Podcasting has been a major source of entertainment and information for many years now. If you want to make a living out in this exciting career, it is vital to learn how to monetize your podcast.
Before learning surefire ways to monetize your podcast, you first have to know what this is exactly. A podcast refers to internet radio talks or audio messages. The word is a combination of iPod and broadcast. Podcasts utilize the same set-up as radio. And listeners enjoy podcasts similarly to radio. With podcasts, audiences can put on their earphones and listen to their favorite podcast anytime and anywhere.
With over 10 million searches each month, it’s impossible to deny the rise of podcasts. Since producing a podcast takes a serious amount of work, finding ways to earn money from doing it has become a priority for both newbies and veterans. There are many traditional and creative strategies that can put food on your table if you monetize your podcast effectively.
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This post has been updated in August 2021.
What Is a Podcast?
Podcasts are audio shows that typically involve one person talking (or sometimes two or more people) sharing their thoughts on a particular topic. The topics featured on a podcast can vary from finance, sports, travel, or home improvement. Podcasts usually revolve around a certain theme similar to traditional television or radio shows. A podcast is usually divided into episodes that discuss certain content or subtopics. This would then be divided into seasons.
Depending on the host or producer, podcasts can release one episode per day or per week. Listeners usually get notified when a podcast they subscribe to posts a new episode.
The advent of technology and portability has made listening to podcasts easier than ever. Now, people can simply search for episodes on streaming apps, such as Spotify and iTunes, and all you need is any digital device to tune in. Many podcasts cater to people living an on-the-go lifestyle. However, you don’t need an internet connection to enjoy podcasts. You may simply download your favorite podcast and play it offline when you’re not busy.
Things to Keep in Mind Before You Monetize Your Podcast
Just like any industry, not everyone who makes a podcast will be successful. If you want to make good money out of your passion, you have to follow important steps to realize its potential.
Stick to a topic
Before you make a podcast, you have to decide which type you want to make. Do you want to cater to a broad audience, or do you want to stick to a particular niche? Keep in mind that competition is tough if you want to go for the mass market.
Should you opt for a specific niche, find one that you are extremely interested in. For example, surfing, fishing, or motherhood are excellent choices. These topics will make it easier for you to identify your target audience, as well as the people and brands you want to work with. Since there is less competition, you can also increase your likelihood of becoming more popular. With a niche topic, it would also be easier to commit to a specific stand or viewpoint. For instance, podcasters who chose a topic concerning hobbies for women over 40 can highlight activities that are out of the box, such as backpacking and sports.
Do your best
As with any business, quality is always better than quantity. Expect to have more followers and listeners if you produce amazing content. Newbies always start with a small audience, so don’t get discouraged. Use this as inspiration to produce more relevant and timely content consistently.
Prioritize your audio quality, social media presence, editing, and interviewing skills. When people start to take notice of the quality of your work, sponsors, advertisers, and your listeners will increase. Then, you can start to monetize your podcast.
When advertisers and sponsors start to contact you, be prepared. They will know you are dedicated to your listeners. Show them statistics and studies about your target audience, such as their purchasing behavior. A good podcaster needs to hone their business skills. This step starts with knowing everything about their target demographic.
Smart Ways to Monetize Your Podcast
Now, it is time to consider ways to money from your podcast. Consider these methods below to successfully monetize your podcast.
Monetize your podcast- sell products or services
If you want to earn profit from your podcasts, you can sell merchandise. As soon as you start getting more listeners, you can encourage them to buy physical products inspired by your show. These items can be t-shirts, caps, and gear, depending on your focus.
Products are not the only thing you can sell. You may also offer services related to your content. For example, if you are an experienced marketer, you can offer social media management. Your podcast would make it easier for you to get more clients. Aside from this, you can also be a coach or consultant. Help your listeners get better at something. If your podcast’s topic is health and fitness, you may offer meal plans and workout routines.
Monetize your podcast- get a sponsor
Once you get a sponsor for your podcast, you will get paid upfront. This relationship may even present affiliate marketing opportunities. With sponsorship, you determine how much to charge and how often. This option may be per episode, bi-monthly, or annually. In return for their payment, you will insert brand promotion in episodes, just like advertisements in shows and radio stations. It can be outro, mid-roll, pre-roll, or a combination. You may also insert their logo and website link to your cover and description.
