Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that if you’re looking to start a podcast as a way to make some quick cash, boost your bank account, or as a means to become “financially independent”, there is a really good chance you’ll be disappointed. Starting a podcast and nurturing it’s growth is way more a passion project than it is a “get rich quick” scheme.
That being said, there are certainly ways that you can successfully monetize your podcast! In the past, we’ve covered a number of different ways podcast hosts can bring in revenue (and we’ll link them throughout this post!) but I thought it would be handy to have a top 10 list of some of the most workable, and overall, successful ways you can monetize your podcast. I have tried to rank these in order of popularity as well as the success rate that these methods have according to my continual reading and researching on the subject…
BUT before we get to the list, a word for caution. The success of any of the following methods will be directly related to the work and effort you put into making your podcast the best that it can be. This means regularly putting out high-quality episodes that are full of valuable content, marketing your podcast across all the social media platforms in order to grow your audience, as well as doing all you need to in order to create a strong podcast community around your show. Do this, and you’ll have a great basis of support as you start implementing any or all of these podcast monetization options.
Related read: How to Build a Strong Podcast Community
1. Sell Ad Space on Your Show
As you start to grow your podcast community and as your download numbers continue to rise, one of the first options you can try when it comes to podcast monetization is to sell ad space on your show. For this method, you as the podcast host receive a specific amount of money from a business in exchange for inserting a sponsored ad for that business in your podcast. You’ve no doubt heard advertisements on practically every podcast episode you listen, no matter the topic or genre. This is because successful marketers understand the power of podcast advertising. Case in point: podcast advertising spending in the United States in 2020 has hit a massive 534 million dollars! And to sway the odds even more in your favor, in 2019, 54% of podcast listeners stated that they are likely to consider the brands they hear advertised on podcasts. If you can promote your show as a viable option for marketers, you could make a pretty penny by selling ad space on your podcast episodes.
2. Look for Affiliate Marketing Opportunities
Affiliate marketing occurs when you as the podcast host promote a product or service on your show and receive a commission for every purchase based on your recommendation. You are given a specific code or another form of identification to share with your listeners, who then use it when making their purchase, linking the sale to you. Remember the above statistic? With that in mind, if you’ve built up a large, supportive audience, affiliate marketing could be the way to go for you and your show. If you do some market research, and find products that your listeners will love, affiliate marketing could be a really steady way to monetize your podcast. In particular, if you love the product, and your listeners have come to trust your input, you could find great success with affiliate marketing.
3. Land Sponsorship Deals
As your podcast garners more and more followers and reaches new heights of success, you could open up the opportunity to land sponsorship deals. Sponsorship differs slightly from paid ad space in that your sponsor covers the cost of producing one or an agreed upon number of episodes in exchange for you promoting their brand or products in the episodes. By the brand covering your episode costs, you’re able to inject that back into your show and so support all that you want to achieve with your podcast. If you’re able to seek out sponsors whose brands line up with your audience demographic, then you’ll be able to successfully pitch your show as a great investment for their sponsorship.
4. Start a Patreon Platform
Patreon, PayPal, or other such platforms are another effective way to monetize your podcast. Asking for donations from your loyal fans has the major benefit of enabling you to earn money for your efforts whilst avoiding having to give a portion of your podcast to advertisers. Patreon is a crowdfunding type platform, which is easy to use, especially if your audience, or patrons, like making recurring donations. But Patreon is unique in that it allows you as the creator to provide your audience with exclusive content as incentives, based on the amount donated. Levels or tiers based on monetary value are created, and certain rewards or incentives are linked to each level. (We will share more on using premium packages as a way to monetize your podcast at method Number 6 of this post.)If you’ve put in the time and effort to cultivate your relationships with your listeners, most will be all too willing to donate to your show and support a podcast host they love and admire.
