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Podcast Monetization
17
min
June 28, 2023

The 4 best ways to make money podcasting

Discover the top strategies to monetize your podcast and turn your passion into profit with our blog. Read through!

Podcasting gives you the power to connect with your audience and express your unique voice. And guess what? You can even earn money while pursuing your passion!

No sugar coating here, podcasters. Making money with podcasts takes hard work and dedication. So forget about those get-rich-quick schemes; they don't exist in the podcasting world.

But, if you're committed to the long haul and ready to put in the necessary work, then keep reading. We're here to guide you through the process of monetizing your podcast.

Let's get started.

4 best ways to make money with podcasting

Is there money in podcasts?

Yes, there certainly is. Here are the four best ways to make money podcasting.

1. Use affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is our first choice when we think about how to make money podcasting. Affiliate marketing is when podcasters team up with companies and get rewarded for recommending their products. Typically, the company will give you  special links or promo codes to share with your listeners on your episode. When your listeners  use the codes you gave them  to make a purchase with that company, you earn a sweet commission. 

It's a win-win situation: you get to monetize your show while giving your audience valuable recommendations for things they’d like, and companies reach their target audience. So remember to be open about it and ensure the products you promote align with your listeners' interests. 

You may be thinking, “I don’t have enough listeners to partner with a company.”  But another reason we absolutely love affiliate marketing is because it offers an incredible opportunity for anyone, regardless of the size of their audience, to dive right in. You don't have to worry about having a massive following or reaching 15-20K downloads per episode just to get started!

Here are some of the best affiliate programs you can join:

There are hundreds of other affiliate programs, so if you have a list of apps or products you love, just go to their website and look in the footer or search on Google for “(company name) affiliate program” to find more opportunities like these. 

Here are a few podcasts that have made money by affiliate marketing:

2. Sell paid subscriptions

Subscriptions are another great way podcasters earn money.

If you have a small but loyal audience, podcast subscriptions for premium content are a great  way to monetize. With subscriptions, listeners pay a recurring fee for special perks. In addition, subscribers enjoy benefits like ad-free episodes, early access to new content, bonus episodes, a members-only community, and discounts on fantastic merchandise. These subscriptions help podcasts cover expenses, create great content, and give devoted fans a personalized experience. In a nutshell, podcast subscriptions support shows, reward listeners, and make everyone happy!

Hosts normally pitch their premium subscription at the start and or end of each episode. The pitch normally sounds something like this: “Hey listeners, listen to ad-free episodes of the show and unlock the full-length interviews by subscribing online today.”

Here are some tools that allow podcasters to monetize their shows through subscriptions:

Examples of shows that are doing quite well for themselves by offering subscriptions:

3. Sell paid ads 

Making money through ad sales is about partnering with brands or advertisers who want to promote their stuff on your show. “Why would a huge company want to partner with my show,” you ask? Companies have begun looking at podcasts as a way to reach their target audience in a more personal way. You’re more likely to buy something if a friend recommends it to you than if a commercial tells you to. Companies know this—and in this instance, the podcaster is their audience’s friend.

There are different types of ads you can sell. For example, there are host-read ads where you, as the host, get to personally share the ad content, which adds a personal touch and makes it more authentic. That’s what makes these ads the most popular.

 On the other hand, there are programmatic ads that are professionally recorded by voiceover artists, giving them a polished and traditional feel. 

You can choose between dynamic ad insertion and baked-in ads for ad placement. Dynamic ad insertion allows for real-time insertion of ads, enabling updates or replacements, even in previously released episodes. Baked-in ads, however, are permanently embedded within episodes and remain the same over time.

You can make money with podcasts by selling ads in different ways. You can put ads in your episodes (pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll), sell ad space in your email newsletters, include sponsored content in your show notes, and even advertise on social media. By selling ads across multiple platforms, you can increase your earnings and offer advertisers a comprehensive package. How you sell ads depends on your show, audience, and preferences. It's all about finding the right approach and maximizing your income.

