11 ways to make money from a podcast
Starting a podcast is a great idea if you're passionate about a certain topic. Luckily, we know of some ways to make money from a podcast.
Podcasts are great to listen to, whether it's on the bus to uni, while cleaning your student house or when you're supposed to be writing that important essay.
Since you can create a podcast about pretty much any topic, it's an awesome way to combine your passions with a way to earn money online. Whether it's your degree subject, a hobby you've had since childhood or a niche topic you know way too much about, there will be an audience out there.
How do you start one? And, most importantly, how do podcasts make money? We'll show you the best ways below.
What’s in this guide?
What is a podcast?
Essentially, a podcast is an audio programme. It's similar to a radio show, but it's all online and usually not live – that way, people can listen to it whenever they want or even listen to old episodes.
How to start a podcast
Here is how to make a podcast:
- Pick a theme – For the best chance of creating a successful podcast, choose a niche or theme. This way, listeners will know what to expect when tuning in and will be more inclined to subscribe if they like it.
- Choose a name – Make sure it's a memorable name and shows what the podcast is about. You want people to click on it when they see it in a long list of other podcasts. It's also a good idea to check whether the name is available on other social media platforms if you want to create a bigger brand around your podcast.
- Create a format – From deciding how long your episodes will be to the way you fill your podcast, creating a format is crucial. For example, think about whether it will be more like an interview, a news recap or a discussion. Of course, you can deviate from it slightly, but having a format will help you set an expectation for your audience.
- Select your podcast equipment – You don't have to spend thousands of pounds on equipment, especially when you first start. But getting a good microphone will make your podcast sound a lot more professional compared to recording it on your phone.
- Download audio software – To record and edit your podcast, you'll need to download some software. Again, you don't have to spend money here – there is easy-to-use free audio software available. For example, you can use Audacity without spending a single penny.
- Outline and record your first episode – Before you start recording, create a rough outline of what you're planning to discuss. You don't have to script out everything (you want it to sound natural!), but having a few guide points will help you when recording.
- Edit your podcast episode – You can cut out long pauses or mistakes in the editing process, as well as add music – pick tracks that are royalty-free. It's also a good idea to stabilise the volume where possible. The better the audio sounds, the easier it'll be for your listeners to enjoy the content and subscribe for more.
- Upload your podcast – Rather than uploading your podcasts on individual platforms (like Apple Podcast or Spotify), you use a podcast hosting platform. Some of the most popular ones include Buzzsprout, Transistor, Acast and PodBean.
- Market your podcast – Once your podcast is live, it's time to market it! There are limitless ways to do this, from posting on social media to appearing on other podcasts. And once you start attracting listeners, you can use our tips on how to make money from a podcast below.
How much do podcasters make?
While there is good potential to earn money from a podcast, the amount varies a lot. Your earning potential depends on your niche, the number of downloads your podcast gets and the different ways you monetise it.
There are people who have turned podcasting into a full-time job and are earning millions. However, this isn't something that happens overnight! Building a large and engaged audience takes time and effort – but doing so can definitely pay off.
When it comes to advertising, you can potentially charge around £20 per 1,000 downloads. But depending on your niche, your audience retention and the length of the ads, you might be able to charge more.
How to make money podcasting
Here are the best ways to make money from a podcast:
Podcast sponsorship deals
One of the best ways to make money with a podcast is by landing sponsorship deals with brands. You will need a steady number of downloads on your podcasts before brands will pay for the privilege.
To get started, you can sign up to Podcorn. This is a marketplace for brands and podcasters to find each other. It's free to sign up, but Podcorn will take a 10% cut on any money you earn through their platform.
While it may be exciting when a brand reaches out to set up a sponsorship, don't simply accept every single one that lands in your inbox. It's best to only accept brand collaborations that align with your audience and niche. You don't want any sponsorships to feel like a cash grab, and when a product fits well within your podcast, you build trust with your listeners.
And don't forget that you can also reach out to brands yourself. If there is a brand you think would be a great match for your show, email them! Or if you notice another podcast in your niche getting sponsorships with certain brands, it certainly won't hurt to check them out.
