Nowadays, podcasts are easier than ever to create. You just need a microphone, a podcast hosting solution and you are good to go. Many podcasters create their podcasts as a hobby or side-project, without any intention of monetizing the podcast.
That’s perfectly fine, and podcast monetization shouldn’t always be a priority, but it might be worthwhile exploring this opportunity.
In this article we’ll go through the process of podcast monetization, and show you the best ways to make money out of your podcast. It doesn’t matter if you have a few dozens, hundreds or even millions of listeners, you can always monetize it and use the following methods to generate revenue and keep your content at a high level.
When is the right time to think about podcast monetization?
Many podcasters record their podcast and wonder if now is the right time to think about monetizing their podcast? The short answer is – yes!
To elaborate a little further, it’s always a good idea to develop a vision for your podcast and try to think of your long term plan or goals. We are well aware it may sometimes seem irrelevant, but just developing a thought won’t cost you anything and it can always help, even if you don’t plan to ever monetize your podcast.
With that said, the size of your audience doesn’t necessarily matter, but some methods can work better than others for different numbers of downloads/listeners. Before diving into the different methods to make money from your podcast, we just want to stress the most important thing – you must have good quality content in your podcast before thinking about podcast monetization. There’s is nothing that can replace or compete with quality content.
4 Methods to Monetize Your Podcast
1. Collecting Donations
As you start to gain followers and visitors to your podcast website, you can add a button to allow them to “buy you a coffee” or donate. Many podcasts run on donations and you can easily set up a system for donations by using services like Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee, PayPal and others. Setting up donations links in your podcast website or RSS feed can help covering costs, but it’s hard to make a business on a donation basis only.
Even if you have a large audience, the percentage of your listeners who could end up donating is not huge. Donations require quite a lot from your listeners (unlock their phone or laptop, search for the donation link, and complete the transaction) and sometimes it’s too much to ask. With that said, donations are probably the easiest podcast monetization method if you’re just getting started.
2. Enabling Podcast Subscriptions or Memberships
Setting up a subscription or membership can be a good choice. You can restrict parts of your podcast to “Premium” members and only provide this content to paying members. There are multiple 3rd party services such as Patreon, Supercast or Glow that can help you set up memberships for your podcast in your own terms.
We’ve already mentioned Patreon above for donations, but you can easily set it up for continuous or recurring donations. This, in fact, helps you charge your audience on a monthly basis and only provide content to those.
While many podcasters use Patreon, a couple of new companies have emerged in the podcast memberships/subscriptions scene. Both Supercast and Glow are platforms that would help you set up a private RSS feed and create a membership specifically for your podcast. These companies are better suited for podcasting and can help making a real business out of your podcast.
3. Sponsorships / Ads
Getting a sponsorship or advertisers on your podcast is also a really popular approach. Many podcasters include several ads on their podcast intro or inserting a short break during their episodes for ads. This method would usually work better if you already have built an audience and have thousands of regular listeners. It works even better when your sponsors or the ad you promote is relevant to your podcast’s content.
You can directly reach out to publishers and brands and check if they are interested to sponsor your show. Other possibilities include using 3rd party ad platforms or built-in options in some podcast hosts. There are so many podcast ad networks available, you can compare what they offer.
4. Sell merchandise or use affiliate links
Set up shop on your website. You can embed products on your website from popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Gumroad, WooCommerce and so on. There are dozens of different services that can help you ship merch like T-Shirts, Stickers, Mugs and more with branding of your podcast. Printful, Printify, RedBubble and more are all available in this space.
If you don’t have branded merchandise to sell, or don’t want to, you can always use affiliate links and gain revenue from recommending different products or services related to your podcast. Amazon is the first name that comes to mind, but there are so many other options available for you. Just try to think of your audience, and what they could be interested in. It can be a specific item like the microphone you’re using yourself, or a simple online service like Podcastpage.io that you can recommend to your audience.
While podcast monetization can be hard to at first, there are many ways to make money out of your podcast. You can try the four different methods suggest in the article, or be creative and use another approach. There are no limits for what you could do in terms of monetization. If you really have good content and a large audience, the sky is the limit.
It’s important to keep your main focus on creating great content. Building a good relationship with your audience, is also important. There are no shortcuts for providing real value to your audience before monetizing the podcast. Once you have your podcast up and running, you can start doing some marketing try to get more and more followers.
We always recommend to have your own podcast website to keep in touch with your followers. Having your own podcast website will make it much easier to monetize your podcast.