How to Monetize a Podcast

Last updated on: 
July 13, 2021

How to Monetize a Podcast

The best way to achieve podcast monetization is by building thought leadership on a topic, providing your audience with valuable content, and establishing trust. This will entice them to use their purchasing power to buy products and services that you promote or financially support your podcast through alternative avenues (which we will dive into throughout this article).  

However, it’s important to note that the product or service you’re recommending will genuinely help them. Your audience trusts that you will steer them in the right direction so it’s crucial to prioritize high-quality offers or refer them to reputable brands.

 

Here are 5 ways to achieve podcast monetization:

1. Sell Sponsorships or Ads

Podcast ads deliver effective results for brands. Research shows that 65% of people make purchases after listening to a podcast episode with an ad for a product or service. So basically, they work and are a great way to reach podcast monetization. 

There are numerous avenues you can take to get sponsored ad slots on your podcast. The two that we’re going to look at are podcast ad networks and inbound/outreach. 

Podcast Ad Networks

Podcast ad networks are platforms where podcasters can connect with brands that are looking for advertising partnerships. Use networks such as Midroll or Podcorn to start conversations with brands about giving them more visibility through your audience.

Using podcast ad networks can be a great route since the network will actually act as a middleman between you and the brand, this allows them to bring opportunities to you. 

Inbound/Outreach 

The other side of selling sponsored ad slots is finding the brands you want to have advertise on your show yourself or they find you organically as well. Obviously, this tactic can take some more time (if you’re doing outreach) but it allows you to target specific brands and get more niche with who you have advertising on your show. And as your show grows, you can begin having inbound leads for sponsored ad slots where they’ll connect with you for a potential partnership.

Podcast Sponsorship Tips

You can run ads at different times in your show, such as preroll, midroll, or post-roll. This means you can actually advertise multiple brands within one episode (if your agreement with the brand allows for it). 

Brands are now more concerned with audience engagement and niche demographics rather than mass listeners. But with that being said, you need to ensure that before you begin searching for advertisers, you have sufficient listener metrics. Learn more about finding advertisers in Podcast Advertising 101 guide! 

Advertisers will want to ensure that your audience is the right fit for your brand and that listeners actively engage with your show. Create a professional website, social media accounts, and even a newsletter to give your audience more ways to interact with you as well as more ways for you to potentially promote your sponsors.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Podcasts can use affiliate marketing to monetize by referring people to companies and gaining a commission when they make a purchase. Amazon Associates or Partner Stack are two websites where you can find affiliate programs to easily get started.

There are various affiliate marketing programs to consider, from small brands to large. Determine how the company’s specific program works to see how you can leverage it in your show. Many brands will give you a unique link that will allow them to see how much traction your link is getting from your audience.

Ensure that you promote products/services that fit with your podcast brand and will appeal to your audience. Authenticity is a key part of affiliate marketing. For example, if you host a podcast about beauty tips, then ensure that any products you refer are ones that you have researched, tested and you think would genuinely help your audience.

3. Offer Services

Once you establish yourself as a thought leader in a vertical, people will be more inclined to purchase from you. Consider offering and promoting services that relate to your podcast genre such as:

●     Online courses

●     Consulting

●     Public speaking

You can create an online course to further expand on the topics you touch upon in your podcast. Provide people with additional assistance by teaching the content in a different format such as through video. If you host a show about finance consider creating a course about finance 101 for beginners or an advanced course on trading on the stock market.

Offering consulting services is another strategic way to monetize your podcast. Your audience already subscribes to your show to gain valuable information about the topic you discuss. Perhaps, they need in-depth advice to solve a specific challenge they are facing and want to chat with you one-on-one.  

Public speaking can give you the opportunity to share your story or knowledge on a topic. Different organizations would likely appreciate a guest speaker to teach their staff or members. If you host a podcast about wellness, offer to teach a workshop in person about how people can add more holistic health activities into their lifestyle.

Direct your audience to your website and further utilize content marketing such as email campaigns and blogs. This content will help push them down the sales funnel to purchase one of your services.

4. Events

Events can be a great way for you to not only connect more with your audiences but also monetize your podcast. You can do your event either online or offline. With COVID-19, we’ve seen all events turn into online experiences and there are plenty of tools you can use to create an effective virtual event. 

You can host an online event such as a conference or workshop that relates to your podcast topic. Invite different guest speakers that would appeal to your audience to come and speak with you. And then, promote the event to your target audience via your show or whatever other avenues you have to connect with your listeners (i.e. social media, newsletters, website, etc.).

