Documentation / Marketing / How to Monetize a Podcast (5 Methods)

How to Monetize a Podcast (5 Methods)

how to monetize a podcast
John Hughes
Last Updated: 15/05/24

Podcasts are an ideal platform to explore your passion, build a following, and connect with like-minded individuals. However, it can take lots of time and energy to create content. And eventually, you might start to think about pursuing podcasting full-time.

With that in mind, there are plenty of options for those wondering how to monetize a podcast. For example, if you have a large audience, you can sell merchandise or display ads. Alternatively, you might opt for more user-friendly methods like selling memberships or affiliate marketing.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how podcasts make money. Then, we’ll show you how to monetize a podcast. Let’s get to it!

How Do Podcasts Make Money?

One of the great things about podcasts is that there are multiple ways to earn money. Better yet, you can combine various methods to generate a steady revenue stream which can help you stabilize your earnings and even start podcasting full-time.

So, if you’re wondering how to monetize a podcast, there are two main types of monetization strategies to know about: direct and indirect. Direct monetization concerns the content itself, so it includes options like subscriptions, ads, and donations.

Typically, direct podcast monetization is best suited to podcasts with a large engaged audience. And, it can be more predictable because you’ll often earn a fixed-rate fee. On the other hand, you also have the option to pursue indirect monetization which allows you to earn revenue through external means.

For instance, you might sell podcast merchandise or promote affiliate products. In general, indirect options can be good for small dedicated audiences. Plus, it means that you don’t need to alter your content at all (for example to cater to podcast sponsors).

How to Monetize a Podcast (5 Methods)

Now that you know a bit more about the different podcast monetization options, here’s how to make money podcasting.

1. Display Advertisements

Podcast advertisements are one of the most popular ways to monetize your show. It involves partnering with different brands and companies that share a similar audience or niche to your own.

However, the downside of this option is that most brands only consider podcasts with lots of listeners since this will maximize exposure. Plus, ads can be frustrating for your audience and negatively impact the user experience (UX).

That being said, if you’re wondering how to monetize a podcast this way, you can join podcast networks like Wondery to connect with relevant brands. Or, if you showcase your episodes on your own website, you can join Google AdSense to access highly relevant ads that align with your audience.

2. Sell Memberships

If you want to know how to make money podcasting, memberships can be a great option. For starters, it’s more user-friendly than ads, and it doesn’t require strict changes to your content.

Plus, it enables you to cater to a wide range of people. You can still offer some of your content for free. But, if people are looking for a little extra, they can sign up for a subscription where they’ll gain access to premium content and other perks.

Better yet, this is easy to set up if you add your podcast episodes to your own website. If you use the WordPress CMS platform, you can install a powerful plugin like Paid Member Subscriptions to add this functionality to your website:

Accept (recurring) payments, create subscription plans and restrict content on your website. Easily setup a WordPress membership site using Paid Member Subscriptions.

Get Paid Member Subscriptions

This way, you can add your own subscription plans, and easily create upgrades or downgrades to make this easy for visitors. You can also define the period of time that the subscription remains active for, and enable automatic renewals, free trials, and signup fees:

How to monetize a podcast using memberships

Then, you can use the plugin to protect premium content on your site. For instance, if you have a page that supports your podcast episodes, you can scroll to the bottom to access the Content Restriction section:

How to restrict content access to paid members

Here, you can select the subscription plans that can view the page. And, you can even redirect visitors that don’t have access to the page, or display a custom message.

3. Start Affiliate Marketing

If you like the idea of working with brands, but you don’t want to display ads, you might prefer to get started with affiliate marketing. This way, you’ll promote brands or products, and earn a commission every time a visitor clicks on your affiliate links (or purchases a product).

This monetization method is best for podcasts that have a loyal following. Plus, it’s best to partner with brands that occupy the same niche as your podcast, so that the products might actually be useful for your audience.

For example, there are plenty of popular affiliate programs you can join like Amazon Associates:

How to monetize a podcast with affiliate marketing

However, you can also find options that suit your specific niche. For example, if you have a podcast about crafts, it might work better to join a program like Annie’s Kit Club.

You can add affiliate links directly to your podcast in the show notes. Or, if you have your own website, there are tons of opportunities to include links in your blog posts. Additionally, if you add an opt-in form to your website, you can also populate links in your email campaigns.

4. Accept Donations

If you’re wondering how to monetize a podcast, you also have the option to collect donations. Although you might not make lots of money this way, you can earn enough to cover ongoing costs like website hosting, equipment upgrades, or podcast editing software.

In particular, donations are a great fit for podcasts with a dedicated following, where people can clearly see the value of your content. Better yet, if you have a WordPress website, you can display neat little buttons on your site where visitors can make their donations.

For example, GiveWP is a great option, but Buy Me a Coffee works particularly well for content creators:

How to monetize a podcast with donations

This way, you’re able to accept one-time payments and recurring payments (which is useful if you want to sell memberships).

What’s more, it’s free to set up a Buy Me a Coffee account and you can place the widget anywhere on your site. Plus, you can completely customize the widget to match the rest of your branding, For example, you can change the color, spacing, and text.

5. Offer Merchandise

Finally, another indirect monetization strategy is merchandise. This way, you can sell physical products that feature your podcast name, logo, or slogan.

This works great for building brand awareness, and it’s a great option for loyal listeners that will enjoy representing your podcast. Better yet, there’s a huge range of products that you can brand including mugs, bottles, pens, t-shirts, and hoodies:

How to monetize a podcast with merchandise

Meanwhile, if you have a WordPress website all set up, you can install the popular ecommerce plugin WooCommerce to list your items and accept online payments.

This plugin is completely free, and it comes with ready-made themes to create your own unique storefront. Plus, you’ll get access to optimized cart and checkout pages, built-in payment gateways, and a whole range of extensions if you require more functionality.

Conclusion

Podcasting is becoming more and more popular, therefore it’s an attractive option if you want to create content for an online audience. What’s more, once you’ve established a following, you can make money podcasting in a range of different ways.

To recap, here’s how to monetize a podcast:

  1. Display advertisements.
  2. Sell memberships using Paid Member Subscriptions.
  3. Start affiliate marketing.
  4. Accept donations.
  5. Offer merchandise.

Do you have any questions about how to monetize a podcast? Let us know in the comments below!

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