If you’ve started thinking about how to make money podcasting, then you probably have a few basic podcast monetization questions. Everyone does. We’re here with the answers.
Note upfront that no rule says you must make money from your podcast to be a success. In fact, few podcasts start out with this mission in mind, and the opportunity to monetize usually evolves throughout the lifetime of a podcast. You can start with one strategy, combine them, pivot, or skip making money entirely.
Some podcasts are solely lead generation for another entrepreneurial endeavor altogether.
Whatever your money-making mindset is, Libsyn is an all-in-one podcast hosting platform ready to support you — even if you never monetize. If you choose to, we provide flexible options for subscriptions, donations, and podcast advertising that grow with your podcast.
Do Podcasts Make Money?
Indeed, they do, but how much depends on audience size and connection. The relationship you have as a podcast host with your audience is key. Do they trust you? Do they engage with you? Are they loyal? If so, you’ve got the foundation you need to monetize a podcast — big or small.
A devoted podcast audience is likelier to follow your recommendations (host-read ads), feel good about supporting relevant sponsorships, and pay a monthly fee for exclusive content. There are multiple revenue streams available to you and your loyal audience wants to support you.
Your podcast monetization method and platform will also impact your ability to make money. Not sure if you are ready to monetize? We’ve included 4 things to consider before you get started.
10 Podcast Monetization Strategies
4 Things to Consider If You Want to Monetize Your Podcast
When you begin thinking about how to make money podcasting, a podcast inventory is a good place to start. What is the state of your podcast and what do the metrics say about how well it is doing?
1) Your Audience's Take on Podcast Monetization
The most common questions, especially when podcasters consider a money-making strategy, are “Will my audience pay for extra bonus content?” or “Will my audience be bothered by ads?”
These are reasonable questions with a fairly simple answer: ask them. If you are considering monetization, you likely have a great relationship with your audience, and an open dialogue with them is possible.
Whether you are trying to make a little extra money to cover your new mic or have bigger visions of quitting your day job, be open and share your motivations with your listeners. They will likely provide helpful feedback to guide your strategies.
Maybe the perfect solution to the two questions above is a mix of subscriptions and advertising.
You could offer a paid ad-free premium subscription AND a FREE podcast that you monetize with podcast advertising. It happens all the time.
2) Podcast Consistency & Production Quality
Most podcast revenue models are dependent on new, fresh, highly engaging content. Subscriptions and donations come from a loyal and interactive audience. Brands want to purchase ads for episodes created over a period of time by a committed podcast host.
People (your audience and any advertisers or sponsors) will be counting on you to keep creating your show and need to trust that you will deliver.
In some cases, downloads, ad slots, and impressions are projected, and knowing how many episodes you intend to produce over a period of time will help with those projections.
No matter how you are looking to monetize your show, whether through sponsorships, advertisers, paid subscriptions, or donations (all discussed below), consistency in production is of utmost importance.
Most of us believe that content rules, meaning that if your content is on point, audio quality can be less than optimal. However, if you are looking to monetize your podcast, especially with podcast sponsorships and advertisers, you also have to create a production that is above average.
For you to make money, an advertiser not only needs to fall in love with your content and reach your podcast listeners, but they need to immediately recognize the care and attention that goes into making your show.
3) Podcast Statistics and Growth Metrics
Before you jump into podcast monetization, look at your current podcast status via your podcast statistics. Libsyn provides IAB verified stats — even at the basic level when you are just learning how to start a podcast. These can help you judge your progress and decide whether you are in a position to monetize. Remember, do not compare yourself to others, but compare yourself to yourself.
Clearly, growth matters when you want to monetize. If you are not sure you are in a good place yet, use your podcast analytics to 1) gauge where to promote your podcast and 2) learn what content is most popular with your audience. Determine a growth strategy based on this information to increase listenership and position yourself to earn income.
Video Tip: IAB stands for
4) Extra Work & Commitment
Making money podcasting is not a backseat operation. You officially transition from content creator to entrepreneur! But, don’t let the word “entrepreneur” scare you. We’ve got you covered.
This can be super exciting, but in all honesty, it also requires a commitment to extra work. If you monetize your podcast with Libsyn Auto Ads, it can be more of a set-it-and-forget-it revenue stream. If you promise extra content to subscribers, you will be on the hook for creating that content. Are you ready for all that?
Think about whether you really want to add a purchasing pitch for your merch, subscription, or favorite mattress to your content creation workflow. And then, think about your audience. We can’t say this enough. What does your audience want? What do they value? The product or service you are pitching needs to be relevant to them. Finally, give it a try off-air.
