8 Ways to Monetize Your Podcast in 2022

8 Ways to Monetize Your Podcast in 2022

Podcasts and digital media have been on the rise over the past few years, and today they are more popular than ever. Whether you’re commuting to work, working from home, exercising, or taking a road trip, podcasts have been a nice supplemental form of media in addition to books or the radio. In 2020, over 155 million people listened to a podcast every week, and around 24% of the US population (68 million) listen to multiple podcasts weekly.
So, a popular question with podcasters is unsurprisingly “How do podcasters make money?” Let’s take a deeper dive into ways podcasters can monetize their podcast below.

1. Referral Sponsorships

These types of sponsorships are the easiest to help bring income to your podcast. Is there a product or service that you love and you know that you can convince your listeners to love it as well? Reach out to that company and see if you can recommend their product or services to your listeners with an affiliate or referral link!
For example, say you’re your podcast is around beauty products and you’re really liking a clean beauty product. You can partner with that brand and during the podcast say, “This episode is brought to you by ABC Beauty. Visit ABCBeauty.com to claim 30% off your first order using referral code PODCAST10!”
The benefit to referral sponsorships is that majority of the time, these links never expire, so you have the potential to continue earning for months or years down the road if listeners download back episodes of the show or if you mention the sponsorship on current/future episodes.

2. Traditional Sponsorships

CPM and CPA models are two routes to take in traditional sponsorships. Unlike referral sponsorships, this type of sponsorship is a one-time flat fee, meaning you can’t continue to monetize the sponsorship.

  • CPM (Cost Per Mille) Model. The CPM model is where the podcast host reads an ad (before, during, or after the podcast) for a specific company or product, and the company pays the podcast a flat rate for every 1,000 listens that episode gets. This sponsorship is also the most effective when you have a bigger podcast following.
  • Pre-roll ads (CPM industry standard rate: $18). Pre-roll ads play at the beginning of a podcast episode and run for 15 seconds. These ads are the less obtrusive of the three due to the short duration and placement.
  • Mid-roll ads (CPM industry standard rate: $25). Mid-roll ads are 60 seconds long and run (yes, you guessed it!) in the middle of your episode. Most podcasters will either read a script that promotes the product or share a personal story about their experience with it. Adding personal touches with the product will help main the listener’s interest, and that is important as mid-roll ads do interrupt your standard content. It’s important to choose sponsors that cater towards your audience. Mid-roll ads have the highest CPM rate.
  • Post-roll ads (CPM industry standard rate: $10). Post-roll ads play at the end of each episode and run for 20-30 seconds and also pay the least of all the ads.
  • CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) model. Podcasters will be paid a standard commission or flat rate for every listeners who buys the product. This is an easier way for beginner podcasters to earn money, and if you don’t know how to get started, podcast advertising brokers can help. True Native Media and Adopter Media are two podcast advertising brokers that can help podcasters get started with the CPA model.

3. Sell product merchandise

If you’re able to create your own products (or work with a vendor) like stickers, mugs, hats, and t-shirts and sell them on your website, that is a plus. Make sure you reference links to your site in the show notes. One of my favorites, Certified Mama’s Boy, does this well:

Podcasts currently reach over 68 million Americans weekly, and it’s projected one in three Americans will be listening every week by 2022. Start growing your audience to those 68 million Americans and monetize your podcast along the way with the eight simple tips listed above.

4. Sell your own products/services

Once you established a loyal following and have established trust with your audience, they may start asking you questions and looking to you for those answers. If you’re comfortable with answering those questions or feel comfortable with certain topics, podcasters may offer their listeners one-on-one coaching, mentoring, or consulting. Listeners can go to the podcast’s website and book a session.

5. Sell your guest’s podcast or services as an affiliate

Say that you have a guest speaker that is a motivational coach and wants to offer coaching services, and offers you an opportunity to promote their services for affiliate revenue. As mentioned with the CPA model, affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your product and or content. A great article around how to get started with affiliate marketing is Julia McCoy’s 11 Amazing Affiliate Marketing Blogs.

As an example, say that a guest speaker came on your podcast and spent 30-45 minutes discussing useful value to your listeners, and then offered their services for a specific discount. Depending on your audience, you can earn a nice affiliate revenue off of that one episode and will continue to grow based on your audience size.

6. Donations

It never hurts to ask your loyal following for a donation to keep your show on air. Asking for a donation could be as subtle as you want, in the beginning, middle, or end of the episode. If the podcast host offers an incentive to the donation and sends listeners a free thank you gift, listeners may be encouraged to donate more. Remember to add a Call-to-Action button to your PayPal or GoFundMe account to make donations quick and easy. The Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast does this well on air as well as on their website:

7. Host a paid webinar

If your podcast is around specific content (for example, use previously, clean beauty products), you can host a paid webinar around the importance of clean beauty and industry standards. Webinars are a grey way to monetize exclusive classes, especially when your audience is passionate around certain topics and/or your audience is spread out across the globe. Check out webinar platforms such as ClickMeeting or Eventbrite, and bring your loyal listeners together for a fun, paid, live informational session.

8. Create online courses

In addition to paid webinars and informative classes, podcasters can offer online courses. Online courses are just as rewarding to you and your listeners and can generate revenue in unexpected ways. In order to know what online courses to host, check in with your audience through Q&As, social media, surveys, and call-ins on your show. Hearing insight from your audience will help plan course content in an effective way. A few services that help with online courses are Skillshare, Podia, or Udemy. The most popular age group for podcasts listeners is 25-44 which makes up 49% of total listeners, and this is the age range where people want to learn and be educated around current events, hot topics, and/or specific interests. Get creative and craft online courses for all! The Astrology Podcast is a good example:

Podcasts currently reach over 68 million Americans weekly, and it’s projected one in three Americans will be listening every week by 2022. Start growing your audience to those 68 million Americans and monetize your podcast along the way with the eight simple tips listed above.