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1. Tips to create a successful podcast

How to make money podcasting: 11 monetization strategies [2024]

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 is set to grow from $1.8 billion in 2022 to $4 billion in 2025 — 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:

  • Podcast revenue is projected to grow from $1.8 billion in 2022 to $4 billion in 2025.

  • Starting a podcast requires commitment, with necessities like recording equipment, content ideas, and a hosting platform.

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

  • Besides advertisements, podcasters can monetize through merchandise, digital products, membership tiers, and public speaking.

  • Success in podcasting involves identifying a niche, creating engaging content, and building a loyal audience.

  • Monetization methods include selling custom merchandise, leveraging sponsorships and ads, accepting donations, creating paid membership tiers, selling digital products, affiliate marketing, finding public speaking opportunities, and offering consulting services.

  • Additional strategies involve utilizing crowdfunding platforms, creating exclusive content for premium listeners, and partnering with podcast networks.

Tips to create a successful podcast

Success in the podcasting world starts long before you start recording. Below, we’ll delve into the vital factors that contribute to the creation of a truly successful podcast. 

1. Identify your niche 

Finding your niche is crucial as it gives your podcast a clear focus. Most successful podcasts are the ones that will resonate better with your audience. The secret is to find a balance; your niche should be specific enough to be unique but broad enough to create a variety of interesting content for your listeners. 

2. Create engaging content 

Never forget - content is king! Your content must be not just good but captivating, enticing listeners to come back for more. A high-quality podcast is characterized by a mixture of professionalism, fun, in-depth knowledge, and unique insight. Engaging content draws in listeners, retains them, and is also infinitely more shareable, which brings new audiences your way! 

3. Build a loyal audience 

A successful podcast isn't just about numbers—it's about creating a community of loyal listeners. Nurture your audience by consistently delivering high-quality content, interaction, and appreciation. Experiment with Q&A sessions, shoutouts, or even hosting listener get-togethers (virtual or physical). Remember—the deeper the relationship with the audience, the more successful your podcast's monetization strategies will be.

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!

Steps to get started
  1. Select a reliable print on demand (POD) supplier like Gelato to handle inventory, printing, and shipping.

  2. Choose merchandise that resonates with your podcast theme (e.g., t-shirts, hoodies, drinkware).

  3. Design your merchandise, considering your podcast’s branding and audience preferences.

  4. Set up an online store integrated with your POD supplier to showcase and sell your custom merch.

  5. Promote your merchandise on your podcast and social media channels to drive sales and audience engagement.

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!

Steps to get started
  1. Determine if host-read or pre-recorded radio-style ads suit your podcast format.

  2. Reach out to potential sponsors or join a podcast advertising network like SXM Media to find sponsorship deals.

  3. Negotiate the terms of sponsorship, including the number of episodes, ad placement, and payment.

  4. Integrate the sponsored content into your podcast episodes naturally and authentically.

  5. Monitor listener feedback and sponsorship performance to ensure a positive experience for both listeners and sponsors.

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.

Steps to get started
  1.  Choose a donation platform (e.g., Patreon, PayPal) and set up an account.

  2.  Communicate to your listeners how donations will be used to support and improve the podcast.

  3.  Be transparent and specific about the financial needs of your podcast when soliciting donations.

  4.  Promote your donation option during podcast episodes and through other communication channels like social media and newsletters.

  5. Show appreciation for donors, possibly through shoutouts in episodes or custom thank you cards.

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.

Steps to get started
  1. Use a platform like Patreon to set up different membership tiers with varying benefits (e.g., early access and bonus content).

  2. Clearly define what each tier offers and ensure exclusive content is valuable and relevant to your audience.

  3. Promote your membership tiers during your podcast and other marketing channels.

  4. Regularly engage with your members and provide them with the promised content and perks.

  5. Gather feedback from members to improve and adapt the membership experience.

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.

Steps to get started
  1.  Identify content from your podcast that can be repurposed into digital products (e.g., ebooks, video series, online courses).

  2.  Create or collaborate with professionals to produce high-quality digital products.

  3.  Set up an online storefront to showcase and sell your digital products.

  4.  Market your digital products to your podcast audience and beyond through various channels.

  5.  Consider using POD services to offer physical versions of your digital products.

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:

Steps to get started
  1.  Join affiliate programs that align with your podcast’s niche and audience interests.

