The Results of the Podcast Survey (remember that?)

14 Sep 2011

podcast_survey_results

OK… so, a while back I did a little survey to learn more about your thoughts on how I might get the CraftyPod podcast going again - this time sustainably. About 300 of you responded (thank you!), and I promised to report back on the results. So here we go.

(This post got a little longer than I expected, but in the interest of transparency I'm leaving everything in. Pack a snack, okay?)

podcast_survey_1

So, how do we pay for this thing?

As you can see, among the monetization options I suggested, the top two vote-getters were Kickstarter campaigns and paying a little for each download. I was glad to see this, because these were my top two choices as well.

I also had an open-answer space in the survey where people could offer other suggestions, and I heard a lot of interesting stuff there. Quite a few people suggested sponsorships, advertising, and related forms of selling audience exposure. Here's the thing, though: I don't think sponsorships are the best option for me. Advertising is a great monetization option for many bloggers, but in the context of this podcast, not so much. Here's why:

  • If I create an ad program for the show, I have to actively sell and administer it. This means I have to essentially create a whole extra part-time job for myself in order to help pay for the podcast. It's just too big a time cost. Plus, I'm no ad salesperson and I don't enjoy that activity – in the extreme.

 

  • The minute I start selling ad space, I start having to tailor what I say to current or potential sponsors. I think one of the show's strengths is that I'm able to say what I want to say.

 

  • Consider this: many of us listen to podcasts while we're doing other things, and often, away from our computers. This means that, if I speak a sponsor message in a podcast, you have to remember that there was a sponsor, remember their name or URL, and remember to check them out the next time you're at your computer. That's a lot of remembering in an information-dense world! If I were to sell ad space on my podcast, I'd need to be sure I could deliver the paying sponsor all the consumer attention they were paying for. And I honestly don't think that's a promise I can make in this case.

My new EBook! pilot_ad_class kanzashi_in_bloom_cvr_600

Why not use the podcast to sell other stuff?

There were also some suggestions that I keep the podcast free and then use it to sell kits, ebooks, print books, classes, etc.

What's interesting about suggestions like these is this: if I need to make a podcast, and then make a whole other product to sell with the podcast, I'm effectively doubling or tripling the amount of time I invest in making the podcast sustainable. I appreciate these suggestions, and I know that this is how some podcasters do it, but honestly, the model just doesn't work for me. To make that model cost-effective, I'd also have to inject a note of hard-sell into every podcast, which I wouldn't enjoy (and I suspect you wouldn't either).

The solution I'm going with is…

Honestly, what seems simplest and cleanest to me is to make good shows and ask a small, fair price for them. I'm looking into a distribution service that would make individual shows available for 99 cents via my site as well as iTunes and Amazon. It's still not the rosiest financial picture – thanks to fees, I stand to keep only about 45 cents of each download. But it's better than nothing, and it'll make it much easier for you to get downloads.

The original 126 episodes, by the way, will always be free and you can enjoy those anytime.

Cash
Image by Bashed, via Flickr

What about paying your guests, since you're charging for the show now?

I suspect that some of you will have this question, and it's a fair one. After crunching the numbers, here's what I come to:

I have a baseline income I'll need to make on each show in order to cover my production time, distributor fees and administration. That amount requires about 400 download sales. (Ack! Those distributor fees!) So, if a show reaches more than 450 downloads, then I'll pay the featured guest $50.00. Shows with multiple guests may need a different structure since there's much more production involved. I don't know the exact answer there yet.

You know, OTHER podcasters don't ask for money!

A few people told me they'd rather not pay for a podcast at all, since there are so many free ones out there. I get it, and no hard feelings. I do think that many podcasts are currently free because it's not at all easy to monetize a podcast. And that's too bad, because every free podcast we enjoy took someone quite a bit of time to produce. I'd really like to see more podcasters being paid something for their efforts. But we've talked about all this before.

I may put up a free show from time to time as a thank-you, though – as with all things, that will depend on my time resources and ability to make rent that month. :-)

podcast_survey_2

What's the new show about?

Okay, moving on to the content of the podcast. Interestingly, you guys have widespread interests there, and this is just one more reason why I dig you. I think it makes sense to stick with the interview format I've been using, and do a broader scope that includes some business stuff and some explorations of creativity and its role in our lives. There were a lot of votes for more group interviews, so I'll give that some thought as well.

