Creating a podcast is a long-term investment. If you recently started a podcast, then you know how much effort, money, resources, and time one has to pour into it to succeed. Monetizing a podcast takes time. You won’t be able to bring in the bacon at episode one, or even episode 20 for that matter. It takes time. But lucky for you, this is an investment that can become a solid revenue stream once you are consistently adding value and building a community. The best part is, you have options when it comes to monetization. There are tons of different podcast monetization strategies! You just need the strategy and confidence to know how to monetize a podcast.

What Does Monetizing Mean?

So what does podcast monetization even mean? Simply put, it’s the process of implementing a means to earn money from your podcast. The revenue stream can come from the show itself or affiliated products or services. Either way, the target customers are your podcast listeners. With the right strategies, you can turn your niche audience into loyal customers while they still enjoy the show’s free podcast content.

Now let’s talk strategy. There are many ways to turn your show into a reliable income! Since each podcast monetization method is different, today’s post is dedicated to helping you navigate this process. We are sharing the most useful tips for how to transform your podcast into a revenue stream. So whether you’re getting ready to launch your podcast or already have a thriving audience, get ready to take some notes. This post will help you turn your podcast into cash. Let’s get right into it!

How To Monetize A Podcast

Traditional Sponsorships:

This is one of the most well-known podcast monetization methods! It’s also the traditional way to do sponsorships on your show. But you will need to have a solid number of listeners to take advantage of this strategy. Why? Because these are usually negotiated as a cost-per-thousand for each mention during an ad break. A podcast ad break is the time dedicated to promoting the sponsors’ products or services. You can do a 20-40 second pre-roll mention at the beginning of the show, one or two 20-40 second mid rolls, or a 20-40-second roll nearing the end.

With this traditional sponsorship, you get paid per listener or download, no matter if they never become customers of the sponsoring brand. It’s a flat fee and a reliable way to assure an income each month. Depending on the frequency of your podcast episodes and your number of listeners, this can quickly become a strong revenue stream!

Listen to this episode of Trading Secrets for more info on negotiating partnerships.

Affiliate Marketing or Referral Sponsorships:

Referral sponsorships function pretty much like an affiliate program. That’s why most people mention them as podcast affiliate marketing. This is one of the simplest ways to start making an income from your show, as the number of listeners per episode is not relevant here. There’s less risk for the sponsoring brand, so it’s easier to join their program as a newbie. This is also a great option for podcasters with a strong, loyal audience that converts higher than average. You’re basically betting on your ability to convert your audience into sales. This can be great if your audience converts because your commission can be anywhere between 5-20% depending on the brand and product being offered

Of course, you have to mention their product or service, your coupon code, and / or your affiliate link during the show. This way, your listeners can sign up or buy the product with your personal code to track the sale. Brands will often offer a discount for customers that sign up with your code or link as well. That’s when you make the money! You get paid once a listener of yours has spent money on their offer. The great thing about referral sponsorships is that these links or codes can still be active after months or even years. The income here can often be compounding and create a lot of revenue long term. Not so bad for a quick mention, right?

Ask Your Listeners For Financial Support:

You are out there putting out free content for your listeners on each podcast episode. Who’s to say they wouldn’t make a donation to their favorite podcast host? It’s always a good idea to offer them the alternative to donate if they find value in your show. This is called a pay-what-you-want model. Listeners choose to make a contribution and they are in charge of how much money it entails.

There are two a few ways to go about this monetization method. You can set up a Patreon account or accept donations via Venmo or PayPal. Patreon does take a 5% commission on every donation but their site has a very professional look and offers some great social features. Another option is to create a website with payment processing and accept donations that way. It’s up to you how to receive donations, but for some shows this is a great option.

Host a Live Event:

Who wouldn’t enjoy a fun event with their podcast host? Hosting live events is a great way to turn your podcast into a revenue stream once you’ve established a sizeable following. Charge a small ticket fee and you’ll make a good amount of income off your live event. The strength of this income source relies on the frequency of the events, but don’t feel tied up to in-person meetings only. You can host virtual speaking events, virtual hangouts, and even virtual happy hours to connect your community further. Get creative with it!

Offer Premium Content To Your Listeners:

Creating paid content for a select number of your podcast listeners is one of the most efficient podcast monetization methods. Remember, your audience already enjoys the free content you put up. I’m sure they would love any other additional material you create! This could be either ad-free or exclusive content, it depends on your availability and preferences. The premium content could be personal Q&As, premium resources, additional episodes per week, or exclusive guest appearances. Another fun premium content idea could be a virtual event with one of your podcast guests. There really is no limit to the types of premium content you can come up with.

