Making a podcast is a lot of work. On the surface, it might look like a glamorous lifestyle and a good way to rake in the dough, but there’s a ton of labor that goes on behind the scenes before you can even think about making your first dollar. But the good news is that with a lot of determination, a little patience, and a positive attitude, it’s absolutely possible to build a successful podcast that your listeners will adore.
Making a Podcast Profitable: 10 Keys to Monetizing Your Hard Work
1. Paid Sponsorship
Paid sponsorships are a traditional way to make money with your podcast. Advertisers find it valuable when they find a place where their target audience is present and listening, and they are willing to pay top dollar for it. There are many ways to structure sponsorship agreements. While some advertisers pay you based on the average number of downloaded files, others might want you to use a coupon code that allows you to earn a commission for each sale you refer.
Look for podcasts with a similar audience to yours to see who sponsors them. Ask around within your business network, attend industry events and join a podcast community. Attending related events is a great way to find out who sponsors and invests their marketing budget to reach your target audience. It’s always easier to convince them to use podcast advertising if you’re able to meet them face-to-face.
2. Listener Supported and Subscription Based
Some listeners may want to support the show more directly. Patreon is the best example of this and it’s a model where the majority of the money goes directly towards the creator. Listeners promise to support you on an ongoing basis in return for special content and updates. These usually come in the form of bonus episodes for the paid subscribers and can also include discounted merchandise and ad-free versions of your episodes.
Look at your competitors – do they use Patreon well? You can also reach out to your own listeners and ask them what other shows they support. This will give you a pretty good idea of whether or not a listener-supported strategy is best for you.
3. Sell Podcast Merchandise
You can also monetize your show by selling merch. Everybody loves swag, and if the price doesn’t break the bank, your audience will usually be happy to support you. It’s a win-win because you’re receiving cash for the merchandise, and it also acts as free advertising when your listeners wear your shirt or drink out of your mug.
You also don’t have to purchase inventory or spend money upfront. There are plenty of t-shirt printing options and shipping services out there and it’s easy enough to set it up so that you don’t feel like you are starting a side business.
4. Ask For Donations
Asking people for money is probably the easiest way to monetize when you’re making a podcast. Many podcast listeners are willing to give a few dollars to their favorite podcasters in order to keep them delivering great content. You can either add a PayPal button to your site or open a Stripe Account and add a donation page. For a simple collection page, you can also set up a GoFundMe campaign.
Keep your calls to action authentic in order not to feel smug about self-promotion. Tell your audience that their support will help you to keep creating great content. People will be more likely to donate if they understand where their money is going.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is selling products that are not your own and receiving a commission from them. You can sign up for many affiliate programs. Once people sign up using your link, you will start earning money. These programs do not require approval from the company and can continue to bring you revenue for many months, if not years. A blog with information about the products that you mentioned on your show may be an option.
You should make sure that the products you sell are related to your work and what you use during your podcast. Otherwise, your credibility could be compromised. You should also disclose any affiliate relationships. Transparency is key to selling products and not making your audience feel distant.
6. Sell Information Products
Information products are a type of content that people purchase to learn new things. You could sell a template, a guide, an e-book, etc. A general information product, unlike content upgrades, doesn’t need to be related to a specific episode but could solve a larger issue or problem that your listeners are facing.
Selling information products via your podcast is great because you can use them as many times as you want in your podcast script. Your listeners can also ask questions and comment on your podcast, adding more value to the purchase.
7. Host an Event
Sell tickets for a live event if you have a loyal following in your area or a dedicated audience that would travel to see you. Your podcast’s topic and the audience will determine what type of event you host. A lecture, workshop, demonstration, or group discussion could all be possible.
This tactic should only be used if you have a large and loyal audience. If you are considering going to new cities to host events, then it is important to first analyze the location of your listeners. Go to the analytics dashboard of your podcast host and look at the geographical reports. It’s a no-brainer to host events in cities you already have a following.
8. Repurpose Your Podcasts on YouTube
YouTube makes it easy for you to publish your podcast episodes and monetize them. Either add a static image to your video and then run the audio of the episode, or even better, film the episode and then upload it.
For YouTube’s ease of use, you could break up an episode into smaller segments. You can then get multiple pieces of YouTube content out of a single podcast episode.
9. Public Speaking
Many podcasters are approached by companies looking for speakers in their field. If someone listens to your podcast and likes what you have to say, it makes sense to be invited to speak at conferences or live events.
Talking fees range from a few hundred dollars to six figures, or just free hotel and attendance. Speaking is a great way to build your authority and expose yourself to new listeners who may be future podcast listeners.
10. Create an Online Course
Online courses can be rewarding and can generate more income when making a podcast than any other method. You can create a course that is profitable by getting to know your audience via surveys, Q&As, and social media.
Once you have a clear idea of the best way to help your listeners, plan your course content so it is easy, fun, and results-driven. There are many services online to help you build the perfect course for your audience.
Podcasts are unique, and there is no one monetization strategy that works for everyone. Once you’ve built up an audience you’ll want to play around with different strategies and see which ones work best for you. The most important thing is to stay committed and keep creating stellar content. If you do that, the money will soon follow. Head to Helium Radio Network and see how we can be the perfect platform for your podcast.