How to make money podcasting

How To Make Money Podcasting: 9 Ways To Monetize Your Show

Have you just started your own podcast and want to know how to make money podcasting? 

Maybe you’ve had your own show for a while and want to know if you can make a living from it? 

Perhaps you’re in that pre-podcast limbo where you’re trying to weigh the pros and cons and you’re asking yourself, “Is starting a podcast worth it?” 

No matter where you are on your podcasting journey, this monetization guide will show you how to make money podcasting.

How to make money podcasting: 9 ways to monetize your show

Here are nine ways to monetize your show with examples of each technique in action.

1. Advertising & Sponsorships

This is the first route most podcasters consider when trying to figure out how to make money podcasting. Businesses sponsor podcasts or pay for advertising segments in your podcast. For example, SweeTango invested in ad space in Katie Couric’s podcast show.

You can find advertising and sponsorship opportunities through podcast advertising networks. Networks like Midroll and AdvertiseCast help you find ad work easily and assist you in executing advertiser demands through rate negotiation, scripting, and more.

You can also reach out to potential sponsors directly. Contact people within your business network to get referrals. Or create a list of companies that can benefit from collaborating with you such as companies in an industry that suits your audience and content.

2. Affiliate marketing programs

Affiliate marketing is advertising where an affiliate (like an influencer) earns an income by promoting another brand’s products or services. Here, your podcast show becomes an affiliate of another brand or business and earns a commission from each sale the business makes from your promotions.

The business can track sales through an affiliate code allocated to your podcast. You can share this code by including it in the show notes, social media video descriptions, captions, and content in other marketing channels.

As you plan to monetize using this method, list all the brands you love, use, or would feel comfortable talking about on your show. Put them in a spreadsheet and visit every one of their websites. Then scroll to the bottom and look for an Affiliate Program or Partners link.

Some sites have applications while others give affiliate links to every user. Sign-up and as you get approved and given links, work them into your show as you authentically can. Mention them where it makes sense, and do not mention any that go against your brand or values.

For example, Wavve has a fantastic affiliate program for podcasters and audio-first creators willing to promote Wavve to their audiences.

3. Linked services & products

As with any other media platform, you can create spin-off products and services to increase your podcast income. Branded podcasts, like Buffer’s, integrate the products and services they offer into their content. You can use your content to develop relevant products and services for your listeners.

For example, if your podcast shares general legal advice and targets people who know little about legal concepts, you can offer legal consultation services. Your podcast establishes you as an expert in that field so it will be easier to attract clients and build people’s trust in your product or service.

4. Courses

The same applies to online courses and learning programs. Design independent-learning courses that are easy-to-follow and teach your audience more about the field your podcast focuses on. 

You can offer these programs to your audience via digital learning platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, and Podia. You can also create a dedicated course site like podcaster Amanda Boleyn who teaches The Basics of Building a Business.

If course-building feels like too much for you, you also have the option of hosting regular skills-sharing sessions or webinars.

5. Coaching

Coaching may seem similar to providing a service and offering specialized courses, but there is a distinction. With coaching, you show your clients new possibilities and strategies to reach their goals. 

6. Virtual & in-person events

Hosting events is a useful way to garner interest in your podcast, engage with your community, and make some money. Entrepreneur and podcaster Navid Moazzez made $20 000 from the ticket sales to his virtual summit, The Branding Summit.

Both virtual and in-person events are a good idea but if you’re not too sure about which to pick, you can always host a hybrid event. One downside of event hosting is the time and money that goes into it, but the returns can be well worth the hassle. 

Exclusive branded content

7. Exclusive content

Creating premium, paid content is a fantastic way to monetize your show and there are two options you can choose from. One, you can have limited content that’s only available via a monthly subscription. This option helps you generate a more regular income. Two, you can set up a pay-per-view system where users pay for each piece of content.

To really benefit from creating exclusive content, it needs to be worth it for your audience. Nobody will want to spend their money if you don’t have quality content. There also needs to be something special about that content; it must be premium. 

Examples of special content people might want to pay for include bonus interviews or behind-the-scenes footage, ad-free and early access RSS feed, etc. You can also tease premium content like The Big Ones to get listeners interested.

8. Industry gigs

If you produce a podcast or you’re a podcast host, you also have to think of yourself as a brand. You, as an individual, can also become an income source for your show. You can shape yourself into a public figure worth hiring for appearances through industry events and media engagements. Consider looking into industry gigs and opportunities like emceeing, public speaking, roundtables, masterminds, and more.

9. Donations

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for donations. Many podcasts set up donation platforms like a Crowdfund or Patreon. Notable podcasters on Patreon include Dead End Hip Hop, Heather McDonald, and Sibling Rivalry. The platform also has numerous podcasters on its list of top creative earners, making it a viable way for podcasters to make money.

Putting your show out there to get those donations can help you build a community and reach new audiences. 

