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12 Effective Ways to Monetize Your Podcast

how to monetize a podcast

Podcasts have seen a significant surge in popularity over the last few years with content creators and audiences worldwide. According to Oberlo, there are over 850,000 podcasts on the web currently, while more than half of Americans over the age of 12 listen to them. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more aspiring creators are looking for ways to get a foothold in the industry and make a living off podcasting. But the most common question most newcomers have is how to monetize a podcast in the first place.

Luckily, earning money from a podcast isn’t all that challenging. There are plenty of podcast monetization methods creators with audiences of all sizes can use to generate income from their craft. 

It’s true that a podcaster’s income greatly depends on the size of their audience, but there are ways to monetize podcasts even for creators with smaller viewerships. So regardless of whether you want to turn podcasting into a full-time job or just enjoy doing it as a hobby, there are many monetization methods you can apply.

Without further ado, let’s look at the various ways you can monetize your podcast!

How Does Podcast Monetization Work?

There are two primary methods of monetizing podcasts nowadays — direct and indirect. The former entails generating a steady stream of revenue from the show itself through various means, such as donations, sponsorships, or advertising deals. The latter means using your podcast to promote your other products and services or build your brand that you can later monetize in different ways.

Do note that both of the above methods require you to have some existing audience to profit. Although you can start monetizing your podcast as early as a few hundred monthly downloads, you still need to focus on building your viewer base if you wish to have a lucrative podcast. But don’t worry; you can easily achieve that with quality content and consistency. These two aspects are crucial, so don’t give up, and you’ll get to the point where you can start monetizing in no time!

Learn How to Make Your Podcast a Real Viewer Magnet: The Anatomy of a Successful Podcast: What You Should Know

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s look at how to start monetizing your podcast once you’ve built an audience!

How to Monetize a Podcast — The Direct Approach

how to monetize a podcast - the direct approach

Here are six of the most effective direct podcast monetization methods, so feel free to pick the ones you find most suitable for your show.

Create a Membership Scheme

Once you earn yourself a dedicated following, introducing a membership scheme to your show is an excellent way to make consistent revenue. 

But what does a membership scheme entail? It’s pretty straightforward — you will give your listeners an option to subscribe to a paid membership program on your podcast and receive extra features or bonus content.

Yes, this method does require you to throw in something extra for your listeners to make it worthwhile for them to subscribe, but these bonuses don’t have to be anything over the top. Here are some of the things you could throw in as extras:

  • Branded merch.
  • Bonus or ad-free episodes.
  • An opportunity to participate in giveaways.

There are no boundaries as to what you could give since the only limit here is your imagination. Oh, and you could also consider including multiple subscription tiers with different rewards! That way, your more passionate viewers can choose to support your show even more for even better rewards!

Platforms You Can Use to Create a Membership Scheme

Many platforms exist that allow podcasters to set up membership schemes, so doing that won’t prove challenging. Here are three of the most popular platforms that will enable you to do that:

Patreon
screenshot of patreon for podcasters home screen

Patreon is a user-friendly and straightforward platform that allows content creators and artists to monetize their content. It is currently the most popular platform for setting up membership schemes and allows creators to set up multiple subscription levels with ease. Many podcasters are already on the platform, so you can’t go wrong if you settle for Patreon.

SubscribeStar
screenshot of subscribestar home page

SubscribeStar is a platform that allows creators to make custom subscription models similar to Patreon. The platform prides itself on its security and transparency and features most if not all of Patreon’s features. So if you are looking for an alternative platform to set up your membership scheme, SubscribeStar is an excellent choice.

Supercast
screenshot of supercast home page

Unlike the above two platforms, Supercast is a platform dedicated to helping podcasters monetize their shows. Since the platform’s focus is primarily on helping podcasters earn revenue, its UI and features are more user-friendly. The platform allows you to seamlessly set up ad-free episodes and share your exclusive content with the members, so it’s a fantastic choice for all aspiring and established podcasters.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is as potent as ever, even in podcasting! For most creators, taking this monetization route is one of the easiest ways to drive reliable revenue. 

But what does affiliate marketing entail? The answer is simple — you partner with an affiliate (usually a brand) and agree to promote their product on your show for a commission fee for each sale they make.

That sounds like an excellent deal, doesn’t it? Well, it is! However, there are a few downsides to this method.

Firstly, few affiliates are ready to take up a deal with creators without a substantial audience. So this method only becomes relevant once you accrue a regular viewer base. Secondly, you should tread carefully when giving affiliate marketing a shot. The last thing you want is for your show to turn into a non-stop annoying ad that could detract your audience. Moderation is vital here!

As long as you dose your affiliate ads appropriately, though, you should be all set! So if you wish to give affiliate marketing a shot, here are two of the most well-known affiliate programs that can help you find affiliate partners:

Good luck with finding the right affiliates for your audience!

