Can You Make a Living From Being a Podcaster?
Written by #HeliumRadio on April 19, 2021
Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a living doing something you love, like being a podcaster? Having a podcast with millions of listeners is the dream of many people, but not everyone is able to make enough money podcasting to avoid having another job to pay the bills. However, there are ways to make money off of podcasts, perhaps even enough to make a decent living.
Can You Make a Living From Being a Podcaster?
Beginning Podcast Hosts
When you’re just starting out with your podcast, making money is more difficult because many monetization strategies come from having a large audience. However, there are some methods that can at least bring in some income until you build up a following. It will take work to make money on a podcast, but that’s the truth for any business you start. Luckily, plenty of other people have started podcasts and have left a blueprint to follow.
This money-making strategy has been around for a long time as a way to monetize website content like blogs. With affiliate marketing, you make a commission when you refer listeners to a company and they make a purchase. Essentially, these companies are using your podcast platform to advertise their products, but they don’t pay you anything unless someone buys a product and uses your affiliate code. Nearly every major company like Amazon and Match.com have affiliate marketing programs.
To use affiliate marketing to monetize your podcast, dedicate a few minutes during your show to advertise the companies you’re an affiliate with. You should also have a page on your website where listeners can go to learn more about a product you mention on your show and to click through to the company’s website to purchase the product. This will also eliminate the need for the customer to enter a code since the link will already be coded.
Crowdfunding and Donations
Many new podcast hosts start out by asking for donations from their listeners to keep the podcast on the air. Obviously, the more listeners you have, the better this strategy will be, but you can start making money on your podcast by asking your friends and family members to be founding members by donating to your podcast. Once you get a few donations, you’re likely to get even more, especially if your podcast gives listeners a reason to donate.
Even after you find other ways to monetize your podcast, keep your donations page open. You never know when a listener might decide to contribute to your podcast or someone could stumble across your donation page and decide to give a few dollars. This strategy should begin as a way to make money but continue as a bonus to your other monetization methods when you receive unexpected donations. You may not be able to make a living just from donations.
A great way to make money from your podcast is to tie in a course listeners can take that allows them to learn more about your podcast’s subject. For example, if your podcast is about money management, you could sell a course on creating a budget using one of the many online course creators. The nice thing about adding a course to your podcast is that once you’ve developed the course, the money you make is considered passive income.
Passive income is money you earn when you’re not actively doing anything to earn it. You will have already created the content for the course and when someone buys it, you receive the income from it without having to do any additional work. Passive income from multiple outlets is the key to earning a living from a podcast because you won’t have time to be actively involved in all your money-making strategies all the time.
Veteran Podcast Hosts
The longer you’ve been hosting a podcast, the larger your audience is likely to be, so you have more monetization opportunities available to you. You can start to capitalize on the number of listeners you have by seeking other companies that want their products in front of a large audience, especially if your podcast is popular with a key demographic. The more listeners you have, the better chances you have of gaining beneficial partners.
Sponsors and Advertising
Until you get a solid listener base, you may not be able to find many companies willing to spend money advertising on your podcast. However, if you target a specific niche, you can always reach out to companies that also target that niche to see if they are willing to sponsor your podcast in exchange for advertising time or for just mentioning their company on air. Advertising is usually more lucrative than sponsorship, but either method will earn you money.
You can also take advantage of various podcasting ad networks that are available to connect you to potential advertisers. These networks find the companies, negotiate rates, develop a script, and more. All you have to do is reach out to the company and seal the deal. Most ad networks for podcasting require minimum audiences of either 5,000 or 10,000 listeners, so having a goal to get advertisers is a great one to set when you’re just starting out.
The more popular your podcast is, the more likely you’ll be able to sell access to premium content related to your podcast. Premium content can take numerous forms depending on the type of podcast you have. If you have an entertainment podcast, you could sell access to additional interviews with celebrities. If you have an educational podcast, you could sell access to materials, e-books, and other insider secrets. You could even sell a private Q&A session with your hosts.
Premium content could also mean that a newsletter gets sent to subscribers every month or that they gain access to a members-only forum on your website. Anytime you make something exclusive, you’re giving people a reason to pay for it. However, you also have to make sure the content is worth the price, so be sure you’re willing to update the content frequently or as with a forum, have user-generated content to keep members-only web pages fresh.
Once your podcast becomes popular enough that you’re a well-known host locally and beyond, you may start offering public speaking services. You would get paid for appearing at events and talking about the subjects you already talk about on your podcast. Public speaking fees can range from free lodging and meals to thousands of dollars per event. Of course, it depends greatly on the demand for your expertise on your topic.
If you start offering public speaking opportunities, clearly state that you’re available for events on your website and advertise these services on your podcast. You can make your rates negotiable at first until you establish your going rate, and then set your fees for what your time and expertise are worth. This can be a very lucrative component of being a podcast host, so don’t set your prices too low, especially once your podcast becomes popular.
Earning a living from a podcast is not beyond the realm of possibility, but it does take work to make money from this form of entertainment. Read more about turning podcasting into a career on the Helium Radio Network.