Ah! Monetizing your podcast. It’s one of the biggest dilemmas new podcasters face as they ask themselves the question: “Can I make money off my podcast?” Well, it gives me great pleasure to tell you: Yes! You can!
The next question is: How? How do you turn your piece of audio brilliance from an enjoyable hobby into a source of income?
Fortunately for all of us in the podcasting community, there are many ways of monetizing a podcast. I hope you have your pen and notepad ready because coming right at you are 13 proven monetization techniques that will help make your podcast a money-making machine.
Related Read: 15 Effective Ways to Make Money From Your Podcast.
1. Premium Content
Let’s immediately dive in with our first podcast monetization technique: Selling your premium content.
Premium content is podcast content that you sell through a recurring subscription (usually monthly). It is not available on your normal podcast feed. Your listeners will subscribe to your premium service and receive exclusive content that is only available to paying customers.
Your premium content could be granting access to a second special episode that you publish only for paying customers. Almost like a ‘part two’ of the first episode that is available for free.
Other premium content options include: Having special training videos; giving an in-depth analysis of each episode; offering access to unique merchandise; showing your audience what it’s like behind the scenes; and even having video versions of your podcast available for your premium subscribers.
Just make sure that your premium content is valuable to your paying customers. As such, being paid through selling your premium content works best for podcasts with a high audience engagement.
So if your listeners are active in the way they follow your podcast, get them to subscribe and invite them to explore more of your intriguing world.
Much like professional athletes who make millions from endorsements, a good way of getting paid from your podcast is through sponsorship. (Although, I can’t guarantee that the margins will be the same as LeBron James or Serena Williams).
Sponsorship is a contractual agreement between you and another business/brand. You could work out a sponsorship deal where they pay you to market their products and services on your podcast.
Companies that are likely to offer you sponsorship will pay close attention to your listener numbers and audience engagement. So make sure that your content is amazing to reel in that following. And be very active on all your social media platforms to increase your audience engagement.
Getting a sponsor for your show is a great way to have guaranteed money that you can bank on. You will have to promote the brand/business a specified number of times per episode/season. In exchange, you get that good ol’ moola in your bank account.
Similar to sponsorship, you can approach businesses and ask if you can promote them on your podcast by running their ads. The key difference is that these are usually once-off occurrences or campaigns for a limited time period.
Running ads is great because you can capitalize on brands that are launching a new product or service. You can offer your podcast up as a vessel for their marketing campaign and pigtail off the hype they’ve already built up for themselves.
If you manage to land a big name whom you promote on your podcast, try and turn that into a sponsorship deal. The longer the relationship between you and the businesses you advertise the better your chances are of generating a consistent income.
4. Syndicate Your Podcast on Youtube
Moving onto number four and we’re here to give you more. To increase the chances of growing your audience and earning more money, make your podcast available on YouTube.
Millions of people use YouTube on a daily basis and if your podcast show’s up in their search then you have a good chance of increasing your following. Once you have 1000 or more subscribers on your podcast’s YouTube channel and 4000 watch hours within the calendar year then you can make use of the YouTube Partner Program.
Once you are part of the program, you can earn money through ads that are placed in your podcast and also by earning a small portion of the YouTube Premium subscribers’ fee.
With millions of potential fans waiting to discover your podcast, what do you have to lose?
Mambo Number Five and we move on with a charity drive. You should always be open to receiving and accepting any donations made to your podcast.
Donations are no-strings-attached payments made to your podcast. The usual motive is through appreciation of your podcast and in the interest of further developing your podcast.
You may feel a bit weird to outright ask for donations on your podcast. There’s no need to feel uncomfortable about it, but I totally understand if you are. So if you are uncomfortable being direct about asking for donations, try out some less direct methods.
Try posting occasional ‘call to donate’ posts on your social media pages. Make the links to your donations portal clearly visible and place them strategically on your website and social media pages. You can even add a donation option to your newsletter. Fans of your podcast will then be able to see how they can help you without them feeling pressured into it or you feeling like you’ve forced their hand.
Other indirect methods of asking for donations that are worth exploring are services like Buy Me a Coffee. They offer a platform for fans to donate to or purchase an artist’s work (buying them a cup of coffee), without either party having to subscribe. A subscription service is available as well if that’s what you’d prefer. Their ‘Donations’ caption says it best: “Give your audience an easy way to say thanks.”
Making donations to your podcast should be as simple as possible. Sites like PayPal and Ko-fi make it easy for your fans to show you their love.
Equally important to remember: Giving a shout-out on your podcast and thanking those that made donations will add a special touch that your generous fans will appreciate.
6. Paid Live Podcast Events
“Six of the best” is usually something you want to avoid but our number six is a number to hold onto. Setting up a live stream of your podcast or hosting a live podcasting event can take a lot of time and demands intricate planning. But, when you get it right, it can be a big moneymaker for you and your podcast.
Sell tickets to your live stream podcasting event and truly boost your earning potential. Just be careful to price your tickets correctly to avoid alienating any of your listeners. Choose the right options that work for your audience
Live streaming gives listeners the opportunity to engage with your podcast or event in real-time. So they can live chat with you on your social media pages or even call into your show. But the best part is having those who are at the event itself who can make spur-of-the-moment donations to your podcast.
