How to Monetize your Podcast

I’ve always wanted to start a podcast. Last summer I finally got around to doing it when I launched the Burn Your Mortgage Podcast. Having my own podcast has been a blast. I get to interview interesting individuals about real estate; a topic I’m passionate about.

Launching a podcast was more of a passion project than anything. When I first launched my podcast, my goal was to build a regular following. (I wanted more people to listen to my podcast than just my mom)
I managed to do that as thousands of people have downloaded and listened to my podcast.

Now that I’ve built up a following, I realized that I be doing a better job of monetizing my podcast. I’m all for offering content for free, but launching a podcast costs money. I’d like to at least breakeven, although turning a profit would be nice.

Without further ado, here are some different ways you can monetize your podcast. (Note that some of these can also be used to monetize your blog.)

1. Referral Programs

A referral program is as it sounds. You’re compensated for each individual that you refer. Sometimes the individual has to sign up for a paid membership, sometimes they don’t. It all depends on the program.

I find the referral programs that have the least number of steps from the person that signs up are the most successful ones. For example, one referral program that I signed up for required that an individual not only sign up, but fund an investment account. Let’s just say I didn’t get any paid referrals through this affiliate.

Companies love referral programs because there’s a lot of upside with little downside. The upside is that they get their brand promoted for free. They’re only required to pay if someone signs up for an account and completes other steps (depending on the program). If I record a podcast episode with an affiliate link in the show notes and nobody signs up, I don’t get paid anything. Although it’s not good for the affiliate, at least they aren’t paying for anything, so it’s no skin off their nose.

If you have a loyal following, referral programs can work great, but in my experience they haven’t been such a great way to monetize my podcast.

2. Sponsorships

Another way you can earn some revenue from your podcast is sponsorships. At the beginning of my podcast I include an intro. I include the theme to my podcast also with a brief introduction about the guest I’m interviewing. But there’s nothing stopping me from adding a sponsorship there.

What if I could include a brief advert from a sponsor in between my show’s theme and when the episode starts? Again, it’s important to choose something that your podcast audience will find value in. Since I’m a real estate podcast, anything related to real estate, personal finance or investing would resonate with my audience.

If you’re including sponsorships in your podcast, I’d encourage you to put them at the beginning of your podcast, rather than the end. Speaking from personal experience, I don’t always make it to the end of every single podcast episode. Sometimes I get interrupted or to be frank, I get bored.

Your sponsor is likely to get better results when you include the advert at the beginning of the podcast. Not only will that make your sponsor happy, they’re more likely to sponsor your podcast again in the future.

Getting sponsors when you first start your podcast is tough. Finding sponsors for a podcast is a lot tougher than it is for a blog. Seeking out sponsors is best when you’ve built up regular listeners and have the numbers to justify the fees you’re asking for. Sponsors will likely want to know how many downloads per episode you’re getting.

3. Offering Products and Services

Do you have an idea for a product or service your podcast audience is likely to enjoy? There’s no better way to get the word out there than on your podcast.

At the end of each episode, I remind listeners that they can sign up for a free 15 minute money coaching session with me. So far I’ve had dozens of people reach out to me to take me up on the offer. About half of the people who’ve reached out I’ve turned into paid clients. Not bad! The squeaky wheel gets the grease as I like to say. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

If there’s a product or service that your audience would enjoy and it doesn’t exist, there’s nothing stopping you from creating it. For example, if you create a podcast about business coaching, why not offer your own business consulting services? If you have a podcast about real estate, why not get licensed as a realtor and offer your services?

Get creative. Your listeners will appreciate your authenticity and will be more willing to buy from you since they trust you.

4. Monetizing Your Podcast with QUID

Right now I’m paying money to create a podcast. It doesn’t cost a ton of money. I have to pay for a podcast host, that’s the biggest cost. The other cost is the opportunity cost. It takes about four hours to write and record a podcast. What if there was a way I could monetize the podcast content itself?

I wish I had discovered QUID sooner. QUID is the perfect way to make money from your podcast and you can do it even if you don’t have a big listenership.

People these days appreciate good quality content. They’re more willing to pay for something of value. They may be willing to toss some money your way out of goodwill. That’s where QUID comes in Handy.

QUID gives your audience a direct way to support your efforts and monetize your website. The possibilities are endless. You could offer new episodes of your podcast for free, but charge for any old episodes.

Do you find there’s a lot of interesting content left over at the end of podcast episodes? You could create an extended version of your podcast episodes for premium subscribers. You could even ask guests to stay on the show five minutes longer to record special content for the extra version of your podcast. It’s your podcast, so get creative and most importantly provide value.

Hopefully this gives you a great start to monetizing your podcast. Not sure where to get started? Start by testing out the various monetizing strategies on your podcast and see which one works out best and start getting paid for your hard work.

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About Sean Cooper

Sean Cooper is an in-demand Personal Finance Journalist and the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for Canadians.