9 Ways to Monetize Your Podcast (And Prove to Your Mom It Is a Real Job)
No two podcasts are a like. So the best way for you to monetise your podcast won’t be the same as your friends. Some will be more effective than others. Some may not match your values.
So have a look round , consider the pros and cons of each and I’m sure you’ll find a path that’s right for you.
1. Ads and sponsorship
A classic and obvious way.
Many podcasts feature ad breaks to promote products and services to their listeners.
And a lot of advertisers luv ‘em!
Podcast ads tend to have great returns due to the engaged audience. If your podcast has an obvious connection to a product or service (such as health and workout equipment or supplements) then you’re a shoe in. But even if there’s no obvious connect, you can still find advertisers.
Bonus point: Join an ad network
One easy way to find advertisers is to join a podcast ad network.
Ad networks can connect you with advertisers that are interested in reaching your audience, and they can handle all of the logistics of running the ads on your show. This can be a great way to generate revenue without having to do any extra work.
Unfortunately, not all ad networks are equal.
Some don’t have the connections or desire to find good matches for sponsor and podcast. And they can demand a huge cut (hopefully for signifcant work). So while using an ad network is certainly an easier option than doing sales yourself, you may not be comfortable with it.
2. Affiliate marketing
Can’t get anyone to sponsor you? Maybe you should look at affiliate marketing?
With affiliate marketing, you can earn commission on products or services that you promote through your podcast. You need to find businesses that offer affiliate programs and promote their products or services on your show. When listeners use your affiliate link to make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission on the sale.
Pro tip: user a url shortner so you can share an easy to remember url.
If you’re looking to sell merchandise to your podcast listeners, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First, you need to make sure that your merchandise is high quality and that it’s something your listeners will actually want to buy. Second, you need to make sure your prices are competitive. And finally, you need to make sure you’re promoting your merchandise in a way that will reach your listeners.
One of the best ways to promote your merchandise is to mention it during your podcast episodes. You can also promote it on your website or social media platforms.
You can use a print on demand service like Spring, Red Bubble and Cotton Bureau but you have to trust their quality and won’t have stock for in person events. An alternative is to find a local supplier and test the quality then handle shipping.
4. Crowdfunding and Pateron
Instead of asking your listeners to buy something, you can directly ask for support.
This is known as crowdfunding, raising funds from a crowd of people. It first emerge with sites like Kickstarter where you could run a campaign to fund a one time project, like a season of your podcast.
If you do follow the crowdfunding route, it’s a good idea to offer some benefits for your subscribers. Things like exclusive episodes, transcripts of episodes, Q&A sessions, bonus materials like ebooks and even march are common options.
If you need ongoing funding, then you should look at the next option.
Traditional crowdfunding was a one-time deal. But now there are sites like Pateron which allow you to get recurring revenue for every new episode or month.
This is basically a membership model where people join in exchange for additional benefits. While you could run a Patreon model with no additional benefits, it’s even more important for a membership campaign. Some users will support for no additional benefits, but to keep members around, offering benefits helps.
Benefits can include
- Bonus episodes
- Early access
- QandA sessions
- Behind the scenes previews
- Access to all your back catalog
- Access to an exclusive community
- Discounts on merchandise and products that you sell
If you do pick this route, consider the different membership tiers you can offer as you may be able to get more revenue for offering slightly more.
6. Accept tips
A final direct support option is tipping.
In this case, you ask your listeners to give you a tip if they enjoy the episode. No big upfront campaign, no ongoing support and no rewards required. Just set up a tip jar solution like buy me a coffee, ko-fi or even convert kit and start collecting tips
7. Sell a related physical product
Instead of selling a product from someone else, you can sell your own and keep all the profits.
Just like ads, the best idea is to think of a relevant product to the topic of your podcast. So if your podcast is about health a wellness, is there some product you can sell related to that?
If you run a photography podcast, could you create and sell an item related to taking photos?
This might seem intimidating but drop shipping means anyone can start selling physical goods with little effort and no warehousing!
8. Sell a related course or workshop
Instead of selling a physical product, you could offer a workshop or course.
For example, if you have a podcast about gardening, you could sell a gardening book or course. If you have a podcast about parenting, you could sell a parenting book or course.
You could even use topics that you’ve discussed on your podcast as the basis of your course or workshop so you don’t need to start from scratch.
And by mentioning your training on your podcast, you
9. Sell tickets to in person events
Many listener would jump at the chance to meet their favourite podcast hosts.
Organising an in person podcast recording, or a related conference, gives your listeners that chance and can help sell more merchandise as well.
Dealing with all the technical aspects of finding a venue, recording live and selling tickets isn’t easy, especially with a larger fan base, so don’t expect a high profit ratio.
Still not sure which to choose?
Many new podcaster get stuck trying to work out the best option for their podcast and so fail to implement any. The best solution is to pick one, start small and get some momentum. If it doesn’t work, you can try another.
Just be careful not to push everything all at once; you may find your listeners overwhelmed.