As more and more people are getting into podcasting, you aren’t to blame if you’ve thought about it, too. While it looks like a simple enough project to start, making a living off podcasting isn’t as straightforward. There are many ways to monetize a podcast, and multiple factors decide how much you can profit from this endeavour.
What Should Your Podcast Be About?
The most important factor in a podcast’s success is the content created. While there are many podcast ideas to draw inspiration from, it’s crucial that you choose something you are actually interested in. Otherwise, it is so easy to get stuck in a creative block similar to “writer’s block”. Also, if you aren’t passionate about the topic of your podcast, listeners will get the sense you’re bored. No one wants to listen to a dispassionate blabbering, no matter how interested in the topic they are.
So, make sure you’re choosing a niche you are passionate about and preferably have some experience in. This will help you grow your podcast and profit substantially from it.
Guests or No Guests?
Most podcasts have multiple people having a conversation, which allows the podcast to flow better. If you don’t have someone to partner with, you may consider having guests on your podcast. However, it’s worth noting that you might need a more elaborate studio setup to host people on your podcast.
Still, some podcasters are successful in creating content without any guests or partners. Most famously, comedian Bill Burr has had a one-man podcast for years. Even though it’s just him talking into a mic, fans have been tuning in to his podcasts regularly. It is a lot harder to grab (and maintain) a listener’s attention if you’re alone, though, so take that into consideration.
Basic Podcast Monetization
Once you start regularly publishing your podcast, you should start to think about bringing in more listeners. As your podcast grows, you’ll be able to find multiple methods of monetization. First, let’s take a look at basic monetization methods:
Earning Through Podcasting Platforms
After recording your podcast, you would typically upload the files onto a podcasting platform such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Just as YouTube pays content creators per view, these platforms pay per play. These earnings are based on multiple factors relating to the ads playing before, during or after the podcast.
These are a few popular platforms that pay podcast creators a fair amount:
- Apple Podcasts
Publishing on YouTube
As mentioned earlier, YouTube pays content creators per view. Many podcasters nowadays tend to film their podcasts and subsequently publish them in video format on YouTube. Technically, you don’t actually have to go on camera at all. You could use any video as a background to your podcast audio. However, keep in mind that the quality of whatever video you choose will impact viewership and, thus, monetization.
Next Level Monetization
While it’s great to earn based on the number of plays, it isn’t the most efficient way to make money. Once you’ve optimized your podcast for SEO, you’re ready to move to the next level. If you truly want to turn a substantial profit from your podcast, you’ll need to consider the following (more advanced) options:
Affiliate Marketing on Podcasts
Influencers are everywhere on social media. If you feel that your podcast has already grown a following and that you’ve established yourself as an authority figure in your niche, consider joining affiliate marketing programs. Of course, the products you market should be relevant and must actually benefit the listener if they make a purchase.
Highly successful content creators are those with a huge following of listeners (or viewers). While affiliate marketing ties your earnings with potential purchases made by your audience, sponsorship deals will allow you to earn more money regardless of your audience’s purchases. This is where a company approaches you, offering some sort of compensation for mentioning their product or including an ad in your content.
There may be more regulations and contractual obligations in a sponsorship deal, including minimum quotas for content. However, the profits are much higher.
This isn’t an easy path to take, but it’s an option to consider if you feel you have built a fanbase. It’s surprising how many people are willing to donate a few bucks to their favourite content creators. However, you should be providing something in exchange for those donations.
If you’re going to urge your audience to donate what they can, it’s only natural that they expect something in return. For example, some podcasters that take this route pledge never to include annoying ads on their show or any affiliate marketing. That’s worth a small donation in many people’s eyes, and it sums up to a decent earning at the end of the month.
Selling Premium Memberships
Although it will increase your workload, consider adding a premium membership to your content. There should be a stark difference between your podcast’s paid and free versions. Here are a few ways premium content can differ from the standardized content:
- Make it ad-free: People are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of ads they are bombarded with on a daily basis. Many will pay for an ad-free experience.
- Exclusive content: There might be content that only premium members have access to. This could be full recipes from your foodie podcast, or exclusive interviews with a special guest—and everything in between.
- Video version: If you aren’t putting up the filmed version of your podcast, consider making it exclusive.
- Online courses: Your audience members will want to join if they feel you are an authority figure in your field. Offer them an online course so they learn more from you.
Making money off your podcasts is a lot harder than it looks, but it isn’t a complex process. If you are creating valuable content and your listeners are actively engaging with your content, there’s nothing to worry about. You can monetize your podcast in many ways, so long as you are producing high-quality content that listeners demand.