Looking to get a little more out of your podcasting endeavors? Here’s our guide for transforming your podcast efforts into a profitable venture. This isn’t your typical side-hustle gig, so why treat it as such? It can be super challenging to create an income from podcasting. At LPM, we understand the importance of monetizing your podcast to ensure sustainable growth and long-term success. Dive in below to learn more about how you can monetize your podcast effectively.
Before we get started, it’s important to understand that companies likely won’t sponsor podcasts with small audiences. That being said, it’s possible that smaller companies like local stores or venues would be willing to sponsor a smaller podcast. We’ve seen companies partner with podcasts of all audience sizes but there’s definitely a larger draw to podcasts that have listenership in the tens of thousands every month. Regardless, here are some tips to add value to your show so that you can feel confident using your resources.
One of the most common and lucrative ways to monetize your podcast is through brand partnerships, including sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
There are a few ways to go about achieving these. Understandably so, extremely well-known podcasts that have massive followings don’t need to go out of their way for brand partnerships - the companies come to them. Wouldn’t it be nice if the brand representatives were always on the lookout for smaller, more loyal podcasters who would be grateful for any kind of large-scale exposure like that? If only.
On the flip side, most podcasters need to put in the work to find brand partnerships. This process can be tedious but who knows? It’s worth a shot because you might just get the collaboration of your dreams!
Doing this kind of outreach on your own takes a lot of time and effort so it’s helpful is to keep a detailed list of everyone you reach out to including their contact information and the status of your communications with them. A simple Google Sheet is enough to do the trick.
From there, create a list of your favorite companies including large-scale businesses to local shops and startups. Aim for twenty brands on this list. The next step is to go through and see what companies on that list relate best to your content, and eliminate the brands that don’t relate. For example, if your podcast is about hiking, advertising for a coffee brand would be an excellent combination. The same could be said for your favorite hiking boots brand or your favorite brand of backpacking gear. Having a collaboration that’s clearly connected to your content makes sense to the listener. If the pairing makes no sense, like a true crime podcast and an advertisement for a clothing brand, then your listeners will be quick to call your show a sell out. It happens quite often in this industry so it’s important to put extra thought into your partnerships before saying yes.
Next, reach out to these companies using an email that’s tailored to each, using a professional and friendly tone. If you happen to find the email of their marketing or PR team, reach out to them directly. In your messages to these companies, talk about your podcast, boast about its metrics, and how this collaboration would benefit both the company and your show. Be mindful of readability as you write your messages.
If you don’t get responses right away, it’s okay to try again in a few months. Sometimes companies get busy and don’t have time to respond. Some are inundated with sponsorship proposals. Try again. This will help you stand out among the chaos! If you still haven’t heard back after a couple of tries, it’s okay to move on and revamp your list of potential collaborations.
The methods of outreach described above can be useful for both finding sponsorships and affiliate marketing opportunities. Your approach can change depending on the kind of collaboration you’re aiming for.
Sponsorships are an excellent way to earn some cash while podcasting. If you’ve listened to any popular podcasts before, you likely already know what a sponsorship sounds like in this industry. Sponsorships can be done in various ways depending on the company you’re partnering with. The most common type of podcast sponsorship is episode promotions. These are often spliced in the beginning, middle, and end of an episode where the host(s) will read a script, share a testimonial about the sponsored product or service, and share a discount code for their audience to use.
In the case of a sponsorship, the partnering company will pay the entire sum up front. Sometimes they give a kickback per purchase made using the unique discount code. The main difference between sponsorships and affiliate marketing is how the money is generated. Sponsorships are a guaranteed payment up front in return for participation, advertising, and endorsement.
Affiliates on the other hand, earn a commission per sale using the unique code provided by the partnering company. Affiliate marketing is a great way to build income, but it can take more time than a sponsorship. Either way, both options work well for podcast monetization and are sure to build your show’s credibility and authority in your niche!
If you’re not loving the sponsorship route, there are plenty of alternatives for earning cash in podcasting. The first option is to create premium content that’s only available to premium listeners, meaning those who pay for a subscription model you create. For example, Apple Podcasts is just one of the podcast platforms that offers a paid tiered subscription model that’s customizable.
Rather than create exclusive content for their listeners, some creators simply ask their listeners for donations if they feel so inclined. If you do this, make sure to emphasize how much their donations help to make your podcast the best it can be.
Another option is to create merch for your podcast. Yes, this option costs money and might require you to have a larger following to make it worth the initial investment but it’s a great way to increase brand awareness and foster a sense of community among your loyal listeners. We’ve seen everything from stickers, pins, t-shirts, and hats to coffee mugs and branded beer koozies in podcast merch shops. Luckily, this option allows for a lot of creativity and total customization.
Another option is to sell your expertise. That’s right! You can slap a dollar sign on your skills and market them to your listeners. This could be anything from hosting live events and webinars or even creating online courses and workshops. These are valuable ways to monetize your podcast and to engage with your audience. It’s worth noting that the content you plan to sell in these events needs to be worthwhile. People with large social platforms in the past have been known to sell tickets to their events and end up over-promising and under-delivering. Honor your audience’s loyalty with quality services in return.
Lastly, every podcaster out there should cross-collaborate with other podcasters. This helps to build your audience and maximize your podcast’s exposure in your category and on social media. Cross-promotion involves exchanging promotional messages or guest appearances on each other's podcasts, which can lead to sponsorships, joint ventures, or affiliate marketing partnerships. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other podcasters for collaboration. You never know what kind of opportunities you might stumble on!
A major part of creating a successful podcast is to monetize your content as a means of ensuring its sustainability and growth. By implementing a combination of these tips and strategies, you can create diverse revenue streams and boost your podcast’s earning potential! Remember, the key to podcasting success is consistency across the board. This also means staying consistent with your presented value. With dedication and persistence, your podcast can become not only a passion project but also a profitable business venture.