How to Monetize a Podcast: 10 Ways to Make Money Podcasting
Podcasting is growing rapidly. In 2006, only 11 million Americans reported that they’d listened to a podcast, but now that number is well over 160 million. Over 40% of these people report listening to podcasts monthly, and 28% of them listen weekly.
The increased attention on podcasts gives creators more opportunities to cash in on their content creation efforts and the brands that they are building.
Today, we are going to discuss how to monetize a podcast. We will go through 10 different ways to make money podcasting. These techniques can be mixed and matched to create a podcast monetization strategy that works for you and your audience.
Let’s get started!
Sponsorships are among the most popular way to monetize a podcast. A sponsor is a brand that pays for a feature in your podcast.
Sponsorships can be incorporated into your show with a short line that simply says, “This show was sponsored by…” or it could be a longer spiel that starts with something like “...and now, a message from our sponsors.”
Securing a sponsor requires having a loyal audience, but there is no exact threshold of listeners you need to seek sponsorships. As long as a brand can derive some benefit from backing your show, there’s an opportunity to make money from sponsorships.
For example, a small Dungeons & Dragons podcast could be sponsored by a hobby store or D&D dice company, or it could even be sponsored by a small artist that sells D&D dice of their own.
Advertising is a very traditional method of monetizing content creation. Podcasters can sell advertisements to brands that want to capture their audience’s attention.
Podcasters can sell ads to brands directly, or they can partner with ad agencies to connect with brands. Either way can be effective, but if you’re just getting started, partnering with an ad agency can help you break into the space more efficiently.
It is worth noting that there is some overlap between ads and sponsorships. Your sponsors can ask for an ad within your podcast, as well.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a very popular content monetization method that podcasters can use. If you are not familiar, an affiliate link is a custom link to a product on an online storefront that tracks the origin. Since affiliate links are trackable, creators can collect a commission when somebody makes a purchase with their link.
With affiliate marketing, podcasters can promote products that they like and attach an affiliate link. The commission varies from company to company, but the average commission is 5-30%.
There are platforms that are designed to enroll creators in affiliate programs, but affiliate partnerships can also be negotiated individually. If you’re looking for an easy place to start, the Amazon Affiliate program is a good option.
Keep in mind that sponsorships and ads are often paid upfront, but with affiliate marketing, you only get paid for the sales that are made with your affiliate link.
4. Exclusive Content
The majority of podcasters provide a plethora of content to their audiences for free. However, your biggest fans are likely to pay for access to exclusive extras, like a bonus episode or behind-the-scenes footage.
A somewhat common strategy among podcasters is to publish free content each week and then post one exclusive episode monthly for their paid subscribers. Some podcasters have different tiers for exclusive content. It is up to you to get creative in how you craft your exclusive offers.
5. Paid Events
As your fanbase grows, consider hosting paid events. The type of events you host will depend largely on the industry you’re in.
Some examples of paid events that podcasters could host include workshops, webinars, meet-and-greets, live performances, or community meetups.
These events can be in-person or online. If your audience is spread around the world, online events are a great place to start.
6. Sell Merch
Selling merch is a great way to monetize your podcast. It’s also a cool way to allow your community to rep your brand wherever you go.
Thanks to e-commerce, selling merch for your podcast is easier than ever. There are plenty of tools available to create online storefronts for your brand, including Shopify and Big Cartel.
If you host video podcasts or live streamed events, live commerce is another popular way to sell merch. If you’re not familiar, live commerce is an e-com technique that involves selling products directly in-stream.
Maestro, for example, is a video streaming platform that supports seamless integration with Shopify, so you can sell your products right alongside your video player.
7. Sell Services
Some creators use podcasts as content marketing for their other brands. For service-based businesses, especially those who operate completely over the internet, a podcast can be a great place to promote their offerings.
For example, a PR company might host a podcast on advice for small businesses. As they establish some authority or thought leadership in their space, they can promote their PR services.
8. Publish a Book
Depending on your industry or area of expertise, publishing a book can be a great way to provide your audience with even more value than what you can fit into your episodes. Not only does it give you a way to make more money, but being a published author can also help enhance the legitimacy of your brand.
Not everyone's a writer, so this may sound like an overwhelming endeavor. However, there are multiple ways to turn your favorite topic of discussion into a published book.
If you want to use original ideas, you can co-write with a ghostwriter. If you want to pull together information from other experts, you can curate a book with submissions from a variety of experts in your field.
9. Tipping and Donations
In recent years, tipping and donations have become commonplace in the online streaming and content creation industry. These podcast monetization methods enable supporters to pay as much as they feel comfortable with.
Since there is virtually no cap on how much a listener can tip, supporters of greater means can dig into their wallets and pay you the big bucks. Since there is not usually a minimum on tipping, it also makes it possible for fans without much money to support your show.
10. Book Speaking Engagements
Public speaking engagements are a great way to monetize your podcast. If you’re an expert in a specific industry or if you have a powerful testimony that inspires others, event hosts may invite you to speak at their conferences, retreats, seminars, and more.
Depending on your level of popularity, you could make thousands of dollars or more from just one event.
It is worth noting that not every podcaster is open to speaking engagements. If you are open to this sort of opportunity, make sure you include information about your availability on your media kit and professional profiles.
Monetize Your Podcast on Maestro
It is easier to make money from podcasting when your brand has a website that serves as a home base. It is even easier with the support of a platform that enables you to create a branded video website and offers the backend tools you need to support the entire operation.
Maestro is a powerful video CMS with a customizable front end. We offer all the tools you need to create subscriptions, sell tickets, collect tips, sell with live commerce, create unique brand activations for sponsors, and more.
Sign up for Maestro to start monetizing your podcast today.