By Lisa Smith Molinari
The theme for this month’s NSNC Annual Conference – “Live Free and Write – But Not for Free” – was no afterthought. We all know that column writing is a craft, not a job; a form of art, not a task; a manifestation of expression, not a business. However, with bills to pay and mouths to feed, we have to watch our bottom lines.
When it comes to stock portfolios, financial advisors tell us to “diversify” – a tip that works for columnists, too. Many columnists publish books, accept paid speaking engagements, or host ads on their blogs to supplement incomes.
But there’s another form of media that is allowing writers to expand their brands and create digital products that earn money – podcasting .
Podcasting is essentially creating digital audio files with the use of a microphone, computer or smartphone, and making them available on the Internet for downloading. Anyone with basic audio recording tools can post a podcast in the iTunes library. Topics run the gamut from politics to children’s literature to comedy to crime, but all experts agree that content drives profitability.
On Friday, June 9th at the Manchester, New Hampshire Downtown Radisson, podcasting expert and CEO of Amplifi Media, Steven Goldstein, will tell NSNC’s Annual Conference attendees about how columnists and bloggers can create quality podcasts and turn a tidy profit.
“Podcasts are now listened to by 67 million people each month. That’s nearly 25% of the population,” Goldstein explains. He says that the smartphone is becoming the new radio for millennials aged 18 to 34 who are, by far, the fastest-growing segment of the podcasting market.
“There are over 300,000 podcasts, and they run the gamut from woodworking to politics. The top podcasts – which can draw hundreds of thousands of downloads – attract advertisers on a CMP, or cost-per-thousand model. Smaller podcasts, and most are smaller, are monetized in a variety of ways.” Goldstein will tell us how a typical podcast is monetized during his session at #NSNC17.
NSNC Vice President Mike Morin will also be on hand to tell us how he supplemented his income by producing a series of 55 podcasts called “Reset: 40 is the New Happy,” interviewing people who left corporate jobs in midlife to begin businesses that brought them happiness.
“A podcast is an inexpensive way to let your opinions be heard, complete with inflection and personality,” Morin says.
“Content is king,” he reminds us. “If you have a beautifully produced program with weak content, you’re wasting your time. Find a focused topic and create thoughtful programs about it. You can always add bells and whistles (production value) as your podcast gains traction.”
Goldstein says that while there is no template for podcasting format, length, and frequency, he prefers quality content in short, frequent snippets – about a half hour or less, minimum once per week.
“People are busy,” Goldstein quips.
This short, weekly format is something with which columnists and bloggers are familiar. However, Goldstein warns against simply reading columns or blog posts. “Shoving a mic in front of a columnist is likely to result in a mediocre listening experience. But compelling and interesting content reimagined for audio can do extremely well.”
As technology advances, podcasts are becoming easier to search and download, by young people who are increasingly using the Internet for information and entertainment. “The friction to listen becomes less and less, so the recipe is there for podcasting to grow,” says Goldstein.
“Nobody channel-surfs anymore. We live in an on-demand world. And that’s podcasting’s home turf.”
There’s still time to register for NSNC’s Annual Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 8-11, 2017. See the Conference Schedule for details.