5 Ways to Monetize Your Podcast and Create Revenues
Podcasts have a really low barrier for entry. All you need is a decent microphone, and you’re in. There are many ways to edit and host your podcast for free. This makes podcasting exceedingly popular as a medium. Many podcasts start as a side-huslte or hobby, but in some cases, podcasts can become a lucrative endeavor or a way to generate alternative sources of revenue. Figuring out how to generate revenue can often present a challenge, but that’s what we are going to cover today!
Fortunately, there are several options you can implement immediately when it comes to generating revenue with your podcast. If advertising campaigns seem too involved, there’s no need to worry. There are plenty of monetization options that don’t require in-depth marketing know-how.
In this article, we’ll review five ways to monetize your website. We’ll also take a look at some podcast specific web site themes that can help make monetization easier. If you’re ready, let’s dive right in!
Why Now is The Right Time to Monetize Your Podcast
There really is no better time than now to initiate a monetization plan for your podcast. In fact, recent research has highlighted now as a ‘watershed’ moment for the medium. Podcasts are seeing roughly 90 million listeners a month. This signals its crossover into the mainstream. According to Daniel J. Lewis, from The Audacity to Podcast, there are now “More than 800,000 valid podcasts now available in Apple Podcasts”. This is clearly way beyond a “trending” topic, and with so many listeners, companies, podcasters, advertisers, acquisitions and more flowing in, there’s also a lot of money exchanging hands in this rapidly growing industry.
In terms of revenue, the podcast market is projected to see a 110 percent increase in revenue in 2020, from 2017, according to TechCrunch. Some of this increase has been fueled by Spotify’s acquisition of podcast creation platforms Gimlet and Anchor:
Anchor alone claims to be supporting 40 percent of all new podcasts, helped by their free podcast hosting service. All of this means there is really no time like the present to generate revenue with your podcast.
How to Make Sure Your Podcast is Ready to Generate Revenue
Before opening the floodgates, you’ll want to make sure your podcast is actually ready to be monetized. One way to do this is to make sure you’re publishing new episodes regularly, and can keep up the schedule you establish. This doesn’t mean you need to publish daily. It’s more important to establish a balanced approach that works for your brand and resources.
Another way to prepare your podcast for monetization is to assess your website’s theme and structure. The right theme can add a significant benefit to your website, especially when they are designed specifically for podcasts (like ours.) Using a podcast theme means you’ll have e-commerce tools like WooCommerce at the ready. Our themes also come bundled with the popular drag-and-drop page builder Elementor, to help you create a design meeting your exact requirements.
6 Ways to Generate Revenue With Your Podcast
There are a number of ways to go about turning your podcast into a moneymaker. Let’s look at six different options!
1. Treat Your Podcast as a Brand
To many podcasters, their podcast is only an audio format available on Apple Podcasts or other platforms. It’s important to realize that your podcast can become a brand, or be part of your existing brand. This would surely help you increase your audience, the engagement with your listeners, and improve your chances of really monetizing your podcast. This means you’ll definitely need to stay in touch with your audience via other mediums, such as social media, a website, blog or even a weekly newsletter.
Treating your podcast like a brand means you’ll need to pay more attention to some key details and maintain “control” over your brand. Let us explain what we mean by “Control” – it’s really easy to get tangled up with all the different podcast platforms and podcast hosts, and forget about the brand behind your podcast. When you podcast is only available through one or a few platforms, you can’t control your brand and identity.
This is why we strongly recommend all podcasters to create their own website, where you could control all the content, send links to listeners, share more types of media beyond just audio, and really take things up to the next level. It’s going to be really hard to monetize your podcast before you have a brand behind it. Once you start to establish a brand, you’ll also notice how easier the path to monetization becomes, as it would be much easier to land advertisers, sponsors, sell merchandise, and more.
2. Establish a Membership/Subscription/Donation-Based Podcast
Many podcasters use Patreon as a platform to enable them to charge you to set up a membership-based business. This means you can create a variety of membership tiers and invite listeners to support your podcast by becoming regular donors. You can also offer different incentives and packages for each tier. For example, you could have $10 and $15 a month memberships that include a t-shirt and premium content, respectively.
In terms of podcasting, Patreon actually has a specific platform for podcasters. This includes features designed to benefit the medium:
For example, you’ll be able to provide a special private RSS link to your paying supporters. Additionally, Patreon provides communication tools so you can stay directly connected to your fans and supporters. There’s a lot of flexibility in the platform and it’s easy to set up.
Besides Patreon, there are other alternatives. For example, you can create a WordPress website for your podcast and enable premium content or memberships on your website itself. This is the most “direct” method, as everything would be handled directly on your site and not on other platforms or marketplaces. There are free and premium WordPress plugins that would help you achieve this quite easily, like Restrict Content Pro, MemberPress, Easy Digital Downloads and more.
Lastly, in the past few months more new companies have emerged that help podcasters charge subscriptions in different ways. One example you can look at is Supercast.
