Let me guess:
You enthusiastically started a podcast seeing the likes of Rogan and Ferriss dreaming of making millions by interviewing people. A few episodes later, you’re scratching your head — can you even make money with a podcast?
The answer is a resounding yes. You can indeed make an income through your podcast — though not millions right away. In this article, I’ll show you twelve strategies to make money with a podcast. These are pretty similar for most content creators, whether you want to make money through YouTube videos, through your blog, or other media.
Let’s start with one of the most recurring questions related to money regarding podcasting:
“How much do podcasters make?”, and “How do these podcasts make money in the first place, anyway?”
Table of Contents
1. Affiliate Marketing
One of the easiest ways to make money through your podcast (or even on the internet) from day one is by promoting products you already use as their affiliate. Numerous companies — especially website hosting providers — offer an automatic sign up to their partner programs and get your affiliate link.
Depending on the theme of your podcast, you can recommend products you personally use in your episode and share its affiliate link in the show notes. Try to weave the product organically in the show — instead of being too promotional — else the segment with the advertisement could turn into a “blind spot.”
2. Premium Content
Another top strategy to monetize the community building around your podcast is to serve them what they already like — content from you. If you’re doing a weekly show, you can do an additional bonus episode per week on a paid basis for your subscribers.
Private podcasts have become commonplace, especially for people who have personal brands. Think of this “subscription” based strategy to engage at a deeper level with a chunk of your audience.
Besides bonus content you create, provide templates, swipe files, interviews with niche influencers, and other resources that help your listeners put the advice you share in your podcast in action.
Patreon is a great platform to monetize your community creating different price tiers which serve different amount of content.
3. Brand Sponsorships
While paid podcasts offering exclusive content aren’t mainstream, podcast listeners are much more tolerant of ads. It’s a default for them to be treated with audio promotions of brands. Indeed experiments done by popular podcast host Tim Ferriss even found his listeners preferring advertisements over subscriptions.
Well they liked the vetted products he shared on the show as they turned out genuinely helpful.
You also want to ideally have such useful products to promote for your show that listeners look forward to your recommendations. Do know though that you’ll need around 5k to 10k downloads a month on your podcast for companies with high-quality products to consider sponsoring your show.
You can consider getting in touch with brands in your niche for sponsoring your show as well if you don’t get requests yourself.
4. Coaching And Consultation
If you’re teaching on your show, then offering your services to your listeners could earn you a premium. It’s a great way to monetize your podcast in its initial growth phase. Depending on your influence and trust you’ve built with your audience, you can charge upwards of $100 for an hour of coaching, or even consult businesses for your expertise.
For example, Ryan Robinson used to run a podcast where he interviewed entrepreneurs about marketing, blogging, and the like. Anyone who listens to his show might get intrigued to find more about him and land on his website — where he shares the details of his content marketing consultation services starting $5k per month.
If you’re offering advice on business, creativity, finance, or other subjects on your show, personalized coaching calls could be a great strategy for you to make money.
5. Hosting Shows For Brands
Branded shows are all the rage these days as they are a great strategy to make an audience tune in to your show week-after-week. Due to Netflix, people love binge-watching shows, so if you would like hosting shows on different themes, then this could be a viable podcast monetization strategy.
You’ll be building an audience for a brand through your show talking about their problems. It could integrate real-life stories to inspire and entertain them besides educating on a subject.
Recommended reading: Best Podcast Hosting Platforms For Creators
6. Online Courses
Another scalable monetization strategy for earning money from your podcast following is by selling an online course.
Generally course subjects are decided based on the success of existing content. So you need to analyze the topics that get the most interest on your podcast. Then survey your audience to pre-validate demand for a packaged course, solve their problem(s), and even integrate your audience’s feedback in creating the product.
Many professionals who launch courses start selling them while they are work in progress. It compels finishing the course creation on a deadline — by which you’ve promised delivering it to your early buyers.
Recommended reading: 15 Best Online Course Platforms To Sell Your Skills
7. Digital Products
Besides selling courses, you could consider building digital products such as software, templates, printables, and the like.
If you decide to build a piece of software, you’ll need to learn programming skills or hire a freelance developer to code your application. Pat Flynn built his podcasting player by hiring freelance talent while he used to run a podcast.
Mark Asquith had created numerous shows and been a part of the audio technology industry for a while. So he launched his podcast hosting product Captivate.fm for podcasters, while he continues podcasting — educating podcasters on how to podcast.
8. Merchandise And Physical Products
If digital products seem out of your comfort zone, physical products make for a brilliant pitch to your audience as well. Even your casual listeners might be interested in buying a Tshirt, hoodie, or other merchandise — based on the theme of your show.
Other kinds of physical products include books such as the five minute gratitude journal and the freedom journal.
If you manage to build a tightly-knit community around your podcast, you could consider raising funding from your listeners for special projects. It could be a great way indeed to validate demand for a physical product like the one we talked about in the last strategy.
You can consider ongoing donations for your show as well on a “pay as you like” model. For instance, BrainPickings.com offers its readers to donate on their website.
If you’ve a large number of listeners in a specific part of the world, conducting a physical event could be a great way to make money podcasting. You’ll get to meet and educate them, provide a richer experience, get feedback on your show, and take your relationship to the next level.
You could conduct an industry conference, a physical workshop, or a speaking session. Physical sessions carry an implicit higher value and expectations from people, so you’ll need to deliver a superb experience.
Flynconn hosted by Pat Flynn serves as a superb event example of what kind of events could work for a podcaster’s audience.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, people have safety concerns, so conducting virtual events could be a decent alternative. Many conferences have taken this route, but charging the same price as a physical event might not make the cut.
What better way to expand your influence than a good old book? Besides serving as a line of revenue — which jonetly won’t be huge by itself — authoring a book instantly lends you instant credibility in the eyes of a new listener. As a podcaster, you’ve an added advantage of an existing audience who tunes in to listen to you.
You could consider self-publishing your book and launching it to your podcast listeners, maybe providing them the first chapter for free. But cracking a book deal from a traditional publisher could significantly extend your brand’s reach because of the existing network of readers that these publishing houses carry.
Scott H. Young, a blogger and podcaster, worked on their first book through the traditional route, and it lent him new readers who might buy his future products.
12. Public Speaking
The last way to make money from your podcast is a classic: speak at corporate events, colleges, conferences, and other such avenues. See, your podcast could serve as a body of work for your speaking career demonstrating your expertise on a specific subject.
If your show’s subject is valuable for business professionals, college students, or other niche audiences, you could search for speaking opportunities at events. And pitch yourself as a speaker. Your travel and miscellaneous expenses are usually covered for such events.
In my experience of speaking at a college conference, the experience could be significant at building your credibility and extending the reach of your personal brand.
Final Tip To Make Money Podcasting: Mix Them Up!
To make money with your podcast, knowing these strategies is great for a start. The key is to start experimenting with the ones that seem to be fit for your niche, theme of your show, and the audience you serve. Then find out what works and double down on it.
Once a strategy to make money is streamlined, layer another on the top of it. Experiment with various methods to find out the ideal mix which extracts an optimum amount of revenue while not turning off your audience. Keep taking feedback from listeners when you start with a monetization strategy for ensuring the same.
Up next, I recommend reading how to make money on YouTube — it contains even more examples of how creators like you make a living from their creative pursuits.