Create and Sell Your Own Merchandise or Products:

Podcast listeners usually grow very loyal to their favorite shows! This is great news because it gives you the opportunity to create exclusive merchandise for your show. It’s a fun way to monetize your podcast while strengthening your connection with the audience. See Dear Media’s merch HERE & all of the Dear Media Shows that have their own merchandise HERE.

If you prefer to branch out from podcast merch, you can always come out with other physical products. Launching your own product is of course a large and exciting task. There is a lot that goes into it. However, using your podcast to promote your product once it’s ready to go is a great way to monetize your show. For more on how to create a product, listen to this episode of Life With Marianna on how to create an iconic product.

Post Your Show on Youtube:

Syndicating your show on Youtube might sound a little useless at first. But it’s a proven monetization method! Since Youtube pays per view on each video, offering your podcast episodes on the platform can bring some extra cash at the end of the month. Granted, most episodes won’t get thousands of views. But some of them are bound to gain traction and become great revenue streams! The process of uploading your podcast to Youtube is too easy to pass. Just add a placeholder image along with the mp3 file and you’re good to go. If you want to get extra fancy you can even record the video live during the audio recording of your podcast. Then edit and upload the video to Youtube. BOOM! You’re now earning off your audio and video podcast recordings.

Offer Content Upgrades Tied To Individual Episodes:

A content upgrade might sound similar to offering paid exclusive content. But it’s actually a completely separate podcast monetization method! A podcast upgrade is a downloadable resource that complements the topics mentioned in the podcast episodes. The point is to enhance the listener’s experience by offering something extra. This could be a list of journaling prompts, a guide to the perfect selfie, or even cooking recipes. It’s a smart way of turning each episode into a revenue stream. With podcast upgrades, there’s an opportunity for additional income with every bit of free content that you put out in your show!

Sell Services:

You can always sell services to your audience if that’s better suited to what your content is all about. Perhaps you have a wellness podcast and a background in holistic therapy, so you offer 1:1 coaching sessions. Or your show’s theme is nutrition and healthy living, so you create personalized meal plans for those who need nutritional guidance. There are so many possibilities when it comes to services. You can pick the one that works best for you and your niche audience!

Add A Paywall:

A paywall is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a “wall” or webpage that requires you to pay before gaining access to the content. This option basically requires listeners to pay a fee before they can gain access to your content. Although this does bring in revenue for your individual listeners, it can also slow your growth. Many listeners might turn away rather than pay for your content. So this option is typically best for podcasters that already have a massive following. Although again, it’s important to consider how your listeners might respond to being charged for the content they previously received for free.

Create Membership Tiers:

Monthly memberships allow you to generate a reliable source of income and make more money from your podcast. This option is similar to a paywall, however, it gives you more customization. Instead of one simple paywall, you can create membership tiers with different pricing. Based on those tiers, listeners have access to different content or resources. You could even have a base tier that is free if you want.

For example, the basic tier can include your podcast for free, but with ads. The entry-level tier can be ad-free podcast episodes. The middle tier might have an exclusive newsletter in addition to an ad-free show. Finally, the premium tier can consist of all the mentioned perks plus an online community and monthly online events. In the end, it’s up to you what to include in each membership tier. As long as you create a sense of community and synergy between you and your audience, the membership will thrive.

How Much Money Can You Make With A Podcast?

The short answer: a lot of money, depending on the success of your podcast of course.

The long answer? Well, it depends. For content creators, CPM rate (cost per mille, or cost per thousand impressions) will likely be pretty low in the beginning. But if you have an established audience and can get sponsorship deals, you can make a lot more than that.

And then there’s merchandising. If your podcast is popular enough, people will want to buy stuff with your logo on it—so if you have the right kind of audience in mind, this could be another avenue for making money with your podcasting efforts.

But what about ad revenue? That’s where things get really interesting. Joining a podcast advertising network allows podcasters to sell ad space directly to advertisers and earn revenue based on their performance—which means that if you have a large enough audience and good engagement levels, you can make quite a bit more than just selling individual sponsorships!

Are you in the process of monetizing your podcast?

That’s a wrap on how to monetize a podcast! Remember, even though your podcast can become a solid revenue stream, don’t forget about your listeners. It’s important that you still put out valuable free content for them through your show. After all, they’re the ones who will buy anything else you offer! Have you turned your podcast into a reliable source of income yet? What are your favorite monetization strategies? Tell us all about it in the comments down below! And good luck monetizing your show!

For more podcast tips, see this list of podcast tips for beginners & this post on how to name your podcast.