Some hosting platforms also offer built-in monetization services. RSS.com, Anchor, Podbean and others include tools to help you monetize your podcast from within their hosting platform.
3. Advertising and Sponsorships
Another way you can monetize your podcast (and podcast website) is to offer advertising or sponsorship opportunities. Many podcasters choose to run a quick ad at the intro of their podcast and mention one or more sponsors in exchange for a fixed fee. It is also possible to insert ads dynamically throughout your podcast, and several companies already offer this method, although it can be a little less relevant for your audience at times. In addition to your podcast, you can create space on your podcast website that can be purchased for advertising, or accept sponsorships for on-air mentions. Podcast advertising has been called ‘an advertiser’s dream’ as it’s been found to be highly effective.
When it comes to podcast advertising there are three main spots in an episode where you’d typically offer sponsorship options:
- Pre-roll: This is at the very start of your show where you can drop in a line that says the podcast was sponsored by a company.
- Mid-roll: You may have listened to podcasts that use the mid-roll option, as this is when talk segues into a break or transition to a guest. You can then use the natural break to talk about a sponsored product.
- Post-roll: The very end of your podcast, sometimes called an ‘outro’, is another place where you can do a quick sponsor mention.
One way you can get started with advertising on your podcast is to use a podcast advertising network. While you will have to pay a fee or percentage to the brokers that manage these, it will be one less item you have to devote resources to, and the benefits could outweigh the negatives.
If you already have a decent amount of listeners, you can reach out to companies relevant for your podcast and see if they would be interested in sponsoring your future episodes. For example, if you run a successful podcast about coffee, reach out to your favorite cafe, or a coffee-machine manufacturer or brand. They would (usually) be happy to sponsor your podcast and reach an audience of targeted listeners.
4. Sell Show-Related Merchandise
There are lots of options to help you create an e-commerce store for your show merchandise, without ever having to handle the physical product or manage the shipping logistics.
One way you can approach this is to use a print-on-demand service such as Teespring. This means product orders are printed only when someone puts in an order. You won’t have to purchase a stock of different items and deal with the leftover product.
One example of this kind of merchandise option is from Joe Rogan’s popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience:
His Higher Primate e-commerce store offers up apparel and other products from the show. As your show gains followers, this is one way to continue to engage and build a community with your listeners. Not to mention, the more branded t-shirts you have walking around in the world, the more free advertising for your show!
Don’t limit yourself to to T-Shirts and socks, you can easily sell e-books, software, or any other products you may see fit for your brand. In fact, many businesses are creating a podcast to promote their own products or brand, so it’s really a two-way success!
Selling products would probably mean you’ll need to do it from your website. We recommend using WordPress. It’s probably the best platform that would allow you to have all of your episodes, your merch or products, a blog, subscription options and even more all on the same website!
In terms of eCommerce, WordPress works really great with WooCommerce – the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. You can also use Easy Digital Downloads to sell digital items, or connect your WordPress site to other eCommerce services.
Needless to say, all of our Podcast WordPress Themes work flawlessly with WooCommerce!
5. Create Premium or Restricted Content
We discussed membership and subscription above, but this approach might take a little extra effort on your part but can be an effective incentive for listeners who already love your show. If you’re not sure what kind of premium content you might be able to produce, there are several options, including:
- Recording extra material with special guests that only paying members can access
- Live streaming or providing video recordings of your podcast sessions to subscribers for a monthly fee
- Creating an ‘early access’ membership
- Offering ad-free content
- Creating a private podcast and charge for being among the listeners/community
Combining this with other options on this list is one way to create a more comprehensive monetization strategy. You can enable those options either as a one-time purchase or subscription-based.
6. Use Affiliate Links to Generate Revenue
Affiliate revenue is already successful on the internet for decades. If you don’t want to create or sell your own products, there are affiliate programs you can use to generate revenue with your podcast. For example, one of the most popular affiliate programs is the Audible Creator program:
This is a simple option where you can offer an Audible trial to your listeners with a custom URL. For every free trial initiated with your link, you’ll get $15. Many podcast hosting services also offer affiliate programs as well. Just remember, it’s a good practice to disclose affiliates to your listeners so they don’t feel mislead. You can always add affiliate links either during your show, on the shownotes, or via your website.
When you take into consideration that advertising during podcasts is actually approved by 78% of listeners, you can proceed with confidence that introducing a monetization plan won’t necessarily alienate your listeners. As such, pressing on with any number of strategies could be great for your listeners, cashflow, and more.
There are several options when it comes to generating revenue with your podcast. Let’s recap what we covered in this article:
- Create a brand for your podcast.
- Setting Up a Subscription-based revenue stream
- Offering advertising and sponsorship opportunities.
- Sell show-related merchandise.
- Create ‘Premium-only’ content.
- Use affiliate links.
There are many more ways for monetizing your podcast. We recommend to stick to the one you find most relevant to you and your podcast. You can also be creative and create new revenue streams.
Regardless of how you decide to generate revenue with your podcast, we have all the podcast-related WordPress themes and resources you need. Check out our many podcast-friendly themes and pricing!