Your responses indicate that you'd like a show that's between 20 and 40 minutes long, delivered every other week. No problem! (Though if the distributor fees are too much, I might go monthly instead. We'll see how that goes.)

Espresso Shot 1
Image by Mike Rohde, via Flickr

Giving it a fair shot

This is uncharted territory, of course, but I'm willing to give the project enough time to see if the community is really willing to support this podcast. I'll commit to producing shows for six months, and we'll see what happens.

Seriously, thank you.

I'll tell you what, though: again and again, people commented in the survey on how much they loved the podcast and miss it. That absolutely warms my heart. Thank you so very much for your kind words, and for all the hours we've spent in virtual company as you're working in your studio or on the treadmill or doing chores. Believe me, if I had the means, I'd make free podcasts constantly. But I really appreciate you being willing to enter into this discussion of sustainability with me.

I'm swinging back into production mode this week, and have several new shows in development. (I'll keep you posted on when the first one launches.) There are a lot of moving parts to work out, but we'll get there.

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Comments

I can't wait for new podcasts- totally worth .99 to me!


I've missed the podcast and will be happy to see it back!


Yay! Can't wait for the new show and I think what you're planning sounds like the best solution for all!


I'm really excited about the new incarnation of the podcast! I can't wait for more frequent shows, and wouldn't even think twice about paying a little money for what I already know will be quality content. Huzzah!


I'm glad you're bringing it back! It sounds like the distributors are really sticking it to you with the fees though. That's crap. I'm looking forward to the next podcast:)


Yay!! I love it and will gladly support it. In fact, I'd say it's one of my fave "craft products" out there. :)


i'm glad to see that you will have the podcast back up and running. unfortunately i will probably not be able to afford to listen to it, but still am glad that you are getting back on the air.
i remember most of your earliest podcasts the best, but they have all been great.
you go girl-and i will certainly continue to peruse the blog.


I will be keen to see the return of a Podcast or two. I'm such a newbie at everything and currently experiencing a steep learning curve at an age when perhaps I should be just chillin', but Diane you are a wealth of information, you have an unbiased point of view and you freely offer your time and advice when I ask dumb questions. How could I be anything other than one of your top fans. I hope the next 6 months prove to be rewarding and successful as the benefits to us are unlimited.


Aw, thank you so much, Chris!


I'm glad you got so many great, useful answers from the survey. Yay to new Podcasts and sustainability!


Hi Sister Diane! I can't wait for the return of your podcast. From listening to your free ones, I already know that they'll be high quality and informative as well as fun, which is probably the biggest thing that would convince me to pay for them. I hope there'll be a good mix of different topics - I'm more interested in learning about specific crafts and tutorials than I am about business, personally.
xx Katie.


Thanks for letting me know, Katie. I'm working to add more craft-oriented shows to the schedule.


Thanks for sharing the results of the survey and your plan for the future. I think it's a great way to go and you will be gathering the audience that you want...those that support you! I'm right there with your fans, anxiously awaiting the new podcast. Here here!


Sister Diane,
I think that there is so much power in all your transparency. Thank you for it. I feel sure it's the truest way to deepen community and help us all go forward together. Thanks for being a Leader (in the very best sense of that word.)


That is the sweetest comment. Thank you, Ginger! I really appreciate that.


This post is so exciting for me for multiple reasons.

1) A 99 cent podcast is a totally feasible way for this poor artiste to support fabulous content and a fabulous friend.
2) On a serious note, your willingness to have these (sometimes uncomfortable) conversations with your audience is pushing this community forward. You are doing a tremendous amount of legwork, that will hopefully not only benefit your livelihood and sustainability, but others as well. Go pioneer!
3) On a lighter note, I can't wait to dance around my apartment singing "Zoom-zoom-zoom zoomzoomzoom. Zoom-zoom-zoom zoomzoomzoom. Zoom-zoom-zoom ZOOMzoomzoom. Ba-dump, BA-DOW! (((Cue calming NPR voice))) You've made it to the Craftypod..."


Thank you, Sarah! You know, this brings up a pretty important point. I won't actually be able to use the same music I was using before, due to copyright issues. But I'm working hard to create a theme and some bumpers that are equally dance-able. :-)


I love the new model... and the content is worth paying for, my friend! It might also incentivize your guests to promote the shows that they are on, if there is a possibility to get a little cash.

And I'm mostly excited for new podcasts. My, how they were missed!


You're so lovely, Jenny. Thank you. I do hope this all works out!


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