Making money through donations

The benefits of monetizing your podcast

You create new business networks

When you expand your podcast show into an income-generating business, you can forge new business relationships. You may develop new partnerships with industry experts, associated businesses and corporations, and potential investors. These relationships can be more than financial opportunities. They can help you develop your podcast.

It can grow your audience

Your new partnerships open you up to new audiences and fresh supporters. Your potential partners have their audiences and supporters and you can take advantage of their customer base to grow your own. On a data level, having access to the brand reputation and platform of partner entities can help you grow metrics like your subscriptions, views/listens, downloads, and more. 

Partnerships can increase brand awareness and recognition

A larger audience means more people have an awareness of your podcast brand. However, brand awareness and recognition don’t equal viewership. Some people will know that your brand exists, but it doesn’t mean they will tune into your show. Awareness is still a good thing, though, because it means your podcast and any of its related content will be on people’s minds. It could also encourage them to support you in other ways like buying podcast-associated products and services. 

The additional income helps with costs

Podcast monetization means you earn more money to run your podcast the way you want to. Podcast production can be expensive, even more so as you grow because you need to factor in the payment of your team, equipment costs, marketing expenses, and much more. With more money coming in, you can improve the quality of your production and you can scale your operations as needed.

The challenges of monetizing your podcast

Challenges of podcast monetization

Tough competition

Podcasting has evolved from an industry with niche shows here and there, to a marketing and digital space that’s ripe for investments. Venture capitalists and mainstream media platforms have noted the influence of podcasts and demanded a slice of the industry. When you come into podcasting today, you’re not just going up against a handful of people with homemade studios in their garage. You’re competing with big media outlets and business corporations, making it difficult to succeed.

Standing out

With over 2 million podcasts available globally, it is extremely challenging to set your show apart. What special content or perspectives do you offer to listeners? It’s easier to get started podcasting on a technical level as the range of affordable podcasting equipment has grown. The difficulty comes in drawing audiences and supporters. 

As a podcast host, you must also have impeccable interviewing and speaking skills, and the ability to engage diverse personalities and carve out the best parts of a conversation. While many people think they have the right personality and hosting chops to get this right, very few do.

Operational costs

Want to know how to make money podcasting? Well, spend money to make money. There’s a lot of work that goes into just a single podcast episode. You need to produce, record, edit, and share your episode. While you can do this on your own, you’ll likely need help with the workload as you may not have all the time, skills, or resources. Getting help or getting the right equipment costs money. 

Challenge-cost of production

How to make money podcasting: 5 steps to put your show out there

Now that you understand the different income options you have for your podcast, you need a practical plan for how you’re going to attract these opportunities. Here is a basic five-step outline of how to nurture your chances to make money from your show.

Step 1: Develop a brand

Knowing how to make money podcasting is not just about jumping into the above techniques. Your podcast needs to be a gem worth investing in. The first thing you need to get right- and you should work on this even before your show’s inception- is your brand. What is your podcast about? Who is your ideal audience? What is your brand personality? Answer all these questions to create the perfect podcast branding.

Step 2: Get your marketing right

Next up, work on marketing. Understanding your brand and who you want to target will help you identify the best marketing channels to use. One thing’s for sure, though, your marketing strategy must involve intense social media coverage. 

Even more important to prioritize is social media video content. On Twitter, videos have a retweet rate 6 times larger than image posts, and three times larger than GIFS. You can use Wavve’s social media video creation tool to make snappy and relevant content that you can share for your podcast’s social media marketing. There is no way to make money podcasting without video content for social media and Wavve can help you get that right.

Step 3: Create a media kit

As your podcast grows, a media kit becomes more important. Media kits are handy mini-pitches with all your advertising rates, platform metrics, podcast information, and more. Create a digital media kit you can send to potential clients on the fly. Also, include your Wavve social media clips as examples of exciting content and marketing approaches that the sponsor can benefit from.

Step 5: Target the right partners

Finally, it’s important to target the right sponsors or organizations. Do not approach institutions that have nothing to do with your field unless you have a creative way to connect them to your podcast. You need to provide value to them and vice versa.

Rather, approach organizations, platforms, and individuals in your industry that you would like to work with. Alternatively, use a podcast ad network to help you find suitable partners.

These are just a few techniques that you can use to build awareness of your podcast. Other options include running contests, social media challenges, and offering discounts. You can also create digital forums or group platforms for listeners to engage with your content and one another, and much more.

Final thoughts

You wanted to know how to make money podcasting? As you’ve read, there is no one easy way to do it. Podcasting monetization has notable challenges that will continue to grow as the podcasting space expands. However, there are also wonderful benefits of going this route. 

Use these nine monetization methods and the five-step starter guide to help you on your podcasting journey. Remember, you can’t make any waves without trying!

About the author

Jeff Dolan

I'm the CEO of Wavve. I love encouraging creators and entrepreneurs to share their stories and lead with purpose.

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