Podcasts are a primarily audible form of entertainment, but you have a lot to gain from posting your episodes to video sites like YouTube. Whether you film your podcast or stick to audio-only, YouTube is one of the best platforms for growing your fanbase and monetizing your hard work. But if you’re looking to upload a podcast to YouTube, and hopefully make a profit on the platform, then there are some things you should know before diving in.
In this post, we’ll go over how to start and maintain a podcast on YouTube, plus ways to generate fans and even earn money from your content.
WHY YOU NEED YOUR PODCAST ON YOUTUBE
One of the oldest and most enduring online video platforms, YouTube pulls in roughly five billion views per day. Needless to say, that’s a lot of users, which means there’s a massive opportunity for building a fanbase on YouTube.
What’s even better is the low barrier to entry: If you want to start a YouTube channel, all you have to do is sign up—no middle men, paid subscriptions or distributors required. Whether you’re a greenhorn or veteran podcaster, you don’t have anything to lose by making the jump to YouTube. It just takes a little time and effort to get things set up.
There are a few ways to make your podcast fit for YouTube, whether it be audio-only or as a full-fledged video.
Whether you upload a static image or a full video podcast to YouTube, make sure your audio is high-quality.
Ways to Host Audio-Only Podcasts on YouTube
While yes, YouTube is first and foremost a website for videos, that doesn’t mean audio-only projects aren’t welcome. In fact, a national poll by YouGov found that 44% of Americans use YouTube as their primary mode for listening to music in 2021, whether that be in the background of their computer or from the phone in their pocket. In other words, there’s a precedent for audio-only music or podcasts living (and thriving) on YouTube.
Here are two ways to put your podcast audio on YouTube:
- Upload the audio with a static image: a quick and easy solution that is pretty common for YouTube podcasts. Just bear in mind that your audio quality needs to be stellar since that’s the main attraction––which you can do with a Blue Yeti USB mic and Blue VO!CE vocal broadcasting software.
- Add some simple graphics: If you know who LoFi Girl is, then you know what this looks like. This will take some time to make, but looping a simple animation over your podcast adds a nice touch of visual flare.
Ways to Host Video Podcasts on YouTube
Of course, YouTube’s bread and butter is video, so evolving your podcast to include video would be a solid upgrade. We go into the pros and cons of video podcasts here, but the short version is that video is a great way to add variety to your content output and gives you a leg up on video-centric social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok.
There are a couple of ways to go about creating video podcasts for YouTube:
- Capture your screen: If your podcast is over Zoom or any other video app, then take advantage of your computer’s built-in screen capturing capabilities to get it on video. Just make sure that your webcam supports HD recording (like Logitech StreamCam).
- Record with a camera: Putting on a whole video production is undoubtedly the most time consuming option, but also the most professional looking and engaging for fans. Whether it’s a single-webcam or multi-camera production, a video podcast has a lot of benefits that could be perfect for someone looking to take their podcast to the next level and build their fanbase.
Which method you decide to try for your podcast is completely up to you. Just remember that ultimately, the more places where people can find your content, the better. That’s why getting your podcast on YouTube in some form is a huge plus.
HOW TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE ON YOUTUBE
Now that you have decided to give YouTube a shot, it’s time for the hard part: gaining a fanbase. Here are a few ways to do just that:
Set Up Your Channel
Before you even start uploading videos, make sure your YouTube channel is looking professional and on-brand to your podcast. It will be the landing page for new and returning fans looking to find more of your videos, after all, so presentation is important. Here’s a brief checklist of things you should set up:
- Write a channel description for your channel’s “About” tab and your video descriptions
- Set up your profile and cover photos (and make sure they fit)
- Start organizing playlists for your videos
- Link to affiliated channels or your favorite podcasts in the “Channels” tab
These are the basic things you can check on to get started, but also try using your favorite podcast’s YouTube channel as a reference or inspiration for your own channel.