How did that feel? The work and commitment required for podcast monetization come in many forms, from the extra effort you will need to put into recording your podcast to additions to your website, workflows, customer conversations, and conversations with advertising networks.
Libsyn strives to elevate and automate as much of the monetization process as possible so creators like you can continue to focus on creating the content they love.
10 Key Podcast Monetization Methods
Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran, as long as you have a loyal listenership — big or small — and produce a consistent stream of quality content, the opportunity to make money is there.
Here are our top 10 monetization strategies to help you get started.
1. Develop Content Systems
Our first tip? Set yourself up for success. Think of this as the foundation of all monetization strategies. The goal is to envision workflows that do not require significant extra work to execute and can be monetized and completed well in advance of promotional deadlines.
An example of how this might look when it comes to recording bonus content for your paying subscribers:
Every interview for the next six months, ask your guest one extra question but don’t release it in your regular episode. Instead, hold that content and release the extra question as a mini-bonus episode.
Sum: no additional recording sessions and a little bit of extra editing.
To take this one step further, create a media release form for guests to sign. In this form, ask for assets like a bio and headshot that can be used for promotion.
This blog, 2023 Podcast Monetization — Content Systems Before Sales with Kate Erickson, is a great read on preparing for a successful podcast via your content systems.
Kate also shares her expertise on Niche Content, another avenue for effective monetization. She explains how having niche content is a draw for podcast revenue that you won’t find otherwise: 2023 Podcast Monetization — Niche Content. Learn how creators can monetize even with a niche audience!
2. Making Money with Donations & Podcast Subscriptions
Video Tip: Creating extra content for paying subscribers or podcast memberships does not always mean hours of extra work. Elsie Escobar shares 4 quick tips for extra content creation without extra time investment.
No matter how many downloads you have, it is super easy to set up podcast subscriptions and accept donations with Libsyn’s Glow. Glow makes it simple for listeners to pay you, access your exclusive content, and listen to your podcast in their favorite app. Glow also allows you to accept one-off donations.
Glow offers the opportunity to monetize content in the following ways:
- Bonus episodes
- Ad-free episodes
- Early access to new episodes
- Behind-the-scenes podcast content
- Podcast outtakes
- A look at your creative process
- Even bloopers
Apple Podcasts Subscriptions
Tip: Include a FREE subscription tier that offers listeners something fun like a sticker or a coaster with your logo. Give them access to your blog or newsletter and collect emails. It’s always easier to get someone to upgrade than to pull them into $5/month from scratch. Make them want more!
3. Integrate Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate sales involve special links that track purchases made by your listeners. When a listener clicks on an affiliate link in your show notes or goes to the link mentioned in your podcast and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.
Talking about products or services relevant to your audience is an easy way to monetize a podcast. However, disclose that you’re providing affiliate links (transparency is the best practice). Most importantly, only recommend products that you genuinely believe in.
Here is an article that provides a great overview of affiliate marketing and how to use it.
4. Make Money Selling Podcast Merch
Another way to monetize a podcast is to sell merch: t-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise with your podcast’s logo. Loyal listeners love supporting and sharing their go-to podcasts — especially on t-shirts that everyone can see.
If you have a strong following, this can be a great avenue for making money and raising awareness of your podcast. Plus, it’s fun. As a podcast host, be sure to mention your merch on all of your podcast episodes (and any podcast on which you appear as a guest) and share pictures on all your social media channels. Platforms like TeePublic and Zazzle make creating podcaster swag easy.
5. Hold Live Events for Your Podcasting Audience
Hosting live events like workshops or conferences with other popular podcasters or special guests related to your content is a way to monetize your podcast. This is especially true if you have expertise in a specific area and are comfortable speaking in front of a live audience. Sell tickets for IRL attendance or charge a fee for your audience to watch online — or both!
Eventbrite is a self-service ticketing platform for live experiences that allows you to create and share events.
Tip: Start small when it comes to live events and gauge interest carefully. Hosting a conference or renting a space requires an upfront investment to secure. You need to have confidence and a marketing budget in some cases to ensure you can cover the cost of your investment with attendance and other sponsorship opportunities.
6. Increase Earning through Coaching or Consulting
If your podcast is about business strategies, dealing with psychology, or even time management, chances are you have a lot of knowledge and expertise. You can bring this to your podcast and individuals willing to pay for your personal help.
When your podcast listeners discover you are available for a one-on-one, they bring their trust in you and your podcast to the dialog — it’s like they already know you. Listeners will often pay for individual and customized attention.
