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I’m sure you’ve noticed the massive ramp-up in the popularity of podcasting… we can’t get away from them.
I kind of wish we had started a blog about podcasting equipment… because business must be booming.
It’s like everybody and their Momma decided to start a podcast, and you know what?
We LOVE it.
Look, we get it, you probably dream of making a career out of your passion for creating content and sharing stories too right?
Well, at this point, podcasting is not just a hobby or a side hustle anymore. I’s a booming industry with endless opportunities to make money doing what you love!
Whether you’re thinking of starting a podcast or already running a successful podcast, this comprehensive guide will walk you through some of the ways you can earn more money doing what you love.
In this blog post, we will explore the different revenue streams for successful podcasters, the factors that affect their earnings, and case studies of successful podcasters who have mastered the art of monetization.
How Much Do Podcasters Make?
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.
But to be frank with you, most podcasters make $0.
In fact, many podcasts have negative cash flows because they spend money on equipment and podcast hosting before they earn a single dollar. Many don’t even know how to make money podcasting when they get started.
That’s why we’re going to look at some very successful podcasts in this article so that you can see how the best of the best are doing it.
According to Zip Recruiter, As of January 1, 2024, the average hourly pay for a podcast host in the US is $15.86.
However, this figure varies greatly depending on several factors such as the size and niche of your audience, the type of content you produce, and the monetization strategies you use.
Some top-tier podcasters can earn six-figure incomes or even more through sponsorships.
According to I Will Teach You To Be Rich, a podcaster with around 10,000 downloads per episode can expect to earn between $500 and $900.
The Boom of Podcasts
With its recent growth in popularity, podcasting has become a go-to source of entertainment and education for millions worldwide.
It’s no surprise that more and more people are starting their shows, discussing everything from politics to pop culture.
So, what makes podcasting unique?
Well, it allows hosts and audience members alike to participate in a communal experience while providing the perfect platform to express their opinions and share their passions.
And of course, you know us, Create and Go’s perspective is that podcasting and other creative outlets and platforms are going to boom in popularity as the creator economy grows.
So we’re all for it.
Podcasting has revolutionized the digital media landscape, providing a platform for creators to share their passion and expertise with millions of people worldwide.
However, many people still wonder how podcasters make money from their shows.
So we’re going to break it down for you.
Why Are People Listening to Podcasts?
People are increasingly turning to podcasts for a myriad of reasons.
The convenience of being able to listen on the go makes podcasts a favorite for busy individuals.
It’s so incredible to be able to passively listen to such interesting talks about science, art, and technology.
Be it on daily commutes, during gym sessions, or while doing household chores, podcasts provide a seamless way to consume valuable content without disrupting daily routines.
The best part is that the vast array of topics available caters to virtually every interest.
Whether it’s business, true crime, sports, wellness, or comedy, there’s a podcast out there for everyone.
I think the conversational tone and intimate storytelling of a podcast help to foster a sense of community and often make listeners feel like they are part of a private conversation.
I think Lex Fridman especially has such a talent for doing that, I think that’s why he has one of the most popular podcasts out there.
Plus, it helps too that in an era of screen fatigue, podcasts offer a refreshing break from screens, allowing individuals to rest their eyes while still engaging with content.
The Different Revenue Streams for Podcasters
There are several ways podcasters can monetize their content and turn their passion into a profitable venture.
The key is diversifying, using multiple revenue streams to create a sustainable income.
Advertising and Sponsorships
One of the most popular ways podcasters make money is through advertising and sponsorships.
Advertising networks such as AdvertiseCast make it really easy for podcasters to make money.
Many brands are keen to promote their products and services on podcasts that have a relevant target audience.
Companies pay podcast hosts to promote their products or services in their episodes, either through short ad spots or integrated product mentions.
The amount you can earn from sponsorships depends on your audience size, engagement rates, and niche relevance of course.
But, if you have a large following and can deliver high-quality content, you could potentially earn thousands of dollars per episode.
Courses and Digital Products
There are several ways someone can monetize their podcast with digital products.
One popular option is to create and sell ebooks, online courses, or other digital products like templates and programs.
We know, as creators who have earned our money through course sales, that this could be way more lucrative than you think.
It’s important to keep in mind that a podcast’s revenue can sometimes be more indirect than direct, meaning that it might not always make a ton of money itself but it acts as an inbound marketing funnel to other things like your brand or courses.
