Sure, you got into podcasting for the love of it. You have cool content that you love talking about, but wouldn’t it be great if you could make some cash off it? After all, it’s not like podcasting is quick – it takes time and it would be nice to get paid for doing something that you love. But love doesn’t pay the bills, so let’s get to it: is podcasting profitable?
The short answer: yes, your podcast can make you money.
But how that money comes in is based on a bunch of different variables that take into consideration the size of your audience, the number of episodes you release weekly, and the loyalty of your audience. There are so many ways to monetize a podcast: dynamically inserted ads, sponsorships, paid fan subscriptions, live shows, social media and even merchandise. If you’re a newbie podcaster, here are the easiest ways to monetize your podcast:
CHOOSE YOUR PODCAST HOST WISELY
When choosing where to host your podcast, choose wisely. A service like Anchor, which is owned by Spotify, offers monetization to podcasters who reach a threshold of at least 50 listeners. Once you hit this goal, you’ll be eligible for monetization. Not all podcasts hosts are created equal – some offer similar services, and some don’t. Some have much higher thresholds. So do your research on what your host can offer you before you set up podcast shop.
MONETIZE YOUR FAN BASE
If you’ve got some loyal listeners who love your content, subscription based episodes are a great revenue maker. A lot of podcast hosting platform services offer this feature – some use Patreon, some use Supporting Cast, and others, like Anchor and ACast, have it built in. You choose the price and how much bonus content you offer, just make sure you’re consistent in what you promise and that it’s something you can actually deliver week to week without fail. After all, people are paying for it.
If you are already running ads, you may even consider offering an “Ad-Free” feed for your subscribers. The Bert Show has seen great success with subscriptions for exclusive Bonus Content – they call it their “Bonus BS” – and they not only offer the ad-free feed to top tier subscribers as a bonus incentive, but ad-free (without bonus content) is one of the tiers they offer at a lower rate. Some people just hate ads, so this way they have the option to skip them all together.
DYNAMIC ADS, SPONSORSHIPS, AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Dynamic ads usually begin to come into play when you start seeing at least 10K downloads an episode, but this is not a hard and fast rule. There are many services (including your podcast hosts or independent services that can help with this – including Pionaire). For Sponsorships, if you’re doing a very specific episode about some niche content, see if there’s an advertiser that fits. Maybe it’s about the best BBQ in the South – is there a restaurant or sauce tie-in? Are you reviewing natural beauty products? See if there’s a natural brand interested. And then here’s what we at Pionaire do to take it next level for our clients and podcasters: we offer social media influencer integration as part of the overarching ad-buy.
LIVE PODCAST TAPINGS
Should you be doing live shows? Money from ticket sales and even bar-splits can be a big revenue boost. The nice thing about this is you don’t need to be able to sell out arenas; even a small 20 person venue can provide an amazing, intimate atmosphere for doing a live show where you can really connect with your listeners and even get audience participation.
Got an inside joke on your podcast? Or a slogan that hits home? Or maybe you just love the name of the show and want to see it on some merch? You don’t need to be an expert designer or have vast knowledge of online sales to do this: there are TONS of tutorials on how to use Canva to make merchandise for your show that you can sell online (our advice? Check TikTok!). Use an easy DIY website maker like WIX that integrates shopping and merchandise sales services to simplify things.
The bottom line: your podcast can make you money, but don’t expect huge paychecks out the gate (unless you’re a celebrity or influencer with a built-in following). While it may not pay the rent, the side income is a nice bonus revenue stream and once your podcast grows, you can start seeing the bigger money come in.