When you launch your podcast, the aim is rarely to make money, but it may become possible over time for various reasons; you may want to buy stuff to improve your sound, get money for investing so much time in your podcast, or even just make money out of something you like.
Just like most YouTubers, all podcasters can’t make money from their content. Sometimes they don’t even feel like it; but for those who would like to become the new Joe Rogan, you must reach a certain number of subscribers first. If it is not the case (already), there are other ways to make money from your podcasts.
Crowdfunding: trust your audience
This is definitely the best option if you don’t have enough subscribers. Podcast subscribers are quintessentially loyal and committed, no matter how many there are. Your subscribers will often be more than happy to help you through a temporary or regular donation.
There are several platforms for that, like:
- Tipeee, which collects “tips” from your audience. There is no minimum cap before you can cash those tips. The only flaw is that you cannot offer your Tippers extra content.
- Patreon, which is the best option for long-term crowdfunding. It features private RSS feeds so that you can offer exclusive content to your Patrons. For instance, in France, Robotics Podcast Universe relies on a great Patreon and a committed audience every month.
Crowdfunding: Podcastics helps you
PayPal, Tipeee and Patreon are the three platforms for which Podcastics displays the funds raised. Add your Patreon and Tipeee link to your podcast page and it will automatically feature on your website as well as on all your audio players so that you can reach as many potential patrons as possible.
Your subscribers will often give you small tips, so it is important to rely on a big community of patrons. Offering exclusive stuff is a good way to turn subscribers into patrons. You can do a little something, like mentioning the name of your patrons, opening a private chat, or meeting them; or you can go for something bigger, like letting your patrons download your next episode before it is released, or giving them access to extra episodes or to an ad-free RSS feed.
Take Distorsion for instance: they have launched a concept through which the audience can buy the podcasters one beer 🍺 for $5, two beers 🍻 for $10 or even a round of beers for $20 🍻🍻🍻. They can even recommend the best beers to buy; the two hosts then taste the beer(s) that they have bought in the following episode and mention the person who paid for them. It is a funny way to get a bit of money without talking about it.
Podcast sponsoring: trust your business partners
Do you know Blue Chew? Definitely not, because if so, it would mean that:
- You either have problems in bed – Blue Chew being a Viagra-like pill.
- Or you are into NFL podcasts, Blue Chew being one of the biggest sponsors of such shows.
We won’t tell you why we know about Blue Chew but note that it is a great example of how advertising is getting big in the North American podcast industry. In the US, there is often one or several ads in pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll, i.e., before, during, or after an episode.
In Europe, only a few podcasts are advertised, though polls show the audience would not mind a few ads only if they stick to a few rules. When asked about it by Havas and the French media regulatory body, 55% of people say they prefer pre-roll over mid-roll (30%) and post-roll (15%). They also want ads related to the theme of the podcast (84%).
Host-read : the preferred option
People would rather have ads introduced by podcasters themselves. “Host-read” is a good way to make the most of your audience’s commitment. If you choose this option, be as natural as possible. Ad-introduction should not cut or break your story or your interactions. You can do a little staging only if it fits your podcast. Popular entertainment show hosts often read texts to promote their sponsors, and they try to do it in a funny way to stick with their usual tone and go with the flow of the show.
This method is for podcasts with a big audience though, or for those who deal with a niche topic the audience of which is exactly the one targeted by the sponsor. It is even trickier when it comes to brand content, i.e., episodes that are directly related to a brand or one of its aspects. There are many examples, such as French podcasts Happiness Therapy, which is made in collaboration with Lancôme, and No Ciné, which sometimes focuses on a specific movie as part of a partnership.
Let’s imagine your podcast is about perfume. You proactively contact several brands and one of them says yes. Such brands will then get involved – to the degree of its liking – and help you make one or several episodes. The sponsor will back your podcast and you will advertise it through episodes cleverly associated with the brand, such as an interview of the brand’s nose or head of communication, or a report in the brand’s laboratory. You get it: this method is more subtle than basic advertising, and it brings added value to your podcast if you do things properly.
Advertising sales agencies: on the hunt for advertisers
Advertising sales agencies are obviously crucial, but they require more in terms of audience: they won’t be interested in your podcast unless you reach at least 5,000 listeners a month. Now, you know it!
The way they work is quite simple: they get in touch with advertisers for you, negotiate their fees, get the scripts, and automatically insert the audio ads in your episodes. You are then paid according to the audience figures of your episodes.
Podcastics and advertising sales agencies
Podcastics is based in France and has partnered with Audion and SoundCast. It is totally free of charge for podcasters. Podcastics covers the fees for their subscribers and the outcome is unnoticeable for listeners; they can listen to the podcast normally, there is only an ad integrated to the episode.
Affiliation: a method which is not only podcast-related
Affiliation is a marketing method which was born with e-shopping; advertisers give money to affiliated websites in exchange for sales of their products (or subscriptions to their services). As an internet user, you have come across that many times without even noticing.
Of course, you can directly recommend an item/a brand related to your podcast topic or that you like. But for this method to bring money, you shall need a tracking link that you can share on your podcast website or in your episode descriptions. To get that link, you can:
- Subscribe to the affiliate programs of big companies like Amazon or eBay.
- Use external affiliation platforms like ShareASale, TradeDoubler, Awin or Lemonads.
Lasso can also prove useful; it is a WordPress plugin which updates your links everywhere on your website and makes shorter links that are easier to share through one dashboard.
So, anytime listeners click on your tracking link, they are redirected to the product or brand of your choice, and you get a commission out of the listeners’ purchases. Unlike traditional advertising, your income will depend on the number of potential clients you reach, not on your audience.
Goodies: a communication tool more than a source of income
“What about making a t-shirt for the show?” This is something every podcaster ends up suggesting. Let’s be honest: none has ever sold enough to compensate for the money, energy and time spent in the process. Same thing applies for coasters, badges, and coffee cups.
Shops related to podcasts rarely turn into an extra source of income, but they are a good way to bond with your audience, bring your community together and even reach new listeners through this indirect form of advertising. So, we are not saying that you should not start a shop; just lower your expectations.
There are a few podcast-related stores that have managed to become popular though. For instance, Distorsion, a Canadian podcast, sells caps, posters, face masks, phone cases, etc. They also sell a book which, just like Super Ciné Battle’s, is set in a virtuous circle; the podcast promotes the book to the already existing community of viewers, then the book reaches a new type of audience… which will come to the podcast. That’s what you call success!
Managing your advertising campaigns on Podcastics
Did our chapter about advertising catch your attention? Note that as part of its Extreme package, Podcastics provides you with powerful tools to manage your own advertising campaigns. You have total freedom in your choices: pre-roll or post-roll placement, scheduling, priority level, capping the number of listens... You can even chain them, ensuring that your schedule is 100% full. One last little extra? Each campaign can automatically insert a message of your choice in the description of your episodes.