If you have a podcast, you need to have a clear monetization plan.
Without a clear end goal, you will end up spending all of your time making content, and never experiencing a reward for it.
“But I am making free content for my audience, and providing incredible value,” you may say.
AWESOME. That’s great.
Now get paid for that. You will not be able to sustain free content forever. There’s abundance mindset and giving freely, but there’s also a point where you need to have an end goal and a strategy for what you’re doing. Getting paid for your work empowers you to do even more, even if the payment is simply enough to cover costs of producing the podcast so that you can focus your time and effort towards other valuable content to serve your audience.
Simply making content just to make content will lead to burnout. We need to take a good hard look at the facts and turn your podcast into a money-making machine. It’s not that hard; you just have to be intentional about what you do.
Here are a few ways you can monetize your podcast that will empower you to continue to offer value to your audience.
Most of the time, when people think about monetizing a podcast, they think about sponsorships.
A sponsorship is when a company or brand pays you a lump sum of money to support the costs of your podcast, in exchange for a mention in the episode for the duration of the sponsorship.
These costs can be low: just covering your hosting fees, the costs of editing, etc. Others can be higher, to cover the amount of time that you spend creating, producing, outsourcing, promoting, etc.
The more downloads you have, the better the sponsorships you can land. Many companies are looking to align with influencers, especially those who align with their stated purpose.
For example: I love listening to podcasts about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There is a company called Ahrefs, which is an industry-standard SEO tool. Several of the podcasts that I listen to are sponsored by Ahrefs, and each episode includes a short blurb promoting Ahrefs.
Sponsorships often include a unique code for your listeners, perhaps for a free trial, or a bonus with purchase.
Sponsorships fit best when it’s a clear fit for the same audience: if your podcast is for real estate agents, a CMS for managing leads and relationships would be a great potential sponsor. A sponsorship for Blue Apron, a meal kit, would be a great fit as well (they like to sponsor busy entrepreneurs).
I personally highly recommend keeping your sponsorships and affiliate links (more on that further down) to things that you already believe in and use yourself. If you don’t, you run the risk of being inauthentic with your audience and breaking that trust.
Note: when you contact companies for potential sponsorships, you’ll need to be able to present value to them. This can be done by presenting your social media followings, podcast downloads per month, email list information, etc. Influencer marketing is a key component of many company’s strategies, especially among micro-influencers with a highly engaged audience, BUT these companies want to make sure that they are using their budget well. A huge social media following with NO engagement may not be strategic for a company. A micro-influencer with a highly engaged following may result in higher conversions and be considered the more strategic partnership. Gather the information of what value you can provide them, and present that with your pitch!
Do you have products or services that you love? Courses that have changed your life? Go do a Google search of that company or service, and add the term “affiliate.” See if they have an affiliate program so you can be paid for sharing about them.
Affiliate marketing is being PAID for sharing about products and services that you already love and use.
Let’s say you have a friend who owns a restaurant that you really enjoy. If you take another friend, and they make a purchase, the owner gives you a free appetizer. Now imagine that the appetizer is your favorite food in the world: you’re going to want to bring in new people all the time! You’ve been rewarded for sharing what you enjoy!
Many products or services offer affiliate programs to incentivize you bringing them new business. Anything that you use as a tool or a service would be a GREAT fit for affiliate marketing!
Practical example: I LOVE my web hosting provider, Siteground. They have an awesome affiliate program, and I get a minimum of $50 for each new signup. They also offer tiered rewards, so the more referrals I make, the higher my rewards!
So in my podcast, I would record a short blurb highlighting my favorite aspects of Siteground. I might mention their 24/7 chat support, the FREE SSL certificates, FREE email, and the fact that they imported all of my content from my previous WordPress site – also FREE.
When I share that information, it’s clear that they have provided me incredible value, and my pitch for them will be genuine.
Then, I just give a link: https://thehollypeck.com/siteground
The key is to keep it simple.
If you use WordPress, you can use the free plugin called Pretty Links. This allows you to make links with your URL that lead directly to the product/service.
If you have another provider, you can create a landing page as an aggregate for your links. You can have a link to your latest episode, items or products mentioned, etc. Just remember, keep the URL simple. People will have to remember the URL to go to your links later.
Example URL (note: this is not an active link): https://thehollypeck.com/links
Additionally, this link can be added to your show notes so that people can click on it and get the service. This is an easy way to bring in some extra income: remember, multiple streams of income is the goal!
Using affiliate links is different from sponsorships because it offers unlimited opportunity to earn money! A sponsorship is a one-time payment, whereas affiliate links are ongoing.
Direct People to Your Paid Programs
Do you have a membership? Do you have courses? Do you have digital products or services?
Use your podcast as a funnel to send people to your paid resources.
Get used to pitching yourself in each episode! It’s not hard: just do a pre-recorded segment and add it to the beginning or end of each episode.
For myself, I would say something like the following:
Are you creating tons of new content and don’t have the time to do everything you need to do? Instead of doing the same thing multiple times, recording your podcast, compiling show notes, and writing a blog post, outsource the work and get your time back so you can free your time up to do what matters!
This pitch is for my paid services. Not everyone who listens to my podcast will need this service, and that is ok!
However, your FREE content helps establish that know, like, and trust factor that is so important in sales. Once people know, like, and trust you, they are more likely to buy your products and services. They become your warm market and become addicted to what YOU have to offer.
If you do not actively share your offerings, you do yourself AND them a disservice. You lose your chance to serve them, and they don’t even know that you offer the services or resources that they already need!
At the core of sales is the concept of service. You’re serving your audience with your podcast, now, you’ll be offering them an even higher level of service.
Free is almost everyone’s favorite F-word, but here’s the thing. Using your free content as a funnel helps connect you with the people who are hungry for more. It automatically pulls your ideal client closer to you; the people who are SO HUNGRY for the value that you have to offer.
Get used to pitching your paid products or services on each episode – you’ll begin to see your ideal clients coming to you!
What are some of the ways that you’ve monetized your podcast? Have you found any creative ways? Tell us more in the comments!