The ROI of Podcasting

It’s been almost a year now since I started podcasting on the Social Media Church. When I talk to friends about my experience and those that are considering podcasting, they often ask me: what’s the ROI (Return on Investment)? 

Let’s start with the Investment: I paid $100 for a new microphone and about $50/month in hosting and editing fees. The big investment is time. The podcast takes about an hour of my week in actually prepping and recording the podcast, but probably another 5-6 hours of my team’s time in uploading, scheduling, promoting, etc. This is the greatest investment. 

So what’s the ROI? Let me start with my goals. My personal calling is to help churches maximize technology. My measures of effectiveness is always to reach more people in the most engaging way possible. I do this through blogging, speaking, webcast/webinars, etc. 

The reason I got into podcasting is that I was studying trends and learned about the rapid growth of this medium.  There are 2 key aspects of podcasting that give it great value as a form of media engagement moving forward:

1.     On Demand – the boom of the DVR a decade ago and Netflix in the past couple of years shows how valuable On-Demand media is to consumers.  People want to consume what they want when they want it. 

2.     Passive Engagement – with an audio podcast people can consume this form of media while doing something else.  With video streaming it’s hard to do much else other than just sit there and watch, but with an audio file you can listen while driving, exercising, or on the go. 

So I jumped on the medium without any clear ROI other than engaging more ministry leaders around conversations about social media and technology. Since launching we’ve watched our listenership more than double and I get more feedback from the podcast than I do anything else that I do. 

While most people are looking to create clear profit margins from media outlets like this through sponsors and such, I’m just happy to reach more people. I believe this is the heart of most church leaders as well: to reach more people with their message. While I can’t promise that your podcast will double in a year, I can tell you confidently that this form of media has a growing audience case and great long term potential. I would recommend that you define your goals and jump in!