Is it possible to make a living talking into a mic to strangers across the globe? Well, yes it is. Will every podcaster do so? Probably not. There are, though, some surprising ways to “Turn a Quid”.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first:
Advertising and Sponsorships
One of the most common ways to monetize is through advertising and sponsorships. As your podcast gains listeners and popularity, you attract advertisers who want to reach your audience. Advertisers pay to have their products or services featured in your episodes. Sponsorships work similarly, where companies pay you to promote their brand, products, or services during your podcast. These partnerships can provide a consistent stream of income as your podcast grows and you build a loyal following. Content created, money in the bank but…
And this is a big but, the quality, the flow and to some extent, the integrity of your show suffers. This is a cost many podcasters are happy to pay and let the money roll in. Let’s have a look at this from the listener’s perspective.
Back in the day, shows were just shows. I recall the first time I heard a producer, Mike Duncan, The History of Rome, asked his listeners if they’d be ok with advertising as he’d been approached by someone who wanted to provide funds in return for access to his listeners.
The overwhelming result, as reported by Duncan, was positive and so ads started on The History of Rome. These things tend to grow over time.
Currently, late 2023, ad stuffing is reaching unpleasant levels. What was once a 30 second pre roll ad, prior to the show starting and maybe one post roll has morphed into 4 at the beginning, another four in the middle and the same at the back end. And I’ve heard this on 20 minute episodes which means 14 minutes of content.
Now I’m sure there’s a point where enough individuals stay listening to maintain ad revenue versus annoying too many people and the show’s download numbers collapsing.
Think carefully before following this route to monetisation. There are costs.
Affiliate marketing is another option. You promote products or services related to your niche and earn a commission for every sale generated through your unique affiliate link. These are host read promotions, “I produce this show, you like this show, you should buy this thing using the link in the notes and I’ll receive a few bob on each sale.” Again as with the advertising and sponsorship, there are creative costs. There are also legal requirements to state you are acting as an affiliate so your listeners know you have skin in the game.
Affiliate marketing can be more organic in its presentation by recommending products or services you genuinely believe in. As your audience trusts your recommendations, they may be more inclined to make purchases through your affiliate links. Just be mindful of your listeners.
Listener Donations and Crowdfunding
Many podcasters turn to their dedicated listeners for support through donations and crowdfunding platforms like Patreon and “Buy Me A Coffee”. You can create exclusive content, early access or other perks for your supporters, encouraging them to contribute financially to your podcast. The big selling point for most shows appears to be ad free audio. This tells you how much advertising diminishes the value of the “free” content.
This too has its limits. If someone only listens to three or four shows a week, then 4 times 3 Dollars, Euro, Pounds or Shillings a month might be reasonable. If, like your narrator, you listen to 80 plus shows a week, the financial contribution required to avoid the ads can be prohibitive. 12 units of currency as opposed to 240. I rely on the 30 second skip button on my earbuds to get the job done.
However people are doing well financially by building a community of dedicated fans who appreciate your work and they are generating a steady income while maintaining creative control over your content.
If your podcast has a strong brand and loyal following, merch, say T-shirts, mugs, stickers and other items related to your show can be a thing. Merchandise sales not only generate income but also help promote your podcast to a wider audience.
Your podcast can become the entree point for a profitable e-commerce business.
Coaching and Consulting
If your podcast covers a niche topic or area of expertise, you can offer coaching or consulting services to your audience. Many listeners may seek personalised guidance and they may be willing to pay for one-on-one consultations or coaching sessions with you. This is predicated upon the authority building we discussed in episode 9 of this season.
By leveraging your podcast as a platform to showcase your expertise, you can establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field and generate income from your consulting services. It’s all about seeing your show as a way into your sales funnel rather than as an end in itself.
Online Courses and Workshops
Creating online courses or workshops related to your podcast’s topic can be a profitable venture. To that end, JMPS will be offering a “How to Podcast” course based on 1000s of episodes, nearly a decade of hard won experience and predicated on 40 years of meditation practice which might not seem related but it is. Through the meditation practice, I’ve learned to discern the necessary from the superfluous. The Course, as it’s coming together, will cover just what you need to enter the medium and nothing you don’t. I’m looking at a Black Friday/Cyber Monday launch date. If you’re interested, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my Linkedin profile, both are located in the show notes for this episode.
You can offer these courses on platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or your own website. Promote your courses to your podcast audience and you’ll have a ready-made customer base. That’s the theory anyway.
Online courses and workshops allow you to share your knowledge and expertise while generating income from course enrollments.
Public Speaking and Book Deals
A successful podcast can also open doors to public speaking engagements and book deals. As a recognized authority in your niche, you publicise your abilities to deliver content that leads to public speaking opportunities. From breakfast networking meeting held by your local chamber of commerce to conferences, seminars and industry events, earning speaker fees and travel expenses. Podcasting is but the doorway to greater opportunity. In the learning of the craft you create opportunities to transfer those skills into other settings.
Learning to podcast offers a multitude of possibilities to turn a quid, turning your passion into profit. Keeping your ears open, thinking creatively and seeing the transferable skills you’ve developed through the craft will open doors.
Making a living through podcasting requires effort and dedication, building a loyal audience and consistently delivering valuable content. This is the bedrock for financial success through the craft.
The next episode, #11 in Season 9 is entitled: “Leaving a Lasting Legacy” which is a thing very few of us consider when starting our first show yet it’s one of the intangible feel good benefits of podcasting!
In Show Links:
Episode 9 Season 9: https://sites.libsyn.com/482292/s9-e9-amplifying-connections