10 Smart Ways to make money from a podcast

Commencing a podcast is a commendable endeavor, particularly if you hold a fervent interest in a specific subject matter. Fortunately, there are various avenues through which you can monetize your podcast.

Podcasts offer a fantastic listening experience, whether you’re commuting to university, tidying up your student accommodation, or procrastinating on that crucial essay.

Given that you can craft a podcast on virtually any subject, it presents an excellent opportunity to amalgamate your interests with a means to generate online income. Whether it revolves around your academic discipline, a lifelong hobby, or a specialized topic you possess extensive knowledge about, there’s undoubtedly an audience waiting to engage.

Curious about how to initiate a podcast and, more significantly, how podcasts generate revenue? We’ll unveil the optimal methods below.

What is a podcast?

In essence, a podcast is an audio program, akin to a radio show, yet exclusively available online and generally not broadcast live. This format offers the advantage of on-demand listening, enabling people to tune in at their convenience or explore past episodes.

Podcast series predominantly center around particular subjects or niches. Nevertheless, they can also serve as a medium for disseminating news or providing entertainment.

How to start a podcast

microphone and headphones

Here is how to make a podcast:

To set up a successful podcast, follow these key steps:

  1. Select a Theme: Opt for a niche or theme for your podcast to give potential listeners a clear idea of what to expect, increasing the likelihood of them subscribing if it aligns with their interests.
  2. Choose a Memorable Name: Ensure your podcast name is both memorable and indicative of its content. A compelling name can make your podcast stand out in a crowded field. Check its availability on social media platforms if you intend to build a broader brand around your podcast.
  3. Create a Format: Establish a format for your podcast, which includes considerations like the episode duration and style. Decide if it will be an interview, news recap, or discussion format. While some flexibility is acceptable, a defined format helps set audience expectations.
  4. Select Podcast Equipment: While it’s unnecessary to invest a substantial sum in equipment, a good-quality microphone can significantly enhance the professional sound of your podcast compared to recording with a phone.
  5. Download Audio Software: Obtain audio software for recording and editing your podcast. Free and user-friendly options like Audacity are readily available.
  6. Outline and Record Your First Episode: Prior to recording, create a rough outline to guide your discussion. Avoid a rigid script to maintain a natural tone, but having key points can aid in recording.
  7. Edit Your Episode: During the editing phase, you can remove extended pauses or errors, add royalty-free music, and ensure consistent volume levels. High-quality audio contributes to a better listening experience.
  8. Upload Your Podcast: Rather than directly uploading your episodes to platforms like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, use a podcast hosting platform like Buzzsprout, Transistor, Acast, or PodBean to facilitate distribution and management.
  9. Market Your Podcast: Once your podcast is live, engage in marketing efforts. Utilize various strategies, such as social media promotion and appearing on other podcasts, to expand your audience.

As for the earnings potential of podcasters, income varies widely. Some podcasters generate minimal income or none at all, while others can earn substantial sums. Revenue streams may include advertising, sponsorships, listener donations, merchandise sales, or premium content subscriptions. The exact amount you can make depends on factors like audience size, engagement, and the monetization strategies you employ. Successful podcasts with a large and engaged audience have the potential to generate significant income.

How much do podcasters make?

woman recording podcast

Earning potential in the podcasting realm exhibits substantial variability. It hinges on factors such as your podcast’s niche, the volume of downloads it garners, and the diverse monetization strategies you employ.

While some individuals have successfully transformed podcasting into a full-time career, even amassing millions in earnings, it’s essential to acknowledge that this level of success doesn’t materialize overnight. Building a sizable and engaged audience requires dedication and perseverance, but the rewards can be substantial.

Concerning advertising, you can potentially charge approximately £20 per 1,000 downloads. However, this figure can fluctuate based on your podcast’s niche, audience retention, and the ad’s duration, enabling you to command higher rates.

It’s worth noting that podcast monetization extends beyond advertising, providing additional avenues to enhance earnings for every 1,000 downloads.

How to make money podcasting

Here are the best ways to make money from a podcast:

1. Podcast sponsorship deals

Securing sponsorship deals with brands is one of the most effective ways to monetize your podcast. However, it’s crucial to note that brands typically seek podcasts with a consistent and substantial number of downloads before they are willing to invest in sponsorships.

To initiate this process, you can register with platforms like Podcorn, which serves as a marketplace connecting brands with podcasters. While it’s free to sign up, Podcorn usually takes a 10% commission on the earnings generated through their platform.

While it’s exciting to receive sponsorship offers, it’s advisable not to accept every proposition that comes your way. It’s prudent to only consider brand collaborations that align with your podcast’s audience and niche. Ensuring that sponsorships are a natural fit prevents them from feeling like a mere cash grab and helps in establishing trust with your listeners.

Furthermore, remember that you can also proactively reach out to brands. If you identify a brand that you believe would be a perfect match for your podcast, don’t hesitate to contact them. Additionally, if you observe other podcasts in your niche securing sponsorships with certain brands, it’s worthwhile to explore potential opportunities with those companies as well.

