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How podcasts make money

How podcasts make money: 11 ways to do it

When Corti and I first thought about monetizing our podcasts in 2019, we never thought we’d actually make a profit from the content we shared. 

At that point, Corti had been making his podcast, En.Digital for two years and I had been doing Planeta M. for 1 year. That was just about the time that we created Tribucaster, (the podcast we share together) and between the two of us, we had about 25,000 plays per month from those 3 podcasts combined. 

It seemed like it was the right time to start monetizing them in some way, so we got to work listing the possible options we had at our disposal to find out which ones would best adapt to our content and more importantly with our audience. 

In this article, we are going to tell you about how podcasts make money, the steps we took, the options we identified, and of course, how we are currently making a profit from one of the podcasts we produce. 

How do podcasts make money?

There are many options to monetize a podcast, it really depends on what your objectives are, and also, obviously, what type of audience your podcast has. 

Let’s go over them one by one. 

How to earn money from a podcast

Indirect Monetization 

With indirect monetization, the podcast itself is used as the marketing channel as a way to make a profit by selling products or external services related to the topic of the content you are sharing. 

This is the most common way of monetizing podcasts, and it can be done in basically two different ways: 

Sell services / products 

In this case, we use the podcast and its content to gain the attention of those listeners who might be potential buyers of these products or services. 

Some of the products and services that we have sold through our podcasts are for example: 

  • Memberships to special contents, or professional formation… 
  • Books (like Corti´s new book: PsychoGrowth I Hacking your Customers’ Brain
  • Services of all different types Pol has sold his services as a marketing consultant and the same with Corti, with his growth consultancy, Product Hackers.
  • Curses both online and offline. 
  • Events in-person, online events, and webinars. 
  • ….

There is a wide array of products and services that you can sell through your podcasts because podcasts are a very effective channel to recruit new customers and improve loyalty among an audience that may soon become customers or clients. 

Affiliates

Affiliate deals will send your listeners to other pages which are the ones that actually make the sale of a service or product. If a purchase is made, they pay you a commission. 

Some of the most common are from the Amazon affiliate program, basically because of how easy it is to access, but there are many others. You can also establish specific agreements with companies to pay you a commission for every sale you make for them. 

In the majority of cases, this type of monetization plays only a supporting role in monetizing your podcast, since it is really complicated to generate sufficient income from affiliate deals alone.

Direct Monetization 

Direct monetization is when you generate income directly from the production of your podcast. It is less common than indirect monetization. In this case, there are several options available for podcasters. 

Sponsorships 

This is the most common form of monetization. It deals with getting companies that are interested in making an impression on your listeners to pay you to mention their products or services on your podcast. 

You can choose to sell sponsorships for each episode, sponsorship packages for several episodes, monthly sponsorships, trimestres, and even annual. You can even do your own mix of all of them. 

“So, how do I get sponsors?!“ you must be asking… Well, at Tribucasters we did a special on sponsorships with podcasters who had already found sponsors and companies who were sponsoring podcasts. These are the conclusions about what we found out: how to get sponsors for podcasts.

Ways to make money with your podcast

Branded content

It is a spot in your podcast, where you speak about a certain brand or even let that brand participate with the content. For example, a certain section or in a whole episode.  

Branded podcast

This is a podcast that is entirely focused on a specific brand. In this case, as a podcaster, what you do is to generate content for a specific brand, with the objective of building an audience that could become a client or customer of the brand that hired you. 

Pay per listen 

This is the case that is closest in resemblance to traditional advertising on the radio. It has to do with hosting your podcast on one of the platforms that allow you to insert dynamic advertising into your content. 

Dynamic advertising with commercial breaks like the kind we have been listening to all our lives on the radio, that can be at the beginning, end or even during your episode. 

It is a great option if you don’t want to have to put in a lot of effort to monetize your podcast, but, obviously, it is the option that makes you monetize less.   

