How do podcasts make money? This is a valid question to ask yourself when you’ve been pouring time, effort, and resources into running a podcast. From business owners seeking to grow a client base to hobbyists looking to share interests, podcasts are a great way to supplement your income. Here is further insight into a few innovative podcast monetization strategies.
1. Use Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an excellent first step towards earning you money from being a content creator. You can enroll in many affiliate programs for free and without having a large following to start. As a podcast host, you get tasked with recommending a service or a product to your audience.
You will get a commission for every new lead or purchase made through your endorsement. Through affiliate marketing, you also get to share services and products you like effectively.
How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Monetize a Podcast
So how do you start? Pick a product you like and would enjoy recommending to your listeners. Also, since you understand your audience, you should choose a product that best appeals to them. This evaluation essentially helps you find a good match that balances your interests and that of your audience. You thus avoid losing your loyal following by endorsing products that align with the ideals and principles identifying your show.
How to Find Affiliate Programs for Your Podcast
You will find a diverse list of prospective affiliate programs in every possible niche and industry through a quick online search. You can decide to directly contact a company with an affiliate program or sign up for an affiliate network that connects you with several programs.
Once you sign up for an affiliate program, you will obtain a unique referral link to share with your audience. You can add the affiliate link to your:
- Podcast intro and outro
- Podcast episode descriptions and show notes
- Podcast social media account such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram
- Podcast Website
After picking a product, you can develop different strategies for presenting it to your audience. Affiliate marketing on your podcast can be as easy as adding a simple shout-out during your show to promote the product. If the affiliate link is simple to spell out, you can provide several mentions during the show for your audience to type in and search.
As a podcaster, your website can be an important tool if appropriately used for affiliate marketing. Apart from housing your bio and links to the latest episodes as well as podcast recordings, you can also include affiliate links on your website. By sharing the affiliate link here, your audience can easily access the recommended services or products at the click of a button.
You can choose to develop a unique or catchy link and then add a hyperlink to the affiliate link.
2. Do Sponsorships & Advertisements
Sponsorships and advertising are likely the first strategies you consider when thinking of ways to make money podcasting. Podcast sponsorships and ads are deals you strike with a brand to help increase their brand awareness and sell their products. The amount of money you receive from sponsors and ads is determined using two metrics. These are namely:
CPM (Cost Per Mile)
The CPM model refers to how much your sponsors pay for every 1,000 downloads of your podcast, every 1,000 impressions on your social media posts, or every 1,000 views on your podcast videos. Deals in CPM pricing sound something like, “I’ll pay you $30 for every 1,000 views on your podcast videos.” CPM is the ideal metric for podcast shows with a large following.
CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
The CPA model measures the number of signups or sales the promoted business gets through podcast advertising. CPA is the right metric for podcast shows with a small following but a highly engaged audience.
You can direct listeners to make purchases through a unique link on your blog or offer an exclusive discount coupon code. These sales conversion routes help track prospective and actual clients interested in the product from listening to your podcast.
When it comes to pricing, there isn’t a standard set for podcasting rates. The pricing depends on your current podcast reach and the type of sponsor. Sponsors that use CPM spend an average of $15 to $25 for every 1,000 downloads. Meanwhile, sponsors that use CPA typically spend $15 to $30 on each person that buys their product or signs up for their services.
Podcast adverts also differ in charges depending on their ad spot placements in your podcast. The three main ad spots are:
- Pre-roll, which is at the start of your podcast
- Mid-roll, which is at the middle of your podcast during a commercial break
- Post-roll at the end of your podcast
Pre-roll ads are usually the cheapest and priced at $18. Despite this being what your audience first hears, it is generally brief (lasting about 15 seconds) and is straightforward. Mid-rolls have slightly higher pricing since they are longer (lasting about 60 seconds). It allows you to provide more detail, like reading out the main talking points provided by your sponsor. You can also improvise to make the advert sound more authentic to your listeners.
How to Get Potential Sponsors for Your Podcast
Just like in affiliate marketing, you can find prospective sponsors by doing a Google search. Online searches can help you find companies seeking help in marketing products that match your listener’s interests. If you aren’t sure which company to partner with, feel free to consult your fellow podcasters, friends, and even your audience.
Once you choose a potential sponsor, you can create a presentation and email a detailed pitch to them. The information contained may include details about your podcast, suggested pricing, and podcast team. You can also include your audience demographics like views, download statistics, tweets, and posts.
