7 Ways To Monetize Your Podcast

Podcasting is a vital means by which content is used to reach new audiences, and strengthen relationships with the existing audience. It has been shown statistically that there has been a rapid increase in the number of podcast listeners.

This means, there is a significant amount of your current and prospective audience who are either listening to podcasts already or will be in the near future.

As vital as podcasting is, it is important to know that it requires money: Audio and editing gear, time spent on recording and editing your podcast, paying for editing and marketing services, promotional costs, and more that you need to be aware of.

Many potential podcasters are unaware of how to monetize a podcast, which makes them not see the worth in spending to launch and maintain their podcast.

The truth is, you can use podcasting to your advantage and make it pay for itself and even generate significant income for your business while building a powerful asset for reaching and engaging customers and prospects for your other offers.

I will be sharing my experience in podcasting, and how I made money from it. Let’s take a look at some of the important ways to monetize your podcast.

1. Crowdfunding and donations

With an increase in gig and incoming of small businesses that work in a multitude of industries, crowdfunding has kick-started. Some websites, such as Indiegogo, kick-starters, Patreon, and so on, enable fans to support content creators they follow by contributing a certain amount monthly or at once in order to get exclusive access to content regularly.

With these websites, you can give your sponsors the option to either pay on a regular basis or at a particular time of need, such as if you want to publish a new podcast episode.

If you are unable to produce new podcasts on a regular basis or you don’t have enough time to invest in interacting with your listeners, you can always opt for a one-time donation. There are payment networks such as PayPal, Venmo that enable creators to accept donations on a regular or one-off basis.

You can place an online tip jar on your podcast website or mention it in your podcast episodes. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who are willing to pay to appreciate free content.

There are also potential downsides to donation and crowdfunding, you need to have a large audience in order to attract a substantial amount of contributions. Inclusive, the amount of revenue you will be able to generate through this approach may be highly unpredictable except you have to build up momentum. Yet, for several types of podcasts, crowdfunding feels right to them. 

2. Advertising

Highlighting affiliate products is a form of advertising, but you only make money based on the number of downloads your podcast has when you advertise your podcast.

Advertisements can be in form of audio, played before the show(pre-roll), middle (mid-show), or end of the show(outro). It is possible for the audio to be read by the host or automatically inserted by technology that stitches ads into podcasts.

In audio ads,  mid-roll ads pay better than pre-roll (because listeners are not likely to skip it), but are longer and more intrusive.

They are usually sold on a CPM (cost per mille, that is the cost per thousand impressions) basis, you can earn up to $15 for a 15-second pre-roll and $35 for a 70-second mid-roll. If you have up 1000 listeners on your podcast, that’s $50 per episode if you ran both ad sets, and if your podcast is popular, you could earn more on ads you display.

There are options to insert ads into your podcast by many podcast hosts, these ads may not be for products relevant to your listeners. Also, most hosts require your podcast to have a high number of monthly downloads before advertising is available to you as an option.

You might not be able to attract advertisers unless you are generating above 10,000 downloads monthly and if you do, you might not be able to generate enough revenue, that’s worth your effort.

3. Affiliate links

This is a custom link to an online store or product that you can back to you and a certain percentage of the total amount is paid out from purchases made. In some instances, you could earn a substantial percentage of up to 30 to 50 percent. Products or subscriptions with higher prices (that continuously generate commission on an ongoing basis) and over time the revenue adds up.

Amazon Affiliate

One of the best and popular affiliate programs, that serves as a good starting for many affiliates, though it doesn’t pay the highest percentage is Amazon Affiliate Marketing.  As long as there’s a link that traces back to your products, you’ll receive a certain amount on purchases made.

For instance, if you sent someone a link to your $50  book, instead they purchase a $700 MacBook, you’ll earn a percentage from the sale of the MacBook.

Though Amazon does not pay for everything but most products on the site in the referral fee will earn you 1-10 percent of the sale price.

Learn how to make money with affiliate marketing

Generally, if you have a particular or type of product that your target audience is highly likely to use, affiliate links are a great option. Being an expert in your topic area, you are in the best position to highlight products you know your learners will be in need of.

For instance, if your podcast focus on mental health, you might have to link(on Amazon)books or practical tools and platforms that will be helpful to your listeners or even events that would be of benefit to them if they attend. It is just important to highlight products that offer value and are relevant to your audience.

For me, you don’t have to be a user of every product you highlight, but it’s helpful to highlight the ones you use and can personally recommend.

