Making Money With Your Podcast: 5 Monetization Models And How They Work

One of the biggest questions we get at Blubrry is “How do I make money as a podcaster?” While the answer to that question is pretty much always “it depends,” we have identified some of the most popular ways podcasters are finding to monetize their work:

  1. Ad Networks
    Joining an advertising network is one of the easiest ways to get matched up with potential sponsors. Blubrry’s advertising network is just one example of a company that can match you up with advertisers in your niche. One of the biggest benefits we offer is that we actively track statistics and work to match our podcast customers with relevant advertisers. We also recently updated our application process, collecting more information to help make a better match between podcasters and potential sponsors. Blubrry’s advertising rates have hovered around $20 – $25 CPM (cost per thousand downloads) for the past ten years and are based on mid-roll placements (i.e. a live-read ad spot in the first 25% of your show.)
  2. Affiliate sales 
    Sometimes sponsorships come not via direct advertising sales, but affiliate partnerships, where the podcaster only receives a fee if listeners actually click through and/or make a purchase. Though the barrier to entry is relatively low when it comes to affiliate relationships, it’s wise to be choosy: if every podcaster and her sister are hawking the same affiliate brand, what are the chances that you’ll be able to convert many new customers? A more effective plan may be to Google the brands you already love and talk about, + “affiliate,” and see what comes up. Or sign up with a service like Share a Sale or Commission Junction and searching for brands and product/service types that are a good fit for your show. You can also include Amazon Associates links when sharing resources in your show notes posts. The relatively low commissions may only result in a small trickle of cash, but it may at least cover incidental costs and give you a nice boost in revenues when you have a more popular show.
  3. Selling Your Own Products/Services
    Your podcast doesn’t have to be directly monetized to help you earn more money. A podcast is a great way to increase your authority and help you sell your products or services to a hungry audience. It could also potentially put you in front of people in a position to hire you for freelance work down the road. Most importantly, podcasts are a great way to build a strong relationship with your audience.
  4. Donations
    If your show isn’t quote-unquote “sponsor friendly,” you may need to rely on the loyalty of your audience to keep it funded. Patreon is just one service that allows you to tap into your audience’s devotion to help you keep your show in the black.
  5. Integrated sponsorships
    If you’re a blogger or social influencer who’s worked with brands in the past, it may be worth your while to talk to your current partners about including your podcast in future sponsorship packages. Many brands are still skittish about working with podcasts, since they don’t fully understand the metrics or reach. Being able to sell them on a full package that includes social sharing and other added value, like a blog following or substantial email list, can seriously up your chances of landing a great sponsorship deal and potentially building advertiser relationships for years to come.