We got a great listener question about podcast merchandise so we are answering it with a high-level perspective based on several of the shows we’ve worked on. Merchandise can be a great way to market your show through your audience’s enthusiasm, but it comes with some costs and liabilities that it pays to be aware of. We go over physical products, as well as live events, and some things to think about to make a smart decision for your show.
In this episode Tiff and Christine answer a listener question about the when and how’s of podcast merchandise to support your show
“You empower your audience to become your brand ambassador. Make sure you feel comfortable offering merchandise anyone can buy.”Christine Baird
- (0:45) Types of merchandise you could make
- (4:00) Cons of having merchandise for your show
- (8:05) Pros of selling merchandise at live events
- (13:25) How to share merchandise with your podcast guests
- (16:15) Cons of live events as merchandise
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- Christine Baird
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Many thanks to our production team
- Worthfull Media for audio editing
- Mosaico Productions for video editing
- Amela Subašić for artwork
Transcription of this episode:
(auto-generated, please forgive typos)
Welcome to Think Like a Producer podcast. I’m your co-host Christine Baird.
And I’m your co-host Tiff Tyler. Being in the podcast industry, being in the content creation industry. This is what we learned, and this is how you can get out of your own way and get started.
You name it. We’ve probably done it. This podcast is about bringing all the wisdom to you. Tune in weekly, to learn how to think like a producer.
My mic is fine?
Yes, that’s good.
Okay. I have it down super low. All right.
It really does sound good. Like I think this is probably like the best setting.
Okay. Super low. I wonder if I need the cloud lifter at all then. Welcome to this episode of think like a producer. Can we get another fan question? I’m so excited. I love when you guys send these band questions in or maybe like community questions. I don’t know. I guess I can consider you more of like the, think like a producer community. Well, we got a question from Tania, pretty sure it’s Tania, Tania’s Take, let us know if that is the proper way to say your podcast and name, um, and you access, how have we done a podcast or an episode on the pros and cons of merchandise? The answer is no, we haven’t done an episode. So this is what today’s episode is going to be about. We’re going to talk about just kind of like physical merchandise to make this kind of a full episode overall.
Now, as soon as you access question and we got this on our Instagram, I immediately thought about everyone walking around with like a t-shirt with their huge podcast logo and everything. And I got super excited and like, what did we had this like long sleeve shirt that just had like, think like a producer coming down the arm. And I got really like, intense about it. But, um, we do understand that we’ve seen plenty of shows. Plenty of people have these physical products. They have like, they’ll walk around with their own t-shirt or they’ll have they’ll have it like on their website for people to purchase and support the show. And that’s going to start off real quick with like a pro before we kind of even get into something other examples, but t-shirts is like the first thing I think of pros of having a physical product merchandise.
It’s just allowing other people to brand your show right now, if you’re just starting out, you just started a podcast, which, or you’re kind of new to it. Most likely you’re not selling hundreds of thousands of t-shirts again, t-shirts just the example I’m giving, you’re not selling a whole, whole lot where like, this is actually making you, you know, a big like bank or anything, unless you’re, you’re really going into the design aspect. And you’re really going deep on what the words are. And it’s like, maybe it says a bit more of just been promoting your show. Maybe it has more something behind it. Cause we know Tanya’s take like your show definitely has a big meaning behind it. So maybe that’s the reason why you’re asking us this question, but overall it just called for people who support you, who love your show to actually, you know, be able to support you and give you a couple dollars and also be able to walk around and talk about your show and what you do.
So there’s not really a, you know, something really wrong with having t-shirts or anything like that. Um, uh, D another kind of benefit is, like I said, if you are thinking like, I want, I have a couple of phrases or things that I think would be really cool that might add to what’s going on in the world right now, it could be a cool creative outlet for you, if you are someone like I like to podcast, but I also like to design t-shirts and this is just another way for me to express myself to me. It’s all good. But I wanted to just like, go down this great list, Christine, of like all of the kinds of physical merchandise that we’ve seen. Cause I assume t-shirts because I always, I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of people you might agree, like, just that have t-shirts if you don’t have anything else, I’ve seen, you have a t-shirt of some kind for your brand, but there’s other things that we’ve seen, like tote bags, water bottles, mugs, or workout gear photos. Sometimes even that you can like get printed and signed.
Planners, calendars, like everything you can think of.
And there’s probably some things we’re not even thinking of pens. And I mean, there’s just, we’ve seen so many different things that you can put your name and your brand on. And like I said, awareness, people can purchase. There can be a pro to it. However, like I mentioned, if you’re just starting out, there can be some cons and I’m just going to ping it back to you, Christine, because I think, um, of all the things that I’ve done, most of the stuff I’ve done have mainly been podcasts, but you’ve worked at a lot of events. You’ve seen these things, um, sell and not sell whether it was online or physically in person. So I feel like you have a good take on some of the cons I can come with having physical merchandise.