Related read: 3 Easy Steps To Accepting Donations For Your Podcast
5. Sell Your Own Products
Another totally viable way to make money from your podcast is to create and sell your own products. There are a whole host of possibilities when it comes to making use of this method! You could create a whole range of niche-related printables that your listeners can purchase and print, or you could even turn your content into an audiobook. You could also consider selling podcast-related merch as a way to make money from your podcast. Things like cpas, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, and hoodies are firm favorites when it comes to podcasting merch. If you get your creative juices flowing, and source a good supplier and a reliable printer, you could create some really fun merchandise your listeners will love!
6. Create Premium Packages
As you build up the podcast community around your show, and as the demand for your content grows, you could consider creating premium packages. This could be anything from additional episodes, behind-the-scenes or bonus content, worksheets or other types of documents, that your listeners can get access to if they become premium members. If you’ve built up a strong support around your show and you consistently give your listeners the high-quality content they’re looking for, they will be excited to get their hands (and their ears!) on more of your content, and they will be willing to pay to become premium members of your community.
7. Host a Live Podcast Event
A live podcasting event can also be a great way to monetize your podcast. Whether it’s a live recording of your show (when protocols allow for this, of course) a panel Q&A event, or even a simple Meet And Greet, selling tickets to an exciting live event can be a great way to earn money from your show. You’ll need to be sure that the funds you receive help cover the costs involved in your set-up, the renting of any equipment, as well as any costs involved in renting out the venue. But if you advertise well and sell out the event, you should be able to turn a fairly decent profit. This can then be injected back into your podcast to help it reach new heights…or it could be saved for a rainy day…
8. Be a Guest Speaker
As I’m sure you are aware, one of the keys to achieving success with your podcast is to work to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. This means that you become a trusted source of information on your subject and others start thinking of you as an expert. Not only is this necessary for your podcast to enjoy continued success, but it can also open up another monetization opportunity – invitations to be the guest speaker at events. When the world starts to sit up and take notice of your amazing content and your unique voice, guest speaking opportunities at conferences, business lunches, or other types of events become a viable option. You may need to pitch yourself in order to book your first few slots, but after knocking those out of the park, other invitations could come flooding into your inbox.
Pro Tip: When looking for events to pitch your expertise to, look for businesses or events that are aligned with your niche. This will make it much easier to pitch yourself as a viable option for the guest speaker.
Related read: 8 Strategies to Build Authority in Your Podcast Niche
9. Create Courses
Your status as “Niche Expert” means that your valuable content will be highly sought after. You can then convert this demand into another monetization option by using your content to create courses. This will take quite a bit of work from you initially to create the courses, whether text or video based, set-up your platform, and advertise your courses, but after the initial input is done, this can be a very successful way to monetize your podcast as the work just has to be done once. People can then purchase your courses and they can become a steady stream of passive income to help support your podcast.
10. Offer Coaching Sessions
Offering coaching sessions is becoming more and more popular in all sorts of fields, as well as in the podcasting sphere. This method is similar to creating your online courses in that you offer educational material, but instead of this being via a text or even a video-based format that users can access at any time, coaching session usually involves your listeners signing up and paying for a live session with you, either one-on-one or with a small number of other users. If you’ve done the groundwork of establishing yourself as an authority within your niche, then you should find that there will be great excitement around the possibility of having a coaching session with you.
So while I believe your passion for your topic or niche should be what inspires you to podcast, it certainly does not mean that you can’t or won’t make money from podcasting. Any and all of the above methods are totally viable options for any podcaster to monetize their show. However, for any monetization method to really work, you have to do the work. You need to grow your audience and build your community by consistently engaging with your listeners and keeping them coming back for more. You need to make sure that you do everything in your power to create stand-out, high-quality episodes time and time again. And lastly, you need to keep sharing all that valuable content so that you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Do all of this, and monetizing your podcast using one or more of the above methods will be met with great success.
Don’t go just yet…
What monetization methods have you tried or are looking to try for your podcast? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share them with me in the comments section below.
If you want to go a little deeper on the topic, check out this Buzzsprout post. It does a great job of breaking down the facts and figures of the money podcasters could potentially make from their podcast.
*The viewpoints and opinions shared in this article are my own and are not necessarily or entirely that of We Edit Podcasts.