Top 6 Ways to Monetize Your Podcast
2022 is here, and the podcast creator economy is hotter than ever! More and more creators in the creator economy are turning to podcasting to earn a living as content creators.
There’s a reason why podcasting is so popular in this creator economy. First, it’s pretty easy and cheap to get started. Compared to video platforms like YouTube and TikTok, all you need to produce a podcast is super affordable.
A decent microphone can cost you $50, and you can edit and produce your podcast on pretty much any laptop you already own using free software. You can even produce a pretty good quality podcast these days right on your mobile phone. Compare that with YouTube videos, where you’d need a decent camera, microphone, and lighting setup …which would set you back at least $1000 at the lowest end. Also, the time and skills needed to produce and edit quality videos greatly exceed that of audio podcasts.
So yes, podcasting is gaining a lot of momentum in the creator economy space for creators looking to make a living producing content.
In this article, we go through the top 6 monetization models podcasters are using in 2022 to monetize their podcast.
- Fan Donations
- Sponsored Ads
- Selling Products
- Premium Content/Exclusive Podcast Feed
- Membership & Coaching
- Selling Services
Ready to make some money with your podcast? Let’s get started!
Asking for donations from your podcast fans is by far the easiest form of monetization to start with, and something podcasters at ALL levels can do to start monetizing their podcast.
The great thing about this business model is it basically takes no prep work. Just sign up for one of these fan monetization platforms, like PodInbox, and start accepting fan donations immediately. It DOES, however, take some work on your part to tell your audience that you’re now accepting donations and support! Don’t be shy…just do it!
Besides earning money, the other great benefit from fan donations is that it’s incredibly validating to see your loyal superfans show their support and appreciation. Even earning as little as $20 per month, can keep some podcasters motivated enough to just keep podcasting…knowing that somewhere in the world, they have superfans who really appreciate their work.
We at PodInbox are big proponents of this monetization model, and we built it right into our fan engagement platform…letting podcasters easily accept donations from their fans in a fun and rewarding way.
Podcast sponsorships are probably the most talked-about form of monetization. Almost every podcaster who starts, has a dream of getting millions of downloads, making it bigtime, and landing 7-figure sponsorship deals with brands or a podcast network.
Unfortunately, it rarely works out like that for us 99% of podcasters. But there could still be smaller sponsorship opportunities to monetize on.
The basic rule-of-thumb, according to Advertisecast, is that podcasters can earn on average $20 CPM. That’s not bad, considering it’s more like $5 – $10 CPM average for YouTube creators in 2022.
So let’s say you have 5,000 downloads per episode per 1st month (which is usually also the minimum qualification criteria of many podcast ad platforms). At $20 CPM, you’d be earning $100 per ad spot in each episode. So let’s say you do 2 ad spots per episode, and you release weekly episodes. So at a fully booked rate, you’d be earning $200 per episode…or about $10,400 per year for your podcast.
Depending on the size of your podcast, you can either find a sponsor directly yourself, or use a podcast advertising platform/marketplace like AdvertiseCast, Podcorn, or Gumball.
Some podcasters monetize their podcasts selling merch, or any products that might represent their own brand.
We don’t love this monetization model, as the conversion of a paid buyer from a podcast listener is currently still not solved by our current technologies. Unlike social media, where users can engage with your content and be a click away from your shopping cart…there’s still a pretty big disconnect from a fan listening to your podcast, then remembering to follow a link to go buy merch .
If you do want to try selling merch, we might recommend a 3rd party platform to handle all the products options and logistics, Printful and Bonfire.
Premium Content / Private Podcast Feed
Some podcasters are actually subject matter experts, or perhaps become subject matter experts of their podcast topic, after doing 100 episodes. For these podcasts, there comes a time when they might wonder if they can sell more in-depth, premium content, that sits behind a paywall.
This is a monetization approach we really like, cause if a fan listens to your podcast week-in and week-out…there’s a high likelihood that they really value your opinion and would love to learn what you have to say in your premium content offerings.
In 2022, there are all sorts of ways to sell exclusive content. From selling paid newsletters, using tools like Substack and ConvertKit…to selling private podcast feeds to your subscribers, using tools like Transistor and Castos.
Whatever you choose, make sure you start by making top-quality content on your main podcast as well. Don’t water down your main content too much to save stuff for your premium fans….or else your normal fans will never convert into your premium content.
Membership & Coaching
Like premium content, when your podcast fans like you, they usually want more of you. And they sometimes want it enough to pay a price.
This is where membership and coaching come in. Coaching is pretty straightforward. Some of you fans respect your thoughts so much, they’d be willing to pay you a pretty good fee, just for 1-hour of your time in a Zoom call. If you can book your schedule out for ten 1-hour phone calls per week, at $150 per call…you’d be making $78k per year just on 1-on-1 calls, working 10 hours per week.
Not a bad creator economy revenue stream! All you’d need is a paid Calendly account, to help schedule your calls and collect payments, and a Zoom account to host the meetings.
More and more agencies and vendors are starting to create podcasts to bring more awareness to their primary business. For example, pretty much every mid-sized city has several dedicated podcasts about their city that’s created by a real estate agent in town.
For these podcasters, their main goal isn’t to directly monetize their podcast. They eventually monetize their podcasting efforts by getting more clients to buy their services.
In the podcasting industry, a lot of podcasters refer to “setting up the back-end” of their podcast. This is the monetization strategy where they just use their podcast as their top of funnel lead gen, selling into a much higher priced service they offer…where they’d only need a couple new customers to buy each month.
Industries that can take advantage of this business model can include many service-based industries, such as real estate agents, financial planners, lawyers, consultants, therapists, contractors…the list goes on.
Well, we hope this article gets you excited about monetizing your podcast in 2022! You put a lot of work into producing your podcast, so we hope you know you probably deserve to be compensated.
On the other hand, if you’re having fun podcasting as a hobbyist…then keep at it! Sometimes, there is nothing more rewarding than doing something week-after-week, for the sole goal of pursuing something you truly love for its own sake.
Founder and Editor of PodInbox.
Avid podcast and audiobook listener.
Lives in Portland Oregon.
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