Yeah, of course. And that’s, we’re glad you asked the question because yeah. It’s important that we cover all the bases before we were just like, yes, go hit merchandise. I mean, it can be really fun. Like Tiff said, there’s so much good that can come from having merch, not to mention it’d be just being fun. Um, but here’s a couple of things to consider.Con-sider. Ha ha ha. Okay. Considerations. I just put it together that that’s probably where it comes come from. Okay. So if you decide to create physical merchandise likely you’re going to want to use something called a drop ship company, which is awesome. It’s where you upload your design and then they handle everything else. Right? So they’ll print it on the t-shirt on the mug and the planner they’ll handle shipping and logistics and all of that. It’s really cool. There’s a ton of companies over the last several years that have developed this.
That’s how most people do merchandise, unless you’re, you know, Nike, unless you actually are creating physical goods in a big way. Most people use drop ship warehouses and services, which is super convenient and it limits the control. You have over the quality of the product, the customer experience, you know, you really have no control over how it gets packaged, how someone receives it, whether or not it was damaged or on time or lost. So there’s just another layer of customer service that gets factored in. You start sending people physical merchandise. Again, if you’re using a drop ship company, which is super smart, it will take control out of your hands. But the benefit is that you don’t have to do all the logistics. On the other hand, you might decide, no, I have really a strong opinion about having a really good customer experience. I want to do it all myself.
I’m going to ship everything myself. That’s great. And you’re not only going to have to pay for a bunch of inventory all upfront. And as you know, inventory can just sit and get old. Um, but you also have to do all the work yourself. So just kind of keep in mind that if you’re willing to trade off a little bit of the customer experience in order for the convenience, that’s what most people do. That’s no problem, but know that you might have to deal with that. And it might, you might have to find a really good partner drop ship company. You really like, if you decide to do it all yourself, it’s a lot of work and you have to usually buy a lot of inventory and store that inventory summer. Now there’s a third thing to consider that is a little bit more strategic versus like just logistic.
This is more timely and relevant these days. But as we know, we live in a pretty volatile culture right now, where if you’re associated with an idea that you didn’t want to be associated with, things can go South pretty quickly. What do you mean Christine? Well, let’s just say, for example, someone bought merchandise from you and was wearing it or using it when they posted a video on social media that was promoting things you didn’t believe in racist, homophobic, who knows what right? Suddenly your brand is being projected with a message you’re not aligned with. And you can’t do anything about it because you empowered your audience to become your brand ambassador. Now we’re not saying don’t do it because of that. But we are saying check in first with your goals and your intentions and your relationship with your audience and make sure that you feel comfortable offering merchandise for anyone to buy. Um, because we live in a world where that can become the double-edged sword. So we don’t want to scare you off from merchandise. We just want to kind of having worked on some big brands and having understood some of the challenges that can come with a large audience, just know you can’t control what people are going to do with that merchandise and what they will ultimately represent. So just some food for thought, nothing too crazy. Uh,
That was like a big sister moment. Just, I just want you to think about it for a little bit.
Just a few strategic thoughts about protecting your brand. Okay. Now let’s kind of pivot a little bit to the obvious place where people sell merchandise. This, we call it the before times, the before times are going to come back probably sooner rather than later. And that’s the live events. So we’ve all probably been to live events, right? Somebody, some brand that we really liked was hosting a really cool event and we went and they probably were selling merchandise. Awesome. Have you bought some probably I have before, but that’s where a lot of merchandise originally get sold and kind of promoted. So Tiff, tell us about some of the pros of having merchandise at your live events and how live events can be an awesome way. They’re almost like another physical product, but a little different.
Yeah, I think, I mean, number one, getting to him, my brother’s calling me number one, number one, getting to meet your host in person, you know, the podcast, the person that you know, has been bringing your thoughts and ideas and different things to life in a new way, in a new perspective, getting to see that person is really cool. And we’ve worked at events, uh, mainly like worked at the events where people have come and just met the host or the person that they’re a fan of. And it’s just that experience alone has been really fun to see, but also sometimes just like really heartfelt, right. Being able to meet that person. And I think some people have really, it made a huge impact with their podcast, which we hope if you’re listening right now, like that’s your goal is to make a really big impact into help and support people.
So being at an event meeting, you really does make a difference for people. Another thing sometimes having like live podcasts at events and different things too, um, it’s come up, I’ve never recorded one, but it’s come up for some of the people that I’ve worked with. They’re like, Oh, what would it be like to, to record a live event? One person who I love, who did this, Anna Ferris on her podcast, um, Unqualified, she would sometimes have events before, you know, we couldn’t have events. Uh, she would have events and she’d have these live just kind of Q and A’s with the audience and being able to interact and ask those questions were obviously answering our question, but we’re answering it, hoping that it answers the question for the person who asks, we’re really getting to have that interaction in person. Cool. I said in person and live a lot.
