According to this post by Podbean, as well as many others on the topic, “Can I make any money from my podcast?” is one of the top 10 most frequently asked podcast-related questions.
And understandably so! You just need to see the big figure deals podcast hosts like Joe Rogan, who earned a reported $100 million from his Spotify deal, or the $60+ million deal Alex Cooper from Call Her Daddy secured with Spotify to make people think that starting their podcast might just be their ticket to the big time.
But before you throw all your eggs in your podcasting basket…a little reality check.
While it is certainly possible to make money from your podcast, and while there are many who have turned “podcast host” into their full-time profession, starting a podcast is by no means a “get rich quick” scheme.
But don’t abandon ship too quickly! This post is not entitled “You’ll Never Make Any Money from Podcasting so Quit Now!” On the contrary, this post is all about making money from your podcast! But we did want to make sure we were all on the same page before we dive in. There definitely are many ways you can make some money from your podcast. But it will take hard work, dedication, a good deal of networking, and, of course, timing. So if you’re willing to accept those conditions, let’s jump into the 15 different monetization strategies that could prove very lucrative for you and your podcast.
This is probably the strategy used by most podcast hosts when they’re first looking to monetize their podcast. And if you’re an avid podcast consumer, you’ve no doubt experienced this strategy in action first-hand on any and all podcasts you listen to.
Unless you only listen via premium subscriptions and never hear any ads! If that’s the case kudos to you! You’ve reached an impressive level of Adulting!
You’re also then aware of another of our monetization techniques, we’ll jump back to this later in the post. But I digress…
Brand and product advertisements on podcasts have turned into a very viable way for podcast hosts to monetize their podcasts. And this is because successful marketers understand the power of podcasts when it comes to advertising. According to IAB’s U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study, podcast advertising revenues climbed to $842 million in 2020, up from $708 million in the year prior. The study goes on to say that that figure is set to exceed $1B in 2021 and $2B by 2023.
Do your homework and match your podcast audience to that of certain brands, and you’ll be able to secure some great advertising deals and could bring in a good deal of cash from this strategy.
In a similar vein to advertisement spots, brand sponsorships are another fairly simple way podcast hosts can monetize their podcast. In this monetization method, brands cover the costs of producing a specified number of podcast episodes in exchange for you promoting the brand in those episodes.
Again, by knowing your target audience, you’ll be able to approach brands that cater to a similar crowd, thus improving your chance of signing sponsorship deals. While this method doesn’t necessarily lead to cash in your pocket, having someone else cover your production costs definitely helps! You can then use what you save to buy better equipment, secure your own ad spots on other well-known podcasts, or have it handy to cover those miscellaneous costs that always add up!
3. Affiliate Marketing
Many podcast hosts have found great financial success with affiliate marketing programs. In affiliate marketing deals, the podcast host agrees to promote a product or service on their show and receive a commission for every purchase based made based on their recommendation. The host is given a unique code to share with their listeners. And when their listeners use the code when making their purchase, the host receives a percent of the sale.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your podcast, particularly if you’ve built up a large, supportive, and engaged audience. If you do some market research and find brands with products you know your listeners will love, affiliate marketing could be an easy way to bring in a steady stream of revenue.
4. Sell Your Own Merch
Instead of promoting someone else’s products on your podcast, how about promoting your own! That’s right! You could look at monetizing your podcast by creating and selling your own merch!
Think stickers, caps, coffee mugs, or even refrigerator magnets with your tagline or signature catchphrases on them! If you’ve got a great, supportive audience, this strategy could be a winner.
But your merch also does not have to be directly related to your podcast. You may have creative talents that lie outside of your podcast, but you can use your podcast to direct your audience to everything else you have going on. If you make custom arts and crafts, draw digital portraits, or already have an online business of some kind, then be your own biggest supporter and use your show to promote your merch.
5. Write an eBook
Depending on your podcast niche topic, you could consider turning your podcast content into an ebook! Ebooks are a great way to bring in an extra stream of passive income as once the hard work of actually writing the book is done, and the initial costs to get the book set up are covered, you can receive a large portion of the sales. (Obviously depending on how you publish, whether through a publisher or if you self-publish, etc. and the costs involved in that.)
If you’re in the habit of transcribing your episodes, you’ll already have plenty of text-based content that could be the beginnings of your bestseller. With some editing, content rearranging, and fleshing out some of your ideas, you could find the royalties of your ebook a very rewarding endeavor.
Related read: 8 Reasons To Turn Your Podcast Into A Book
You could also monetize your podcast through donations. Podcast hosts put tons of hard work into creating their shows. From crafting high-quality content, recording, interviewing, editing, marketing, networking, as well as putting in the time to build their community, there is a whole lot of time and effort that goes into just one podcast episode. And you do all this for your audience! But a little financial support to help you keep doing this would be greatly appreciated, am I right?!
And that’s why a monetization method that many podcast hosts try is simply asking for donations in support of the podcast.
Put a call to action in your episodes asking your podcast community if they’d like to help support you in your endeavors to keep making the podcast the best that it can be. Let your audience know how and where they can give donations, and you may just find that simply asking proves to be a lucrative lesson.
Another monetization method similar to asking for donations is crowdfunding. Platforms like Kickstarter and GoFundMe have really taken off in recent years, and podcast hosts have made up a number of the beneficiaries.