7. Charge Money for Courses & Digital Products
You can create and sell online courses or digital products related to your topic if you have expertise in a specific area and can create high-quality course materials. Point out that it’s a comprehensive way to learn everything you’ve taught —an online course!
Tip: Before investing time in setting up a third-party platform for the sale of goods, digital or otherwise, make sure you clearly understand how sales tax works, what transaction fees are involved and how refund requests are handled. All of these will impact pricing and how much money you make. Each platform is different.
8. Make Money from Sponsored Content
This is when you work with companies to create content — an episode or a series of episodes — that aligns with their product/service and your podcast theme. It’s the best win-win situation for you and your sponsor, allowing you both to make money.
Sponsored content is a good fit for either larger or very niche podcasters who work with a network like Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast. Another option is to reach out on your own to brands that have a natural fit with your content.
Is your podcast about motorcycles? Why not reach out to your local Harley or Honda dealer and see if they would like to sponsor an episode or more?
9. Leverage Third-Party Platform Ad Revenue
Publishing your podcast out to as many places as possible is a good standard marketing practice for any podcaster. Some of those platforms offer podcast revenue opportunities if your audience is large enough.
Places like YouTube offer their own monetization options. They tell you clearly how to make money on YouTube. Libsyn automates publishing your audio-only podcasts to YouTube, making it easier than ever to work toward your money-making goals.
Video Tip: Check out this video on best practices for publishing your audio-only podcast to YouTube.
10. Podcast Monetization via Advertising
If your audience and downloads are large enough, you can enter the world of podcast advertising. At Libsyn, we offer automatic ads (also known as programmatic ads) as well as a full-service ad platform for dynamic, host-read ads, and podcast sponsorship through Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast. Both offerings allow you to fill your catalog of episodes with hand-picked ad slots for a natural integration of advertising that isn’t disruptive to your audience.
You can insert pre-, mid-, and post-roll ads in multiple episodes where they feel like they fit naturally into your content.
Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast works exclusively with many popular podcasts. Yes, there is a revenue share, but many successful podcasts simply do not have the time to manage the ad sales relationships. Forgoing the conversations with ad agencies, media buyers and brands and gaining the support of a team of ad professionals is a fair and welcome trade for the busy lives of creators.
Creators can focus on recording their sponsorship ads, or testing a product, and creating new content rather than spending time sending reports and invoices.
If you are looking for sponsorship deals and have a large audience a podcast advertising network may be your best next step. You can submit your podcast to AdvertiseCast for consideration or apply to be a part of our AutoAds program.
Tip: You can always change, pivot or combine monetization strategies. Give your audience and yourself time to refine what works. We are mentioning this again because it is easy think that if one option doesn’t get you to the money making goals you want, its over. The most successful podcasts are always evolving, testing and diversifying revenue opportunities.
More Make-Money Tips for Smaller Podcasts
We asked Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, for some extra tips on how to make money with your podcast — especially if you are just getting started. He stressed the value of local and gave some great advice!
Pay Attention to Local Advertisers
You know those local magazines that you see as you’re walking in and out of your local IHOP, brew pub, or coffee shop? Every city has one. Flip it over and go to the back page. Find everybody with a half a page or smaller ad.
These are your local advertisers whom you can reach out to and say, “Hey, I have a podcast that covers the Kansas City Chiefs and you’re in Kansas City. Do you want to advertise your HVAC company on my podcast?” If you’ve got 250 downloads for your show, you can make money that way.
Interview Local Experts and Businesses
You can also form partnerships and invite local topic experts to your show. In turn, they give you a promo code for a service or product they are selling, and each time that code is used, you get a cut of the purchase. Plus, you show your local support!
Your Next Steps in Podcast Monetization
The path toward podcast monetization is not a one-size-fits-all and there are clearly many monetization methods. Libsyn provides the built-in solutions for making money with advertising and subscriptions as well as a highly rated podcast hosting and publishing platform.
Although you want to make money, never forget that compelling content rules and your listeners come first. If you truly understand your audience and take the time to note what episode titles they respond to and engage with most — and then provide that consistently — you will find yourself on the path to monetization naturally with many monetization tools to assist.
If you think you need to work on growth or improve your production value before you take the monetization step, we’re here to help with that, too. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for a whole library if support and regular live events.
Join our monthly “Learn to Podcast” webinars with Dave Jackson, School of Podcasting. Bring your monetization questions and Dave will absolutely give you an answer in the Q&A that follows each session!
The possibilities are endless and the money is there if you want it and are willing to work a bit harder.
Get started at or switch to Libsyn today and let us help you make a few bucks — or a living — with your podcast.