Podcasting has been around for more than two decades, but in the last few years, the format has really gained speed and popularity. By the end of 2021, podcasting is expected to grow to a $1 billion industry. Many podcasters wonder how they can make money from their podcast, and take a small share of that huge industry.
It’s also predicted that podcast listeners will increase by more than 10% year-over-year. With so much potential, it’s no surprise that so many people are flocking to the world of podcasting.
Many podcasters are creating their shows for fun, or as a hobby. They don’t necessarily plan to see any financial return from their podcast, but eventually any type of podcast can be monetized, if you choose to do so.
Whether you’re just starting out or if you’re looking to take podcasting to the next level, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the best ways to monetize your podcast so that it can grow from a fun hobby to a lucrative one.
7 methods to make money podcasting
Ads and sponsors
Ads and sponsors are the go-to method for making money from your podcast. When looking for a sponsor, find one that is relevant to your topic and audience. This opens the possibilities for a valuable partnership on both sides.
One of the biggest hurdles to getting sponsored is the fact that many companies focus more on the number of viewers versus engagement. As a podcaster, you’re well aware that having 200 engaged listeners is much more valuable than 2,000 casual ones.
More often than not, the more viewers you have, the more money you can make by having a sponsorship or running ads.
This is why it’s so important to find a sponsor that meshes well with your audience and niche. You may find more success by teaming up with small or local companies. When approaching them, explain how supporting your podcast benefits them.
Affiliates are very similar to sponsorships. However, instead of earning money based on each download or view, you can get paid based on what and how much you sell for the company you are affiliated with. As an affiliate, you’ll earn a commission on each sale you make. Some affiliates get one time fee, some get recurring fee, so make sure to look at the terms and find the best deal for you.
You can add links of companies you like and think your listeners will like. Alternatively, you can mention popular brands such as Amazon or Audible in your podcast and hope that your listeners will buy after hearing about them from you. In both cases you’ll need to add the link in the show notes.
If your site lets you, try to make the affiliate links pretty, meaning – https://mysite.com/affiliateName and not https://affiliate-site.com/13lkjasf3241dlaf.
Everyone loves some good company swag. If you’ve yet to brand your podcast, now is the time to do so! Putting your name, logo, and/or slogan on a t-shirt, hat, or any other item is a simple yet effective way to make money.
Your loyal fans won’t think twice about buying merchandise. People love sporting apparel from their favorite brands.
Merchandise is also beneficial in that it:
- Builds brand awareness
- Increases reach and visibility
- Is great for marketing
If you decide to go the merchandise route to make money from your podcast, don’t go overboard. Buy a few shirts and see how quickly they sell. Depending on demand, you could have a solid stream of income.
Another simple way to turn your podcast into a money making machine is to sell your content. Set up a membership or subscription model, like Supercast. With this option, your audience will pay a monthly fee (or per-podcast fee) to watch and listen to your podcasts.
Be aware that you can’t (and shouldn’t) sell whole podcasts. You still need to create free content. This way people can still listen to your content, which gives them the ability to decide if they like it enough to pay for it.
Another option is to sell your back catalog. For instance, you can keep your 20 most recent episodes free, but older episodes must be purchased.
You could also choose to create exclusive episodes that go above and beyond what you provide for free. FOMO is one of the best ways to entice people to buy. No one wants to miss out on a good episode!
Ask for donations
If you’ve built a loyal fan base of people who regularly tune in to watch or listen to your show, consider asking for donations. Loyal viewers are often more than willing to pay a small amount of money each month to help keep your podcasts alive and well.
Today there are all sorts of donation sites to use, including Patreon, PayPal, and Buy Me a Coffee.
When asking people to donate money for your show, you have to offer some sort of reward. While some listeners will donate just because they like you and your content that much, others won’t.
You can thank people for their investment by offering free merchandise, sneak peeks into new episodes, ad-free podcasts, or maybe even a virtual hang out session on Zoom.
If your podcast is based around DIY or teaching people how to do something, consider creating courses. Whether it’s fixing cars, remodeling homes, or training their dog, people are generally willing to pay for a video-based course that breaks things down into the simplest form possible.
Courses are high-value products that generate a lot of, especially if your content is in high demand. Split broad topics into smaller ones so that you can create several courses for a single topic.
Use your podcast website
Posting your episodes on YouTube or any other popular platform is a great way to grow your fanbase. But what if you also posted your podcasts on a domain that you owned and maintained? Using a podcast website opens all sorts of doors for monetizing your content.
Some of the top ways to make money with a podcast website include:
- Affiliate marketing
- Pay per click ads
- Paid membership content
- Publishing sponsored posts
- Accepting donations
Having your own podcast website is one of the best ways to brand and market your podcast. Here you’ll have full control over the look and feel of your site. This enables you to create a unique experience for your audience without any constraints.
Final thoughts – Podcast monetization
Monetizing your podcast isn’t as hard as many people think. Time is money, and what better way to make money than by spending time talking to an audience? Whether you decide to try affiliate marketing or if you create a podcast website, be patient and stay consistent. Continue creating quality content and money will soon follow behind.
Even if you’re just getting started, and don’t have hundreds or thousands of listeners, keeping monetization in mind can always help. You’ll be prepared for the day you can start monetizing the podcast!