Being thorough is an excellent way of ensuring a good first impression. Send your pitch to as many suitable prospects as you can find to improve your chances of getting a deal. You can send a follow-up email one week after the first email and end it with a gracious note.
3. Monetize with Online Courses
Since your audience trusts you, they regularly tune into your podcast to gain valuable insight on a topic you’re an expert on. Why not take advantage of this trust by creating and selling e-courses to your loyal following. With a market worth of $46 billion, online courses are a great way of making money from your podcast. Having an e-course also ensures you have an asset you can repeatedly offer on every podcast episode.
How to Use Courses to Monetize a Podcast
You can follow four easy steps as a content creator when setting up and selling your e-course.
Start by coming up with a profitable idea for your online course. You can tackle this brainstorming stage by considering what’s already driving your earnings. If there are areas in which you’re currently getting paid for your time and skillset, those could serve as great online course opportunities.
If you don’t have anything that meets the mentioned criteria, you can move on to asking your potential students what they would like to learn. This option allows you to come up with custom courses for them. You can achieve this by carrying out surveys with listeners using potential course topics. For instance, ask them questions about the biggest challenges they face regarding a potential topic and what they would achieve by solving this problem.
Performing online searches will also help you identify holes in the market. You can then fill these market gaps using e-courses on your podcast.
After choosing a profitable idea, you can proceed to planning your online course content. Students often enroll in courses seeking a specific outcome that goes beyond gathering information about a topic. When planning your course content, you can start by thinking about what a successful outcome would look like for your learners.
The first course module you offer lays the foundation for what your learners will be doing for the rest of the course. You can break down the course into different module levels that build upon themselves. Carefully arranged course modules are efficient in helping your students achieve their desired outcomes.
After planning your online course content, you can choose a format that best conveys the information to your students. The four most common content formats used in online courses are:
- Digital downloads like spreadsheets and PDFs
This final stage entails naming and pricing your online course. An effective e-course name is targeted to ensure prospective students know what they’re getting themselves into. Your course name can be results-oriented by outlining the outcome your learners are likely to attain by the end of the course. Try to avoid including fluffy language or complex jargon in your online course name.
When pricing your online course, you can use a simple goal-based pricing model. The price you set is determined by what you aim to achieve with your course. If you wish to reach the highest number of people to generate leads for other work, then give away the course for free.
On the other hand, if you wish to achieve the highest number of sales, then pricee your e-course as low as possible to make it very enticing to prospects. The lowest pricing in most markets is under $30. If your goal is to achieve the highest total income, then set a high price. You earn as much by selling your course to one person at $1,000 as you do selling to 50 people at $20. By following these steps in setting up your online course, you can make money by podcasting.
Examples of Successful Podcast Courses
There are currently plenty of platforms that allow content creators like podcasters to create their online courses. The two most popular ones are Skillshare and Udemy. These platforms are perfect when launching your online course since they’re simple to join and set up. Once your online course proves to be a hit, you can opt-out and bring it to your website to optimize income.
4. Offer Premium Content
Selling premium content is another excellent podcast monetization strategy. It entails charging a subscription fee for exclusive or unique access to content. Premium content isn’t found in your regular show schedules.
You will have to promote your exclusive content in a way that sets it apart from your regular podcast episodes. By distinguishing the two in an enticing manner, your audience will be more inclined to spend their money on premium content.
Types of Premium Content to Monetize Your Podcast
The different types of premium content you can offer include:
Behind the Scenes (BTS)
Releasing exclusive Behind the Scenes content gives subscribed listeners a sneak peek of the action leading up to a successful podcast. BTS content enables your audience to see the human side of your podcast. You also become more relatable, which is a great way to build a stronger relationship with your audience. You’ll be surprised by how many listeners are ready to pay to see BTS content that showcases the down-to-earth persona of their favorite podcaster.
An effective way to make money podcasting is by providing free audio versions for podcast episodes then adding the video formats behind a paywall. Your listeners will likely want to see what’s happening behind the mic, especially if you regularly showcase guests. Videos are also perfect for educational and informative podcasts that visual demonstrations can support.
As a podcaster, you can offer your audience the opportunity to hear your episode several days or weeks before anybody else. This strategy can be particularly effective for two-part podcast episodes that end with suspense. You’d be surprised how many eager listeners are willing to pay a fee for early releases instead of dealing with the anxiety of waiting for your next periodic release.
You can capitalize on the downloadable resources you create on your show by charging a fee to anybody wishing to receive it. For example, if you run a digital design podcast, you can offer downloadable templates. If you’re hosting a marketing podcast, you can provide downloadable worksheets and checklists.
