Thinking about starting a podcast just for making some extra dollars and wondering if it's an easy mission? The straightforward and short answer is - NO, it's not. Despite many articles, podcast marketers and influencers posts on social media about "X easy ways and Y proven strategies to earn Z amount per month while podcasting" this is far away from the reality. Unfortunately. And this is not specific with podcasting, the same situation is with whatever you do online - there is no easy way to earn money - at least not so easy as it could look from the first sight. But let's stick to podcasting. Isn't easy doesn't mean that it's not possible. There are plenty of successful podcasters who make money from podcasting, let's review the most popular ways to earn money while podcasting.
Sponsors. Probably the most popular way to monetize a podcast among podcasters. The problem is, that it's difficult to find a sponsor for your show if you don't have a solid base of listeners. It takes time to build up your fan base and the thing is that 1000 downloads per show episode could be really comfortable for you, but not necessarily for your potential sponsors. How to get sponsors if you don't have thousands of listeners? The answer is: choose your niche wisely. Don't try to cover many different topics. Try to define your target audience and go on with topics that are interesting for your (potential) listeners. Be constant. Your show could gain attention from various businesses in your chosen niche even without thousands of listeners.
Another popular choice for earning some dollars from your show and again - the more listeners you have, the more you can earn from affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing works in a simple way: you promote or mention some kind of product or services and you get commission for purchase. There are few ways how to do affiliate: if you go with commission per purchase than you probably need to use some special code and mention it for your listeners, they use that code for getting probably some special discount and the seller (or affiliate marketing platform) knows from that code that you are a lead of particular purchase. It also happens that you agree on some fixed price for mentioning product or service on your show. And the fixed price approach is a more common way for the podcasts with smaller audiences. Again - choose the niche, take on from different angles than others do, be original, don't be afraid to choose a narrow niche - you could be surprised how many different and specific businesses are looking for affordable ways to promote their products or services.
Most likely you're an expert in an area you talk about on your show. OK probably the word "expert" sounds a bit exaggerated. Anyway you know much more about the topic you cover in your show than your average listener, otherwise they wouldn't listen to your episodes, right? Many podcasters create their own courses to teach some things that are related to things they talk about in their show. It helps if you create a podcast website LINK - you can have a dedicated page on it about your course and use this page as a reference when mentioning the course on your show. It's also perfect if you build an email list so you can let your listeners know about your course.
One more very popular way to fund your show. It's a popular choice for entertainment focused shows. There's again the same issue - you need a huge audience for getting a significant amount of money. But it's still possible to squeeze in nice profit from donations if your show is new and you don't have thousands of listeners yet. You should be aware that listeners come to listen to your show and not to donate it. So you need to ask them. Don't be bothersome with asking donations, but it's OK to mention that you would appreciate donations during each show. Do this gently. You can say "thank you" for your existing supporters, it would work out as a trigger for people who didn't think about donating your show. It also helps that you have a page on your podcast website. LINK. There should clear information about all possible ways to donate your show, also the links to crowdfunding platforms like Patreon.
Offering premium content works the best for larger audiences. It works very well in combination with crowdfunding - for example you can offer some episodes only for your patreons. There are several different kinds of premium content you can offer, the popular one is just creating special episodes, available only for your sponsors. If you do not want to hide the content you've already produced from other listeners, it's a good idea to offer early access to your episodes for your sponsors and the rest of listeners will consume these episodes a few days later.
Many podcasters discovered that selling branded products is a really great way to monetize their show. Fans buy T-shirts, hats, jackets with the printed logo of your show and spread the love wearing that stuff.
As you can see there are multiple ways to earn money from your podcast and the silver bullet is not one of these methods, but a combination of few methods. As it was mentioned before in this article - you need to be patient, it takes time to build an audience. It's not possible to monetize podcasts that nobody listens to. The good thing is, that if you choose the niche audience wisely, and define your target audience, it's a really doable task to grow your listeners to significant size that are enough for earning some extra dollars from your show.
The most common questions for podcast creators are:
How many downloads does a podcast need to make money? How much money can you earn from your podcast?
Well there is no simple answer for these questions, because it depends. It depends on your niche. It also depends on your listeners' audience size. The big names make millions of dollars in revenue per year, but these are only a few examples and in case you're reading this article, probably you're more interested in smaller audience podcasts and wondering how much money do they make, right? We don't name particular names, because as it was already mentioned it depends on many factors. But there are some easy ways to check how much money earn podcasts on Patreon, just find podcasts on Patreon that are in the same niche as you're and you will see the earnings of these shows. It would also be an easy task to find out how big audiences these podcasts have, just use Google to find out such information. After a short investigation you will find out that it's really possible to make up to $3000 / per month only on Patreon, if you're committed and consistently deliver episodes.
How much money does the average podcast make?
To be honest most podcasters make zero and actually it's even worse, many shows have negative numbers, because equipment, podcast hosting and etc is needed. The most common problem is that podcasters try to earn money too early. If your show has up to hundred downloads per episode it's usually way too early try to monetize. If you're getting let's say 100 downloads / episodes consistently, this is a really good sign about having potential to grow. You should focus on your podcast quality and consistency. As soon as you reach around ~ 1000 downloads per show, you would be able to make up to $1200 per month using the few monetization methods mentioned above. As soon as you achieve $5k downloads / show your show becomes interesting for the sponsors and your earnings will be much more impressive. All these numbers are just assumptions and rough estimation and depend on many different factors.