Affiliate marketing on a podcast can be a great way to monetize your content.
One strategy is to discuss affiliate products during your podcast episodes and provide your podcast listeners with special offers whenever possible.
You can also include affiliate links in your show notes, making it easy for your audience to access and purchase the products or services you recommend.
By promoting relevant products or services that resonate with your audience, you can earn a commission for each successful referral.
Remember, building trust with your listeners is key, so only promote products or services that you genuinely believe in.
Merchandise and Product Sales
Selling merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, and other digital products related to the podcast can be a lucrative revenue stream.
Self-made merchandise is another popular way for podcasters to generate income.
From t-shirts and hats to mugs and stickers, there are plenty of options for creating products that align with your brand and resonate with your loyal listeners everywhere.
Some podcasters view merch as a way to build more brand awareness too, because if people see you wearing those things or see stickers or mugs it could also bring some more visitors.
Community Donations and Memberships
Platforms like Patreon allow podcasters to receive donations from their audience and offer exclusive memberships.
These contributions can help to cover equipment costs and overhead expenses.
Listeners can support their favorite creators by making one-time or monthly donations, which can provide podcasters with a steady stream of income.
In return, creators often offer exclusive premium content, or perks to members as a way of showing appreciation for their support.
This model is especially effective if you have a loyal and engaged community of listeners who are passionate about your content.
10 Highly Successful Podcasts
Many people believe that podcasters can’t make significant money from their shows.
However, several successful podcasters have shattered this myth.
For example, Joe Rogan’s show grossed more than $30 million in a single year in 2019.
Another example is Pat Flynn, who made more than $2 million in 2019 from his podcast, Smart Passive Income.
- The Joe Rogan Experience: Hosted by comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan, the podcast generates income through advertisements, sponsorships, merchandise sales, and YouTube revenue.
- Pod Save America: This political podcast earns money through live shows, advertising on the show’s website and newsletter, and a premium membership program that offers bonus content.
- Serial: This investigative journalism podcast has partnerships with various advertisers and also monetizes through merchandise sales.
- The Dave Ramsey Show: Hosted by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey, this podcast makes money through sponsorships, advertisements, and book sales.
- The Tim Ferriss Show: Bestselling author Tim Ferriss generates income through sponsorships, advertisements, and affiliate partnerships with products he recommends on the show.
- Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard: Hosted by actor and comedian Dax Shepard, this podcast earns money through advertisements, sponsorships, and merchandise sales.
- My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark: True crime comedy podcast that generates revenue through advertisements, live shows, and merchandise sales.
- The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes: This motivational podcast earns money through sponsorships, advertisements, and affiliate partnerships with products recommended on the show.
- The Ben Shapiro Show: Hosted by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, this podcast monetizes through advertisements and premium membership subscriptions.
- How I Built This with Guy Raz: This podcast features interviews with successful entrepreneurs and earns money through sponsorships, advertisements, and merchandise sales. Overall, there are many different ways to monetize a podcast and generate income as a podcaster.
Factors Affecting Podcasters’ Earnings
The income derived from podcasting can be quite varied, reflecting the diverse nature of this relatively new media platform.
Many factors can influence a podcaster’s earnings, from the size and engagement level of their audience to the specific revenue streams they choose to tap into.
Let’s get into some of the key variables that can shape a podcaster’s income potential.
Audience Size and Engagement
An audience with high levels of engagement is one of the most significant factors affecting a podcaster’s earnings.
People often assume that advertisers and sponsors are more likely to invest in podcasts with a bigger following as they have a larger potential reach.
But don’t underestimate the power of engagement.
Even though a smaller audience may not have the reach of a larger one, it can still be incredibly valuable in terms of engagement.
When an audience is highly engaged, it means that they are actively interested and invested in the content being presented.
This level of engagement can actually make a smaller audience more attractive to potential partnerships and sponsorships.
Engaged audiences who actively listen and interact with podcast content demonstrate higher conversion rates for the products and services that they recommend.
Niche and Target Audience
Most successful podcasts cater to a specific niche, providing highly relevant content to a targeted audience.
This can lead to more effective monetization strategies, as listeners are more likely to follow recommendations that are closely aligned with their interests.
When a podcaster has a clear understanding of their target audience, they are better equipped to create and promote content that resonates with them.
As a result, this can lead to higher engagement levels and increased opportunities for earning more podcast income.
Brands are also more likely to partner with podcasts that have a relevant target audience for their products or services.
