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How to Make Money from Podcasts

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The second most common question I get (the first is this one) – how to make money from podcasts.

Ahh, the allure of those sweet, sweet cash rings brings the podcasters to the yard. But do any of them really know how to make money from a podcast? I suspect not.

And that’s what this article is for.

I’m going to share with you some of the strategies that can transform your audio passion project into a cash rich revenue generation platform.

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Understanding how to monetise podcasts

Yes, the ‘s’ in monetisation was absolutely begging to be replaced with a dollar sign. But, the SEO Queen who locks me in a cupboard without any supper if I ‘act up’ forbade it.

Ah well. You’ll just have to imagine it’s there.

So, how can you make money from this podcasting thing?

It’s all about ads and sponsors, right?

Hold your horses, Dave. We’ll get to it.

TL;dr?

No.

Advertising and Sponsorships: The Traditional Route

Most podcasters’ first thought when it comes to monetisation (bloody hell, I had to really bite my finger for that one!) is through ads and sponsorships.

This model’s most viable for podcasts with substantial download numbers, as they offer the audience scale that advertisers covet. And covet it, (does that work grammar police?) they do ooh.

You’re looking at a minimum five thousand listeners per month to even open the dialogue of conversation. And then, it’s roughly twenty quid for every thousand listeners you can deliver them on top of that for their ads.

Of course, if you’ve got six thousands listeners each episode, you could be turned on by the idea of loading your episode with three advertisers’ messages. But then you’re running the risk of turning off your current audience and losing the deal in the first place.

So, for smaller podcasts, these low CPM (cost per mille) rates probably won’t justify the potential disruption to your audience’s listening experience.

But if you insist…

Why you should never ‘go full pre-roll’

Mid-roll ads, as opposed to pre-roll ads, are a better option for a smaller podcast.

And, honestly, I’d hold off on handing this slot over to an external advertiser until your audience is large enough and stable enough to afford turning away some of the less engaged members.

 

A podcaster trying to figure out how to make money from podcasts

Listen in apple podcasts

Leveraging Your Expertise

So ads and sponsors are out for you for now, especially if you’re not already super famous, and can’t bring over a baked in significant audience.

Here’s the secret sauce the podcast advertising agencies don’t want you to know!

Here it is – how to make money from podcasts? Use it as a Marketing Platform!

This is my jam. And it’s what I encourage all clients to do because it’s the fastest road towards getting real financial growth from your podcast.

Leveraging your podcast as a marketing tool for your personal brand or services.

This involves positioning yourself as the product, offering valuable insight, and building an authentic connection with your listeners.

And focusing that all around the solution you offer.

By promoting services like coaching, workshops, or webinars directly within your episodes, you can capitalise on your expertise and establish a direct revenue stream.

And this is where we come back to keeping hold of that precious Mid-Roll for ourselves.

I’d recommend using this ad slot to promote your own services, dynamically.

And if you don’t have them, start coming up with some ideas for them.

Make sure they align with your audience’s existing interest in your content.

If you need help with this, I can recommend an expert who can help you come up with ideas for designing services. Just reach out to me either via the contact form below or send me a DM (or connection request note if we’re not already connected) on LinkedIn.

Creating and Selling Merchandise 

A lot of so-called ‘podcast experts’ advocate selling merchandise to prop up the podcast’s finances.

But merchandise can be more than just a direct sales operation.

I’d personally use it to incentivise engagement and grow your listener base.

By rewarding active listeners with branded merchandise, you transform them into ambassadors for your podcast, creating a win-win scenario that builds loyalty and exposure.

 

Listen in spotify

Exploring Listener Contribution Models

Ahh.

Begging your listeners for cash.

Hey, whatever floats your boat.  

I will just say that the easiest and most passive of revenue models is rarely the best. This is why MLM has such a bad reputation.

But, if you’re gonna do it…

Patreon

While platforms like Patreon, Memberful and Supercast allow listeners to support your podcast financially, relying solely on listener contributions is not it. At least in my experience. And as that experience spans every single ‘exciting new platform’ that’s ever been released over twenty odd years, I have the receipts.

Platforms like Patreon work by leveraging the audience you already have and funnelling them into a paid tier, using exclusive offers.

The issue with this is you’re only ever going to convert a few listeners.

And it might feel like a drag creating specific things for a handful of people for what essentially works out at the value of a coffee and sandwich for your Saturday morning.

And if you’re going to attract the people, you need to give the people the gold up front.

Essentially, you’re trading dopamine for dollars. 

And both your banks will be constantly running on fumes.

Apple Podcasts Premium

In the past few years, Apple Podcasts (and Spotify, but.. yeah…) have offered a subscription model for listeners in their platform.

You put out exclusive content.

They rake in thirty percent of the money you make from it.

I mean, if you’re making the content anyway because you’re single, lonely, and independently wealthy then fine.

Otherwise, it’s about considering what’s more important to you.

Your time, or the pennies.

 

Expanding your reach and leveraging other channels

Maybe it’s time to think outside the box?

Live Events

Live events and workshops can add a dynamic element to your podcasting model.

They offer listeners a unique interactive experience and can also be pivotal in generating additional income.

This approach is particularly potent for podcasters who can provide educational or transformational experiences in person.

How many retreats have you seen being peddled on LinkedIn by influencers you’ve never heard of outside of that platform?

Imagine being able to compete with them by offering a similar experience to your podcast’s audience!

Webinars

Do you have a smokin’ stage talk that leads to standing ovations? Maybe convert that into a virtual online event.

The great thing about this is it’s an easy jump for a podcast audience that might even be watching you on YouTube.

You can sell tickets, and you could even repeat it.

Or maybe even turn it into a digital product for sale if it’s valuable enough.

 

A podcaster using a retreat to make money from a podcast

Selling Services and Scaling Income

At the end of all of this, I still say that the best way to figure out how to make money from a podcast is thinking about how to sell yourself and your services as the product.

It represents the most sustainable and scalable way to monetise that doesn’t rely on a massive audience.

By fostering a community and nurturing listeners into leads via email marketing, you can offer value beyond the confines of your podcast episodes.

This approach aligns with your audience’s interests and doesn’t cap your earning potential.

Thanks for that! Can I look forward to making a shed load of cash from my podcast now?

Who knows? The factors determining your successfully monetising a podcast are beyond my control.

It depend on your marketing prowess, strategy, offering and sales process.

But here’s what I will plant my flag on.

Whether you aim to promote your own services, engage in creative merchandising, or build a community through crowdfunding, the essence of profitability in podcasting is offering genuine value and connecting with your audience on a deeper level.

Remember, the podcast is just the beginning.

It is your platform to introduce, educate, and offer your specific solutions, in the packaging of your own personality, to your listeners.

With the right strategy, you can turn your podcast into a thriving business that reflects your passion and commitment to your craft.

Need my help figuring out how to make money from your podcast?

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