How to Make Money Podcasting: 5 Ways to Monetize a Podcast

Podcast monetization is a hot topic that you’ll hear about at nearly every podcasting conference.

If you’re wondering if you can make money podcasting — the short answer is yes. There are plenty of indie podcasters who are making money podcasting. Some are making enough to cover costs, while others are making a full-time income.

Even if you’re a hobbyist with no intention of going full-time, you may still be interested in making money podcasting. Why? We often forget that although podcasting has a low barrier to entry, it still requires an upfront investment of equipment and ongoing expenses for podcasting tools.

It’s common for podcasters to spend at least $100 a month, not including hiring an editor. So making money as a podcaster can, at a minimum, help sustain your show and cover your costs, but it can also supplement your income.

When Should You Monetize Your Podcast?

The best time to monetize your podcast is whenever you are ready. Just like you did not need permission to start a podcast, you do not need permission to monetize.

I know podcasters who started monetizing even before launching their show. It’s never too early or too late to begin monetizing your podcast. Creativity, effort, and persistence go a long way.

Does having a big audience help? Certainly, however, having a significant listenership is not a prerequisite for monetizing your podcast. While some income streams work best with a larger, more established audience, all options listed below are fair game no matter how large your following.

Related: Podcasting Conference to Help Grow Your Podcast

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to get starting making money podcasting. Affiliates earn a commission when you refer someone to a product or service and they make a purchase.

This works best when you know the product, use it, and genuinely recommend it to others. Most affiliate programs will give you a unique link to share with your audience to track sales, or a specific promo code listeners enter at checkout.

One way to promote affiliate products on your show is by creating ads in episodes or mention it naturally in the episode. For indies, these ads are typically ‘baked-in,’ so new listeners who find these episodes months (or years) later will have a chance to hear about the offer and opt-in. Do not forget to include your affiliate links in your show notes and within relevant content to maximize your earning potential.

Popular affiliate programs and networks include Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, and ShareASale. However, many individual businesses offer affiliate programs that you can sign up for as well. Affiliate programs typically give you a fixed amount per referral or a percentage of each sale.

If you’re wondering if one of your favorite brands has an affiliate program, scroll to the bottom of the brand’s website and see if they have an ‘affiliate’ or ‘become an affiliate’ link. And if a business you’d like to work with does not have an affiliate program, reach out and ask them if this would be something they’d consider.

Lastly, be on the lookout for affiliate programs with a high payout and ones that offer recurring monthly commissions so you can continue making passive income on an ongoing basis.

Here’s a list of products you can become an affiliate for:

  • Courses
  • Memberships
  • Subscriptions
  • Website hosting
  • Equipment, and more

Digital Products

Unlike an affiliate where you earn a percentage of each sale, you reap all the rewards when you create digital products (and assume all the burden of creation).

With more people choosing to learn online, informational products like eBooks and courses are a popular way to package your knowledge and create passive income. Many podcasters create digital products similar in focus to what they already talk about on their podcast, making purchasing your offer the perfect next step after listening to an episode.

Popular digital products include:

  • eBooks
  • Courses
  • Workbooks
  • Swipe files.
  • Lesson plans
  • Recipes
  • Itineraries
  • Audio and video training
  • Workshops and masterclasses
  • Spreadsheets
  • Software

Donations

Through platforms like Buy Me a Coffee and Patreon, it’s easy to ask your listeners to support your show in the form of donations, either one-time or ongoing. Offer listeners a chance to support your creative work and say thank you, add special perks like bonus content, access to early releases, or even host a private podcast that features additional interviews, behind-the-scenes, or ad-free content.

Services

As a podcaster, you will learn valuable skills that you can then provide to others. While editing is one of the most common services, you can create graphics and artwork, schedule posts on social media, or teach others how to start a podcast as an instructor, consultant, or coach.

On the other hand, you can also offer services that relate to the content of your show.

Sponsorships

Podcast sponsorships are highly sought after but require the most time and effort to see success. Even though brands are starting to look at metrics like interaction and engagement, many still consider audience size and impressions as determining factors when considering sponsoring a podcast.

In the meantime, continue to grow your audience and learn all you can about them, so when you attract advertisers, you can explain what they value.

Typically brands are looking to partner with podcasters with 3,000 to 5,000 downloads per episode. Yet, there are plenty of podcasts that have been able to gain sponsors with as little as 500 downloads per episode. The more niche your audience and relevant the product or service, and the stronger your relationship with your listeners, the more valuable working with you will be. As the adage says, the riches are in the niches.

Podcasters typically offer 15, 30, or 60-second ad spots, including pre-rolls (placements before the content), mid-rolls (ad placements in the middle of the content), or post-rolls (ad placements at the end).

With various ways to make an income as a podcaster, let us know how you monetize your podcast and which ones you’d be willing to try.

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