So the pro being able to, you know, meet people and get that signature in person. Maybe you bought their book or something like that. And then of course, right, a pro for you as the person who’s hosting the event, like people are now live streaming or they’re taking pictures and posting on Instagram, Twitter. Now you have just this huge amount of marketing for one or two days, or some people have events for a full week where people are just constantly promoting and showing their own audience what you’re doing and what you’re up to now putting on events and doing that as a whole different podcasts. Um, maybe not even our podcasts, but a whole different podcast and a whole different lesson that we can talk about in a different way. If we want to go over kind of maybe starting small and some strategies that are maybe some like what we would do and what we wouldn’t do if we were to have it a live event, but this is just something to consider because like Christine mentioned, events could be coming back around a home.
They could be, you know, here sooner than we think. And while we’ve had kind of like the benefit of being around and interacting with people virtually that we may not have been able to at a event now that these are coming around, I think things are going to, even in that way, like kind of be considered like how can we hit more people? How can we get in front of more people? Because everyone’s just missing people right now. So anyway, um, as events have to roll around just thinking about this, um, another thing I wanted to say before I kick it back to you, Christine, when you’re thinking about, um, merchandise again, right? You can consider it being publicly open for people like Christine mentioned that could be a, a bit of a con cause you don’t know who’s going to purchase it. But I will say that pad podcast experiences where I was the guest on a podcast and someone just had like a gift of like their t-shirt for their podcast in a couple of things that had their podcast name on it.
And it was just for me as a guest of their show. And it just became like a thank you gift of thank you for your time and for being here. And it wasn’t something that was necessarily like a public thing that anyone could buy, but it was really very specifically for the people who have been guests on their shows. Now that that was a really interesting way to make the guests feel special and also just, you know, make them feel kind of exclusive and everything because not everyone could have this. So think about that too. You, you can publicly sell, but you can come up with different ways, uh, that your merch can even just be a bit more exclusive before you decided to like release it to a huge audience. Again, that could even be at an event because there are VIP experiences, right?
Sometimes people have like higher ticket prices and they’ll get all the merchant, the books and the different things that come along with it. So when you’re thinking about merchandise, when you’re thinking about live events, just think creatively a little bit outside of the box of, you know, I just got to have a table with the t-shirts out there ready to be sold. There’s many different ways that you can make this work for you and to make people feel special. If there are some, if there is some exclusivity to your gear, into the things that you’re printing. Okay. Christine, that was my little thing. Any more considerations for live events that we should,
I just had an idea of while you were talking, this isn’t in our outline, but I was like, Oh, this is a great idea. I’m going to put it out there in case it helps someone out there. I’m I just connected that again in the before times and in the forthcoming times when people record episodes in person again, so you’re actually physically in the same place, that’s like a mini live event, even though it’s just you and the guests. And I was like, wouldn’t it be powerful if you gifted every guest, a mug or something like that. I’m just thinking mug, because usually you have a beverage on the table when you’re recording, because you’re using your voice. And the mug said, I’ve been a guest on blah, blah, blah podcasts. I was thinking School of Greatness just because that’s where I spent most of my time in studio.
Um, and we had School of Greatness mugs. Like if the person wanted coffee or tea, it would be on the table and he could see it in the shot, but it was just like branding. It wasn’t a gift to the person. It was like, what if every school of greatness guests who was given a mug that they left the studio with that said, I’ve been on the school greatness or I’m a teacher at the school of greatness. Ooh. And then like, anytime they used it, it was just like extra great marketing. Lewis, if you’re listening, feel free to take idea. I highly doubt you listen. But if you’re willing
Last year, we did give, uh, when I was on the greatness team, uh, there was like a whole backlog of mugs. So when people came in, um, they did ask Ok, do you want to keep the mug? But it didn’t say I liked that idea of like on the school of greatness podcast, because all the mugs just had the school of greatness logo on it. Man, we need a percentage. If you guys take this idea,
You know, generous flow, anyone can take the idea. It makes sense for a big name show because people, there are genuinely people who come on that show her excited to be. Cause they’re like, I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time. Like it’s genuinely exciting to be here. So if you’re a big show, this is especially relevant. But listen, we’re not trying to tell you not to play big, even if you’re starting out, that could be a really fun experience. If you’re trying to think of how to use merchandise creatively in a more controlled way where you can only give it to people that you feel are aligned with your brand and you trust to represent your brand. Something like that. There’s a whole psychology of gift giving, which is a whole School of Greatness episode of itself with a guy named John Ruhlin.
