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1. How to make money podcasting: Eight lucrative methods

How to make money podcasting: 8 monetization strategies

They’re on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and almost every streaming platform with an internet connection. We’re talking about podcasters, the audio show hosts whose listener base can rake in thousands of dollars each month! In fact, according to the International Advertising Bureau (IAB), podcast revenue broke $1.8 billion in 2022 — yes, billion.

Fortunately, advertisements aren’t the only means to monetize a podcast. Lucrative monetization methods for podcasters range from custom merchandise and personalized digital products to paid membership tiers and even public speaking opportunities. Discover how to make money podcasting with these eight time-tested, creator-approved strategies!

Main takeaways from this article:

  • There are several monetization methods for podcasts, regardless of your current audience size.

  • Most podcasters launch custom merchandise and digital products to drive new revenue streams.

  • Successful podcasters leverage multiple monetization methods, including sponsorships and ads.

How to make money podcasting: Eight lucrative methods

There’s a common misconception that you must have a mainstream, popular podcast to turn your episodes into income. Truthfully, you only need a loyal audience base — no matter the size! At a time when there are upwards of 164 million monthly podcast listeners in the US, you just need to tap into a niche audience to begin making money podcasting.

Whether you’re a top contender on platforms like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts or are new to streaming services like Stitcher and Spotify, it’s never been easier to generate income. No matter how many downloads or podcast subscriptions you have, turn your RSS feed into a money-making machine with this guide for how to make money podcasting!

1. Sell custom merchandise

Selling custom merchandise

If you’re searching for how to make money podcasting, look no further than custom merchandise! Selling custom merch is a great revenue stream for podcasters, particularly because you can launch a well-stocked online store without inventory. Instead, you can partner with a reliable print on demand (POD) service and only ever pay for the products you sell.

When you leverage print on demand to make merch, the POD supplier handles the entire order fulfillment process — from stocking the inventory to printing the merchandise and shipping it to your customers. Beyond being a great revenue stream, custom merch lets your podcast audience advertise your show while wearing it in public, at work, or with friends.

Consider the types of customizable products that align with your niche or podcast topic, such as:

Once you decide on potential merch ideas, connect with a reliable supplier for fulfillment. Here at Gelato, our print on demand services are preferred by thousands of creators who trust our robust global production and delivery network with their customer orders. Our sustainable and scalable POD service makes it simple to design and sell money-making merch directly from your own website without ever handling costly inventory!

2. Leverage sponsorships and ads

All podcast listeners are familiar with the popular catchphrase, “This podcast episode is brought you by…” That’s podcast sponsorship at its finest! Podcast sponsorships are when a sponsor or advertiser (like a third-party platform or business) pays a podcaster to directly promote their goods or services over one or more podcast episodes.

Two types of podcast sponsorship deals make up an incredible 95% of podcast ad revenue: host-read, which are delivered by the podcaster mid-episode, and radio-style, which the sponsor pre-records. Those with a weekly podcast can run two host-read podcast ads per episode and earn upwards of $1,500 per month or $18,00 per year!

If you have a monthly audience of 5,000 to 10,000 listeners, one of the simplest ways to sell ads is through a podcast advertising network. Podcast advertising networks connect you with sponsors, negotiate a weekly or monthly fee, and obtain an ad script. The most popular podcast advertising network for mid-size podcasts is SXM Media (formerly Midroll).

Pro Tip: Don’t want to interrupt your podcast episodes with advertisements? Post-roll ads, which stream after an episode finishes, are a great example of how to make money podcasting without impacting your listening experience!

3. Accept donations

Accept donations

Aside from selling ad time on your podcast, you can begin making money by accepting donations on platforms like Patreon or PayPal. Donations are an awesome option to monetize a podcast because you can leverage your existing assets (like your own website and podcast episodes) to generate income. All you need to do is successfully solicit donations!

Best practices for soliciting donations from your listener base include:

  • Be transparent about donation destinations. Whether donations will pay for new editing software or cover your rent for the month, be honest about where listeners’ hard-earned money will go.

  • Be specific with your ask. Use exact numbers and expenses to describe how a donation will move the needle for your podcast, such as, “A $100 donation will cover production costs for one month.”

  • Be proactive about how you collect donations. Utilize as many communication channels as possible to seek listener donations, from social media posts and email newsletters to SMS text messages.

Remember that if you are accepting donations, it’s just as important to thank listeners for their contributions as it is to ask for them. Fortunately, a little effort can go a long way when it comes to acknowledging your podcast donors. For instance, you can create custom thank you cards for a few dollars as a simple token of your appreciation.

4. Create paid membership tiers

If you want to earn money with your audio content, consider creating paid membership tiers for your podcast. A podcast membership is essentially a monetized subscription that grants paying members early access to new episodes, premium content like bonus episodes, and exclusive content like video versions of episodes with behind-the-scenes clips.

