With almost 50 million podcast episodes available online today, podcasting for all sorts of niche isn’t anymore just a cult following type of thing. It has grown to be a legitimate form of marketing and business, with new shows being created every day.
And if you’re a podcaster or an aspiring one who is looking for ways to make more money with your show, then this article is for you.
In this all-inclusive guide, we’ll give you tips and ideas so you can start generating more moolah from your podcasting passion project. Let’s get started!
Why Launch a Merch Line for Your Podcast Channel?
Before we go straight into the tips, let’s first lay out more context as to why you should even consider selling merchandise for your podcast brand or channel.
Here are some benefits you might want to take note of:
It’s a Stream of Revenue That’s Not Ad-Dependent
Most podcast channels rely heavily on ads to generate revenue. And while this is a perfectly fine business model, it does have its limitations.
For starters, ads can be disruptive to the listener experience and might even chase some of your listeners away. And second, you don’t have full control over the ads that are being played on your show.
So if you’re looking for a revenue stream that’s not ad-dependent, then selling merch is a great option. It’s a great way to diversify your income and give your listeners another way to support your show.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about not attracting enough advertisers when meeting your revenue goals. As long as you have a dedicated following, you should be able to sell enough merch to make a significant dent in your overall revenue.
It Lets You Connect with Your Listeners in a More Personal Way
Providing your loyal listeners with a tangible reminder of your show is a great way to forge a deeper connection with them.
It can help make your podcast feel more real and relatable, and possibly turn your listeners into lifelong fans who don’t only look forward to every new episode but every type of content you put out.
And as we all know, a deeper connection with your fans can lead to more opportunities down the road. Just imagine all the possibilities if you have a strong and passionate fan base behind you!
It’s a Walking Advertisement of Your Show
When someone buys and wears a shirt with your podcast’s logo, it becomes a walking advertisement for your show. It’s a great way to get more people interested in your content and help you reach a wider audience.
Having such free marketing is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up whether you’re just starting out or you’re already an established player in the podcasting world.
It Challenges Your Creative Side
Discussing different topics in-depth and editing audio require a fair share of creative energy. So if you’re the type of person who loves to explore and express your creativity in different ways, then coming up with new merch ideas should be a fun and rewarding experience for you.
Not to mention, it’s a great way to engage your listeners in a more interactive way. You can even crowdsource design ideas from your listeners and turn it into a mini-competition. The possibilities are endless!
You Can Start With Zero Inventory and Capital
What holds many content creators back from starting their own merch lines is the thought of having to shell out a significant amount of money to finance inventory and production costs. However, the print on demand model makes it possible for every vlogger, podcaster, and other content creators to start selling merch without having to worry about these things.
With the help of a fulfillment partner like Awkward Styles, you can set up your own store and publish your designs without having to worry about minimum order requirements, inventory, or manufacturing costs.
You only pay for the items that have been sold, and your fulfillment partner will take care of the rest. This means you can launch your own merch line without having to invest a lot of money upfront, which is great news if you’re operating on a tight budget or you want to first test the waters.
Merch Ideas that Sell
And now, without further ado, here are some of the most popular merch items that you can sell to your beloved listeners:
Catchphrase Shirts & Hoodies
Got a catchphrase or slogan your listeners can’t get enough of? Turn it into a shirt or hoodie design and watch as your fans snap them up in an instant!
Shirts and hoodies are always a hit because of their versatility. They can be worn at home, at the gym, or even when running errands. And because they come in different styles and colors, there’s definitely something for everyone.
Plus, apart from your popular catchphrases, you can use silly or funny inside jokes from your show to design shirts that only your most loyal listeners will appreciate. This is a great way to reward them for their support and make them feel like they’re part of an exclusive group!
For example, if your podcast is all about college survival tips, you can design a shirt that says “Just graduated. #OfficiallyUnemployed.” Or if you discuss the ups and downs of relationships, you can design a shirt that has a play on words like “Single AF.”
The key is to be creative and have fun with it!
Statement Tote Bags
Similar to shirts and hoodies, tote bags also make great everyday items that your listeners can use. But unlike clothing items, tote bags offer more space for you to play around with your designs.
This is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your podcast logo or artwork. You can also use this space to print quotes or lines from your episodes that your listeners can relate to.