Upload short clips
While your podcast episodes are at the heart of your channel, posting shorter “highlight” clips from past episodes are a great way to keep your channel active between uploads. Plus, shorter clips give newcomers to your podcast an easier place to start since a two-to-three minute clip is a lot more approachable than a full 30-minute or one-hour podcast episode.
Post on Social Media
Similar to the last point, posting clips from your channel to other social media platforms is a must for finding and engaging fans. Your brand exists online, not just on YouTube; think of your YouTube channel more like the center of your online universe that everything else––your Instagram, online shop, official website, and so on––branches out from. As such, make sure that everything pertaining to your podcast is connected through links, so that a fan can quickly and easily jump from your YouTube and social media pages and back.
Utilize YouTube’s analytics
YouTube gives you a backend full of helpful info on your videos, including audience demographics, watch times, click-throughs and more. This info will give you a better sense of how your audience interacts with your videos, which you can then use to gear your content towards your viewers’ specific interests. Knowledge is our closest ally, after all!
Interact with Audiences
Perhaps YouTube’s biggest difference from traditional podcasting platforms (aside from the video thing) is that the site gives creators a few direct lines to fans. Specifically, you can utilize your channel’s Community tab to post updates, announcements, polls, Q&As, and more. The comments on your videos are also a source for audience feedback and insight, but be warned: YouTube comment sections are not for the faint-of-heart.
Other less direct but still effective ways to interact with your fans include adding calls-to-action in your videos (“don’t forget to like and subscribe”) and adding links in your video descriptions to other episodes, playlists, and more. Adding either of these to your videos will give you a better chance of being picked by YouTube’s algorithm, which is ideal for attracting potential fans to your podcast.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR YOUTUBE PODCAST
Now that we’ve gone over how to start a YouTube podcast and how to gain fans, let’s answer the last big question for when your podcast has started picking up steam: How to make money from your content.
YouTube Partner Program (AdSense and Sponsorships)
When your channel hits 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 total hours of watch time, you’ll be able to join the YouTube Partner Program and monetize your videos with ads via Google AdSense. This step is a big one in your channel, but remember that adsense alone is rarely enough to sustain even the biggest YouTubers’ careers. Aside from the fact that ad royalties are only several fractions of a cent, YouTube has had a messy history of demonetizing videos over false copyright claims.
A more reliable income stream from ads is sponsorships, which are commonplace for YouTube channels of all genres. The average sponsorship on YouTube is no different than an ad break on an audio podcast––you say stuff from a loose script provided and/or approved by the sponsor for a couple of minutes, and then you get paid for your work.
Start a Fan Subscription Service
An increasingly common income stream for all kinds of online creators, fan subscription platforms like Patreon or one-time virtual tip jars like Buy Me A Coffee are incredibly useful for pros and rookies alike. By setting up different subscription tiers that offer perks like early access to videos, members-only content and more, you can both build a sustainable career online and interact more closely with your followers than ever.
Utilize Live Streaming
YouTube is a great platform for high-quality live streaming, so you should take advantage of that by broadcasting special live podcast episodes, audience Q&As, behind-the-scenes streams, and more. Doing so changes up your content and is yet another way to interact with your fans, but in terms of income, you can set up donations or virtual tips so that your followers can show their support in real-time. Plus, streaming cameras like Mevo make putting on high-quality streams easy, painless and budget-friendly.
Once you have a steady enough following, you can consider putting out merchandise, whether that be limited edition or ongoing products. Getting to that point will likely involve a combination of the previous steps––crowdfunding or Patreon, live stream fundraisers, and so on––but merch is a great way to build out your brand and get your fans excited about your podcast in numerous ways. Companies like YouTooz work with online creators to produce merch, which is ideal for those who are new to the merch world.
BROADCAST YOUR PODCAST
Though podcasts started solely in the audio world, YouTube is a fantastic tool for podcasters to build their show, gain a strong following and generate a thriving career. For more tips and insight about navigating YouTube, the best gear for online creators and more, check out the rest of our blog.