But anyway, before we get ahead of ourselves, just a thought that you could think of every podcast, episode recording as a live event. And it’s an experience your guest is having with you. So all those principles that Tiff talked about just, uh, they, they apply. Um, but it’s also an opportunity for you to give merchandise that could then be shared on their platforms if they really like it, obviously I’d make sure it was a cool mug because cheap mugs are pointless. You know, make sure it’s like worth someone’s sometimes. I mean, somebody would want to drink their morning coffee out of okay. Bonus thought that just came into my head. Now back to the cons of live events. Again, this could be a full podcast episode. If you guys want us to dive deeper into our event planning and production experience, we can because it’s related.
I mean, it’s not podcast production, but it’s a related field. But just to give you some big picture things to think about, if you host a live event, obviously it is expensive. So you would need to make sure the numbers made sense and you have to have team and all of that. But the other thing to consider is you can’t control who comes to the event unless you decide to make it really exclusive. And it’s invite only what I mean is again, just like selling merchandise to the public. If you sell the event, tickets to the public, there’s going to be a bit of a liability about who may come and just be him be aware that you might have some people show up that you’re like, this is maybe not the person I would have chosen to be at my event. So just know like there’s amazing benefits to hosting live events.
They’re awesome. One thing we forgot to mention, sorry, Tiff, I forgot to remind you is you get incredible footage and photos that you can use in your marketing for forever. So there’s a lot of really great reasons to host events. That’s why people do them. There are a few things to consider the expense, the effort, the liability of the general public coming into a space where you’re responsible. And again, um, just keep things, keeps some things top of mind, like, is it, or is your brand at a place where that would make sense or is your brand at a place where maybe you’re going to do a really intimate, small live event, more like a retreat that’s hosted around the principles of the podcast or the, the brand of the podcast, and maybe only have 10 people at that retreat that might be a great place for you to start obviously totally dependent on what your show’s about.
So you can definitely capitalize on the benefits of a live event and avoid some of the cons. If you start small and invite only an intimate, and if you are already in a place where you’ve done live events and you know, your brand is ready, awesome. There are so many great things you can do to build your podcast brand and marketing and clout at a live event. And just keep in mind that there’s this and some liabilities. So, ok, that’s our, that’s our episode Tiff. We’re not going to go any deeper because there’s too many rabbit holes we could go down. But
Though, like, this is just more of like, I think of this is like a brainstorming kind of podcasts. We’re answering your question and we’re just giving our take on the pros and cons of merge of live events, because we do consider that like a live event as a physical product that can produce more physical products. Right. We kind of just talked about that. So what I would love to hear from you listening slash watching, um, do you sell merchandise? Do you have things that you, that, um, support your podcasts, awareness and branding? If so, let us know what it is, how you what’s been a pro and con for you. Like what’s something that you were not expecting to happen. That was a good, or maybe, you know, something for other people who are listening or reading your comment to consider. I think the great thing about our community and that’s why I corrected myself in the beginning of the episode.
You’re not a fan you’re part of our community is that we get to share ideas. We get to help each other. So we personally, as of right now, this recording don’t have merchandise or anything like that for people to purchase. So this is just based on our experience with clients, leave us a comment, let us know what you think about this episode. Send us a DM for more questions, even I think by the time, you know, you hear this, we’ll be wrapped with season one, but leave us a DM for more questions possibly for season two. And thank you for listening to this episode, of course, at the clicker producer on Instagram, you can follow us. You can send us that DM and leave us a review on Apple podcasts. Cause we’d love to hear just what you think about our show. Like I said, we’re wrapping up season one, we’re getting close to the end here.
So we just want to know more and more about what you guys want from and was really impacted you as we start to plan season two, I’m really excited about that. And last thing I want to say, actually super random, but now that you’re at the end of this video, we actually do have a membership where we go a little bit deeper into some of these ideas and different things for people who have podcast teams or who are looking to grow their producer knowledge. And it’s on this app called channels. It’s our thing like a producer membership. I think it’d be cool for you to check out, send us a message if you have questions about that, because we are definitely just having these deeper, deeper, deeper conversations on a more intimate level when it comes to some of these ideas. All right, that’s a wrap on this hopefully really short episode. Anything else? Christine complete. Thank you for listening. And we’ll see you on the next episode.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Think Like a Producer. This has been a Worthfull Media production. Massive thanks to our team who makes the show possible. Worthfull Media for audio editing, Jorge and Veronica from Mosaico Productions for video editing and effects and Amela Subasic for our amazing artwork and graphics.
If you want to learn more about how to market, monetize, and grow your podcast, we have a membership group where you can get more access to us and feedback on your show. As a special bonus, you get free access to Christine’s DIY, do it yourself, podcast course when you join the group. Check the link in the show notes for more information.
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