Podcasting is a lot of work. If you want to do it seriously, you have to find ways to make money from it. Whether you’re a new podcaster or a veteran, it’s important to know how to monetize a podcast.
In this post, we’ll go over the 15 different strategies to monetize a podcast. They fall into two groups: Direct and indirect methods.
How to Monetize a Podcast Directly
Direct monetization is when the podcast is the thing you sell. Here are some strategies to explore.
1. Ask for Donations
The simplest way to monetize a podcast is to ask people for money. Plenty of fans are happy to throw a few dollars to their favorite podcasters to ensure they continue to get great content. When people ask us how to monetize a podcast, this is always the first solution we recommend because it’s easy to set up and promote.
The best way to take donations is to create a Patreon account. It’s well-respected and simple to use. You can use their default settings or create your own system of levels and rewards for donors.
2. Sell Sponsorships/Ads
Sponsorship is the most common way to monetize a podcast. Aside from accepting donations it’s also the easiest because you don’t have to create or sell anything. You just have to set up a deal with a sponsor.
You’ve probably heard podcasters start their show or break in with something like “This episode is brought to you by [some company]. If you’re looking for a…” You get the idea. That’s a sponsorship.
Sponsorships pay more depending on how many people listen to your show. As the number of people who listen to your show increase, so will your revenue. But that also means this is a tough way to make money if you don’t have many listeners.
Generally, you can charge for “pre-roll” and “mid-roll” mentions. Mid-row (during your episode) pay more. Promote the sponsor at both points if you’re comfortable.
Here are a few places to find sponsorship deals:
Brokers take a cut, but they do provide good value. If you want to keep all the sponsorship money to yourself, your other option is to reach out to companies directly to set up your own sponsorship deals.
3. Sell Premium Episodes
Since you know your audience likes to listen to your podcast, there’s a good chance some of them will pay for premium versions of your content. All you have to do is create some special recordings that are only available for purchase.
You might sell…
- Q&As with special guests
- Early access to episodes that will be free one day
- Ad-free episodes
- Live-streamed episodes
The Daily Wire takes a unique approach to premium content. For $10/month, subscribers can access video versions of their podcast episodes.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is another great example. His recent episodes are free to download, but his older stuff costs $1.99 on his website.
4. Sell Repurposed Content
A great way to create sellable content is by repurposing things you’ve already created. This reduces the time you would spend making something similar.
Take a few of your best podcast episodes that relate to similar topics. Transcribe them yourself or pay someone $5 on Fiverr to do it. Then edit the transcriptions into something readable (add more value where you can, but don’t invest too much time into research) and package them together into a book.
Next, market your new book on your podcast. Point out that it’s a comprehensive way to learn everything you’ve taught.
5. Syndicate Your Show to YouTube
An easy way to squeeze some cash out of what you’ve already created is to publish your podcasts to YouTube as videos.
This is a quick process you can do yourself or delegate to someone on your team. All you have to do is enable monetization in your account settings and Google will handle the ads and distributing your money.
You don’t have to do a lot of video editing. Just add a single image to your episode recording. Learn a little about YouTube SEO, too, so you can set you make your videos visible to searchers.
How to Monetize a Podcast Indirectly
Indirect monetization is when you use your podcast as a tool to sell other things. Check out some of these money-making techniques.
6. Sell Physical Products
These days, you don’t need to actually handle any products in order to have your own ecommerce store. You can set up a store on your site that sells products you never see or touch. You could sell T-shirts, mugs, or anything else. Joe Rogan, host of the popular Joe Rogan Experience, has its own store stocked with many of the products Joe wears.
With Teespring, you can design and showcase products that are only printed/created when someone buys. This way you don’t have to put any money down.
7. Public Speaking
Public speaking is actually a simple transition for a lot of podcast hosts. If you’re comfortable speaking on your show, you’ll probably do well in front of a crowd. Admittedly, standing in front of a bunch of people is a unique challenge, but it’s less of a problem if you already know how to speak.
How much you can make on speaking fees varies widely. Some speakers get a small stipend and travel expenses. Other speakers make six figures or more.
