The rise of Clubhouse in 2019/2020 clearly demonstrated that podcasts are far from being dead. As opposed to text and video materials, this format offers a wide range of unique advantages such as,
- The capability to listen to podcasts on the go while driving or doing your household chores.
- Audio materials do not require continuous visual contact with any screen making them compatible with most daily activities.
- The format of podcasts lends itself to the old-style radio show format that is still highly demanded by lots of listeners.
While this type of content is relatively easy to produce, its authors still need money for equipment, operating expenses, and other needs even if they do not seek to become professional content creators in this sphere. This substantiates the need to explore the most effective ways to make money with podcasts in 2022.
1. Affiliate Marketing
This instrument is the most straightforward one in terms of ease of use for podcasters. If your channel has lots of listeners, some firms will probably approach you with requests to promote their products and services. You can integrate such messages in various formats ranging from affiliate links on social media to voiced advertisements made during your podcasts. The main ‘rule of thumb’ here is to make such promotions non-intrusive and always check the quality and legality of the products and services you promote. Most listeners grudgingly accept the need for paid advertisements as a way of supporting the channel that allows its owner to continue making quality content for them. However, the promotion of online casinos, Ponzi schemes or other ethically controversial offerings is a quick way to ruin your reputation for good or even end up in jail like several top-ranked US media experts. Always make sure that you could imagine yourself using the products and services you promote or selling them to your close friends and relatives.
2. Branded Memorabilia
As your podcast is growing in popularity, there will be lots of people willing to show their support and contribution by purchasing various merchandise featuring your logo or other branded visuals. These activities represent two potential customer motivations. On the one hand, some listeners view such purchases as a form of donations supporting the channel, which is why they can purchase your offerings even if they are not planning to use them in their daily lives. On the other hand, your creativity may result in some really interesting product designs that can attract even non-followers. The main idea here is to not rely on the second strategy and start with the first one. Offer some basic merchandise such as cups, stickers or T-shirts with memorable quotes from your podcasts or your logo. You can start with a third-party print-on-demand service working on a per-order basis and expand your operations when necessary. Combined with other tactics such as Patreon subscriptions and product sales, merchandise sales allow you to create a steady source of passive income that will be growing over time.
3. Patreon and Live Stream Donations
Many podcasters including Crime Junkie, Dan Cummins, and Heather McDonald presently make their living via income from Patreon and similar membership platforms for creators. They allow your listeners to support your channel via paid subscriptions. The unique feature of this scheme is its flexible nature. Many artists offer various benefits to their subscribers such as early access to new podcasts or some additional materials that are only available to supporters. It is also possible to set up various tiers depending on the amount of money your followers are willing to share with you monthly. With that being said, some content creators choose to not offer any advantages to paid subscribers in comparison with regular listeners. This unconventional approach may be less popular but is more suitable for ‘independent thinkers’ willing to show that they treat every member of their audience equally and do not push anyone into supporting their channel. Similarly, live streams are frequently accompanied by paid donations allowing any listener to send a small sum of money and have their question answered by the show host. This form of monetisation is completely unobtrusive but frequently leads to substantial revenues from loyal fans of your channel willing to support it or establish direct communication with you via it.
4. Offering Your Own Products
Podcasters focusing on educational context or professional recommendations can monetise their activities by offering auxiliary products. The best rule here is to use free handouts first in the form of various cheat sheets, eBooks or online mini-courses. These products will guide your listeners several steps further in their customer journeys. You can ‘close the deal’ later by selling ‘full’ offerings such as long-term programmes, books or personal consultations. With that being said, this monetisation format may not be suitable for all podcasters. Developing high-quality materials that suit the needs of all viewers may be extremely challenging even for top-level experts. At the same time, going into one-on-one coaching effectively forces you into an additional full-time job if you want to effectively monetise this activity. Hence, a middle-of-the-road approach may be preferable for most podcasters.
The four tactics described above allow you to form a flexible monetisation strategy that suits the specific needs of your channel. For example, podcasters who are just starting out may not receive a lot of affiliate marketing requests and can focus on Patreon subscriptions, live streams, and the development of their own products. As your channel grows over time, you may choose to combine all of these methods to create a stable source of passive income. However, it is crucial that you are always careful regarding the types of monetisation you choose and the kinds of products and services you recommend to your followers. While some podcasters want to start making lots of money over their first year, a single wrong step can close this opportunity for you forever. Keep in mind that you should always view your listeners as your friends and be grateful to them for their support of your channel.