Tools: 

Examples: 

The Ramsey Show

Deep Questions with Cal Newport

Circle Time

Rotten 

Doughboys

4. Sell audience sponsorships 

This last strategy might be our favorite. We heard this tip from our friends at Transistor, who said that this has been working wonders for them and their customers. Sell sponsorships to your audience and friends so they get a shoutout at the end of the episode ("Thanks to Sarah for supporting the show"). It's a tiny lift on your end, a fun benefit to your listeners, and a great way to make $10/mo per person. Use a tool like Patreon to set it up, then add their names in the episode descriptions and read off names at the end of the episode.

You know what else is great about this strategy? It works even if you only have 50-500 listeners. Seriously! With as few as 15-50 listeners willing to pay $10 monthly for a shoutout, you can easily make $150-$500 monthly! The best part is that many people are happy to donate anyway, so it's like a donation with benefits. It's a win-win! And guess what? There's hardly any upkeep cost involved. 

Examples:

Additional methods for making money podcasting

From our experience, the four methods described above are the best way to make money podcasting. But they are definitely not the only ways. Keep reading to get inspired with even more ways to make money podcasting. 

Donations

You can monetize your shows through listener donations. Platforms like Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee, or Ko-Fi enable fans to support podcasts with one-time or recurring donations.

Sell services

Podcasters who have expertise in a particular field can offer services such as coaching, consulting, public speaking, or workshops. They can leverage their podcast platform to showcase their knowledge and skills, attracting clients who are interested in their services.

Sell products

Podcasters can sell related products like courses, merchandise, books, or eBooks to generate income. By offering these products to their audience, they provide added value beyond the podcast episodes. The Last Podcast on the Left, for example, sells merchandise like shirts. Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn is another notable example that sells an online membership that unlocks access to courses and a private community. 

Join a network

Podcasters can join networks like Wondery or platforms like Spotify to monetize their shows. Networks help manage ad inventory, connect podcasters with sponsors, and handle monetization. Platforms like Spotify offer direct payment based on show performance. In other words, creators are compensated based on factors such as the number of listens, streams, or engagement their shows receive on the platform. For example, Emma Chamberlain moved her podcast, Anything goes with Emma Chamberlain, to Spotify exclusively early in 2023.

Post on YouTube and join the YouTube partner program

Posting podcast episodes on YouTube can expand reach and generate additional revenue. Joining the YouTube Partner Program allows podcasters to monetize videos through ads, offering an extra income stream alongside the podcast.

It's important to note that the effectiveness and suitability of these monetization methods can vary depending on the podcast's niche, audience size, and engagement level. It's advisable for podcasters to explore multiple avenues and experiment to find the approaches that work best for their specific show.

Keep in mind that you must meet several requirements before you can access the YouTube Partner Program. You must have over 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months or 1,000 subscribers with 10 million valid public Shorts views in the last 90 days (source).

Mix and match methods

When we’re dealing with how to make money podcasting, don't limit yourself to just one strategy. Instead, mix and match various strategies to maximize your earning potential. Explore options like ad placements, affiliate marketing, and premium subscriptions on platforms like Supercast. By diversifying your monetization approach, you can tap into multiple income streams and ensure a more stable financial foundation for your podcast. Why settle for just one when you can combine them all and unlock the full potential of your podcast's profitability? Get creative and let the money flow!

How much money do podcasters make?

Here's the deal: when you start your podcasting journey, it's common for many podcasters to go through a phase where they're not making any money. In fact, most of them end up spending more than they earn initially. You see, they invest in equipment, tools, and fancy editing software before they even start seeing a dime. It's all part of the process, but don't worry, with time and dedication, you can turn things around and start reaping the rewards.

How much money can podcasters make through affiliate marketing?

Let’s try to determine how much money you can make through affiliate marketing by following this scenario:

Assume that you have 10,000 listeners and 1% of your listeners buy products through your link. Each sale earns you $10. 

100 x $10 = $1,000

That’s an easy $1,000, right there through your affiliate marketing efforts.

How much money can podcasters make through advertisements?

Let's talk about how podcasters can earn money through ads. They use a metric called CPM, which stands for cost per thousand impressions. This means they get paid a certain amount for every 1,000 listens to an episode. CPM tends to vary between $18 to $25. 

Now, imagine your podcast has 10,000 downloads per episode. If you're getting paid $20 CPM for an ad campaign, here's how much you can earn:

$20 per 1,000 listeners x 10 = $200 per episode.

