Podcast monetization: make your series a top money-spinner!

3 min read

Okay – so the podcast series you’ve launched has found favor with a fast-growing audience. The show is settling in and your product or service is becoming a welcome addition in homes and offices around the globe. Well done! What this means – apart from your booming business – is that podcast monetization has come a-knockin’ at your door.

(As an aside, if you haven’t yet read our other four articles in this podcasting series, you’ll find them here, here, here, and here. Do read them first. We’ll wait. 🙂

Show me the money!

Podcast monetization: image of hands placing paper money into a jar
Image: Envato

The great thing about podcasting is that beyond it being fun, it’s also a tool for branding, networking, building an audience, marketing your product, and here’s the big-ticket winner: monetization.

Whether it’s a pleasant surprise, or part of your tactical plan, podcast monetization is something that’s nice to come by, and should be taken advantage of when it’s there. Here’s how you can start monetizing your podcast.

Prerequisites

Unless your podcast blows up on day 1 and catches a never-seen-before wave of success, there’s some work to do before you can successfully implement podcast monetization. You first have to develop an audience.

The number of people who listen to your podcast determine how well you can monetize it. We’ll run over the different types of monetization soon, but monetization usually relies on having a significant audience.

Podcast monetization: man listening to a podcast on his laptop
Image: Envato

If you’re just starting out and it seems like building an audience for monetization is too far a goal, no need to worry. The numbers for podcasting have been looking good in 2020. It makes sense; people have a lot of time at home, and probably a lot of time to listen to podcasts while doing something else.

Here are the facts: almost a quarter of the U.S. population listen to podcasts weekly, and in 2020, over 155 million people listened to a podcast every week. That’s a hefty group of highly-engaged listeners.

So snagging a bunch of people who are interested in your podcast is highly doable. With an engaged audience, you’ve opened up monetization.

Supporting

Let’s start with donations. Donations are a simple way of monetization. As long as you’re providing value to your listeners, chances are they’ll want to support your work.

Similarly, subscriptions are a way to monetize your podcast. Ever heard of Patreon? It’s a way for content creators to create exclusive, special content. After Patreon users subscribe to the creator, and pay a small fee per month, they’re able to access exclusive content while also feeling good about supporting their favorite creators.

Image: Envato

Patreon also offers different membership tiers, unlocking more content as you rank higher (donate more) as a subscriber. But as those tiers go up, so does the cut that Patreon takes from donations. If you’re not a fan of that idea, there are some alternative services — some still taking a cut.

If you’re using a service that locks content behind a paywall, it might be a good idea to continue to release free content to attract new listeners. Like a 50-50 split between membership-only content, and free content.

And here’s a neat idea, if you start generating a regular audience and have a backlog of content, you can put that behind the paywall. New listeners who want to hear more can access it with a fee. It’s like wanting to watch a new TV series, but having to pay if they want to catch up on the old seasons. Enticing!

Selling

It’s worked for ages, and it continues to work. If you have a sizable audience, companies are going to want to partner with you, and have you advertise their products. It can be a simple transaction like selling your air space, like a radio station would, or it could look like the popular affiliate marketing.

With affiliate marketing, you pick a product you enjoy using, share it with your audience, and earn a portion from the sales you make. The great thing about it is that you’re sharing something you genuinely like, and there’s a good chance you’ll continue earning so long as your affiliate links are still making sales.

Image: Envato

You could also sell merch for your enthusiastic fans, create live events with distinguished guests and sell tickets for them, and even sell spots for your guests on your show. These are the kinds of things you sell naturally, once your podcast picks up momentum and renown.

So maybe a couple of years go by and your podcasting is going great. You’ve picked yourself up from the ash pile of 2020, you’ve risen as a podcasting phoenix in 2021, and are continuing the success. 

At that moment, you realize, you’ve created a lot of content. Enough to make a book. Why not repurpose all of your old content into something else? It might sell as the expert’s guide to: whatever. A final avenue for monetizing your wonderful creation!

Final thoughts

Podcast monetization can be an amazing, fulfilling thing to accomplish. But it’s important to remember your roots and why you podcast.

It’s about your listeners, and how you serve them. Things are only worth monetizing when people have a reason to care about them. So while there are many ways to monetize your podcast, just remember, your audience comes first.

With that said, we wish you the best of luck and prosperity!