Monetising your podcast comes in two forms.
Direct monetisation of your podcast comes through sponsors. You convince another business to let you promote their brand on your podcast in exchange for a fee.
Indirect monetisation is the process of promoting your own business on the podcast which can then lead to revenue through awareness of your services / offers.
Downloads & Reviews are key metrics for sponsors.
When a sponsor assesses the value of a sponsorship slot on your show the first thing they will ask is how many listeners you have. Therefore knowing your stats and selling them to your advantage is key in gaining sponsorship.
Podcasts are generally slower but consistent in terms of audience growth. So don't expect to obtain a sponsor within your first series of the show - this is very rare. It's more likely you will need to gain some traction with several series before your listenership warrants a sponsor.
How Can I Improve?
Decide your monetisation route. Are you looking to gain an external business sponsor or would you be better off promoting your own business on the podcast?
When looking at these options consider your podcast subject...
If your podcast topic is of broad appeal such as "Business", "Personal Growth", or "Fitness", then you have a strong opportunity to gain a large amount of listeners over time. This could be called the "Quantity"approach. In other words, gain a large amount of listeners and get your adverts heard by a large amount of people.
If your podcast topic is in a more niche area such as "Cats", "Construction", or "Dentistry', then you are more likely to have a smaller amount of listeners that are more engaged with your content. This could be called the "Quality" approach. In other words, target your adverts towards a specific group of people who are likely to engage with your services.
Knowing if you are offering a quality or quantity approach will help you decide your monetisation route and also help you sell your podcast to a sponsor.
Make sure your podcast is "sponsor ready". Before even thinking about getting a sponsor you want to make sure your audio quality is top notch and you have an established audience.
If you want an external sponsor, consider reaching out to some local businesses. Smaller businesses can be a good gateway to sponsorship, particularly if your subject matter resonates with their offering.
There is a plethora of further invaluable information on podcast monetisation online. In particular I recommend these articles:
Get your podcast sponsor ready before focussing on sponsors;
Don't expect to monetise your show immediately - podcasts are a slower burn;
Understand your podcast offering and whether you are in the quality or quantity category.