“How do podcasts make money?” is a question that every podcaster wants to know as they pour their time, energy, and resources into creating episodes for their show. Yes, it is entirely possible to make money while talking about your favorite thing! Thousands of popular podcasters are making a living doing just that.
Though making a considerable amount at the beginning stage of a podcast is not easy, but you can bring enough so as to cover your hosting costs and other podcasting-related essentials.
With 10+ years of running SayWHA radio, I will be sharing with you my 6 tried & tested strategies through which you can produce a steady revenue stream with your podcast.
but first, let’s start with the basics:
How do Podcasts Make Money?
There are two ways through which podcasters can make an earning, namely:
- Direct Monetization
- Indirect Monetization
In the direct monetization category, the podcasters sell their shows. You can make unique content for your targeted audience, repurpose it, and grant its access only to the paying members of your show. Whereas, in indirect monetization, podcasters sell or promote products or services through their show.
Every dedicated podcaster puts a lot of determination, grit, time, effort, and resources into pumping out podcast constant which your audience love. I know it is not easy. Quality content creation takes time and effort, which gets better over time, and there is nothing wrong with expecting some investment return.
Below, I have shared my top 6 strategies in SayWHA radio to generate decent revenue. Let’s first start with the direct monetization ways:
Donation & Premium Content
With the growth of your audience base and community, one of the best direct ways to monetize your podcast is using a membership platform like SuperCast or Patreon. Your loyal listeners who tune in on every episode and admire your work and content can directly support you. Having a membership program where you can put premium content for your donators is a strategy used by many popular podcasters. As podcasters, we have the leverage to create premium episodes that we can efficiently distribute to our members by private RSS feed. In addition, you can customize and create an experience for your members exclusively on your membership site.
At SayWHA radio, we use Patreon because it allows us to add banners, profile pictures, a welcome message, and videos for our VIP listeners. Once you start getting substantial listeners, you can create different membership levels, giving higher-level members access to more features, products, and content.
A few options that you can sell to your podcast members if you don’t want to create new content for them are:
- Ad-free episodes
- Q&A with speical guest
- Early access to your upcoming episode
- Live-streamed episodes
Ads & Sponsorships
Have you ever heard any podcaster saying, “This episode is sponsored by XYZ”? This phrase is usually attached at the beginning, middle, or end of the episode, where the podcasters talk about the products they use or like. As the rawest form of monetization, advertisements and sponsorships are easy to enroll in. With brands always on the lookout for a new audience to promote their products and service, getting a gig to pay you for promoting their products on your episode is easy if you have a dedicated following.
Though ads and sponsors might not always be available for every podcast, every brand has a preset benchmark for choosing their sponsors, varying from a few thousand downloads per episode to upwards depending upon the brand’s market value. However, if your podcast’s niche is small but profitable, you can approach the sponsors even before hitting the brands’ mark.
From my experience, I have noticed that the advertisements or sponsors mentioned in the MId-row (during the episode) are more converting than pre-roll. But, it is ultimately your call. If you want, you can promote them at both points.
Below are the platforms where you can find sponsorship deals according to your podcast niche:
- Adopter Media
- Ad Results Media
- True Native Media
- Advertise Cast
Depending upon your podcast’s niche, there are different products and services that your targeted audience would like to buy, and that’s where you come in. You can mention products of your listener’s interest on your show and recommend them to your audience.
A podcast is one of the most intimate ways to connect with your targeted audience, but it still takes time to build trust and authority, even on this platform. However, once your audience likes, know, and trust you, they will surely start trusting your recommendations.
A simple example is if you educate your audience about technology in your podcast, you can recommend your listeners, latest phone, laptops, and other products related to your niche. You can contact the selling brands to see if they work with affiliate links and get the deal of your choice.
If your listeners love your show, they might consider buying merchandise that shows off the podcast. But for making money out of selling physical products, your podcast must have a brand value. You can sell physical products like mugs, t-shirts, stickers, or anything that reminds your audience of your show outside listening.
These days, you can easily create your E-commerce store and sell your merchandise without hassle. You can showcase your podcast’s name, some insider joke, or often used catchy phrases on the merchandise. Along with being a great way to make money, it also promotes your show at a base level, making people using your product, your direct brand ambassador.
E-courses and Consulting
Podcasts instantly connect listeners to you, which makes them trust and respect the podcaster. With this leverage in hand, you can shine in selling e-courses of consulting using your podcast. With time, as your credibility amongst the listeners grows, you can position your podcast as an authority in your niche.
For example, in my Corporate SWAG show, we talk and educate the listeners about the corporate world similarly; if in your podcast you talk about some topic that people want to learn in more depth, you can start making money with your coaching and consulting as an expert of the niche.
As an expert in this field, making money with your courses is a more straightforward and faster money-making process than most other monetization methods. Talk about your course, services, client success story, along with offering promotion codes to let your audience know about your service.
Sell Yourself as a Podcaster
You don’t need to have expertise in some specific niche to start selling your service. A podcast is undoubtedly a booming business, and if you are great at hosting, you can start selling yourself as a podcaster. You can generate a really good living by it if you have the production chops to make your podcast sound good.
You can teach your listeners everything about your podcast, from how to get a job in podcasting to how to become a successful podcaster. It is a great way to get paid while just talking about your passion.
Monetizing a podcast: Where Should You Start?
Like everyone, in the early day, you will be testing everything to find what works. Most end up applying different monetization strategies parallelly. Though getting successful in making money out of podcasting passion is not plain sailing, you will surely start getting a decent return on investment with time.
Confused about how to start? I recommend trying out the following generic methods first before opting for other complex ways of making money:
- Affiliate Marketing
Monetizing your podcast is a long game, and your consistency and longevity will decide how much money you will make podcasting.