How Podcasts Make Money

A lot of people ask me how they can make money through their podcasts. And while it’s not always easy, it’s definitely possible. When you’re approaching monetizing your podcast, there’re different avenues to go, and you can choose what works best for you. You could do coaching programs, sell merchandise on your website, get an affiliate link, or you could get a sponsorship deal with a company that fits you.

Selling a coaching program

If you’ve seen those ads where they say, “you can make $10,000 off your first podcast episode,” then you may have a slight idea what this entails. The thought process behind this income stream is that you’re going to sell a coaching program or another kind of program at the end of the episode. That’s $10,000 you could earn in a single episode. Granted, that’s monetizing your podcast. But some of us don’t want to sell $10,000 coaching programs, so we opt for sponsorships.

Affiliate links

Some of us want to get a sponsorship from companies like Audible or Squarespace. We’re trying to get deals from these types of companies that mostly sponsor podcasts. You could get an Audible affiliate link where you earn money when your listeners sign up. You could make $10, $15, or $20 every time someone signs up, depending on the company. That’s one way to monetize your podcast.

Company sponsorship deals

Most people want a steady income. They want to make $40, $100, or even $500 every time they get that sponsorship. Every deal is off that one podcast episode. There are websites like Podcorn that make that possible.

Selling merch

Another great way how podcasts make money. Early on, I did the affiliate links, and that worked for a while. It works, but the earnings always vary, you know. You can have hundreds of dollars one month, then $15 the next month. And that’s not really what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to waste my listeners’ time doing this, so I pivoted.

I started selling merch on my website, but it’s the same as the affiliate links. Once again, sometimes I’d sell tons of T-shirts, and other times I’d sell very little. So, it was another inconsistent income stream.

Comedy and Naps was merch created by comedian Zack Lyman

Now here I am, trying to push toward getting those contract deals. I start thinking maybe I should work towards getting a Squarespace deal or get something going on Podcorn. But I struggle with these companies because some of them may not align with my values. So now I’m approaching it with that in mind.

How sponsorship deals work – Another Way How Podcasts Make Money

Let’s say you get those deals. How will you implement them into your podcast? Many of you will take different routes. You could save the sponsorship file on your computer and add it to the podcast episode. And if you know it’s going to be a deal you do repeatedly – maybe for eight episodes – you’ll always have the file ready.

There are people that I enjoy, like Bill Burr, who reads the sponsorship file on his podcast. He’s playful and fun with it. I think one of his reads went viral because of how he approached it. Consider this when you’re thinking about monetizing your podcast: everything’s different because every person’s unique, so your niche will also be different.

There’s this misconception that you’ll only get huge contracts if you have over 100,000 listeners per episode. And that’s not true. The companies you could partner with within your niche may want to work with you because you have a dedicated following – even if it’s 50 listens per episode. You have 50 dedicated people who are their target market, and they can pay a small amount for you to promote their product. That’s a big deal for them.

So don’t get disheartened because you’re not Joe Rogan. You may not be getting these 100-million-dollar deals from Spotify yet, but maybe someone in your niche is looking for a podcast just like yours.

These are just a handful of ideas that I know. And I really want you to think about how you’re going to implement them. If you’re trying to find small companies for sponsorship deals, you could go onto the Etsy website. The companies that are buying ads on Etsy are looking to promote their product. If you find one that’s perfect for your podcast or aligns with your listeners’ interests, then you email them. You find out if they’re interested in a deal, do a little ad read, and send it to them. Now you have a relationship with another small company, and you guys can grow together.

Take some of these thoughts. Think about them, implement them, and monetize your podcast. Hopefully, you can start getting paid for the brilliant art that you create.

comedian zack lyman the host of the Zack Lyman podcast and creator of the tv show The Big Laugh. Jokely made a deal with spotify.

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