Most podcasters use Patreon, a membership platform for content creators, to monetize a podcast. Patreon allows creators to offer multiple paid membership tiers for a single podcast. For instance, a podcaster can offer both a Basic Membership with early access to episodes for $10 per month and a Premium Membership with bonus episodes for $20 per month.

It’s important to be clear about the specific content upgrades a paid subscriber will receive if you leverage Patreon to create membership tiers. Create a detailed description of each membership tier, complete with the exact content a listener can expect. For premium members, you can also include podcast-specific merch, such as branded t-shirts.

5. Sell digital products

Sell digital products

We’ve discussed how to make money podcasting with custom merch, but what about custom digital products? You can repurpose your podcast content, like a video version of a popular how-to podcast episode, to sell as a video series. You can even turn your show notes into an entire ebook and market the repurposed content as an online course!

As a content creator, you can continuously recycle your podcast content to create new digital products for your audience. You can also partner with a graphic designer (or put your design skills to the test) and create custom digital products like printables. Printables are customizable digital products you can produce and quickly profit from.

Podcasters can make and sell a variety of custom printables, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Dietary printables, such as meal-planning templates and recipes.

  • Organizational printables, such as daily planners and monthly calendars.

  • Seasonal printables, such as holiday greeting cards and worksheets.

  • Travel printables, such as itinerary planners and travel guides.

Pro Tip: Turbocharge your printables income with a print on demand service! A POD provider like Gelato can transform your digital printables into tangible products like calendars and stationery.

6. Affiliate marketing

When it comes to how to make money podcasting, one of the most profitable techniques is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing (also referred to as performance marketing) is when you receive a commission each time you refer listeners to a specific brand. By directing listeners to your unique affiliate link, you earn money each time they make a purchase.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money through your podcast indirectly. You can create a host-read ad to promote your affiliate link or drive affiliate sales by organically mentioning the brand in your podcast content. According to the popular podcast platform, Buzzsprout, you can earn an average of $15 for each affiliate sale made through your link.

Performance marketing works best when you plug products or services relevant to your niche audience and podcast topic. Fortunately, there are tons of affiliate programs to help generate passive income, such as:

7. Find public speaking opportunities

Find public speaking opportunities

As a long-time podcaster, you’re likely a trusted personality and thought leader in your niche. Lucky for you, that means you’re probably at the top of the list for public speaking opportunities in your field! Tons of podcast hosts, such as “Dare to Lead” host Brené Brown and “How I Built This” host Guy Raz, drive revenue from speaking at live events like conferences.

Speaking at or hosting events is not only a great way to make more money podcasting but also a fantastic way to bring your loyal fans together — and give them even more value! A live event is like a real-time podcast that proves your expertise as a content creator. Plus, public speaking can expose you to hundreds of new listeners to help with audience building.

Look for upcoming live events within your podcast network to find lucrative public speaking opportunities, such as industry conferences or niche workshops. Be sure to consider which is the most relevant to your audience. For instance, if your own podcast content is about personal development, an upcoming self-help seminar might be a good fit.

8. Consulting

When you first thought to start a podcast, coaching services were likely the last thing on your mind. However, consulting is one of the top strategies to monetize a podcast! As mentioned, a long-time podcaster is also considered a thought leader. Your listeners already seek your opinion, and as a consultant, you can deliver one-on-one personalized advice.

Example topics for podcasters to coach or consult on can range from:

  • Getting started as a content creator, such as online courses for beginners.

  • Developing premium content, such as hands-on training for editing software.

  • Industry-specific guidance, such as digital marketing education and consulting.

Remember to check in with your podcast network if you’re just getting started with consulting or coaching services. Consider partnering with other podcasters to expand your immediate pool of potential clients and access new coaching customers. Likewise, be sure to mention your consulting services in your podcast and market them on your website.

Start monetizing your podcast with custom merch

Curious about how to make money podcasting? Never limit your options! Start monetizing your podcast through a variety of lucrative methods, from sponsorships and affiliate marketing to public speaking opportunities and consulting services. Of course, don’t forget about custom merchandise and digital products courtesy of print on demand services!

Print on demand (POD) services enable content creators to experiment with tons of podcast monetization methods, including custom apparel like t-shirts and tote bags and personalized printables like calendars and cards. As a creator-preferred POD service, Gelato has an unrivaled product catalog with unbeatable prices and shipping times.

Start making more money podcasting with custom products powered by Gelato print on demand!

Podcast monetization FAQs

Can you make good money with a podcast?

Yes, you can make money by podcasting! There are a variety of podcast monetization strategies, including but not limited to selling custom merchandise, creating digital products, and establishing paid membership tiers. Podcasters can also make money through public speaking and consulting.

How much money can you make from a podcast?

Podcast revenue relies on the number of downloads per episode. A relatively successful podcast with an average of 10,000 downloads per episode earns between $500 and $900 monthly. Popular podcasts that boast nearly 200 million downloads per month, like “The Joe Rogan Experience,” can earn upwards of $30 million annually.


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