These platforms pay you based on the impact you generate and in the best of cases, they can pay you $15 CPM (coste per mille, or cost per thousand impacts) If your podcast gets 3000 listens per month, you will receive $45. 

Donations

This is another valid option to monetize your podcast. It deals with accepting the patronage of your audience through any of the available platforms that offer this. 

In this case, there are two main drawbacks from our point of view:  

  1. The concept of “donations“ has some connotations that don’t fit with us. We don’t want anyone to just give us money, what we want is that our audience subscribes in exchange for quality content. 
  2. On the platforms that offer donation models, it’s become common to see various forms of incentives for donors (like t-shirts, mugs, exclusive content…) and this is what is expected if you join a podcast platform that is based on donations. We think that the podcast itself is enough of an incentive and that all the other incentives aren’t really necessary.

Professional Networks 

Signing up for a professional podcast network that pays you for your content is another great option to be able to monetize your podcast. But, even so, very few podcasters are able to achieve this. 

Paying for Podcatchers 

Lately, various platforms have popped up in the market that offer audio content in exchange for a paid subscription. Podimo or Audible are two good examples. 

These platforms have established several ways of rewarding podcasters, with things like being able to purchase full seasons of a certain podcast to temporary exclusivity, all the way up to profit sharing. 

In this case, two things can happen: 

  • Getting them to purchase a full season of your podcast isn´t easy. Very few podcasters are able to do this. 
  • The distribution of the benefits is based on the thousands of listens your podcast get and with this case it is also difficult to manage to make enough profit.  

Premium podcasts 

This one is our favorite because it allows you to monetize directly from your audience and to generate a great source of income from a small but loyal audience base. 

In this case, a small audience of 300 subscribers paying $5/month could offer you some recurring deposits of $1,500 per month, which makes it without a doubt, a very attractive opportunity. 

Podcast for money

Up to just recently, thinking about being a professional podcaster was only a dream, that was possible for a select group who were able to get the hundreds of thousands or even millions of plays necessary to be able to make a profit basically with advertising. 

But now that has changed, and it has changed completely. 

Thanks to platforms like Mumbler, which let you directly monetize from your audience with subscriptions, becoming an independent podcaster is now within reach for thousands of people. 

With just a small community of listeners who subscribe to your podcast or podcasts, you can make enough money to generate the income necessary to create and finance your own business. 

Thanks to platforms like Mumbler, which let you directly monetize from your audience with subscriptions, becoming an independent podcaster is now within reach for thousands of people. 

Furthermore, monetizing directly from your listeners allows you to be more independent and not have to rely on advertisers or sponsors. It is just you and your listeners. 

The way we monetize our podcasts

If you want to know how podcasts make money I can explain to you that we are monetizing our podcasts in a few different ways. Let’s get into detail about each one of them: 

Growth Podcast: 

  • Indirect monetization
  • Direct monetization with yearly sponsors. 
  • Direct monetization with publicity spots through Redcast. 

Planeta M: 

  • Direct monetization with yearly sponsors. 
  • Direct monetization with publicity spots through Redcast. 

Tribucasters

  • Direct monetization with yearly sponsors. 
  • Direct monetization with publicity spots through Redcast. 

Bootstrapping a Saas (Bootstrapeando un Saas)

  • Direct monetization with subscriptions.  

As you can see, our menu is quite varied! 😉 

Conclusion: how podcasts make money

We as content creators are living at a spectacular point in history with a bright and hopeful future.  

Society has understood the need to pay for quality content and the general public is willing to pay in a recurring format for quality content that is aligned with their preferences. 

What’s more, these users want to pay the creators directly, not the giant corporations who act as the “middle man“ and don’t offer any real value to the customer. This is the denominated passion economy and I am 100% sure that it is here to stay for good. 

If you would also like to be independent and make a living from the content you make, we can provide you with the tools necessary to do so on Mumbler. 

It has never been so easy to launch a subscription podcast. Join the movement of independent podcasters today! 

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