Podcast content is growing in popularity. In fact, studies show that as many as 104 million Americans listen to podcasts every month. As the industry continues to boom, many people are interested in finding out how they can make money in podcasting. Some of the most successful podcasters have found ways to monetize their content, and there are plenty of opportunities available for new creators.
With good planning and an innovative concept, it is possible to turn podcasts into an income stream. All you need is the right equipment, a great idea, and the drive to find an audience and grow your fanbase.
Here's everything you need to know about how much podcasters make and how you can start making money off your podcast content too.
How much money do average podcasts make?
Podcasts can be a highly effective revenue stream, but how much podcasters make varies widely across the industry. While many successful podcasters make thousands or even millions of dollars, smaller-scale creators might only earn a few hundred.
Typically, a podcaster with around 10,000 downloads per episode can expect to earn somewhere between $500 to $900. Very successful podcasts can earn much more, reaching up to $30 million in annual income.
How much money you can make podcasting depends on a few factors. Podcasters who target a highly engaged niche audience and produce content regularly are likely to earn more than those who produce less in-demand content and release podcasts sporadically.
Your marketing and advertising strategies, as well as your additional revenue streams, can also have a significant impact on your total podcast income. Creators who market effectively and try numerous monetization strategies typically earn more than those who do not.
Can you make good money as a successful podcaster?
It is possible to make good money as a podcaster but earning a living from your podcast content can take time. The best way to improve your earning capacity is by clearly defining your goals and establishing effective strategies to help you achieve them. You can accomplish this through the following steps:
Step 1: Start your podcast journey with a good understanding of the niche audience your content will serve. Use this knowledge to guide your content and help you gain loyal listeners.
Step 2: Ensure that your audio input is as high-quality as possible.
Step 3: Start thinking about additional income opportunities. Could you produce exclusive paid content? Could you start hosting events, accepting listener donations, or selling products? Podcasters make money in lots of different ways.
How many listeners do you need to make money on a podcast?
There are no set guidelines to indicate when you can start making money podcasting. It's never too early to start generating podcast income. While some of the highest-earning podcasters are those with large audiences, smaller podcasters with good business skills can also achieve good financial results. It is a good idea to continue growing your audience to improve your income potential, as larger podcasts can often access greater earning opportunities through all revenue streams.
12 ways to make money as a podcaster
There are a few main ways that podcasters generate income. If you're eager to make money as a podcaster, here are twelve earning strategies you can try.
1. Sponsorships and advertising
Sponsorships and advertising are one of the key ways to earn money as a podcaster. When you partner with sponsors or advertisers, you can generate income simply by mentioning a brand a few times in your podcast! This kind of advertising space is a popular marketing strategy and is becoming increasingly common in the growing podcast industry.
2. Affiliate marketing
Affiliated marketing is another common podcast revenue stream. With affiliate sales, you can earn income every time someone purchases something through an affiliate link that you provide. In the beginning affiliate sales might only make you a few dollars here and there, but over time, it can become a high-earning income stream.
3. Coaching and consulting
When you produce a successful podcast, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of listeners will tune in to hear what you have to say. Your audience is likely to be interested in your success and how you can help them. Coaching and consulting services can be a great way to make money podcasting and expand your overall earning strategy beyond the confines of your show.
4. Premium content
Creating exclusive content is one of the most popular podcast monetization methods. This is because it builds on your existing audience and content creation abilities. You can invite podcast listeners to pay money to access additional content. Remember to keep any extra paid content on brand and to ensure that it is just as high-quality as your mainstream podcast content. The better your premium content, the more likely your audience will continue paying more money to listen.
5. Creator collaborations
Creator collaborations are another podcasting earning avenue. They also offer great opportunities to help you grow your podcast audience and enhance future income capacity. If you're considering collaborating with other podcasters, try to work with creators in a similar niche. This way, you're more likely to reach high-converting listeners. Over the course of your collaboration, you'll be able to work with a colleague to get podcasting tips and explore new podcast monetization methods.
6. Crowdfunding and donations
Many successful podcasts rely on crowdfunding and listener donations to generate income. This monetization strategy means that you rely directly on your audience to fund podcast content. Donations often have a great influence on how much podcasters make. Most podcasters use crowdfunding and donations to cover production expenses, such as podcasting equipment or recording software. You can access crowdfunding using platforms such as Kickstarter or Patreon. When requesting funds from donors, it's important to show a return on investment. This means that the people who donate money should be able to see how their funds are being used to make your podcast even better. It can also be nice to show your gratitude by giving donors access to exclusive content.
7. Physical product sales
Your podcast revenue doesn't have to stop at the end of an episode. Many podcasters move into merchandising by creating and selling physical products as a means of earning smart passive income. What you sell is likely to vary depending on the topic and audience of your podcast. If your show is educational, you might sell a learning resource or guidebook. Hosts of entertainment-focused podcasts frequently sell standard mech, like homewares and apparel. You can produce these using a print-on-service.
If you're unsure of what physical products to sell, turn to your audience for input. Use your next episode as a platform to ask listeners what products they'd be interested in purchasing from you.
8. Book sales
Similarly to the product-based income stream, book sales are highly lucrative for many podcasters, offering a new way to share information.
Your podcast is a way of communicating with listeners from all around the world. A book can help you spread the word even further! Writing a niche-specific book can help you expand your audience while also giving you a valuable product to sell.
Many successful podcasters earn high incomes from self-published books focusing on their podcast topic or even on the art of podcasting itself.
9. Selling services
If you're not sure about selling products, you can also sell services to your podcast audience. The services you sell will vary depending on your niche. If you host an educational podcast, you might be able to sell teaching or professional skills relevant to your industry. You can also help other podcasts improve by selling podcast-related services, like branding, transcribing, or audio editing.
Choose services that are interesting to and needed by your podcast listeners. If you're not sure what your audience would like, ask them.
10. Online courses
Developing an online course can be the key to higher podcast earnings. Like other products and services, an online course can allow you to share knowledge and information in a new and engaging format.
Online courses are easy to create and can be sold to large audiences if the course is self-paced. You can use your course to engage directly with your audience and offer support that helps them learn more from you.
If you decide to set up an online course, you'll need to market it well. Tell people about it in your podcast episodes and share links on your social media platforms and website.
11. Public speaking engagements
Most successful podcasts can convert to public speaking engagements. In fact, public speaking can make for fresh, interesting podcast content, as well as help you reach new audiences.
How much you earn from public speaking fees can vary greatly, with standard rates ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. The great thing about public speaking is that it allows you to talk just like you would on your podcast. It's the perfect in-person gig for a podcast host.
If you're open to speaking opportunities, make this as clear as possible. Contact event organizers with your speaking fees and availability to secure your next paying opportunity.
12. Live events
Similarly, live events can be a great way to aid your podcast income. Hosting your own events allows you to connect with your audience in a highly engaging way.
Live events can look however you want them to, and in most cases, you can set your own ticket prices. Be sure to account for any expenses, such as sound equipment or venue rent.
Use your events as part of your advertising campaign and sell your products or services onsite. Audience purchases are often high at live events.
Written by Abel Grunfeld, Head of Growth at Riverside