Newsflash: you don’t need to be topping the iTunes charts to make money from a podcast. In fact, there are many ways to leverage your podcast to generate revenue, even with a small audience. Take a major shortcut on the road to profitability and check out these strategies to learn how to make money from a podcast.
How to Make Money From a Podcast
You pour your all into your podcast, showing up week after week, month after month.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid for all that hard work?! With the right strategy, you can turn your podcast into a revenue-generating machine – all while doing what you love!
No matter how many downloads you have, you can start using money-making strategies to make sure your podcast pays you back.
Read on to discover the revenue stream that makes the most sense for you and your podcast—along with some of my favorite tips!
Get the Digital Product Blueprint
This strategy is easily the most popular and widely used. Ever heard an ad while you were listening to a podcast episode? That is a podcast sponsorship. The traditional sponsorship route is to sell pre, mid or end roll ads for sponsors to be featured on your podcast.
The fee that sponsors pay to podcasters is typically based on CPM or cost per mille. This means that you would get a certain amount of money for every 1,000 downloads of the episode. This strategy is traditionally touted for podcasters with large audiences because sponsors are driven by download numbers. (Advertisers often look for 4,000 downloads per episode and up.)
Pro Tip: Don’t have impressive download numbers yet? Get creative when pitching potential sponsors! Instead of only pitching your podcast, pitch your platform as a whole! Have an engaged Facebook group or loyal email list? Tell sponsors you’ll promote them there too. If you leverage your entire audience across all platforms, you are more likely to get that “YES” from sponsors! Woohoo!
You know how new TV show pilots are often aired right after a popular show? The network knows you already like a certain type of show, so airing a similar one while they already have your attention is bound to get you hooked! Podcasting uses a similar strategy! Feed dropping is when an upcoming podcast (usually from a big network of podcasts) will pay other podcasts to post a partial or full episode on their “feed.” So instead of recording a 60-second ad, you’re sharing another podcaster’s episode on your feed. This can be a bonus episode that you release on a day when you don’t typically release episodes, or you can release it as a substitute for one of your regularly scheduled episodes.
Because you’re giving so much time to another podcast, you bet you can charge more for that! Podcast networks are willing to pay more for feed dropping because this is a great way for them to get in front of their ideal audience while they are already on the podcasting platform.
Pro Tip: Give your audience a true-to-you intro when you feed drop another podcast. Record a short explanation of why you think they’ll like the show and what it’s about.This way, Your listeners won't be confused when they start to listen to another podcast on your feed and they will be more likey to listen and subscribe to the new show! #winwin
Never underestimate the potential profitability of an affiliate sponsorship. In this strategy, instead of a sponsor paying you based on downloads, they pay you per conversion. It’s easy to dismiss this type of sponsorship since you won’t be paid upfront. But if the brand is in alignment with your podcast, this can lead to even more revenue than traditional sponsorships! As an affiliate, you share a special offer with your listeners to try or buy a product or service. You are paid a commission when your audience purchases that offer.
Some commissions are one-time payments, but my personal favorites are recurring commissions. With a recurring commission, you are paid a percentage of your referral’s monthly bill each month – typically for as long as they remain a customer of that company! This means you are making passive income that can continue to grow over time! And it keeps coming in even if you are no longer actively promoting the company.
Other affiliates stick with one-time payments, but those often pay out more at one time than recurring payments do. A good rule of thumb is to stick with promoting products or services you know your audience wants or needs.
Pro Tip: Affiliate deals offering a free trial or a special discount give your audience a reason to sign up through your link! You can also include your own bonuses as an incentive.
Selling Your Own Offers
Yes, you could sell time and content to advertisers. But you could also sell your own amazing stuff! This could mean indirectly steering your audience to your offers through freebies, webinars and challenges. Or directly selling your own products or services straight to listeners.
Your listeners already know, love, and trust you – and they see you as that go-to authority in your space. Sharing your own offers is not just a smart way to monetize your podcast, but a way for you to continue to build a relationship with your audience. If they are tuning in each week, there is a good chance they are interested in taking the next step to become paying customers or clients.
You’re the one in charge here, so there are no rules on how or when to promote. You can run it like a traditional advertiser's spot or you can integrate it into the content. You could give it 30-seconds or devote a whole series to it. Think outside the ad spot!
Pro Tip: When you’re selling your own offers, remember to keep your guests in mind. Your guest could be a potential client, referral partner, collaboration opportunity or even an affiliate for your program. Put in the work to build the relationship and you might find a mutually beneficial partnership in the future.
So, now that you know how to make money from a podcast, it’s time to pick a path. What’s it going to be? At every stage in the process, you want to be thinking about your audience and what will bring the most value for them.
When you make the perfect match between your audience and your offer, you’ll reap the financial reward and maybe even come closer to achieving the big monetization goal for your podcast. Make it rain my fellow podcasters!