Third-Party Affiliates

In addition, you could search for relevant products on one or more affiliate network search companies that provide platforms and opportunities for other companies to run their affiliate programs. You could use Shareasale(most used), CJ Affiliate, Impact, and Clickbank.

I’ll always recommend that you focus on getting higher-priced products that are of relevance to your audience and offer a good rate for commission.

In conclusion, you should know that selling through third-party sites (Amazon, Udemy)  would require you to sign up for the affiliate programs on the site and use an affiliate link to your products(provided the affiliate program terms don’t forbid this).

4. Sponsorships

Sponsorships have a mix of the major benefit of advertising, which is, being paid upfront. The major benefit of affiliate marketing, that is, the potential to generate substantial recurring revenue without a large audience.  

Excitingly, when it comes to the freedom given to negotiate terms, sponsorships are more superior to both advertising and affiliate marketing. You can decide how much you charge and when you receive payment, which can play a major role in helping you budget your podcasting business.

More so, you could structure sponsorship on a per-episode, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis, depending on the fee you charge your sponsors. You could include links, sponsor logos, or promotional language on your episode pages or show notes.

Challenges of Sponsorships

The major disadvantage of sponsorship is that it could be tasking for you to find the right sponsors who are ready to invest enough for the worth of your effort. At the start of your podcasting journey, it may be an impossible task if you do not have established audiences (you need to continuously focus on building your audience), once you start getting some traction.

Though there are companies that have an interest in specific niches and might make use of your podcast platform. (Note, you do not need to have so much audience to get sponsorship,  Sponsors are more interested in the quality of your audience, that is if they’re people likely to convert into customers, rather than quantity.)

Don’t forget that, building business relationships through sponsorship can be valuable to your business over time. Because, sponsors can serve as a great information source, and they could offer opportunities for you to gain experience(for instance, many hold customer events), for consultation, or collaboration on product offers.

5. Merchandising

When your podcast becomes popular, you can monetize it by creating merchandise with the podcast brand.  Which could include t-shirts, mugs, stickers, or an extensive collection of products with your podcast logo and catchphrases.  

You might not become a celebrity through your podcast(you never can tell though) but you can still sell related products. You can create, upload, and print your design on any product you want, either accessories, apparel, and so on with prints on-demand sites such as Zazzle and Redbubble.

With print-on-demand sites, you don’t have to pay until you sell a product, then the retailer takes a portion to pay for the cost of manufacturing and you share the profit. Hence, creating merch is cost-effective using an existing brand, that’s how you can make a profit.

6. Tracking

You don’t have to make monetize your podcast directly for it to be a valuable part of your strategy. You might be satisfied with your podcast reaching new audiences for your brand and boosting your reputation.

With a goal in mind, many people use their podcasts to generate leads, a way to attract a wider audience or followers they can convert into learners for online classes or who will buy your other products.

To measure how successful your podcast is at generating long-term revenue you need to closely monitor your audience figures,  using tracked links associated with your podcast to see how many listeners view your other products and check for connections between your product sales and your podcast performance.

Most podcast hosts provide tools for tracking the number of listens your program attracts and monitoring growth over time. I also recommend Chartable, a podcast analytics platform that makes it visible for you to know how your show is performing. (You can make use of the free version).

While using your podcast for tracking isn’t a bad decision, it’s wise business sense to make money from all your content in every way. Amazingly, there are diverse ways you can monetize your podcast, as long as you find the model (or several) that works best for you.

7. Premium content and paywalls

You are allowed to create premium(paid) content by most podcast distribution networks. As a podcaster, you’ll be able to publish both free and paid episodes, so that casual followers can remain engaged but staunch fans can pay for more content. A free episode might be a 30 minutes interview with a celebrity or a notable person in your field where you discuss extensively on the subject and ask important questions.

The disadvantage is the risk of alienating free subscribers if they begin to feel that the best contents are only available in paid episodes. Premium contents are most effective when it adds value to the main episode, rather than detract from it.

Also, you can monetize your podcast by putting past episodes behind a paywall.  The trick with paywalls is to offer good contents that motivate listeners to pay so they can hear the rest. I’d also advise, not to paywall episodes until they’re a few months old, so that regular listeners don’t miss out because they were sick or went on vacation. 

Summary

For me, podcasting is a great way to diversify your business with low operational costs and several ways to generate revenue. How you choose to monetize your podcast is dependent on your area of expertise, audience and personal disposition, as long as you can monetize it in the right way, a podcast can be a stream of significant revenue for your business.  

Finally, here are the best podcast hosting sites you should check out for your podcast hosting.

Thanks for reading.