Five ways to monetise your radio station
By the time you’ve nurtured your radio station to the point where it has a healthy and growing listenership, you may be starting to consider ways in which you can convert your efforts into a bit of cash. After all, while your fiscal costs may be relatively small, you are most likely putting in a solid number of hours each week towards your radio station. Why not be rewarded for your efforts?
All advice should be taken in the context that you know your station better than anyone else. As such, if you wish to think strategically about monetisation, consider the following:
How strong is your brand?
How many listeners does your radio station attract per week?
How well do you know your listeners? What type of listener tunes in? What is your listener demographic?
How much are you willing to let your radio station’s listening experience be affected by the need to monetise it?
With these in mind, at PlayIt Software we’ve listed 5 ways for you to monetise your radio station.
For radio stations pulling at least 2,000 unique listeners per week, it starts to become possible for advertising to form a major source of income. This generally takes the form of in-stream advertising or banner ads placed on your radio station’s website, if that also gets a good level of traffic.
Here is where knowing a lot about your listener base plays a part. Knowing everything you can about which, and how many, people listen to your radio station is key to the kind of metrics that advertisers need to know before they decide to buy ad spots. Knowing exactly what value that a brand will get from buying an ad spot on your show will form a big part of discussions with advertising agencies.
Make sure that you choose brands that are in line with your radio station’s image and listener demographic. If your listener base is mostly males aged 18-30, selling ad slots to brands that sell men's shaving products might be more successful than, say, women’s clothing brands. Additionally, if your listeners are mostly local, you might see success in selling ad spots to small businesses in your area.
Sponsorships tend to be long term deals and differ from in-stream advertising, in that, normally, you promote the sponsor yourself on your radio station and/or website. This may entail mentioning the brand a certain number of times at certain points in your show, playing a message from the sponsor, or even creating a special segment for them. Think about the different ways you can promote a sponsor and bundle them together for higher returns.
As with advertising, you should fully understand your radio station’s audience before approaching brands with an offer, and make sure you know your value proposition. A sponsor that resonates more closely with your listeners is better for everyone.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves marketing the products or services of other businesses in return for a commission. It differs from sponsorship as it tends to be shorter term, and more specific to a product, rather than a brand.
This is a very popular stream of income: there are thousands of examples that can be seen or heard across radio, podcasts, social media and online video platforms like YouTube, where hosts take a minute or two from their show to talk about a certain product or a service, with a referral link or discount code.
It’s entirely possible to incorporate affiliate marketing into your show without it being intrusive to the listening experience. With some ingenuity, you may even be able to make it an entertaining part of your show.
Donations are a good alternative to advertising if you’re not interested in disrupting the listening experience. You can crowdfund on websites like Patreon so that people can actively support the radio station, or you can set up donation links on your website or your radio’s text description to allow people to make PayPal donations, for example. If you decide to use donations as your main source of income, be sure to let people know how much their contributions mean to you, and how important they are to keeping the station alive. Often donations are talked about in terms of a cup of coffee, as a suggestion to people for how much to donate.
5. Branded goods
Radio stations with a large following and a powerful brand can take advantage of merchandise opportunities by setting up a small online shop that sells your brand’s merchandise. Typical goods include anything from hats and t-shirts to mugs and bags, or even something completely unique to your brand.
Before you venture into selling physical goods, make sure that you know how much demand there would be, I.e., do some market research. If you’re active on social media, you could engage with your listeners and find out the kind of things they’d like to see on your storefront. You could also sell a limited run of items to see how they perform.
Another thing to consider is the time and effort needed to sell branded goods, as this is effectively a new business. Fortunately, there are online outlets nowadays that will handle production, inventory management and shipping on your behalf, making the process much easier, such as ‘Merch by Amazon’.
Make sure to check out PlayIt Software’s range of products which are designed to make your foray into radio broadcasting as pain-free as possible, including PlayIt Live, our brilliant live-assist and automated radio playout software. As part of the Advanced Scheduling module you can even schedule advert campaigns to help you with monetising your radio station.