Crowdfunding as a monetization strategy is particularly effective when you’re using it as a way to achieve a specific goal. Perhaps you’re looking to up your recording equipment ante, get the ball rolling on that exciting live event you’ve got planned (more on that later!), or you need a little monetary leverage to help you land that amazing guest! Enter crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding platforms were created to help people find backers or supporters for their big ideas. You can use it to get the funding you need to do that next right thing for your show, and by extension, for your audience.
Again, if you’ve done the work to create a healthy community around your podcast, then you’ll likely have a very positive response to your crowdfunding campaign. Be creative in how you ask for financial support from your audience, and they may just surprise you with a little monetary boost!
8. Create Premium Content
As your podcast develops a loyal following and the demand for your awesome content grows, you could consider starting a Patreon account that would offer premium packages to monthly subscribers or to once-off donors as a way to monetize.
This is a strategy employed by many podcast hosts, and so is a familiar option for podcast listeners. The additional content you offer could be anything from additional episodes, early episodes, behind-the-scenes from your interviews or other types of bonus content that your audience can get their ears on if they become members.
If you’ve put in the work and built up your show’s reputation as one that is known for its highly valuable, top-quality content, your audience will likely be willing to pay for more.
9. Advertising Space on your Website
We’ve spoken about advertising spots on your podcast itself, but you can also monetize your podcast by offering advertising space on your website.
Running a website alongside your podcast is one of the best ways to boost your podcast’s SEO (search engine optimization) as well as boost its discoverability. (Hint: If you don’t have a website for your podcast yet, now’s the time to start one!) You can also use your website as one of the hubs around which you build your podcast community.
Once your website is up, running, and thriving, selling ad spots on your page is an easy way to help monetize your podcast.
If you have already built up a substantial following for your podcast, the leap to a YouTube channel could prove profitable. Additional advertisement opportunities would be available to you when you offer your content through a different medium, and you may find that you have even bigger opportunities when you add the video element.
Besides earning directly from YouTube when you start hitting big viewing numbers, you also gain access to new affiliate marketing opportunities and sponsorship deals when you share your content via YouTube.
11. Product Placements
Starting a video podcast via YouTube also presents another opportunity to monetize your podcast…product placements.
This monetization method is similar to other sponsorship deals, but the difference is that in this method, you’re paid to have a product featured prominently as a visual in your video. You may be required to share a little bit about the product, and you also may be given a unique code that your viewers can use when they purchase the product.
12. Create Courses
Building up your authority within your niche will mean that the content you share will be valued and highly sought after. You can turn this into another way to monetize your podcast by creating niche-related online courses.
Online courses have surged in popularity in recent years, and you can capitalize on this trend by creating your own. However, while this strategy could pay out big time in the long run, it will take a lot of work from your side in the beginning. You will need to make sure that your course is put together professionally, that the content, whether text-based or video, is of an incredibly high standard, and that your course is available on top platforms. But once the initial output is done, your courses could become an excellent source of passive income.
13. Offer Services Related to Your Niche
Depending on your niche, you could also consider monetizing by offering your niche-related services at a charge. This could be anything from one-on-one coaching sessions to specialized documents you’ve created to support your podcast content.
Think cheat sheets, workflow charts, infographics, or even PDF workbooks that share your knowledge and podcast content in text form. All of these could be of great value to your audience who would be willing to pay for these additional services as a way to support you, but also to gain access to all the valuable content you consistently share. Spend a little time brainstorming how you could turn your niche expertise into sellable products and turn these into successful monetization for your podcast.
14. Live events
Hosting a fun, live podcasting event can also be a great way to monetize your podcast. And when it comes to live events, there are so many amazing possibilities at your disposal! You could host a live recording of your show which listeners could buy tickets to attend. You could host an interactive panel Q&A event, or even a simple Meet And Greet where you sell tickets at a small fee and get to engage with your loyal listeners.
Successful live events will require some careful strategizing and planning. You’ll need to be sure that the funds you receive will cover all the costs involved. But if you plan effectively, advertise well, and sell out the event, you should be able to turn a fairly decent profit.
Related read: 10 Ideas For Live, Virtual Podcast Events
15. Paid Speaking Engagements
And lastly, paid speaking engagements are another way you can capitalize on as a way to monetize your podcast. As you establish yourself as an authority in your niche, and even as a recognized name in the podcasting space, paid speaking engagements can become a very real possibility.
Conferences, both in your niche or even podcast-focused conferences, business lunches, or other types of events may come looking for your expertise. And as you build your brand, you can go on the hunt for these types of invitations. And once the ball starts rolling, these types of gigs could be a regular occurrence.
Related read: 8 Strategies to Build Authority in Your Podcast Niche
The best advice we can give you when it comes to monetizing your podcast is the making money should probably not be your sole motivation for starting a podcast.
If your main motivation for starting a podcast is to make a quick million while rubbing shoulders with fellow celebrities, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Creating a successful podcast is hard work. And so you need to really love it if you want to succeed at it. There is some serious hustle and commitment needed if you want to build a buzzing following and gain momentum for your show. You’ve got to master the medium, make connections, build up your audience, and then, opportunities to profitably monetize your podcast become viable options.
But with all that being said, what should be clear from this post is that there are definitely many viable ways you can generate some money from your podcast. Put in the hard work, find the monetization strategies that work best for you and your audience, and there is no reason why you can’t turn a pretty penny from your podcast.
- iab: U.S. Podcast Ad Revenues Grew 19% YoY in 2020; set to exceed $1B this year and $2B by 2023: https://www.iab.com/news/us-podcast-ad-revenues-grew-19-yoy-in-2020-set-to-exceed-1b-this-year-and-2b-by-2023/