Truth be told, there are lots of podcasters out there that are perfectly content to use podcasting as a hobby. For the rest of us, we’re in it not only to have a creative outlet, but hopefully to make money as well. With that in mind, here are the top 5 ways to monetize your podcast:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Create Your Own Products To Sell
- Sell Your Services
- Ask for Donations
Now that you know the best ways to start making money with your show, let’s break each of them down so you can determine which one is right for you.
In a sponsorship, you endorse a company’s product or service on your podcast in exchange for payment. Always make sure the endorsement makes sense for your listeners. For example, don’t endorse a meat delivery service to an audience that is mostly vegetarian. Choose companies that line up with your values and those of your audience, and the experience will be more authentic for everyone.
According to John Lee Dumas of the wildly popular Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast, The current industry standard for traditional sponsorships is for you to record a 15-second pre-roll (where you talk about the company that is sponsoring you before launching into your podcast) and a 60-second midroll (where you talk about the company midway through the podcast). He also states in his guide to podcast sponsorships that you can expect to command $18 per 1000 CPMs (listens) for a 15-second pre-roll. A 60-second mid-roll can net you $25 per 1000 CPMs.
Some hosts choose to sprinkle in additional mentions throughout their entire show, and others keep all sponsorship shout outs at the end of their shows. The amount of money you charge can vary widely as well. When you’re just starting out, you might not make very much, but as your listenership grows, so will your sponsorship rates.
RSS.com Podcasting has added Podcorn Integration to its list of features to help podcasters earn money with sponsorships without needing to hunt for advertisers that are ready and willing to pay you for your endorsement.
Essentially, Popcorn does all the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is select a company you would like to be sponsored by, submit a proposal, and deliver a promotional soundbyte if they choose to work with you. Then, once you have delivered on your end, they pay you. It’s as simple as that!
Read our full post “Make Money Podcasting with Podcorn – Setup Instructions for Your RSS Hosting Account” to learn everything you need to know about working with Podcorn.
2. Affiliate Marketing
As with sponsorships, it’s best to only work with companies that are in line with your audience’s values and what they would actually need/want. And ideally, you should be a consumer of the product or service yourself. In other words, it’s never a good idea to recommend something you haven’t personally tried because then you won’t know whether or not it’s a good value.
Just a few ideas of things you can become an affiliate for include, but aren’t limited to:
- Products you use in your own business (i.e. a hairstylist may be an affiliate for hair care products and accessories or a nutritionist may be an affiliate for supplements)
- Tools and software (i.e. email service providers such as ConvertKit, shopping cart applications such as Salesforce, plug-in recommendations such as WooCommerce)
- Equipment you use to produce your podcast (i.e. microphones, headphones)
3. Create Your Own Products to Sell
This is one of the best ways to monetize your podcast because you keep control over the whole process. When you work with sponsorships or affiliate partners, you’re sending your audience away from you to make a purchase. But if you have a product, and you have engaged podcast listeners, you keep the audience on your own platforms and you get to keep all the profits as a result.
What if you don’t have a product, but want to create one? Your audience could be the key to a product that isn’t on the market yet. Engage with them and learn what they need, then develop and sell it!
Your show could be the perfect way to advertise your new product even before it’s ready to sell. You can promote your products in a pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll ad. Or, you can focus your topics on subjects that naturally lend well to placing your product as the solution. Use your podcast to build your audience, demonstrate your value, and position your products as the solution to your audience’s problems.
Related: Check out our post “Creating a Product for Your Podcast Audience: The Do’s and Don’ts”
4. Sell Your Own Service
Maybe the idea of creating products seems too difficult, or like it would require too many moving parts to keep track of. Instead you could offer a service such as coaching, consulting, or something similar. Your podcast audience already likes what you have to say. Figure out how to package your message into a service, and use your podcast as a platform to advertise it.
Perhaps you’re a photographer – you could use your show to book more photography gigs. Or let’s say you’re a freelance graphic designer – your show might be just what you have been looking for to book out your calendar with more clients than you know what to do with.
When you start thinking about your podcast as a way to connect with prospective customers, the possibilities are endless
5. Ask for Donations
If you don’t yet have any clout, you can begin by building a loyal following and consistently delivering quality, meaningful content to your audience. Then, you can consider asking for donations. If people like your show, they might be willing to send a few bucks your way. If your audience is big enough and devoted enough, those bucks could add up to a nice profit.
Platforms like Patreon allow your followers to send you monthly donations in exchange for special content and incentives. There are also one-time only donation options such as Paypal Donation Buttons and Buy Me A Coffee.
Whatever method you choose to yield donations, always remember that your audience comes first. Consider the question of how you can meet their needs in the best way. When you’re helping people solve a problem, they’ll keep coming back for more. And when that happens, you’ll have more opportunities to make more money.