Have a passion for podcasting? Awesome! Let’s turn it into a profitable venture.
According to Statista, monthly podcast listeners in the US alone are set to reach 100M by 2024.
In this blog, we’ll explore how to monetize a podcast. Regardless of how many listeners you have, you’re guaranteed to find a tactic you can start using today.
From selling merch and listener support to affiliate partnerships and sponsorship deals, we’ll delve into the eight ways you can earn money from your show.
Selling merch generates revenue and helps build a community around your podcast and brand. This is one of the easiest ways to make money podcasting.
By selling podcast merchandise, you can offer your listeners something tangible they can use or wear to show their support for the show.
The most popular merch options are t-shirts, hats, mugs, hoodies, stickers, posters, and tote bags. These items usually feature the podcast’s logo or catchphrase.
Fans are often eager to buy these items to show their loyalty and connect with other listeners.
Additionally, merchandise can increase the visibility of your podcast. As fans wear and use the items, they become walking advertisements for your show.
You can create and sell merchandise risk-free with a print-on-demand partner. We’ll make each product only after an order is placed, so you don’t lose sleep worrying about unsold inventory.
Once you’ve designed your products, link your Spotify artist profile to your merch. Here’s how:
Creating a show takes more than investing time: podcasters must cover equipment and software costs, hosting, domain fees, and other costs.
By accepting donations from listeners, you can reduce or even eliminate the need for outside funding or sponsorships to cover all your podcasting costs.
Alternatively, it can supplement other monetization options like selling podcast merchandise.
Donations might be one of the most straightforward podcast monetization strategies. Plus, it’s a viable option regardless of how big your listenership is.
You’d be surprised how many fans are happy to donate a few dollars to support a podcast and continue to get the content they love and benefit from.
While this type of self-promotion is not for everyone, it’s a great way to connect with your audience. Keep your calls to action authentic and honest: give your audience the why. Are you asking for donations so you can focus on creating new content? Do you want to keep the podcast ad-free? Tell them that.
Once you have an account, add the link to your description and ask listeners to chip in what they can.
Podcasts can make money through sponsorships, where brands pay to advertise their products or services on your show. The advertiser, not the podcast host, usually reads and produces the advertisements.
Anyone who listens to podcasts will be familiar with the classic tagline “brought to you by x, y, and z.”
Podcast sponsorship pays according to how many people listen to your show. As the number of listeners increases, so will your revenue.
Source: Smart Passive Income
By partnering with brands that align with your audience and content, your show can offer your listeners valuable products and services while earning money.
Here are a few places to find sponsorship deals:
Smaller podcasts within specific niches can also reach out to companies that target their audience to find great partnership opportunities.
Multiple sponsorship deals with affiliate links for 2x eCommerce Podcast. Source: Spotify
This monetization option is similar to finding sponsorships. Sometimes people use advertising and sponsorships interchangeably.
Here’s the difference: an ad mentions a product, a service, or a brand directly and usually involves a payment for each played ad. Sponsored content won’t necessarily mention the product or brand directly—instead, the host will mention which brand has sponsored that specific episode. Plus, sponsorship typically means a deeper, often ongoing relationship.
Why podcast ads are so effective. Source: Riverside
You can join an advertising network or partner with podcasting ad agencies like Adopter Media. They help podcasters connect with advertisers, taking care of all the logistics and administration for a fee.
These services put ads in your show and pay per 1K ad impressions (cost-per-thousand). Additionally, they take a cut from your earnings, so ensure you read the platform’s fine print to see how much they take.
Generally, you can charge for “pre-roll” and “mid-roll” mentions. Mid-roll (during your episode) pays more because listeners will most likely pay more attention during the podcast than at the episode’s beginning or end.
Affiliate partnerships involve selling products or services through your unique link. When podcast listeners click on this affiliate link and buy the product or service, you earn a commission from the sale.
As with sponsorships and ads, it’s best to only work with companies that align with your audience’s values and needs.
How much money you’ll earn from affiliate marketing typically depends on the size of your podcast audience.
Usually, you don’t have to arrange a deal or get approved. Sign up, add your payment details, and get paid whenever someone signs up with your affiliate link.
Express VPN’s commission structure. Source: Authority Hacker
For example, Audible’s partner program is common among podcasters. They give you a free link to promote. Audible will pay $15 for each person who signs up for a free trial using your link. They’ll track how many people use your link, and you’ll get paid each month you hit the $30 payment threshold.
Another popular platform to promote is Skillshare: an online learning community with thousands of classes in illustration, design, photography, and more. Skillshare’s affiliate program is free for anybody with at least one channel and audience aligned with Skillshare’s brand.
Last but not least, you can join Printful’s Affiliate Program and earn a 10% commission from every order placed through your link. It’s free to join, and you’ll get marketing materials, resources, and affiliate marketing tips. Plus, you’ll have access to tracking and reporting tools on your personal dashboard to monitor your efforts in real time.
