Eventually, everyone asks the same simple question about how to make money from their podcast. It's OK, you are allowed to. Something should compensate you for your bandwidth, equipment upgrades, and perhaps a dinner for your hard work. Most people have no issues with saying thank you with a small donation or listening through a commercial read. It's normal in today's media world. However, if that is your true reason to start podcasting then I think you will be sorely disappointed. Many, if not the overwhelming majority of creators find themselves with nothing more than an expensive hobby at the end of the day.
With all of that being said, let me try to give you a few silver linings if you would like to add a few dollars to your wallet.
If you have followed any of my advice up to this point, I would assume you have a website on your own hosting account with Wordpress or some other CMS installed on it. If this is correct, thank you. I will also assume that you have added some kind of high-quality content to that website. If so, you are in a much better position already. Now, let's address that podcast. I personally do not add ads to my audio content. I made that choice to let my listeners just enjoy it without a commercial barrier. That decision is not for everyone and I have no intention on convincing you not to in this post.
The following is a list of ways to monetize your podcast and/or your website as well. You may use this as a start to figure out what is right for you. I won't suggest the magic number of downloads per episode before an advertiser would be interested in sponsoring. Their value is different for each. One might be willing to jump in with 5,000 downloads while another won't talk to you unless you are at least 100,000. So let's do this!
I think those 11 ideas are a solid start. Of course there are many more ideas I could share with you. The bottom line is that you don't really have to worry about monetizing your show. In most cases, it will do it on it's own. Focus on the content and the rest will come. Don't make it a priority otherwise it will show. If you have more ideas please leave them below. I would love to hear more!
- Read advertising during your show. 1-2 ads in the middle of the show is reasonable as long as the show is at least 30 minutes long. No one wants to listen to a 5 minute podcast with 2 of those minutes spent upselling you.
- Affiliate links for a sponsor. You can encourage your listeners to purchase a product with an affiliate link. They can click it in the description or you can read it to them. Since many podcasters listen to their audio on the go, it could be very difficult to leverage this type of advertising.
- Sell banners on your website. A few banners only. Turning your website into a Craigslist for upsells is not only ridiculous, but a complete turn off. Banner clicks are generally .01% click-through and are almost useless. Advertisers will still purchase these depending on your traffic. Be prepared to prove your traffic stats with Google Analytics.
- Sell sponsored ads on your social media profiles. Sponsors are always looking to purchase promotional tweets or social ads. If you have a huge following then you can reap the benefits of a simple post to grab some fast cash. Most people don't have huge followings so only a few will be able to grab this opportunity.
- Sell merch! Most people don't even consider this, but if you have a loyal audience that loves your show they may purchase some promotional stuff from you. Create a t-shirt at a cost of $5-7 each and sell them for $20 to your listeners as a support item. You would be surprised at how many people will pony up for this.
- Start a Kickstarter. Believe it or not, someone asked for $10 on Kickstarter to make a potato salad. He got $50,000 to make it instead. If you have a good idea and package it right, you might get some support out there with donations. A great idea might do very well!
- Use Google Adsense. You can add Google Adsense on your website and earn a little cash with each click. This is a third-party solution so I naturally don't trust it. However, many people have done very well using this tool.
- Amazon Affiliate ads. Amazon has been an awesome alternative to Adsense. More than ever before, people are shopping on Amazon for everything to include a banana slicer. You make a bit of a commission with each sale and everyone wins.
- Use BuySellAds or BlogAds to sell your advertising automatically. You can get banner ads through other platforms that will automatically make the sales for you while you work on your content and keep those traffic numbers up. It's the easy solution if you have the numbers for it.
- Create a membership platform. If you have the audience that can't get enough of your stuff and you have premium content then you might be able to get away with a paywall or a premium membership to your website. It can work if you are confident that your listeners really, really can't live without you. The NY Times gambled and won...
- Ask for donations. This one is often forgotten because it's the most obvious. If you had a donation drive once a quarter or so and asked your listeners for a small donation so you can enhance your show or platform, they more than likely will. People are givers if they can be. Don't underestimate your clout with your listeners. Reddit Gold captures this on a daily basis and gives a reward for it.
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Monetizing Your Podcast The Right Way
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