium covers, it includes fiction, drama, poetry, prose, oral storytelling, and more.
Which sums up podcasting pretty well, don’t you think? As for the second point of the tweet above, creativity is definitely a huge part of the podcasting process.
This discussion, and more like it online, are timely reminders why it’s important to support your favourite podcaster beyond listens and follows (if you can, obviously – everyone’s situation is different).
The Cost of Creating a Podcast
To the point the one-star reviewer of the Return Home podcast left, the main one is that he/she is pissed off because the series wasn’t continued after the first season.
That I can understand. As a listener/fan of different TV shows, podcasts, and movies, I’d be a little upset/sad if a new chapter/season didn’t come to fruition.
Heck, I remember finishing the original Shenmue on SEGA’s ill-fated Dreamcast, with the knowledge that the story wasn’t finished and there was no guarantee of a second installment.
So I understand the frustration. Anger, though? Not so much. As the host(s) of Return Home mentioned, they made the show for 5 years with zero budget.
As a podcaster who does everything myself, I know how much this can add up to. Consider everything an indie podcaster does just for a single episode:
- Guest booking/guest management
Based on national averages here in Canada (taken from Glassdoor), here’s what this would cost per hour:
- Researcher: $24
- Guest management: $21
- Recording: $19
- Editing: $26
- Publishing: $28
- Marketing: $41
Tallied up, that comes to $159 per hour. And this is just the median – depending on the level of expertise needed for each skill, it could be higher. But let’s stick with the median.
That’s almost $160 per hour spent on every episode – and that doesn’t take into account the other costs:
- Podcast hosting
- Recording and editing software
- Creative software
- Web hosting
- Email marketing costs
So, in the name of simplicity, let’s say all that comes to another $40 per hour, giving us a grand total of $200 per hour.
The average podcaster releases one episode per week. Some release multiple. By using the $200 per hour average (and attached costs), it’s the equivalent of a podcaster spending around $1,000 every month just to bring their show to listeners.
That’s no small chunk of change, given the majority of podcasters aren’t on mega-million dollar deals with podcasting platforms.
And this is the lower end of averaging out costs – trust me, the time and effort put into creating an individual episode goes beyond the financial cost of creation.
You have time away from doing stuff with your family or friends, or you have to create and edit late at night when everyone’s asleep, which then impacts your own health and well-being.
When podcasters say creating their show is a labour of love, they’re not kidding!
How You Can Support Your Favourite Podcaster
It can be easy to think that podcasters are successful, and making lots of money (or at least enough to make the creation of a podcast worthwhile).
After all, shows are being snapped up to platform exclusives for crazy amounts of money, or reports show that ad spend on podcasting is at an all-time high.
So it stands to reason that podcasters must be a pretty happy bunch, with sponsorships and ad partnerships for everyone.
The fact is, though, most indie podcasters make very little, or at least not anywhere near the amount listeners and the general public might think.
Podcast advertising still tends to sway towards large download numbers (at least if you want advertisers paying you a decent amount of ad revenue).
This is definitely changing, and dynamic content solutions like AMIE from Captivate are enabling enterprise-level solutions to empower smaller, independent podcasters to have multiple forms of monetization.
But it’s not going to happen overnight, which is where you, the listener/follower/community member can come in.
If you enjoy the show your favourite podcaster puts out, think of ways you can support.
- Share frequently and recommend their show to others
- Leave a review and share that when talking about the show
- Share the podcaster’s newsletter
- Promote their special offers and giveaways
These are just some of the non-financial ways you can support. If you have the means, and the podcaster offers it, support with a donation or membership (some podcasters have Patreon or Buy Me a Coffee pages, for example, with recurring membership options and benefits that go with them).
If they sell merchandise, buy some for you and a friend, and ask your friends and social media connections to do the same.
Podcasters put a lot of love, sweat, and tears into bringing new content to their listeners with every episode.
They can also be some of the most silent when it comes to letting listeners know how they can support them. I know, ironic, right, for people who like to talk a lot… 😉
It doesn’t take much to support your favourite podcaster, but it can make a huge difference when you do.
(And if you want to support this particular podcaster, you can do that right here – thanks!)