Check out our podcast Ideas. Fulfilled. and get valuable ecommerce insights
Offering paid content is another lucrative way to monetize a podcast. Premium content refers to content that is available exclusively to paying listeners, providing an additional layer of value and exclusivity.
To receive payments, you can create memberships that we’ll cover in the next section. You can also receive one-time payments through the platforms we mentioned in the second blog section (accepting listener donations).
Let’s look at some premium content you can sell access to.
Ad-free episodes: If you’ve joined an advertising network or offer ad spaces through different channels, you can provide ad-free, premium episodes.
Extended or exclusive episodes: Provide additional content like interviews or behind-the-scenes insights unavailable on the regular podcast feed.
Access to a private community or forum: Let subscribers connect with you and other like-minded listeners.
Live events or Q&A sessions: Let listeners engage directly with the podcast host and other subscribers, creating a more interactive and personalized experience.
Online course or workshop: If your podcast’s topic aligns with a specific skill or area of expertise, provide subscribers with actionable steps they can take to improve their skills or knowledge.
A video version of the show: Provide a visual element to your audio content to offer a more immersive and engaging experience for your audience.
Different forums where listeners can ask questions and connect. Source: Money For the Rest of Us
You should always tailor your offering to your audience and their needs. If you’re unsure what they would enjoy the most—ask them.
By providing unique and exclusive content, podcasters can deepen their connection with the audience and generate revenue for their podcast.
Through paid memberships, podcasters offer premium content, perks, and benefits to their loyal audience in exchange for a recurring subscription fee.
Founders podcast with monthly and yearly subscription options. Source: Founders on glow.fm
Paid memberships can provide a reliable source of income for podcasters, which can be particularly helpful for those looking to turn podcasting into a full-time career.
By creating paid membership tiers, you can demonstrate the value of your content and strengthen your connection with listeners. It can increase brand loyalty and your podcast’s long-term growth and success.
Swindled podcast membership tiers. Source: Swindled Patreon
When subscribers feel like a part of an exclusive community that adds value to their life, they are more likely to feel invested in the podcast’s success. Some might even become brand ambassadors and recommend your show to others.
A loyal and paying listenership provides a reliable and consistent income stream, which can help podcast creators invest more time and resources into their shows. It leads to higher-quality content, improved production value, and better engagement with the audience.
Exclusive content, perks, and benefits create a sense of belonging and exclusivity, encouraging subscribers to interact more with the podcast and each other. You’ll also foster a more dedicated fan base by adding value to your paying subscribers.
This community provides space for like-minded individuals to connect and engage with each other, further increasing engagement and loyalty. Additionally, a strong and active community can increase your reach and podcast growth.
With a dedicated and engaged audience, podcast creators can attract podcast sponsorship, collaborators, or guests interested in reaching their niche audience. It can create new opportunities for revenue and exposure and open up new creative possibilities for the podcast.
Membership creation is one of the easiest ways to monetize a podcast. Read our previous section to get inspo for the premium content you can offer.
Last year, YouTube beat out Spotify and became the largest podcast consumption platform in the US.
Mel Robin’s podcast on YouTube. Source: YouTube
By uploading a video version of your podcast to YouTube, you can more than double the size of your show’s digital footprint. Here are some additional benefits:
By having a presence on YouTube, your podcasts can reach a wider audience and attract new listeners. Plus, YouTube will recommend your show to new listeners with similar interests.
Podcasts can use YouTube to create additional content, like video clips, highlights, and behind-the-scenes footage, that is unavailable on audio-only platforms. It can engage existing listeners and attract new viewers who prefer video content.
YouTube’s comment section and social features can help you build a community of engaged fans who can interact with you and other listeners. It can help increase listener loyalty and create a sense of community around your show.
It’s difficult to give a precise estimate because it depends on how many downloads your podcast has and what revenue streams you’re using.
For example, if you’re using affiliate links, advertising, sponsorships, and paid subscriptions, you’ll likely earn more than someone relying only on one revenue stream.
Without knowing what monetization efforts you use, we can’t give an exact figure, but according to Riverside, a podcaster can earn around $300–$5K per episode with 10K downloads.
Factors that affect how much your podcast earns:
The number of listeners
The engagement of your audience
How regularly you release podcast episodes
Your podcast marketing and advertising strategies
Podcast monetization is about balancing creating stellar content, proving value to your established audience, and generating revenue.
By understanding the various ways how to monetize a podcast and experimenting, you can turn your podcast from a labor of love into a highly lucrative venture.
We hope this blog serves as an inspiration to start using different podcast monetization methods so you can turn a profit. We’ll be glad to hear about your own podcast ventures. Happy podcasting!
SEO Content Writer
Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.