There are a multitude of routes to take when looking to create and sell merch for your podcast, and multiple forms your podcast merch can take. No matter your podcast style or your personal bandwidth, podcast merch is an ideal way to cultivate your community, support your show, and market your content to an audience you might not have been able to reach before.
No matter how big or small your podcast is, your podcast has an audience. While you may interact with them on your social media platforms, or shout them out during your episodes, it’s important to take further steps in cultivating your audience into your podcast’s community. One of the best ways to do it is to create merchandise for your audience!
Why Should You Make Merchandise?
The top reason to create and sell merch for your podcast is that it gives your audience a way to support you and your content. Merchandise means profit, no matter what path you choose, and the money that comes through from merchandise sales can be then funneled back into your podcast. Profits from your merch can pay for podcasting hosting, or be the investment needed to upgrade your equipment. It can even pay for a convention ticket. Even if you’re monetizing your podcast through other means (and to learn more about these, check out our monetization webinar), creating podcast merch can reach a wider spectrum of your audience than other monetization routes.
Creating merchandise also offers you a chance to go about marketing your podcast in a new way. Whether your listener wears a shirt or puts your sticker on their laptop, they display a physical advertisement for your podcast in a broadly public way that can reach an audience you weren’t able to reach before. With the repeated exposure of your logo or your design, you can begin the process of intriguing future listeners and getting them interested in learning more about your content.
Creating podcast merch also means that there are more chances for promotion and conversation on social media sites. Conversation and promotional pictures that are taken by listeners/followers, and interactions with them, can generate a lot of traction. This can be especially helpful in terms of algorithms on respective social media sites. This can interest and intrigue anyone who happens to be following those involved with the conversation, and draw them in to learn more about you, your podcast, and your merchandise.
Print-On-Demand Merch Sites
Print-on-demand sites will allow your listeners a high level of customizability of what they can put your logo on. For podcasters that are working with limited means or a limited time frame, you don’t have to worry about having merch on hand and mailing it out yourself. Sites like Teepublic or Redbubble will allow you to host a design for free while allowing your listeners the freedom to choose what item they get your design on, resulting in merchandise for your show with very little (if any) initial investment cost.
These sites will also handle the fabrication, shipping, and customer support for any of the merchandise purchased through them. Because of this, they do take a larger cut of the profit, but it does allow for a wider variety of items for your followers to purchase without having to worry about storing inventory. This also means that your listeners won’t have to worry about items being out of stock, or sizes running out before they can purchase an item.
This method is a great way to dip into designing items and will allow for you to see what items your audience likes the most. Because of the low investment, you can expand your merchandise into multiple designs and items to allow your listeners a choice in what design and item they purchase. With this info, you can expand your merchandise into the designs and items that your audience like the most.
Buying In Bulk and Selling From Home
You can also purchase items in bulk and sell them yourself using a storefront site like Etsy, Storenvy, Bigcartel, or even built-in systems from sites like WordPress or Squarespace. This does require a bit more physical space, but because you are in control of the inventory, you can charge whatever price you want to ensure that you’re receiving a higher percentage of profit. While you may spend more upfront by purchasing merchandise in bulk, you will often have a lower per-item cost. In this way, the amount you can make in profit may be significantly higher.
By handling the selling of your podcast merch yourself, you will also have more of an opportunity to cultivate the relationship with your audience. When you personally mail your podcast merch, you will have the opportunity to include personalized messages, custom shipping packaging, or even extra goodies for customers who buy multiple items (or who are repeated buyers). This creates a positive buying experience that your audience will associate with purchasing from you, leading them to be more likely to buy from you as you introduce further pieces of podcast merch.
The Top Pieces of Podcast Merch
T-shirts are a classic item that can be created and sold through a wide range of vendors, and for good reason. T-shirts offer a wider canvas for designs and look great with everything from simple text designs to patterns/prints to straight designs. T-shirts also fill a listener’s need to showcase support or enjoyment of a piece of media in a physical, real-world way. No matter where, a t-shirt bought is a t-shirt someone intends to wear, and it will absolutely be seen by other people around the wearer, providing the listener a chance to showcase something they enjoy while exposing their peers with a form of marketing for your content.
Stickers are another classic loved by all kinds of audiences. Decorating one’s laptop/water bottle/cell phone/hard plastic surface with stickers even has its own name and culture in the form of stickerbombing. Stickers also have a low barrier for entry for both the bulk-buying and print-on-demand methods, creating the perfect first step into podcast merchandise. Because they’re small, portable, and suitable for most any occasion, they’re the perfect piece of podcast merch for conferences, seasonal events, and more.
- Enamel/Acrylic Pins
Pins are featured prominently in the convention crowd; they’re easy to hand out and interesting enough to collect and display on things like jackets, lanyards, or backpacks. They operate in the middle ground of stickers and t-shirts, being small and collectable but still transferable from backpack to lapels to lanyard. A wide variety of finishes, metal plating, and glitter means that your design can always draw an eye and intrigue anyone, thus introducing more people to your podcast and content.
- Something Custom!
With the wide variety of merch options available, you can always offer something unique that fits in with your podcast’s unique brand. For example, Podbean has handed out bags of jellybeans at conferences. If you run a podcast based on literature, maybe you’ll invest in custom bookmarks. If you run a gaming podcast, maybe you can look into branded headphones. If you can customize it to feature your podcast’s colors and logo, you can sell it to your audience!
Pro tip: Be aware of upcoming events, holidays, and special events and create limited time, special merchandise. As an example, you can create a Halloween themed version of your logo and create shirts and various merch that’s available only during October. This can inspire a higher rate of purchasing during this time period due to the limited run nature of the product.
Creating merchandise for your podcast offers your audience a way to support your show and invest in content that brings them happiness. No matter what your podcast covers or how you present, podcast merch appeals to every kind of audience and helps grow your audience at the same time. To learn more about monetizing your podcast and creating podcast merch, check out our webinar on podcast monetization!