Starting Your Own Podcast: Monetization (Making Money)
Are you starting your own podcast? Are you hoping to monetize it, in other words, are you hoping to make some money? That is something you will want to think about before choosing your podcast hosting provider.
Maybe you are not trying to get rich or make a living as a podcaster but just hoping to afford a microphone upgrade or pay your hosting fees. There are a few ways to create an income stream from your podcast.
Different hosts have different options when it comes to monetizing your podcast. Even if you are not thinking about that yet, you might want to know what your host will offer if and when you decide to try to make it a money maker, or at least make enough to buy some cool new headphones.
Before we get into the details, a word about ethical and legal issues. I am not going to go into them here because this is not a legal blog. I just need to make clear, there are ethical and legal issues related to podcast monetization. They mainly focus on transparency. If you are making money off something on your show, or someone is paying you to say something or promote something, you need to tell people.
As we look at the different types of money making techniques for podcasts, I will point out any features you might need from your podcasting host to make this happen
Monetize Your Podcast with Pre-Roll and Mid-roll Ads
If you listen to many podcasts, you have likely heard a pre-roll or mid-roll ad. Pre-roll ads are usually ten to fifteen seconds and happen right before the episode starts, and mid-roll ads are either thirty or sixty seconds and happen somewhere during the episode.
Most of these ads are read by the host of the show either from a script or a set of bullet points. They are paid on a CPM (cost per thousand listeners basis.) Minimum listenership depends on the company you work with and varies from 100 to 1000 listeners per episode. That means, for many, it will take a while to get to a point where advertisers are interested.
What You Need from Your Podcast Host to Monetize Your Podcast with Pre-Roll and Mid-roll Ads
In theory, you can insert ads into your podcast with any host, unless they have a specific prohibition against it. However, there are a couple of features that might make things easier:
Dynamic Ad Insertion
You could record your ad right into your podcast. That works. However, if you only commit to running the ad for a limited time, you would either need to go back, edit it out, and then re-upload the episode or just leave it there forever for free.
Dynamic Ad insertion allows you to program breaks into your podcast and then automatically insert ad content whenever you want to. This means you can turn the ads on when the campaign starts and turn them off when it is over.
Podcast Host Ad Networks
Some hosts build podcast advertising right into their platform and allow users to opt into running ads from their network. Podbean and Blubrry are two of the hosts that offer this service. There are pros and cons to this all in one solution. If easy is your main priority, this might be worth looking into.
Monetize Your Podcast with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is much easier to get started with especially if you still have a relatively small audience. Affiliate marketing allows you to get a small commission when someone buys something from an advertiser through your link.
This blog makes a teeny-tiny amount of revenue through affiliate marketing. If you click on the link of a product I have mentioned on the blog or on my equipment page, you get sent to Amazon.com. If you buy the product, or something else while you are there, I get a little commission from Amazon (which I spend on more stuff for my studio.)
It works the same way with podcasting. All you need to do is create a unique link that leads to the affiliate website (and includes your affiliate code) and share that during your episode. Just like with any advertising the better job you do of promoting the product, the more likely people are to buy it.
So, for example, I really like my Focusrite Scarlet Solo Digital Audio Converter. I could say during my show, "If you love the way the audio sounds on this podcast, you can give some of the credit to my Focusrite Scarlet Solo. You can learn more about it and purchase one at provoiceguy.net/focusrite, and you will also be helping to support this podcast."
I went ahead and set up that link so you can see what it looks like. The purchase link goes straight to Amazon and lets them know it came from me. So, if you buy one, thanks!
Don't forget to include these links in your show notes.
What You Need from Your Podcast Host to Monetize Your Podcast with Affiliate Marketing
You really don't need anything and can easily record this right into your podcast. However, just like with pre-roll and mid-roll ads, you might decide to run these for a limited time.
I could see setting up some different affiliate links and inserting them at different times into various episodes. This would also be handy if the affiliate discontinued their program (or kicked me out of it!)
Monetize Your Podcast by Selling Your Own Stuff
If you have a product or service of your own to sell, you can skip all of the above practices and just use your podcast to promote your own products and services. That is currently the only monetization method I use on my own podcast. Since I create podcast intros and outros, it makes sense to mention that at some point during the show. You never know, someone may listen and decide to purchase one. You can do that here. Thanks!
What You Need from Your Podcast Host to Monetize Your Podcast by Selling Your Own Stuff.
Monetize Your Podcast by Asking for Donations
You are not likely to fund a lavish lifestyle through listener donations, but you might just cover your podcasting costs and maybe be able to upgrade some equipment. Some podcasts actually have a decent revenue stream through donations, but it is going to depend on your listenership. You can set up a donation link using PayPal, Stripe, Patreon, or even directly through your host (more on that in a moment.)
The rest is up to your delivery. You will need to give your listeners a compelling reason to give you money for something they get for free!
What You Need from Your Podcast Host to Monetize Your Podcast by Asking for Donations
Nothing really. However, Anchor has just set up what is probably the easiest method for monetizing your podcast through donations. If you host your podcast on Anchor, which is totally free, you can set it up with just a couple of clicks. Yes, they get a cut but so does PayPal, Stripe, and Patreon. The only way to avoid fees would be to have people send you checks.
So, Where Do You Start?
I recommend doing some serious research before you get started. If you are just getting started with a podcast, take some time to grow your audience and episodes. Pre-Roll and Mid-Roll advertisers will want to see a little history behind your show. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into and be sure you feel comfortable giving your airtime and reputation in exchange for money.
If you are looking for a professional intro for your podcast, I can help. Check out my professionally voiced and produced podcast intros starting at $10.
If you want to check out some of the equipment I used in my own studio or write about on this blog, you can read more here.