Gating Content

Gating content is a monetization strategy as old as time, but it works for podcasts too! But what does gating mean? It means locking your content behind a paywall.

Yes, we know you can’t make your listeners pay for every episode of your podcast unless you’re a podcasting celebrity already, and we’re not saying you should! However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use paid content at all. There are two primary ways you can gate your podcast in a non-intrusive way:

  • Create premium episodes and put them behind a paywall.
  • Gate your older episodes while keeping the new one free.

Both of these methods are effective at generating income, particularly if you don’t overprice them. At the same time, you won’t exclude your non-premium users by still offering plenty of free content. It’s a win-win scenario if you ask us!

And one last thing — this podcast monetization method is easiest to put into practice if you have a website, so perhaps you should consider making one if you already haven’t!

Step-By-Step Guide on Making a Podcast Website: How to Make a Website for Your Podcast in a Few Easy Steps

Donations

Whether you are OK with the uncertainty that donations bring or not, it’s indisputable that they are one of the most common content monetization methods nowadays. Yes, even podcasters can set up a seamless donation scheme to monetize their shows!

The easiest way to include donations into your monetization options is to refer your audience to your PayPal account. That allows for an easy and safe way to receive monetary support from your most loyal listeners.

The biggest downside to relying on donations, though, is that they are an unreliable source of income. One month, you might get hundreds if not thousands of dollars in donations, while the other, you might end up with nothing but spare change. So if you decide to include this monetization method, ensure it’s not your primary source of income; it’s better to use it as a backup!

Sponsorship Deals

Similarly to affiliate marketing arrangements, you could also take up sponsorship deals to monetize your podcast. However, the downside to this method is that sponsors are unlikely to approach you if you don’t already have a dedicated audience. After all, it’s in their interest to reach as many people as possible!

But don’t get discouraged if you don’t get tons of emails monthly begging you for sponsorship deals — you’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, you can go looking for sponsors yourself!

Here are some websites that can help you find brand sponsorships for your podcast:

These platforms can help get sponsors knocking on your door, so it would be smart to use all three.

OK, but how do you get paid for your sponsorship deal? There are two most common ways sponsors pay podcasters for promoting their products:

  • CPM (Cost Per Mile) Model — You get paid a flat rate for every 1,000 listens or views your episodes get. The amounts you earn typically vary based on the ad’s position in your show (mid-rolls pay the most, while post-rolls make the least). This model is best suited for larger podcasters whose shows get larger amounts of traffic.
  • CPA (Cost Per Action) Model — This model entails getting paid a fixed rate or gaining commission for each person who buys a product through your affiliate link. CPA model is similar to affiliate marketing and is best suited for beginner podcasters as it allows them to generate some income despite their low viewerships. Do keep in mind that this model suffers from the same potential problems as affiliate marketing, so be careful not to overdo these ads.

Taking up sponsorships can be lucrative at every stage of your podcasting career, so do consider giving them a try.

Advertising

Incorporating audio ads (or video if your podcast is a video one) is undoubtedly one of the best ways for podcasters to generate a reliable revenue stream! Businesses worldwide have spent over $490 million on podcast advertising in 2018, and that number is even higher today! That means you will have no trouble finding brands looking to advertise on your podcast, regardless of your audience size!

The easiest way to set up podcast ads is to have a website through which you distribute your content. From there on, all you have to do is join an advertising network and sell your ad inventory

However, you will need to have a reliable host to monetize your podcast. Luckily for you, these are easy to find. For instance, we at Brid.TV offer a user-friendly and intuitive video and audio platform and CMS that allows podcasters to monetize both audio and video podcasts with ease. All podcasters have to do is turn on monetization on their player, and they’ll be able to set up and customize their pre-, mid-, and post-rolls.

Screenshot of Brid.TV CMS

Aside from allowing podcast hosts to monetize both video and audio content, we also offer our users various state-of-the-art monetization features that serve to maximize your ad fill rates. So if you’re interested in an all-in-one podcast monetization solution, give our platform a try!

How to Monetize a Podcast — The Indirect Approach

how to monetize a podcast - the indirect approach

Besides earning revenue from your podcast directly, you can also use it to generate income indirectly.

Use Your Show to Generate Leads for Your Business

Podcasting doesn’t have to be your primary source of revenue. Instead, it can serve as fuel for your business!

That is right — you can use your podcast as an excellent lead generation tool! Whether you wish to start a side hustle and decide to promote it through your podcast or are a business looking to start podcasting to raise your brand awareness, this podcast monetization method will prove incredibly potent in the long term.

If you don’t believe us, just look at Social Media Examiner’s podcast! The company’s founder, Mike Stelzner, used the podcast to grow his business from a startup to the industry giant that it is today.

More Exciting Podcasts You Should Follow in 2020: 10 Best Podcasts of 2020: Get Captivated by Spoken Word

Become a Public Speaker

Public speaking is a well-saught-after skill that few have mastered. That is why it’s easy to grow an audience and build a personal brand as a public speaker!

