The definitive guide to making money out of podcasts – you’re welcome Spotify

Podcasting popularity is growing at an incredible rate, with global monthly listener figures forecast to reach 1.85 billion in 2023. But do these impressive stats translate into cash?

Money making ideas

Spotify obviously thinks it does. The Swedish music streaming company recently announced it will be spending $500m buying up a number of podcasting networks. Acquisitions so far include Gimlet Media, Anchor and Parcast.

So how does Spotify plan on getting its money back?

Advertising is one obvious avenue. The company already features adverts on its music streaming services – so it’s well placed to roll this out across its podcast series. And podcast advertising revenue is on the up. In the US it reached $314 million in 2017, and is forecast to hit $659 million by 2020. That’s a 110% increase – but it still doesn’t make much of a dent in Spotify’s spending spree. So what next?

 We’d love to say we spoke to Spotify to find out. We didn’t. Sorry. Instead we’ve come up with a few money-making ideas they might like to try – and we won’t even charge for them for it. Because we’re nice like that. You might want to try them out yourself.

 Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is similar to a sponsored podcast, but instead of getting a lump sum of money up front for an advert, you receive commission when you refer your listeners to companies, which then leads to a sale.

This approach works best if you promote products or services that you use yourself and believe in, so you can authentically endorse them.

Subscriptions

In China – where the podcast market is worth more than $7 billion – revenue is driven by paid-for subscriptions. It’s a big shift for Western podcast listeners to have to start paying, but it’s a model we are going to increasingly see in the podcast market.

You can bet your bottom dollar Spotify will start charging for content. They have an impressive line up of stars, including Amy Schumer and rapper and broadcaster Joe Budden, which they hope people will pay to listen to.

Chances are you won’t have the same big names up your sleeve, but this doesn’t mean you can’t charge for valuable content.

A start-up company called Substack, which helps people set up subscription email newsletters, obviously thinks there is money in people paying for podcasts, as it has just added audio to its suite of tools. The first Substack publisher to use the tool is Anthony Pompliano, who is launching a daily podcast for Off the Chain that will be available to his paying subscribers.

Crowdfunding

Rather than charging a flat fee to every podcast listener, you can try and raise donations from your loyal fans. Patreon is a popular platform for many successful podcasters, who rely on their close connection with their followers to raise money. You only need a few hundred devotees prepared to spend the equivalent of a daily cup of coffee (or better, bottle of wine) to make a decent living out of your podcast.

Premium Content

Premium content is where you deliver additional value to your listener for a few pounds per month.

This could be:

·      Additional interviews

·      Behind-the-scenes content

·      Ad-free RSS feed

·      Early access RSS feed

·      Q&As with the hosts/guests

 Events

Why not run an event for your listeners, where they can find out more about what you do and meet like-minded people? You can also invite thought leaders as guest speakers and offer a few giveaways.  

Merchandise

Everyone loves a branded t-shirt or mug, right? Use your podcast’s logo, or an inside joke that only fans of your podcast will understand (think Adam Buxton robotic phrase ‘my wife’). You can make phone cases, hats, hoodies, stickers and more… Your fans will love wearing/using your products and letting their friends know all about their favourite podcast.

It’s a good idea to use a print-on-demand service, such as Vistaprint, so you don’t over order stock.

Public speaking

Your podcast can be a great marketing vehicle for your expertise in your industry. Plus, you can charge big bucks for speaking at conferences and live events.

Dr Dave Nicol is a vet, business coach, published author, blogger, vlogger, consultant and public speaker. He podcast Blunt Dissection has a loyal following of around 70,000 listeners, which has led to him being asked to speak at prestigious events all around the world.

Public speaking is also a great way to establish your authority and reach a new audience, who will then hopefully become future podcast listeners.

Online Courses

One great way to make money from your podcast is to create an online course related to your podcasting topic. You could even create a course about how to run a successful podcast.

Get it right and it could offer an easy source of passive income, as you can sell the course again and again, on every podcast.

As the course will relate to your podcasting theme your listeners already have a vested interest in that topic – making it a much easier sell.

Coaching and consulting

Coaching requires more effort than producing an online course, but it can be very lucrative. You can use your podcast to position yourself as an industry expert, and then offer to share your skills and expertise with listeners for a fee.

Want more advice on creating a credible podcast? Get in touch to find out we can take the stress out of podcasting.

Charlotte Ricca