  2.  Integrate affiliate links into your podcast content organically or through host-read ads.

  3.  Disclose the nature of affiliate links to your audience for transparency.

  4.  Track your affiliate performance and optimize your strategy based on which products or services resonate most with your audience.

  5.  Regularly update your affiliate offerings to keep content fresh and engaging.

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.

Steps to get started
  1.  Build a professional profile highlighting your expertise and experience as a podcaster.

  2.  Network within your niche to find opportunities for conferences, workshops, or other speaking engagements.

  3.  Prepare engaging and informative presentations that provide value to your audience.

  4.  Promote your speaking events on your podcast and other platforms to attract attendees.

  5. Leverage speaking events to expand your audience and establish yourself further as a thought leader in your niche.

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.

Steps to get started
  1.  Identify your areas of expertise and the types of consulting services you can offer.

  2.  Set up a professional consulting profile outlining your experience, services, and how potential clients can benefit.

  3.  Promote your consulting services to your podcast audience and on professional networks.

  4.  Offer personalized, value-driven advice and strategies to your clients.

  5.  Collect testimonials from satisfied clients to build credibility and attract more consulting opportunities.

9. Utilize crowdfunding platforms

a collage of the Patreon, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo logos / crowdfunding platform homepage

Crowdfunding platforms like Patreon, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo allow your listeners to financially support your podcast. By offering exclusive content or merchandise in exchange for their contribution, you can provide value to your supporters while securing a steady income. Plus, this approach helps cultivate a loyal listener community.

Steps to get started
  1. Research and select a crowdfunding platform that aligns with your podcast's theme and your audience's preferences.

  2. Create a compelling profile. Use high-quality images, and write a clear, engaging description of your podcast.

  3. Design a tiered reward system to incentivize different levels of contributions. Rewards can range from shoutouts on episodes to exclusive merchandise.

  4. Utilize your podcast, social media channels, and email newsletters to promote your crowdfunding page. Regularly update your supporters on your progress and express gratitude. Engagement can turn one-time supporters into long-term patrons.

10. Create exclusive content for premium listeners

Offering exclusive content can entice your listeners to pay for a premium experience. This can include bonus episodes, ad-free content, or early access to regular episodes. You can also have interviews with well-known figures or providing behind-the-scenes footage can also be part of your premium offerings. It's all about creating value that your audience recognizes and appreciates, making them more than happy to support your podcast financially.

Steps to get started
  1. Decide what exclusive content you will offer. Ensure it’s compelling enough to justify the additional cost.

  2. Select a hosting platform. Use platforms like Patreon, Supercast, or your own website to host and manage your premium content. Determine a price that reflects the value of your exclusive content without being prohibitive for your audience.

  3. Promote your premium content. Use your regular episodes, social media, and email marketing to promote your premium offerings.

  4. Don't forget to regularly review feedback and the performance of your premium content. Be prepared to adapt offerings based on listener preferences.

11. Partner with podcast networks for better revenue opportunities

two podcasters having a conversation

Podcast networks can offer resources, promotion, and ad sales support in exchange for a share of your revenue or rights to your content. A well-chosen partnership can significantly boost your visibility, allowing you to reach a wider audience. It may also open the door to a range of sponsorships and promotional opportunities that can help ramp up your profits significantly.

Steps to get started
  1. Look for networks that align with your podcast’s theme and have a track record of supporting their podcasts.

  2. Before signing any agreements, understand what you’re getting and giving up. Pay special attention to revenue sharing, content rights, and creative control.

  3. Negotiate your contract. Don’t be afraid to negotiate terms and ask for modifications if needed. Ensure the deal is mutually beneficial.

  4. Once part of a network, take full advantage of their resources, be it marketing support, production assistance, or sponsorship opportunities. Engage with other podcasters in the network. Collaborations can lead to cross-promotion and increased listenership.

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.

How hard is it to start a podcast?

Starting a podcast is not overly difficult, but it does require commitment. You'll need basic recording equipment, strong content ideas relevant to your chosen niche, and a solid hosting platform. Consistent content creation and audience engagement are also key, making the process demanding yet highly rewarding when done correctly.

Do podcasters get paid on Spotify?

Podcasters on Spotify can indeed earn money, but it's not straight from Spotify itself. Instead, their income comes from several sources including sponsorships, listener donations, selling merchandise, and ad revenue. It’s a diverse ecosystem for monetization, and while Spotify provides the platform, podcasters have to utilize various methods to create income streams.


Next steps

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