8 minutes | Sep 8th 2020

113 How to Really Monetize Your Podcast Wisely

So, you want to be a podcast millionaire. You want a show so popular that advertisers will lob money bags at you non-stop. 

You have two choices, keep dreaming or listen up for a reality check. 

There are two ways to make money through podcasting. Last episode, I talked about using your podcast as a marketing tool for your business. In other words, using it to help your business make more money.

But, not every podcaster has a business. This means that if you want to make money through podcasting and you can’t sell TO your audience, you have to SELL your audience. This might look like sponsorships or traditional ads.

This is a volume game (one that Joe Rogan is handily winning). The bigger your audience, the bigger the sponsor checks. 

That doesn’t mean that you can’t sell a smaller audience. If you have a very loyal audience or if you have a niche audience that specific sponsors would love to connect with, then you can demand a higher price for your ‘perfect fit’ audience. 

If the idea of finding a sponsor or advertiser has your headphones spinning, you might consider working with an agency. You won’t take home as many money bags, but you won’t have to work as hard to find them either. 

Or, you can do your own deals. Here’s what you can expect to be paid.

What you get paid will depend on your download numbers.

The price is based on CPM. That means cost per 1000 listeners.

The industry standard for a 30second ad is around $18/ad.

$15 for a 10-second ad and around $25 dollars for a 60 second ad.

These numbers could be as high as $50/ad depending on the show, audience and sponsor.

If you want to play the game of ‘how much could I make?’ then head to advertisecast.com and spend some time with their calculator.

If you’re not quite ready for the big leagues or, maybe the idea of selling your audience doesn’t sit well with you, there is another option - affiliate marketing. 

Affiliate marketing covers a wide spectrum of opportunities. You might become an Amazon affiliate and make a few pennies for sharing product links to your audience. Or, you might become an affiliate for a service or product directly and make a few more pennies. At the other end of the spectrum is partnering with someone who you allow to come on your show to sell to your audience (in exchange for a nice little commission). 

Whether you’re advertising or affiliating, don’t forget my podcasting mantra of being listener-centric. You don’t want to ruin the listener's experience with excessive ads or ads that aren’t appropriate for the audience. I’m not saying, ‘don’t advertise’ but if you do, try to do it in a way that will help your listener. Accept advertisements for products your audience would actually be interested in. Doing this is a win-win because your audience learns about a cool product and the advertiser is more likely to see the rewards of sponsoring or advertising on your show. 

It can be a bit of a slippery slope selling your audience in a way that says ‘I still respect you…’

Which is why some podcasters choose to go a different path when it comes to monetization. They let the fans pay them. And, some fans are happy to do it if it means that you’ll keep making your awesome podcast without commercial interruptions. There are a couple of ways to enable your fans to chip in. You can put a donate button on your website, sign up for a Patreon account, or use a crowdsourcing platform like Go Fund Me. Podcasters who’ve been successful at this often include perks or bonuses as certain contribution levels. For example, you might offer subscribers some access to premium content or show merch. 

Speaking of swag - that’s the final option in making some money off your podcast - sell cool stuff with your logo, motto, or mugs on it! 

So, there are four ways to make money from your podcast (besides using it as a marketing tool): 

  1. Advertisers & Sponsors
  2. Affiliates
  3. Donations
  4. Swag

You might not want to try all four at once. Remember, you worked hard to attract and grow your audience, you don’t want to disrespect them by asking for money four different ways. Being Listener-Centric as a podcast means you think about them FIRST, not your bottom line. 

Want to create a sponsor-worthy podcast or make yours more appealing to the masses? Why not book a free 15-minute coaching call and find out what to focus on next.