A podcast (or a “pod”) is an audio or video file distributed by free or paid online subscription via syndication feeds. Podcasts are usually available in .mp3 format, allowing listeners to play these files on their PCs and mobile devices. Podcasting can refer to the process of distributing the media file, but some people just use the terms podcast and podcasting interchangeably.
Podcasting has been growing in popularity in recent years, mostly due to the podcaster’s intimate communication towards his/her listeners. Many even consider podcasting as the modern talk radio. Whether you agree with this or not, one thing is for sure – podcasting can be a lucrative career if you do it right.
Want to learn how you can earn serious cash from podcasts? Here are 5 ways successful personalities get to talk about the things they love, work from home, and make a killing podcasting:
The most common way podcasters earn money is through sponsorships. However, only popular podcasters are able to attract advertisers, since the main factors sponsors look for are traffic and audience number. Of course, sponsors would likely check the niche of podcasters to gauge if mentioning their products/services on the show would translate to successful conversion rates.
Some podcast hosts, such as Blubrry and Libsyn, include ad opportunities to shows. You can also find a service that connects you to advertisers. Midroll is a good example of this, but note that these types of services take a cut from your earnings. Podcasters earn a lot more if advertisers contact them directly for sponsorships.
Ad rates for podcasts follow the CPM (cost per impression) model. The average rate of 1,000 downloads come at $18 per 15-second pre-roll slot, or $25 per 60-second mid-roll slot. This can go higher depending on the number of audience a podcaster has. For instance, if a specific episode earns 20,000 listeners, the sponsor would need to pay you $500 for the 60-second ad.
2. Affiliate Marketing
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that if done right, it could give podcasters a passive income. Like sponsorships, podcasters have different ways of implementing this into their show. The easiest would be to join affiliate programs from known retailers like Amazon. But if your show can’t fit in Amazon products into an episode, it’s best not to force it and opt for another way instead.
Commission Junction and other affiliate advertising networks also host a wide range of products and services that podcasters could promote “on air.” But it’s important not to promote anything unrelated to your niche, or else it might be too obvious you’re taking advantage of your listeners’ buying potential.
If Amazon isn’t an option and you can’t find items to promote from affiliate ad networks, your next bet is to create your own affiliate program. You can do this by seeking partnerships from companies that are somewhat relevant to your niche. You’d have to pitch the idea to retailers or other companies, so prepare your podcast’s stats. Just like in sponsorships, anyone (whether a person or company) that partners with you would want to see large numbers, but impressive conversation rates are the reason they’d bite what you’re offering.
3. Selling Products
If running after sponsors isn’t your thing, you can sell your own products on your show. It would be a lot of work, especially since you’re going to develop the product from start to finish before you could promote it on air, but the advantage of this path is that you’ll receive majority of profit instead of getting a tiny commission just like what affiliate marketing offers.
Another benefit of creating and selling your own products is that there are tons of options, from ebooks to courses, SaaS products, and even real products that can be shipped to a physical address. You can even sell a set of videos, bundled as a paid subscription. This allows podcasters like you to create something within your niche that provides the most value to your listeners.
Once you’ve decided on the products to sell, you can now implement a sales funnel, where you give away freebies or discounted items, before showcasing more expensive products.
4. Offer Services
Podcasters with a huge following can easily offer services to its listeners. This can be anything from one-on-one coaching, consulting, guest writing, speaking engagements, design, or any other services within a podcaster’s skillset. The services that you offer may start small, but as long as you provide value to your customers, be prepared for word-of-mouth to double your paying customers over time.
For those who don’t feel comfortable teaching, you can simply offer flat fees for certain solutions. For example, writing a podcast script for a company, or setting up an individual’s podcast business, can be done on the side and doesn’t require a full-time commitment.
Think of your podcast as a marketing tool and develop strategies that would expand your podcasting efforts into other money-making endeavors.
5. Crowdfunding and Donations
Crowdfunding can be a smart way to begin your podcasting career, but it will only work if you already have an active community that would gladly finance your project in the form of pledges. Crowdfunding platforms like Patreon make the pledging possible.
You can also ask your listeners for donations. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to give money in exchange for free information or entertainment that you’ve been giving them. Since a donation option gives your listeners the power to decide how much they’re donating, they’ll see this as their way to give back. Just remind them about your donation button as often as possible.
The Bottom Line
Earning money from podcasts is similar to succeeding as a YouTube star. You’ll need a following, enough valuable content, and a knack for marketing yourself. It would take a lot of work to get to the level where sponsors flock your podcasts, but once you’re there, the money-making possibilities are endless.