The podcasting world is super dynamic. When you create a podcast, it can be anything you want it to be – a hobby, a side hustle, or a full-time business. It all depends on your long-term goals and where you want to see yourself in the next few years.

Luckily, there are many different ways you can make money from podcasting. Monetizing your podcast will not only put a little cash back in your pocket, but it will also give you the capital you need to continue making necessary improvements to your podcast. Such as equipment upgrades, investments in sound-quality, studio revamping, and so on. 

Different content creators will naturally gravitate towards certain monetization methods over others, depending on those long-term goals we mentioned earlier. Still not sure which monetization method is right for you? Here at Dear Media, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our roundup of some of the best ways to make money via podcasting!

12 Ways To Make Money Podcasting

Ask for donations.

We totally get it, your podcast isn’t a charity. But, asking for donations is one of the best ways for beginner podcasters to raise the capital they need to take their podcast to the next level. Not to mention, it’s a great way to keep your episodes ad free. There’s no shame in asking your listeners for monetary donation, especially when you’re using that capital to create more fun and engaging content. Plus, the worst thing they can say is no.

So, how can you ask for donations without annoying your listeners? Easy! Create a short and sweet call-to-donate in each of your podcast episodes. You can include this in your intro or outro, and as long as it doesn’t take up too much of your listeners time, you’re good to go. Other good places to ask for donations are in your show notes [add Show Notes article when live], weekly newsletter, and on your website. Add quick links to each of these places that take your listeners straight to your donation page. 

Platforms like PayPal and Patreon make it super easy for podcasters like you to accept donations. 

Scoop up a sponsorship.

As a podcast host, we know you’ve heard the phrase “This episode is sponsored by…” at least once or twice. When an episode or podcast is sponsored, it means that there is someone out there – a brand, business, company, etc. – that is covering the costs of creating that episode. How sweet is that? If you’re looking for some financial assistance to cover production costs, scooping up a sponsor is a great option.

There are two main ways to get sponsored: asking a sponsor directly and utilizing a podcast advertising network. As a small podcaster, your best bet will be to reach out to sponsors yourself. Find brands/companies that sell products or services that mesh well with your brand, and ask them to sponsor your episodes. 

Once you’ve gained a more legitimate following (between 5-10 thousand followers), you can move on to an ad network like Midroll. Ad networks will find and match you with different sponsors, negotiate rates, and facilitate the advertising process. And in exchange, you’ll create content around their product or service. 

Get paid to advertise.

Advertising and sponsorship are very similar. But where advertising differs is that there is a larger focus on content creation. Advertisers will expect the podcast host to create engaging content around their product or service, whereas sponsors may just want their name or company mentioned in the episode. 

Advertising can be super appealing to podcast hosts because as the host, you get to choose what products or services you advertise to your audience. This means you can choose products or services that you already know and love, and that you know your audience will enjoy as well. 

Like a sponsor, you can find advertisers on platforms like Midroll, or by reaching out to your favorite brands/companies via email, social media, phone call, etc. You’ll be generating ad revenue in no time! 

Utilize affiliate links. 

When it comes to blogging, vlogging, and podcasting, affiliate links are one of the best ways to generate revenue. In the most general terms, affiliate marketing is the process of choosing products you like, creating content around those products, and then providing a link to that product from your website, podcast, show notes, etc. The more listeners that click on your affiliate link and make a purchase, the more money you make. It’s that simple! 

To begin this process, you’ll need to sign up for an affiliate program. The program will help you find the products you’d like to advertise, generate the money-making link, and keep track of your earnings. Some affiliate programs we highly recommend are Amazon Associates, Audible, and Skillshare

Offer tiered subscriptions.

If you’re looking to make money via subscriptions, tiered subscriptions are a great idea. But, what is a tiered subscription? Simply put, tiered subscriptions give the listener an opportunity to access premium content by subscribing to a higher, more expensive tier. You could have two tiers (free and paid) or several paid tiers, depending on how much content you like to create. 

For example, you may have a free subscription in which listeners have access to (1) free episode each week. But, for $5.99/month, your listeners could gain access to (2) episodes each week, plus any additional content, videos, how-to’s, photos, etc. As long as your premium content provides real value to the listener, they will be more than willing to pay for access. 

Offer content upgrades.

Like offering tiered subscriptions for access to premium content, you can also offer content upgrades. Content upgrades give your listeners the option to pay for additional content or resources that you provide. Upgrades could include an extra video tutorial, a how-to guide, a video to go along with your audio, a downloadable recipe or PDF, and so on. Listeners will pay for these upgrades to take advantage of your special content, especially if it is particularly valuable. 

Publish your show on Youtube. 

Youtube is one of the most lucrative social media platforms when it comes to monetization. Many successful podcasts have turned to Youtube as a source of income, because Youtube will pay content creators based on views. The more views, the more money in your pocket. And all you have to do is upload your episodes to Youtube and practice good Youtube SEO. For more information on how to get started on Youtube, click here!

Create custom merchandise.

Ever thought about making your own merch? Think t-shirts, hats, planners, phone cases, stickers, magnets, or any other product or service you can think of that your listeners would use. Loyal listeners LOVE stocking up on merch from their favorite podcasts. Plus, when your listeners use their products in public, it’s free advertising for your podcast! 

Offer classes/courses.

Do you have a trade or skill you’d like to share with your listeners? If so, offering online courses or classes is a great way of earning money via podcasting. You get to share your knowledge and your listeners gain real educational content that they can use in their day to day lives. 

With this monetization method, you can host live classes or pre-recorded lessons – either way works totally fine. Listeners will pay for access to your exclusive courses and your podcast will become an even more trusted source of information and knowledge within your niche. 

Write a book.

Do you love to write? Try your hand at writing a book based on topics from your podcast. Not only will this be intriguing to your loyal listeners who want to know more about you and your podcast, but it will also help you better reach those audience members that might prefer reading over listening. It’s a win-win. 

Collect tips on live podcasts. 

If you enjoy hosting live podcasts, this is a great option for you. While it’s not a super consistent revenue stream, collecting tips on live podcasts can be very lucrative for up-and-coming podcasts. Just like you’d tip a band or comedian during a live performance, you can collect tips as a podcast host. These tips can be in the form of cash or online donations via a website. If your listeners like what they hear, they’ll be sure to tip. 

Use your podcast as a sales tool.

Popular podcasts often use their own podcast as a sales tool. But, what does this even mean? Basically, it means using your podcast in a way that generates revenue. All the monetization methods on this list fall into this category, but it can be expanded upon further. Let’s look at a few examples:

Maybe you created some podcast merch. Now, how do you sell it? You use your podcast as a sales tool by advertising your merch in your episodes. Maybe you signed up for an affiliate program? Use your podcast as a sales tool to plug those links and generate ad revenue. Or, maybe you decided to write a book? Use your podcast to plug your book. 

See where we’re going? Your podcast is, in itself, a monetization method. So, when you can, use it to your advantage by inserting your own version of a podcast ad. 

Podcasts make money in a variety of ways; the key is to find the method that works best for you. 

As a podcast host, the amount of money you make can determine whether or not your podcast is a hobby or a full-fledged money-making business. With some key tips, a good monetization strategy, and plenty of determination, you’ll realize your podcasting dreams in no time. 

Just starting a podcast? Head on over to the Dear Media Blog. There, you’ll find everything you need to get your podcast off the ground and so much more. And for even more fun and engaging content, be sure to give us a follow on Instagram. Until next time, drop us a comment below – we’re here to answer all your frequently asked podcasting questions!