Podcasts are a thriving industry, and more people are listening every year. If you’re looking to start your own podcast, you should come up with a dedicated business plan to help you succeed.

In this article, we’re going to answer:

  • Why do you need a business plan?
  • What do you need to include?
  • How can you manage your finances with Countingup?

Why do you need a business plan?

Writing a business plan is like planning your journey before you get in a car. You might still end up in a good place by deciding things as you go, but you can end up making a lot of wrong turns. 

It’s also possible to lose momentum and get bored if you don’t know where you’re headed — especially if success is more challenging than you first thought.

A good business plan offers guidance and goals. It can include milestones and help you visualise exactly what you want to achieve. Having one can be the difference between a successful podcast and a failed one.

What do you need to include?

Podcast Overview

This is just a brief look into why you want to set up a podcast. We’ll go into more detail later on in the business plan. The main points you want to include in your overview are:

  • What your show is about.
  • The people involved (hosts, producers, etc).
  • Your mission, and what you want to help your business achieve by making a podcast. 

How are you different?

For a typical business plan, you’d need to do more specific competitor research. When making your own podcast though, the landscape is competitive in a different way. Some listeners subscribe to multiple podcasts in their niche, but tend to be loyal when they find a podcast that they enjoy. It can be tough to break through the podcasts already out there, so try listening and comparing popular podcasts in your niche. You can then use this research to help structure and develop your podcasts’ format into one that sets you apart. 

To do that, you’ll need to figure out a few things:

  • Who is leading your niche, and why?
  • Are you using a similar format to other podcasting shows?

Target audience

Just like knowing who’s in your niche, you need to know the type of audience you’re appealing to. If you begin your show with no idea of who you want to enjoy it, you can end up coming across as awkward and directionless. 

Instead, define your target audience. Try to make it as specific as possible, because the clearer your vision is, the better you’ll be able to relate to your ideal listener. Some questions you may wish to ask yourself are:

  • Are they male or female?
  • How old are they? (Be specific to five to ten years)
  • What sort of job do they work? 
  • Are they single, in a relationship, part of a family?
  • Why do they want to listen to my podcast?
  • What are their political ideologies?

When it comes to making a show about something people like, you want to think about who they are inside as well as outside. If you can figure out what makes your audience tick, you can end up greatly improving your chances of success. After all, the more you develop your ideal, the better response you can receive. 

Budget

How much will your podcast cost, and how much are you willing to spend? You’ll need to buy various equipment (such as a microphone and audio processing software), as well as decide on which site will host your podcast. Plan out your costs (set-up and ongoing) ahead of time, and you’ll know roughly how much you have to work with. 

Management

This section refers to everyone who could be working with you. If you’re doing everything yourself, that’s absolutely fine — though you should still outline individual roles and what it takes to complete them effectively. If your podcast becomes a hit, you may have to bring other people on board to help you manage it.

Some initial roles you should think about are:

  • Writer (who will script or generate ideas for the show)
  • Host (who will be speaking on the show)
  • Sound editor (who will fix up the sound before it’s published)
  • Producer (who will manage the podcast, and keep it on schedule)
  • Promoter (who will decide how the show gets advertised)

Marketing

Your marketing strategy outlines how you want people to find out about your podcast, the channels you’ll use to upload, and how often you’ll post a new episode. Will you upload to popular services like Spotify or Soundcloud? These are all things you should plan ahead of time.  

Monetisation

If you intend to make any money from your podcasts, you’ll need to set up some monetisation methods. With these set up, instead of costing you money, your podcast will start paying for itself.

Some ways you can fund your podcast are:

Merchandising

It’s common for podcasts to start selling merchandise connected to their show. Possible ‘merch’ could be t-shirts or mugs with related designs printed across them. The specific merch you decide to make available depends entirely on your show and your audience. You may even find that potential designs or quotes arise naturally during your show.

Affiliate marketing

One popular method of making your podcast profitable is by using affiliate marketing. If you’ve ever seen a host mention using a link or discount code for another website, that is an example of affiliate marketing.

Every time that link or code is used, it is registered as coming from the podcast. The amount of traffic your podcast sends to the site determines how much you get paid. Depending on who you affiliate with, this could be a flat rate or percentage of a sale. 

Sponsorships

When you make money through a sponsorship, you’re effectively being paid to promote a specific product or company. This could involve talking about it naturally during your podcast, or dedicating a specific ‘ad break’ section to it. 

If you choose to make your money through sponsorships, you may need an established fanbase of a certain size. The larger this fanbase is, the more lucrative your sponsorship could be. If you are growing quickly, you can always try to negotiate a better deal.

And your business plan is done. You may find, as you grow and develop your podcast, that some things need adjusting — that’s to be expected. You should regularly update your business plan to give your podcast the best chance of success.

How can you manage your finances with Countingup?

If you do start making money from your podcast, you’ll need to track and report it for your taxes. If you haven’t done this before, it can be a very confusing process. To make it easier, we recommend using accounting software like the Countingup app.

Countingup is a bank account with built-in accounting software to give you the best overview of your money. With its automatic categorisation feature and Making Tax Digital (MTD) compatibility, it can make reporting your taxes a breeze. 

Start your free three-month trial here.