The more people that listen to your podcast, the more you can earn from advertisements. Rather than having to set something up with a specific brand and record the sponsorship yourself, adding ads is much easier.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online. The way it works is fairly simple: you promote a product or service and if someone makes a purchase or sign-up via your unique link, you earn a small commission.
The best way to start implementing affiliate marketing is by promoting products or services that you already talk about on your podcast. If you know it aligns with your brand and your audience, it'll be much easier to make sales.
Think about a specific product or brand your audience would be interested in, and see if they have an individual affiliate programme. Alternatively, you can sign up to affiliate networks (Awin and impact.com, for example). These let you apply to hundreds of affiliate programmes within their network.
Read our full guide to affiliate marketing for more information about how it works and how to start using it.
Adding a membership tier to your podcast does take extra time, but the earning potential can be great. This works best if you already have an engaged audience that is very interested in what you've got to say.
The easiest way to set up a membership plan is by creating a Patreon for your podcast listeners. This is a membership site that gives subscribers access to exclusive or extra content. For a monthly fee, your fans can listen to extended podcast episodes or even additional full-length ones.
Creating all this extra content for Patreon subscribers is a lot of work, but as it's a monthly subscription, you can create some pretty reliable income through it.
Selling digital products/services
Depending on the topics you discuss on your podcast, creating and selling digital products could be a real money maker. The best thing about digital products is that they're fairly low-risk. You don't have to buy inventory and once you create it once, you can sell it as many times as you like.
Think about what products could be useful for your audience. You've got the best chance of selling something that relates to your podcast, as your listeners will already be interested in this. For example, if your podcast is about self-improvement, you can create downloadable habit trackers or journals.
If you can't think of anything that fits your niche, you can also offer services. Your experience editing audio files or creating banners in Photoshop can be very useful for other podcasters. List your services on sites like Fiverr and start promoting them!
Most of the time, podcasts are completely free to listen to. So, if you're providing value, you can ask your audience to donate some money to show their support.
To start collecting donations, you can sign up for websites like Ko-Fi or Buy Me a Coffee. These sites make it easy for creators to collect donations from fans. It's also possible to create a PayPal donation link so people can donate directly to your PayPal account.
Repurpose your podcast content
By using your podcast content on other platforms, you can start earning money through multiple channels.
For example, if you record a video at the same time as recording your podcast, you can upload it to YouTube. As there are many ways to make money on YouTube, you're diversifying your income. You can also upload snippets of your video onto other social media sites like TikTok and Instagram to grow your audience even more quickly.
If your podcast episodes are quite long or you want to add audience interaction, you can even livestream it on Twitch. We have a separate guide on how to make money on Twitch for extra tips.
To successfully sell merchandise for your podcast, you'll need a large and engaged audience. Nobody wants to buy items with your logo, podcast's name or a catchphrase you often use on the show unless they really love it.
It's also important to make good-quality products. If people are supporting your podcast by buying your merchandise, make sure you don't disappoint them.
Offer podcast consultations
Planning, recording, editing and promoting a podcast takes a lot of time and effort. So once you've come to a point where you're confident in your abilities to create amazing podcast episodes, you can start to market your skills.
Whether it's people who've just started a podcast or those who want to outsource certain jobs, you could market yourself as the best person to hire. Since most of this will be on a freelance basis, it should be relatively easy to balance it with your uni work.
Create a podcast course or eBook
With all of these skills, you can help new podcasters start their journey. What are the things you learned along the way? What do you wish you'd known when you started? What have you found to be the best ways to monetise your podcast?
Writing an eBook or a course about podcasting can take a lot of work, but there is some real money to be made here. And since it's a passive income stream, you can make money while you sleep! Once the course and eBook have been created, you can sell them endlessly.
Make sure you update your course or eBook accordingly if things change in the industry – you want your customers to get good value from it.
Become a full-time podcast producer
Starting a podcast at university can be a fun hobby to make money from, but did you know it can lead to even bigger opportunities in the future? Not only will it look great on your CV, but there are also companies that actively look for podcast producers.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for podcast producers is around £36,000. Even though the starting salary will likely be less than that, it's a good goal to work towards.
Thinking of starting a podcast about books? Find out about some other ways to make money from reading.