But what does public speaking have to do with podcasts? 

Isn’t it obvious? As a podcaster, you already spend a lot of time talking to an audience while on air or filming yourself. That is why transitioning to live public speaking is unlikely to pose a big challenge. However, doing so can give you an alternate income source and help you build an even larger audience for your show!

So if you decide to give public speaking a shot, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Practice in local settings — Small meetups or local debates that discuss industry topics are an excellent start.
  • Use your podcast’s audience to promote your speeches — You already have a platform, so why not use it? The same people who listen to you online are likely to enjoy it live too.
  • Practice your presentation skills — Body language and visuals play a much more significant role in public speeches than on podcasts, so make sure to get some well-needed practice before trying your hand at it!
  • Don’t be discouraged by low attendance when you’re just starting — This tip should be a no-brainer. It’s normal to have only a few people come to your speeches when you’re still an up-and-coming speaker. Just like with podcasting, though, if you remain consistent, you’re bound to grow sooner than later!

Overall, transitioning from podcasting into public speaking can be a fantastic way to boost your brand further and generate extra revenue on the side.

Sell Merch

As commonplace as this method may be, selling branded merchandise has always been and still is an excellent way to monetize your content! 

We know that setting up an online shop is not everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s an incredibly lucrative prospect! That is particularly true if you have a substantial audience already. There, you can sell all sorts of branded things like:

  • Mugs
  • Clothes
  • Gadgets
  • Accessories
  • And more…

But if an online store is not something you wish to bother with, you could consider selling… other kinds of merch.

An excellent idea would be to write and sell an ebook. Doing that will not only be appealing to your existing audience but will also showcase your expertise in your field and help you grow your show’s viewer base. And ebooks aren’t all about brand awareness; they can be incredibly lucrative too! For instance, Side Hustle Show earned more than $18,000 in ebook sales in a year!

Create an Online Course

Since you’re already sharing your expertise with industry enthusiasts for free, why not compile all that knowledge into an extensive and in-depth course and earn from it? That’s right — you can either compile (with or without edits) your past podcast episodes into an online course or make it from scratch!

The best part about opting for this monetization method is that you already have an existing audience to market your course to. Various third-party platforms specialize in online education for professionals like Udemy.

screenshot of udemy's home page

Users worldwide can use sites like Udemy to distribute and sell their courses with little to no hassle. So if you’re confident in your expertise or believe you’re a trend-setter, why not share your thoughts with the world by making an online course?

Organize an Event

Once you have built a substantial fan base, it’s high time to consider organizing live events! Doing so is a perfect way to build your reputation and even earn a few bucks along the way through ticket fees.

But what kind of event should you hold? That entirely depends on the type of your podcast. However, here are a few ideas you could use:

  • Meet-and-greets with fans.
  • Live seminars.
  • Various kinds of debates.
  • Live workshops.
  • Group lectures.

If you decide to try this idea out, why not take it a step further and live stream the event? That way, you can include all your viewers who can’t cover the travel expenses or ticket costs. You can even upload the live stream’s VOD on your website so that your fans can access it at their convenience!

Who knows? Maybe you even decide to monetize it!

Become a Consultant or Coach

This last indirect monetization method is an excellent one for podcasts of all sizes. As long as you’re an expert in your field, offering consultation or coaching services is an excellent way to earn money from your existing audience.

Regardless of how well-established your brand is, the chances are that some of your viewers need help with something. In fact, three out of four podcast listeners tune in to podcasts to learn something new! So if you can offer these people one-on-one help for a price, you’re likely to find many who would accept! You can also further facilitate your audience’s journey by leaving a readily-accessible sign-up form for a coaching session with you on your website. 

Finally, how you’re going to hold these sessions is entirely up to you! If you ask us, you have a much broader potential audience if you offer online coaching and consultation than in-person ones. However, including live sessions in your offer could prove quite lucrative if you happen to come across a customer living near you. You could (and should) up the price for these sessions, so perhaps you should consider it!

The answer to the above question is pretty straightforward! Take a look at the graph below to see what monetization methods are most popular with podcasters:

a table illustrating the most popular podcast monetization methods

As you can see, sponsorships and ads are by far the most popular way of generating revenue from podcasting! But don’t take these results for granted, as most podcasters use multiple methods to monetize their podcasts. After all, that is the best way to ensure a steady income if one of your revenue streams underperforms for a month or two. Better safe than sorry!

Start Monetizing Your Podcast With Brid.TV

Now that you know your options, it’s time to start monetizing! We at Brid.TV can help you monetize both your audio and video podcasts with our platform’s state-of-the-art advertising technology. 

So what are you waiting for? Contact us and start monetizing today!

Do you want to try out our platform and all of its features for free? Contact us and request a free trial today!

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