Dolla Dolla Billz Ya’ll - How Can You Make Money Off Your Podcast?
Every podcaster asks the same question before they make the plunge.
How much money can I make off a podcast?
Unfortunately, the answer is most podcasters make $0, or less – you can actually have negative cash flow after expenses like equipment and editing.
A podcast is a creative endeavor – you need people to find you, watch you and come back for more each week.
Brace for it.
These things take time.
All of the benefits that you want for your podcast now, will usually come later. There are some fringe cases, but you should be prepared for this to take months, if not a year or two.
For some people, that gap is unbearable. I get it, but podcasting just isn’t for you.
So take a deep breath, buddy. You’ve made it through the hardest part, the most scathing truth – the podcast equivalent of the “ice bucket challenge”. Cold, cold reality, baby.
With that being said, let’s jump right back into the article and inform you about all the ways you can make money directly off your podcast, eventually.
As promised, the most common ways:
- Direct Support
- Affiliate sales
- Complimentary products
Aaaaand an explanation for each because I never leave you hanging.
Most common way to get that cheddar, yo. The amount you earn depends on the amount of downloads that you pull in, but this can be negotiated.
You’ve heard podcasts plug their sponsors before, either live or pre-recorded – this method tends to be the weapon of choice for marketers and brands.
We’ll go deeper into sponsorships and what goes into them in a later article.
Direct support is when you ask fans for money to help support the show – usually through a platform like Patreon.
You can also encourage support for the show by adding premium content to those who pay – this doesn’t need to be groundbreaking – it usually isn’t.
However, if you have a loyal following that rocks with your style, direct support can be a fantastic way to crowdsource your creativity.
Affiliate sales are similar to sponsorships – you get given a code or a link and are paid by how much you sell for another company.
These materialize as the “use code SAVE15 at checkout to save 15% on your next order” type of promotions.
Audible has a really popular affiliate program that is taken advantage of by many podcasters and YouTubers alike. These don’t pull in too much money, but are more accessible for newer creators with smaller followings.
Consider this: Make sure that you have a simple link that you can use if a company ever approaches you to promote their service or product.
Courses, books, mugs, sweatshirts you name it – these can all be promoted within the vehicle of your podcast – which YOU control. It takes some work up-front, but once you have these products established, you can integrate them into your content seamlessly.
Like direct support, complimentary products give fans an opportunity to support the show in other ways besides listening or watching. It can be a fun way to build and connect with your community.
Comedian Chris D’Elia, for instance, sells apparel that references bits he created on his podcast. Purchasing this type of merchandise lets fans connect with content they enjoy as well as the community at large.
Consider this: As a host, you have access to your own audience that you can sell directly to. By leveraging the trust you’ve built with them, complimentary products can become an easy purchase decision for fans.
Sponsorship is probably the most lucrative option for podcasters in general. However, as your audience grows, affiliate marketing, direct support and complementary products can become more and more worthwhile.
And let’s not forget that podcasts are still a great way to sell your personal brand or business – if you aren’t making money directly from the show – you may still get some cash from your audience yet.
Let’s clear a couple things up before we wrap-up:
You can use one, or all of these methods to monetize your podcast – the trick is creating the content and audience first, and that is no small task.
The work will have to come first and it will always come first. Without a head start, it could take months or years before you have these monetization options in front of you.
Don’t be intimidated, be you. Show people why they need your insights, your perspective, your content. The goal is to build an audience to use – so put your focus on what you’re releasing first and foremost and the rest will fall into place.