Since you’ll be most likely doing your event online, you can open your event to all of your listeners around the globe. Since your goal is podcast monetization, charge a fee for attending your event. The fee can be small or large depending on the content and value that you’re providing during your event. 

Before you launch an event, you’ll want to make sure that you have a sustainable and dedicated audience. If your listeners aren’t passionate about you or your content, we can guarantee your event probably won’t be too successful. 


5. Patreon 

Patreon is a platform that lets your fans become active participants in your podcast. Your fans sign up for a monthly membership for your show where they donate a set amount of money each month (can be $5, $10, it’s completely up to them)! In exchange for their membership, you provide them with exclusive content, this can be additional podcast episodes, videos, access to communication platforms with you and your past guests, whatever works for you and your listeners. 

You’ll see podcasts that have large and dedicated audience bases using Patreon. Although $5 per month may not seem like much, if you have lots of fans, that amount will add up. 


Podcast Monetization

Monetizing your podcast allows you to put money in your pocket and take your show to the next level. There are many elements you should consider on your journey to podcast monetization such as your number of downloads, how niche your listeners are, if you have communication channels with them aside from just your podcast, etc. 

Basically, monetizing your podcast is not an instant occurrence once you launch your show (unless you’re some sort of celebrity that already has a mass following with brands begging to be an advertiser on your show… but we can assume that’s not many of you). Spend time growing your audience, placing focus on creating valuable and high-quality content along with a killer podcast marketing strategy

 

 

Quill Inc. is a branded podcast marketing and production agency. From working with brands such as RBC, CIBC, TD, Axway, The Globe and Mail, and many more, Quill’s goal is to facilitate connections between brands and trusted resources to better inspire, educate, engage, and of course, entertain audiences everywhere.

Platform
Price
Pro’s
Con's
Anchor

Free

  • Easy to use
  • Automatically distributes your podcast to major platforms.
  • Embed media player.
  • Great if podcasting is a
    side hobby
  • Very basic editing
  • Since it’s a free tool, you don’t have full control over the monetization of your podcast.
  • Not the right platform for people taking podcasting seriously
Buzzsprout

Free for 2 hours of content per month

$12 for 3 hours per month

$18+ for 6 hours and up

  • Very user-friendly
  • Caters to both long term and beginner podcasters
  • Advanced analytics
  • Easy distribution of your episodes
  • They measure their size requirements to hours not megabytes
  • Bonus: get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for any paid hosting plan!
  • Advanced features like dynamic ad insertion need some work
Libsyn

$5/month for Monthly Storage 50mb

  • Oldest podcast hosting site.
  • Easy distribution to major platforms and great for scaling once your podcast gets bigger.
  • Hosted over 35,000 podcasts.
  • An iTunes Podcast partner.
  • Allows you to publish your podcast to specific directories.
  • Embed media player.
  • Price is based on storage
  • 50mb storage for $5 won’t be enough if you are publishing weekly so you’ll end up with a higher price point
Podbean

Unlimited audio package: $9/month

Storage space:

Unlimited

  • Great support & customer service features
  • Unlimited audio.
  • Pages are easy to customize
  • Can schedule podcast release dates.
  • Easy to use.
  • Uploads and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions are automatic to Spotify.
  • Embed media player.
  • Simple Analytics
  • Analytics aren’t as advanced as other platforms
  • Upload and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions take a day to change on iTunes.
  • Not an iTunes podcast partner.
  • The process to send a podcast to iTunes is more tedious. But, you will still be able to get on the platform.
Blubrry

Classic

$5/month

Monthly Storage

50mb

  • Podcast Wordpress plugin and management.
  • If you want to record a new introduction or conclusion, add in a sponsored ad or upload a new version of a podcast, it doesn't count towards your storage usage per month.
  • Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month
  • Prices are based on storage.
  • Usability is okay.
SimpleCast

Starting: $15/month

Recommendation: $35/month

Monthly Storage: Unlimited

  • Hosts your audio files no matter what the size!
  • Dynamic insertion for podcast ads or edits.
  • Incredibly detailed analytics including number of episodes completed and listener location tracking.
  • Embed media player.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great distribution! Easy access to all major podcast platforms.
  • Customizable podcast
    website.
  • Prices are slightly higher than other platforms, but well worth it especially if you have a branded company podcast!