Now There Are 5 Podcast Monetization Models

I just returned from my local Podcast MeetUp Group and we talked about various podcast monetization models.

During the discussion, a new member pitched his idea for a new show and it brought a new form of monetization to light.

Read on for more

how to monetize a podcast

Here are the 5 Monetization Models for podcasters:


1. Ads / Sponsors

Voicing ad spots on a podcast didn’t make sense 5 years ago. Why? There weren’t many services or products that would benefit from a show that had no geographical boundaries.

For example: A local spa in Kansas City probably won't attract listeners from California or Florida.

Nowadays, there are more online services with digital products who could benefit from getting in front of your audience. Pitching ads for them on your podcast is more feasible today.

There are two ways to get paid for placing ads in your show:

CPM (Cost per mile) – This is the podcast monetization model made famous by John Lee Dumas. He could guarantee a minimum amount of downloads per episode and the sponsor would pay per thousand downloads.

Flat rate – The sponsor pays you a flat rate. For you, the podcaster, it makes sense to quote them a certain number of episodes. If you post a new show every Wednesday then offer them the Baker’s Dozen (13 episodes). This is the same as 3 months worth of shows – BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO COMMUNICATE IN TIME.

Podcasts are perpetual advertising opportunities – something no other advertising medium offers. The ads live on forever. Someone who finds your show in 2 years will hear the ad from last week’s episode as if it were new.

So don’t talk about a 3-month sponsorship or you’ll confuse a potential sponsor who is familiar with throwing money away on radio ads or local flyers that get tossed into the recycle bin after all the coupons have been clipped.


2. Your Products / Services (bonus content)

This is the model I followed with the MoneyPlan SOS podcast. My show was a greeting card to let my listeners get to know me before calling me for one-on-one financial coaching.

Do you have a product or digital course to sell? Talk about it in your show. This is one way to advertise without selling out.

ways to make money with a podcast

3. Affiliates

I also used this monetization model in my podcast. MoneyPlan SOS was a podcast about personal finances, so it made sense for me to offer my audience a 10% discount to purchase You Need A Budget – and I receive an affiliate commission.

While selling your own services or products will make you more money, affiliate sales are a nice passive way to monetize your podcast.

4. Donations

The donation model has been around for years thanks to PayPal. However, Patreon came on the scene over a year ago and makes the “podcasting tip jar” a bit more attractive for those who want to support your show.

Here’s now it works: You offer bonus content or do interesting things for people who donate a certain amount of money each month. You can tier the awards and Patreon helps manage it all for you. They also allow the patron to donate per episode but also cap the total amount per month (so you don’t bust their budget).

Listen to Dave Jackson’s School Of Podcasting Episode 399 for more about Patreon

5. Charge guests to appear on your show

What? You can't be serious. Actually, it is for a very small segment of the podosphere.

A young man attending my MeetUp told us his idea: Interview MBA alumni from the college where he works and charge the guest to appear on the show.

I know, it sounds kinda scummy at first, but after talking it through we realized this podcast monetization model would work in his situation: They have an established fan base, college buddies want to hear about what their old frat brothers/sisters are up to, and it gives the alumni bragging rights.

Admit it – you still wear the sweatshirt with your alma mater and get invitations to the annual reunion. Why wouldn’t you tune in to hear about ‘ol Johnny Perkins who became a doctor. You’d want to go on the show to blow your horn too.

The most important thing to consider about monetizing your show is to find a way that brings value to your audience. Pitching your Bluehost affiliate on a podcast about nutrition probably won’t go over very well. I’m struggling with this myself – trying to include the right kinds of ads in my new show without going too far off the mark.

What do you think? Are there other ways to monetize a podcast?

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1 Comment

  • Dave Jackson

    November 16, 2015

    People charging to appear need to make sure that their listeners know that. That could be an FTC violation.