If you don’t have thousands of listeners, it may be challenging to get the right sponsors willing to make an investment that’s worth your effort. But once you get traction, this step is easier. It is vital to develop business relationships with your sponsors since they can offer you more exposure and earning opportunities, such as events and future collaborations.
Monetize your podcast- be an affiliate
If you want to make money without much effort, be an affiliate. This opportunity involves you presenting affiliate links to your listeners. An affiliate is a unique link to a website with a product that traces back to you. With every purchase using your link, you get a percentage of the total sales. It may be as little as one percent and up to 10 percent, or more. Some companies even offer up to 30% commission. This option will continue to generate money as long as the link is working.
Becoming an affiliate is an awesome strategy if there are products your target audience might want to use. As a podcaster, people see you are an expert in your field, and you are in the best position to recommend products.
Monetize your podcast- get donations
Your loyal listeners alone can get your show running. Another way to monetize your podcast is to set up a pledge page for your avid listeners on platforms such as Patreon, Venmo, or PayPal. Through this, you will have people contributing sums of money to support your show. Just remember to make the donation process as hassle-free and straightforward as possible.
During your podcast, encourage your fans and listeners to consider making a donation of any amount for your cause. Some listeners may even send you gift cards.
Other ways to earn money
There are a variety of other options to consider as well.
Turn content into a book
Another effective way to monetize your podcast is to repurpose your old podcasts into a new medium. This opportunity will save you time and effort to kickstart a new income stream. One of the most popular options is to make a book. You just need to transcribe your work, edit your work, and combine episodes. Make sure to invest in a good design that appeals to your listeners and sell it in a format that’s suitable for online stores, such as Amazon and your website. Don’t forget to tell your listeners that the book is an efficient way to revisit their favorite episodes.
Aside from books, you may also make your content into courses and shows. For example, the New York Times’ hit podcast Modern Love was turned into a show by Amazon Prime.
Make a YouTube channel
If you’re familiar with the ins and outs of making money online, you probably know the earning potential from YouTube. You can publish your podcast on this platform and make money by enabling the monetization of your channel.
Google will be in charge of the ads and how much you earn. This step depends on factors such as the number of views, ad skips and clicks, and watching duration. While you may film yourself while talking, most podcasters simply add an image over the episode. Simply upload your talk with YouTube SEO in mind, and you’re all set.
Many podcasters do not bring in guests because they’re afraid this is an expensive strategy. It turns out that you don’t have to pay for your guests. You may even charge them to be on your podcast!
Just like any job, people are willing to pay for your platform, effort, promotion, and hosting skills. Individuals working with PR companies will pay to gain access to your audience. You may even offer low to high-end packages to guests that include ads to help push their brand even further.
Charge listeners for premium episodes
If you are part of podcast distribution networks, you can create premium content aside from your free episodes. This way, you can still engage your casual listeners as well as hardcore fans.
People may listen to an hour of your podcast episode if they’re not paying. On the other hand, a premium episode is longer and delves into the topic more deeply. While this may be an effective method to monetize your podcast, you are risking alienating some subscribers that feel as if the best content is only reserved for paying customers.
Podcasters can bring their listeners together and make money at the same time by hosting events or conferences. You may think this is challenging, but all you need is to find the right people for your events and make the type of content they would respond to best.
During the event, you may run a lecture, a workshop, or even facilitate a group discussion. You may also invite guests to make it more interesting. Mention the event you’ll be sponsoring or organizing on your podcasts as often as you can.
Develop and sell an app
If you are aware of the interest of your listeners, you can develop an app that caters to their needs. For instance, if you have a meditation and wellness podcast, you may design an app that offers guided meditation with PDF explainers.
If you know how to develop an app, this option is fantastic. However, it can be expansive if you have no background in this department. Before you hire a developer, ensure that you have explained all the features and design elements you want, so you don’t waste a significant investment.
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Experiment to Monetize Your Podcast
There’s no specific formula to monetize your podcast. It is different for everybody. Be open and try to mix and match strategies you think will work for you. However, remember that cashing out a paycheck from this passion is not easy, even for the best marketers. Give yourself time to reach your audience and sponsors.
Be patient, and you can earn a nice living after you monetize your podcast.