2. Advertisements

The number of listeners to your podcast directly impacts your potential earnings from advertisements. Instead of having to establish individual sponsorship agreements and record sponsorship segments, incorporating ads is a more straightforward approach.

Many podcast hosting platforms provide tailored ad integration features. For instance, platforms like Acast, Buzzsprout, and Transistor offer the capability to automatically insert advertisements at the beginning, middle, and end of your episodes. This streamlines the process and enables you to monetize your content more effectively.

3. Affiliate marketing

podcast app icon

Affiliate marketing stands out as one of the premier methods for earning money online. The premise is relatively straightforward: endorse a product or service, and if someone makes a purchase or signs up through your unique link, you receive a small commission.

To embark on affiliate marketing through your podcast, begin by promoting products or services that align with your podcast’s content. It’s advantageous to focus on items already discussed on your podcast, ensuring alignment with your brand and audience, which facilitates smoother sales.

Identify a specific product or brand likely to captivate your audience’s interest, and check if they offer an individual affiliate program. Alternatively, you can join affiliate networks such as Awin and impact.com. These platforms enable you to apply for numerous affiliate programs within their network, broadening your options.

For comprehensive insights into how affiliate marketing operates and how to initiate it, consult our detailed guide to affiliate marketing.

4. Membership plans

Introducing a membership tier to your podcast demands additional effort, but the potential for earnings is substantial. This approach is particularly effective when you have an actively engaged audience deeply interested in your content.

The most straightforward way to establish a membership structure is by setting up a Patreon for your podcast listeners. Patreon serves as a membership platform, granting subscribers exclusive access to supplementary or bonus content. Through a monthly subscription, your fans can enjoy extended podcast episodes or even additional full-length ones.

While producing additional content for Patreon subscribers requires considerable effort, the monthly subscription model offers the prospect of creating a steady and reliable income stream.

5. Selling digital products/services

Crafting and selling digital products can emerge as a lucrative venture, contingent on the topics discussed on your podcast. The beauty of digital products lies in their low-risk nature; there’s no need to invest in inventory, and once created, you can sell them repeatedly.

Consider what products would offer value to your audience, with a focus on items closely related to your podcast’s content. This alignment ensures a higher likelihood of sales, given your listeners’ existing interest. For instance, if your podcast centers around self-improvement, creating downloadable habit trackers or journals could be highly appealing.

If you’re grappling with ideas within your niche, offering services is another avenue. Skills such as audio file editing or banner creation in Photoshop can be valuable to fellow podcasters. List your services on platforms like Fiverr and embark on promotion to attract potential clients.

6. Donations

While podcasts are generally offered for free, if you’re delivering valuable content, you can encourage your audience to express their support through donations.

Initiating a donation collection process is straightforward with platforms like Ko-Fi or Buy Me a Coffee. These websites streamline the donation process, providing an easy way for creators to receive contributions from their fans. Additionally, you can create a PayPal donation link, allowing people to contribute directly to your PayPal account.

This approach not only acknowledges the support of your audience but also provides an avenue for those who wish to contribute financially to express their appreciation for the content you provide.

7. Repurpose your podcast content

Expanding the utilization of your podcast content across various platforms opens up opportunities for earning through multiple channels.

For instance, if you incorporate video recording alongside your podcast sessions, you can leverage platforms like YouTube. The diverse monetization options available on YouTube contribute to income diversification. Additionally, sharing snippets of your video on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram can expedite audience growth.

For longer podcast episodes or to incorporate audience interaction, consider livestreaming on Twitch. This not only provides an alternative revenue stream but also offers additional avenues for engaging with your audience. Refer to our separate guide on making money on Twitch for further insights and tips.

8. Sell merchandise

headphones, notebook, glasses and microphone

a sizable and engaged audience. The appeal of items featuring your logo, podcast name, or a signature catchphrase resonates primarily with those who genuinely adore your content.

Moreover, the quality of your merchandise is paramount. When supporters invest in your podcast by purchasing merchandise, it’s crucial to meet or exceed their expectations. Ensuring top-notch products not only fosters customer satisfaction but also reinforces the positive connection between your audience and your podcast.

9. Offer podcast consultations

Crafting, recording, editing, and promoting podcast episodes demands substantial time and effort. Once you reach a level of confidence in your ability to produce exceptional content, consider leveraging your skills in the market.

Whether catering to beginners launching their podcasts or individuals seeking to delegate specific tasks, positioning yourself as the go-to person for hire can be a lucrative endeavor. Given that most of these opportunities are on a freelance basis, it’s relatively manageable to balance with your university commitments. This not only supplements your income but also allows you to showcase and capitalize on your podcasting expertise.

10. Become a full-time podcast producer

Embarking on a podcasting venture during your university years not only offers an enjoyable hobby with income potential but can also pave the way for significant opportunities down the line. Beyond enhancing your CV, some companies actively seek podcast producers.

Glassdoor reports that the average salary for podcast producers hovers around £36,000. While the initial salary may start below this benchmark, it serves as a noteworthy aspiration to strive for in your podcasting journey. The skills and experiences gained from podcasting at university can open doors to a fulfilling and lucrative career in the field.

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