8. Sell Mastermind Slots
A mastermind group is a unique way to monetize a podcast because you get more value from it than just money.
A mastermind is a small group of people dedicated to supporting one another toward a common goal. They offer education, brainstorming, and accountability to help you stay on track with whatever you’re trying to learn or accomplish.
In a mastermind group, you’re a member too, which means you have to limit it to a small group of people who can add value to your business as well. You should not be a teacher, but you can still charge for slots because you’re the organizer.
9. Sell Access to a Membership Site
Membership sites are just information products with a clever spin. They’re organized into course people can take that mimic classroom learning. This is good method if you want to teach something that easy for your listeners to learn on their own and they achieve something specific once they complete it.
You can also package a community experience into your membership site by fostering a place a forum or Facebook group where members can discuss and work together (with your input, of course).
10. Sell Content Upgrades
A clever way to monetize a podcast is to include a downloadable resource with each podcast episode that relates to that episode. This is called a content upgrade because it upgrades the episode content.
For instance, let’s say you host a fishing podcast. In one episode, you talk about fishing for trout. At the end of the episode, you tell your fans to go to your website and buy your 99¢ map of the best trout fishing spots in the U.S.
11. Sell Information Products
An information product is a type of content people buy to learn new things. It could be anything: A template, a resource, a guide, an ebook, a worksheet, etc. Unlike content upgrades, a general information product doesn’t have to relate to a specific episode, but would solve a broader issue or problem your listeners face.
The biggest benefit of selling information products through your podcast is that you can plug them as often as you like in your podcast script to prevent sales from falling flat. You can also source questions or comments from your listeners and answer them on your show, which adds more value to their purchase.
12. Sell an App
If you’re acutely aware of your listeners’ challenges and problems, you can monetize a podcast by designing an app that suits their needs. If you host a parenting podcast, you might sell a calendar app designed specifically for parents. If you host an astronomy podcast, you might sell a star-finder app.
Alternatively, you might sell a simple branded app that helps people interact with you and your content better. It could have your podcast episodes, blog content, updates, your schedule, and maybe a way to talk with you directly.
A word of warning: App development can be expensive if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Make sure you get plenty of information from a developer before you get started so you don’t burn too much cash or wind up with a half-finished product you can’t afford.
13. Host an Event
If you have a local following (or a devout audience who wouldn’t mind traveling to see you), sell tickets to a live event where your fans will get to meet you in person.
The type of event you host will depend on your audience and your podcast’s topic. You might give a lecture, run a workshop, teach a skill, or simply host a group discussion. Eventbrite is a great tool to sell your own tickets for a live event.
14. Sell Consulting/Coaching Services
The biggest benefit of hosting a podcast is that you establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Your audience comes to respect you as an informed expert. So a great way to monetize a podcast is to offer services that tie in with your topic.
For instance, a productivity and wellness podcast might offer personal life coaching. A marketing podcast might sell personalized marketing strategies.
15. Sell Affiliate Products
Instead of creating your own products to sell, you could sell other people’s products for a cut of their sales. There are two methods to do this.
The first method is to promote their products yourself. For example, Audible’s partner program is common among podcasters. They give you a free link to promote. You get $15 anytime someone signs up for a free trial using your link.
The second method is to have the product owner come on your show to push their own products. The benefit here is that the product owner knows how to sell his own product better than you, so he can say the right things to drive more sales.
You’ll still need a special URL to track sales. We recommend something like yourdomain.com/product-name. Set up the URL with a redirect so you can see exactly how many people followed it. Make sure to establish a reasonable commission beforehand.
(Pro tip: Make sure to disclose any affiliate relationships. If you don’t, your listeners might feel deceived.)
Experiment with Multiple Techniques
As you can see, there are plenty of methods to monetize a podcast. There’s no right way to do it.
The trick, however, is to monetize your podcast in a way that doesn’t disappoint your listeners. This means finding the monetization technique they don’t find intrusive. In many cases, that means using a little bit of several techniques, rather than pushing one method hard.
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