Apart from podcast episodes, you can use live chats to deliver premium content. Your listeners might like to interact with you or your featured guest during a show. You can take advantage of this by charging a subscription fee for guests seeking to access a live chat with you. Live chats also help you have effective discussions with your fans while making them feel more involved.
Through newsletters subscriptions, you get to send premium content to your audiences’ inboxes. Listeners sign up for newsletters to receive more of the content they love. Newsletters are also a great way to notify your fans about the latest podcast episodes and other featured products.
How Much Should You Charge for Premium Content
When coming up with a subscription fee for premium content, try choosing a price that will be a low barrier of entry. If you set the bar too high, regardless of how great your content is, you may end up losing your loyal following.
Developing premium content is a long-term game and not about quick earnings. Exclusive content earns you one of the best returns over time as you gradually grow your audience. When it comes to implementing a pricing plan, start simple with one subscription tier. You can later add more tiers once subscriptions pick up.
5. Look for Crowdfunding & Donations
Another simple podcast monetization strategy is through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding entails collecting direct donations from loyal podcast listeners that want to play a part in supporting your work. The funds can help you improve your podcast and ensure you continue delivering quality content.
Basic Steps to Follow When Setting up to Receive Donations
Pick a Platform for Accepting Donations
You first have to create an account on a trusted platform before you start crowdfunding. The two most common platforms used by podcasters are PayPal and Patreon.
PayPal is a worldwide online money transfer system that is a great electronic alternative to cash. You can easily create a PayPal account through the easy-to-follow setup instructions. Afterward, you will obtain a unique link that you can share with your listeners.
Patreon is an alternative crowdfunding platform where your audience (now called patrons) can easily make repeat donations. Through Patreon, you can offer exclusive content to your patrons as an incentive to continue making donations. The exclusive content can be tiered and made accessible based on the amount donated.
Motivate Your Audience to Donate
Once you’ve set up your chosen platform, you need to think of ways to convince your audience to donate to you. It essentially entails establishing an emotional connection to your cause that motivates listeners to donate. You can start by simply asking nicely, especially if you already have a large and loyal following.
You can also opt to inspire people with your dreams and goals. Sharing your visions may profoundly affect your audience and be enough to motivate them to support your podcast. Offering incentives like exclusive content through Patreon is another excellent way to inspire your listeners to donate.
The Donation Location
Once you’ve motivated your audience to donate, you now need to convert that into actual donations. This entails picking the perfect location where you will include a call to action for making donations. You can use your mailing lists, especially if you already provide free content and extra value to your audience through newsletter subscriptions. You can send out emails seeking donations to your mailing list and include the link to the chosen donation platform.
Also, you can add a direct link on all your podcasting platforms like your podcast hosting site, social media channels, and website. Placing the link where it is easy to find increases your chances of receiving donations. Donation buttons can be visually appealing and professional-looking. Both Patreon and PayPal allow you to add a “donate button” to your emails and websites.
You should remember it’s up to your listeners to make donations, so try not to sound pushy. Remain courteous and professional even after your call-to-action goes unanswered.
FAQs on How to Make Money Podcasting
How Much Money Do Podcasts Make
Depending on popularity, some podcasts get business deals worth millions while others simply earn enough to survive. Big enterprises are willing to spend money on renowned podcasts that will build trust and intimacy for their brand. However, do not be guided and discouraged by this big-money info if you’re planning to start your podcast. With over 800,000 podcasts currently active around the globe, podcasters earning over $100K yearly are a rare and thus make the news.
How Many Followers Do You Need to Make Money on a Podcast?
If you run a podcast with an active following, then you can monetize it at some level regardless of the size of your audience. When you have a few listeners, like five to ten people, you can strive to improve listener engagement. It will, therefore, be easier to make money from them through the different monetization strategies.
When you have a large following of more than 3,000 people, plenty of sponsorship agencies will be willing to take you on. Even with a decent following of 300 to 500 people, you can get a good sponsorship deal, especially when your listeners belong to a specific market niche.
Is Starting a Podcast Worth It?
Podcasting is, without a doubt, great for the growth of your personal brand and business. It is worth spending some money investing in gear and exerting effort in planning your content. By being consistent and delivering top-quality content, podcasting can open new opportunities and earn you a stable income in the long run.
There isn’t one perfect way to make you money from your podcast. The trick to optimizing earning lies in implementing different monetization strategies that your listeners won’t find intrusive.