That's not too shabby, right? So, the more downloads you have and the higher the CPM, the more money you can make. Keep building your audience and attracting those advertisers to maximize your podcast's earning potential!

According to Riverside.fm, a podcaster with around 10,000 downloads per episode can expect to earn somewhere between $500 to $900. 

How much money can podcasters make through subscriptions?

Hypothetically speaking, your podcast has 10,000 listeners and your podcast subscription is priced at $9/ month. Assuming that you have 100 subscribers.

$9 x 100 = $900/month through subscriptions

How much money can podcasters make through listener shoutouts?

Assuming that you’ve sold sponsorships directly to 50 out of your 10,000 listeners, who get a shoutout in your episodes and each sponsorship costs $10.

The math is simple.

$10 x 50= $500 per month

One final editorial note: For simplicity we left out factors such as the cost of setting up your podcast,  2.9% fees from payment processors like Stripe, and self-employed taxes (which can vary depending on your tax bracket). Keep this in mind when you work out how much you could make on your show. 

How much money do well-known podcasters make? 

At the end of the day it’s impossible for us to know exactly how much top podcasters make since most of them are owned by private companies. But we can provide some general ballparks that show just how much potential there is in podcasting. 

What should you do before monetizing your podcast?

Before diving into monetizing your podcast, it's important to take a few crucial steps to ensure a smooth and successful journey. Here's what you should do before monetizing your podcast:

  1. Build a solid listener base
  1. Define your target audience
  1. Create a professional brand
  1. Develop high-quality content
  1. Gather audience insights
  1. Research potential sponsors
  1. Engage with your community
  1. Plan and test monetization strategies

By following these steps, you'll establish a solid foundation for sustainable revenue generation and ensure that the monetization process aligns with your audience's interests and expectations.

When should you try to make money from your podcast?

Deciding when to monetize your podcast is a personal choice that depends on various factors. 

Consider these points to determine the right time for monetization. You don’t have to wait until each of these items have happened, but they could be a good starting place to help you decide when it’s time to launch your paid plans. 

  1. After you’ve developed a solid “minimum viable product”: Prioritize building a valuable content library and a solid listener base before focusing on monetization.
  1. After you’ve achieved some early-stage growth: Look for consistent growth in downloads, expanding audience demographics, positive feedback, and increased social media following as signs of readiness for monetization.
  1. After you’ve engaged your audience and collected feedback: Gauge the level of engagement from your audience through feedback, social media interactions, and community participation to attract sponsors.
  1. After you establish a quality brand: Ensure a professional podcast image with a well-designed website, consistent branding, and high audio quality to attract potential sponsors.
  1. After you know who your audience is: Evaluate whether your target audience aligns with potential sponsors or advertisers, considering demographics, interests, and needs.
  1. After you are ready to change from a hobby to business mindset: Assess your commitment to growing and sustaining your podcast as a business or income source to determine the timing of monetization.

Remember to be transparent with your audience about your monetization plans and ensure that ads or sponsorships align with your podcast's values. The decision to monetize should consider your unique circumstances, goals, and audience dynamics. Take time to evaluate readiness, growth potential, and audience dynamics before embarking on monetization efforts.

Producing high-quality content is not only essential for building an engaged audience but also plays a vital role in the monetization of your podcast. When your episodes are of top-notch quality, listeners are more likely to stay, share your content, and attract potential sponsors or advertisers.

Having said that, we do not advise procrastinating. The key lies in taking consistent action. Start small, be patient with yourself, and keep pushing forward. By staying dedicated to your podcasting goals, you'll increase your chances of success and eventually reach the point where monetization becomes a viable option.

To ensure your podcast sounds professional and captivating, consider leveraging editing tools like Resound. With its audio editing capabilities, Resound helps enhance the sound quality of your episodes, creating a polished and professional listening experience for your audience.

By investing in high-quality content and utilizing tools like Resound, you not only increase the chances of building a loyal listener base but also create an attractive platform for potential sponsors or advertisers. Remember, the quality of your content plays a significant role in the monetization potential of your podcast.

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Resound.fm Team

Resound's team is building the future of podcast editing: An AI podcast editing app for creators. Here at Resound we're writing about the creative process to help content creators thrive. Picture is Ernst Chladni, the inspiration for our brand. Hear his story at resound.fm/about

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