Another great thing about tote bags is that they’re eco-friendly, which makes them even more appealing to today’s consumers. If you want to catch the attention of eco-conscious listeners, you can definitely use this to your advantage and design statement tote bags that they’ll be proud to carry around!
Customizable Phone Cases
Ever tried peeping at the phone of the person across you on the bus or in line at the grocery store? We’ve all done it, and nine times out of ten, you’ll find that their phone case is covered in designs, stickers, or even photos.
This just goes to show that people love personalizing their devices, and phone cases are the perfect way to do it. By creating customizable phone cases, you’re giving your listeners the opportunity to show their support for your podcast in a fun and unique way.
And since phone cases come in different materials, colors, and sizes, you can really get creative with your designs. For example, you can create clear phone cases and design them with your podcast logo or artwork. You can also design pop sockets with your logo and pair them with a phone case for a complete and coordinated look.
Another merch product that artsy teens and young adults will dig are stickers. They’re perfect for personalizing laptops, notebooks, and even insulated water bottles! They’re also relatively cheaper compared to other merch items, which gives you higher chances of selling them in bulk.
Similar to the other products, you can use your logo or show name as your starting point when designing stickers. If you’re good at drawing, you can also design some elements related to your topic or niche. For example, if your podcast is about astrology, you can design stickers with the different zodiac sign symbols or the animals associated with them.
If you’re catering to an older or more professional audience, personalized mugs might be a great option for you. Mugs are practical and useful, which makes them perfect for office settings or as gifts for friends and family members.
Plus, there are now color changing mugs that are perfect for coffee or tea lovers. These mugs start out one color, but when hot liquid is added, they change to reveal another design. This is a fun way to interact with your listeners and give them a mug that they can enjoy again and again.
If your niche or topic is more lighthearted or family-friendly, then you might want to consider designing a pillow collection. You can design different pillows with inspirational quotes from your episodes or funny lines that your listeners can relate to.
If you’re good at sewing or embroidery, you can add patches or appliques to your pillows to make them more unique. You can also design pillow covers that can be easily swapped out whenever your listeners want a change.
Tips for Creating and Marketing Your Podcast Merch
Found the merch items you’ll be selling in our list above? Great! Now it’s time to start designing and marketing your products.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Bundle Them Up
Once you have a set of mockups for your merch products, try bundling them up into a package deal. For example, you can create a coffee bundle that includes a mug, a tote bag, and some stickers. You can also create a phone case bundle that comes with a pop socket and a keychain.
By bundling your merch products, you’re giving your listeners more value for their money. Plus, it’s a great way to upsell your products and boost your customers’ average order value.
Make Your Listeners Excited
Plant the seeds early on and make sure to mention your upcoming merch in your episodes. You can also do a soft launch by releasing a few products first and gauging your listeners’ reaction.
Once you’re ready to launch your full collection, make sure to build up the hype by doing a big reveal. You can do this by posting sneak peeks of your products on social media or by doing a special podcast episode where you unveil everything!
Create a Brand Story
While you can simply create and sell merch for the sake of it, building your brand story along the way will make your podcast merch more memorable and valuable to your listeners. Furthermore, it can open more opportunities for you to expand your product line and add more designs in the future.
For example, if your podcast is all about true crime, you can use some references from your episodes to create merch with spooky or suspenseful designs. You can also add in some elements that are related to the cases you’ve discussed on your show. If you want to be more extra, you can even put clues on your merch items and encourage your listeners to solve a fictional crime as a game they can play along with your podcast.
Choose the Right Channels
Whether it’s for marketing and the actual selling, you need to choose the right channels for your podcast merch. Make sure that the platforms you pick are accessible and frequented by your target audience.
For example, if most of your listeners are on Reddit, then you can market and sell your merch on subreddits related to your podcast niche. If you have a big following on Instagram, then you can use shoppable posts to sell your products.
You can also set up your own website with the help of ecommerce platforms like Shopify if you want to have more control over the design and user experience of your online store.
Ready to Make More Money and Connect With Your Listeners Better?
Connecting to your listeners through tangible items they can hold and use in their everyday lives is an excellent way to deepen your relationship with them. Not only does it make your podcast more memorable, but you can also make some extra income on the side.
Plus, it’s an extension of your brand that gives you more opportunities to be creative, have fun, and engage with your audience in new and exciting ways!
So what are you waiting for? Start brainstorming some podcast merch ideas today and let Awkward Styles take care of your fulfillment needs!
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