Live events mean that your audience is ‘here and now”. Usually, your listener could be stuck in traffic while listening to your podcast, making a mental note to make a donation. By the time they arrive at the chaos in the office, however, donating to your podcast has moved very far down their list. But at Live events, your audience can donate right there and then the moment your brilliant live event inspires them to do so.
Related read: Top Tips for Successful Live Podcasting and Hosting a Live Podcast Event.
As we move to number seven on our list, you’ll realize that you are indeed a merchant. By turning your podcast into a profitable business you have put on your brand new merchant’s hat. And what better way to give back to your audience than by offering them something tangible that they can take home! (For a fee, of course).
Merchandising involves selling products directly to your audience. It could be branded goods with your podcast’s logo or words and sayings that carry the message of your podcast. Your merchandise could be almost anything: Mugs, hats, pens, coasters, t-shirts, the list goes on and on. The limitations to what you sell are only set by your imagination.
That being said, make sure that your merchandise is aligned with your podcast’s overall image and target audience.
Firstly, branded coasters may be great for homeowners or those that are in the service industry, but not so desirable to a younger population who only use their small apartments for sleep and storage. Do a little research on your target audience, then marry their expectations with your brand image. That’s a winning recipe for best-selling merchandise.
Secondly, your chosen merchandise should also work as added marketing opportunities for your podcast. If your merchandise is aligned to your audience, they’ll want to show it off, and in the process, promote your show to new listeners
8. Affiliate Marketing
If you are not willing to create merchandise of your own but still think that this strategy could work for your podcast, then you could approach other businesses and offer to sell their products on your podcast for a commission fee. This would be an affiliate agreement.
Affiliate marketing is huge in podcasting. Because of the rapid growth of podcasting as an industry, companies are racing to get involved and use podcasts as part of their marketing strategy.
Brand/business will usually give you a special code that you will then share with your listeners. When your followers make a purchase using that code, brands will be able to trace it back to you and pay you your commission for that sale.
For affiliate marketing, it’s best to seek businesses and brands that are aligned with your podcast’s image and are favored by your audience.
9. Back Catalog
Selling the back catalog of your podcast’s episodes may be a bit cheeky, but it is still a valid income generator for your podcast.
Selling your back catalog entails making previous episodes of your podcast available to your audience, for a fee. You can set up a paywall on your podcast’s website that restricts access to your older content, making it only available to paying users.
This strategy works because recent fans of your show may have missed your previous episodes and love your podcast so much that they want to listen to ALL of it. There’s also the chance that loyal followers may want to go back to their favorite episode of your podcast. There is no shame in asking them to pay a little extra in order for you to grant them that access.
10. Promote Your Other Interests
Here’s a reason to do a ten-finger fist-pump: One amazing thing about having your own podcast is that YOU HAVE YOUR OWN PODCAST! This means that you can do and say anything you want on your podcast. (As long as it’s in line with the interests of your audience!). So, as the boss, take the opportunity to promote yourself and your other ventures.
Try promoting and selling tickets and/or products for other activities of yours that fall outside of podcasting. You’re probably doing other things within your fields of interest so, it being your podcast, they’ll most likely align with your podcast in some way.
Public speaking events are great for selling tickets and generating an income. You could hold workshops on the topics discussed in your podcast or give a talk on an issue that is close to you and your listener’s hearts. Advertise these events on your podcast and sell the tickets on your podcast’s website and social media pages.
The 11 players of a football team need a coach, and so do many others in the corporate world who are unlearned in a particular niche. You should plug the gap and offer up your services as a coach or a consultant.
If there is a keen interest in your podcast’s themes and indeed a healthy following of your podcast then chances are that you’ve done the research to be knowledgeable in those fields.
Approach businesses and individuals to impart your knowledge to their staff and associates. You could host coaching sessions in which companies pay you a fee to educate their employees.
12. Online Courses
A dozen doesn’t always have to be dirty. Our number twelve is short, sweet, and squeaky clean. Generate more income from your podcast by offering an online course and integrating it with your podcast’s online persona.
This works best if your podcast offers educational value or if you are qualified to educate in a certain field. Your followers can then pay to have access to your online learning materials and you earn whilst helping others learn.
13. Join a Podcasting Advertising Network
Our final little gem of advice to give for how you can monetize your podcast is by joining a podcasting network.
A podcasting network is a space (usually online) that connects companies and brands looking to advertise their products and services with respective podcasts. So you can find advertisers for your podcast (and they can find you) all in one convenient place.
Once the connection has been made, the podcasting advertising network takes a relatively small commission fee from the money paid to you by the advertiser.
Podcasting networks also help advertise your podcast, making it possible for you to gain more followers and indeed increase your podcast’s revenue.
Here is Everything You Need to Know About Joining a Podcasting Network.
Things to Remember
As you’ve seen there are many ways for you to monetize your podcast. The most important thing to remember is to choose a strategy that works best for you, your podcast, and your audience. Not every method that we have mentioned will suit your specific podcast. Find out which ones work best for you and offer you maximum earning potential.
Finally, you do not have to choose just one means of monetizing your podcast. In fact, it’s advisable to try more than one to better the chances of growing your podcast’s revenue. Again, just make sure that is all aligned with your podcast and your podcast’s stakeholders.
So, what are you waiting for? You now know exactly how to monetize your podcast. Now go out there and make some bank!