10 Ways to Monetize a Podcast (+ Examples)
82% of marketers planned to continue investing the same amount or increase their investments in podcasts and other audio content for 2022.
This means that all marketers, from those just getting started to those with established shows, are likely looking for ways to monetize their content. In this post, we’ll cover 10 strategies that will help you monetize your podcasts and achieve high ROI.
How to Monetize a Podcast
1. Find sponsorship deals.
Finding sponsorship deals involves finding brands or businesses that want to take advantage of your listenership and giving them space and time to run an ad on your show. Costs depend on the advertiser and your show statistics, but the average cost is $10 to $50 CPM (cost per thousand impressions), and higher prices go to shows with higher listenership.
Dax Shepherd, the host of Armchair Expert, uses this strategy and features ads from sponsors in his show. Some ads are host-read, meaning Shepherd reads them himself, and others are advertiser made. The podcast snippet below is an ad from a recent episode.
You can also sell advertising space to other podcasts.
2. Become a sponsor for another podcast.
Becoming a sponsor for another show is the same as finding sponsorship deals, except you’re promoting another show rather than a brand or business. You can record these promotions yourself, or the podcast can submit its own pre-recorded ad.
3. Join an advertising network.
Joining an advertising network helps you monetize your podcast as you would with finding sponsorships, but the network does the work for you as it helps you find sponsors in exchange for a cut of your ad revenue.
4. Sell show merchandise.
Listeners that love your show are probably interested in buying merchandise related to your show, like t-shirts, stickers, and other novelty items. Doing this is a great way to monetize your podcast with merch sales and give your listeners an additional way to connect with you and your show.
The CEO School podcast, hosted by Suneera Madhani, sells show merch, from candles to planners to mystery boxes.
5. Offer premium paid content.
If you have an established audience, chances are that many are willing to pay for additional opportunities to hear from you. As such, a great way to monetize your podcasts is by offering exclusive premium content that requires payment to access.
Some ways to leverage this strategy are to sell access to exclusive Q&Q episodes, ad-free episodes, extended cuts, exclusive interviews, or even early access to scheduled episodes. Many podcasters use Patreon and Stitcher Premium to create exclusive opportunities.
6. Create tiered premium content.
Another option when creating paid content is to create tiered membership or content tiers, where listener access becomes more exclusive in higher-paid tears.
For example, maybe your lowest tier gets early access to episodes and merch, the second tier gets the same plus one bonus episode per month, and the highest level gets everything in addition to monthly Q&As and exclusive merch.
Last Podcast On The Left has a tiered membership program on Patreon, where listeners subscribe to their preferred tier for exclusive content like extra episodes, access to presale tickets, and discount codes.
7. Accept donations.
Accepting donations is a way to monetize your podcasts with audience support. This is a valuable strategy for podcasts just getting started, as audiences that like what you offer and want to continue hearing more might be eager to support you to ensure they can still listen to your show.
Patreon is commonly used to accept donations.
8. Use affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is promoting products or services on your show in exchange for a commission. The end payout is tracked through an affiliate link or code unique to your podcast, so the receiving business knows when a customer has come from your show.
Ear Biscuits, hosted by comedy duo Rhett and Link, uses affiliate marketing to monetize their podcast. In a recent episode, they plugged a company called Sike, and interested listeners would receive 10% off of purchase if they used Ear Biscuit’s unique code EBMADEYOULOOK.
9. Share video or audio recordings of your show on YouTube.
An easy way to monetize your show with few additional steps is to record your podcast sessions on video, upload them to YouTube, and monetize them with YouTube Ads. Some people might prefer to watch and listen, so you’re also providing your audience an additional way to engage with your content.
If you don’t want to record video, the strategy still works for audio recordings.
10. Host live podcast recording events.
A live event for your show can be an in-person recording session that listeners attend and watch in real-time. You can generate revenue by selling tickets to the event and then monetize your episodes with ads and sponsorships when you upload them for regular listening.
Podcast But Outside, a popular interview-based podcast, goes on tour and hosts live events, where listeners can buy a ticket and experience the show in real life.
Ready to record?
All the strategies on this list will help you monetize your podcasts, regardless of whether you have an established show or are just getting started.
Pick a method that works for you, plan it out, and click record — your audience will love to listen.