Additionally, a specific niche often means less competition in terms of advertisements and sponsorships, making it easier for you to secure deals.
The types of revenue streams you choose to tap into also play a significant role in your podcast earnings.
Diversifying your income sources can help reduce risk and create a more stable income stream.
Some podcasts generate revenue through multiple channels, while others focus on one or two primary streams.
It’s essential to test different podcast revenue-generating strategies to see which ones are the most effective for your podcast and audience.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new methods of monetization as your podcast grows and evolves.
Podcast Format and Length
The format and length of a podcast can significantly impact its monetization potential.
Long-form podcasts can explore topics in greater depth, increasing the likelihood of revenue due to greater listener engagement.
On the other hand, short-form podcasts can be more appealing to busy listeners and may attract a larger audience.
However, shorter episodes may result in lower engagement levels and less time for advertisements or sponsorships.
Plus, if you film a longer podcast you will have an easier time finding clips to repurpose for additional content.
These clips can be used on social media platforms to promote your podcast and attract potential listeners, helping to grow your podcast audience, and increase monetization potential.
Consistency and Quality of Content
Consistency is key when it comes to podcasting. Regularly publishing high-quality content keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more.
It also helps to attract new listeners and build a loyal following, making your podcast more attractive to potential sponsors or advertisers.
With the rise of podcasts, there is now a lot of competition for listener’s attention.
To stand out in this crowded space, it’s crucial to consistently deliver high-quality content that keeps your audience engaged and invested in your show.
10 Quick Steps to Start Your Own Podcast
We’ve written an incredible guide on how to start your own podcast, but if you haven’t gotten a chance to read it, here are the steps for starting your own.
- Come Up with Your Podcast’s Title and Description: Begin by deciding on a compelling name for your podcast that accurately represents its content and appeals to potential listeners. Also, craft an engaging description that provides an overview of what your podcast is about.
- Design Your Podcast Artwork: Visuals matter, so create eye-catching artwork for your podcast. This artwork will appear on podcast directories and can play a crucial role in attracting listeners. Use Canva to design your artwork.
- Decide on Your Podcast Host: Choose a reliable podcast hosting platform. This is where you’ll upload your episodes, and it will distribute them to various podcast directories. Our favorite is Buzzsprout.
- Determine Your Podcast Equipment Needs: Identify the equipment you’ll need to start your podcast. This typically includes a high-quality microphone, headphones, and audio recording/editing software.
- Strategize Your Podcast Content: Plan your podcast content ahead of time. Consider the format, duration, structure, and topics for each episode. This step ensures you have engaging and cohesive content for your audience.
- Record Your Initial Trio of Episodes: Start recording your first three podcast episodes. Having multiple episodes available at launch can help hook listeners and encourage them to subscribe for more.
- Prepare Your Podcast Show Notes: Create detailed show notes for each episode. These notes can include key points, resources mentioned in the episode, guest bios (if applicable), and a call to action.
- Upload Your Completed Episodes: Once you’re satisfied with the recording and editing of your episodes, upload them to your chosen podcast host.
- Introduce Your Podcast to Your Listeners: Now it’s time to launch your podcast to your audience. Use different marketing strategies such as social media promotion, collaborations with influencers, or leveraging your website to spread the word about your new podcast.
- Explore Monetization Strategies: Lastly, start exploring different monetization strategies for your podcast. Consider methods such as advertisements, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, Patreon donations, or creating exclusive content for paying subscribers. As mentioned earlier, diversifying your income sources can help create a more stable income stream for your podcast.
Anyone Can Make Money Podcasting When They Do It Right
By leveraging different podcast monetization methods and strategies and focusing on engagement and relevance, podcasters can build a loyal following and create a reliable stream of income.
And with the exciting growth of the creator economy, there’s never been a better time to start podcasting and share your passion with the world.
Starting a podcast is a good idea for aspiring creators because it provides a unique opportunity to connect with an audience in a personal and intimate way.
Podcasts allow creators to share their knowledge, experiences, and stories through audio, which can be consumed while doing other activities.
This makes it convenient for listeners to engage with the content and creates a deeper connection between the creator and the audience.
Podcasts offer a platform for creators to showcase their expertise, build credibility, and attract potential clients or customers.
The podcasting medium also opens up possibilities for monetization through ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. Overall, starting a podcast can be a powerful tool for creators to expand their reach, establish their brand, and build a loyal community.