Before Alie Ward launched her podcast, Ologies, she built a community on Patreon. That decision not only helped Ward fund her incredibly fun, fact-filled show, but also helped her harness a base of science-loving supporters to turn Ologies into one of the biggest (and funniest) science podcasts around.
Not that building a community from scratch was fun. “It was a hellscape,” says Ward. “When I first started, it was an absolute nightmare, but I really wanted to do this podcast, so I just decided, ‘Okay, I'm just gonna make myself do it.’”
That said, in the show’s early days, Ward started to think about taking ads in addition to using Patreon. Unfortunately she couldn’t find anyone to sell ads for her. “No network would take me because the show was a little bit too niche and my listener base wasn't big enough at that point,” she says. While she’s not in the revenge business, per se, Ward admits she did enjoy it when advertising platforms realized their mistake and came back to her when the show really took off in 2018. “It’s like [when] someone doesn't ask you to the prom and then later you show up with some hot guy,” she says, with a laugh.
Ward decided to start working with sponsors and advertisers the next year, when she had about 7,000 Patreon supporters. The decision was not an easy one. “I agonized over it,” [...]
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