How to make money podcasting in 2019

When people hear that Joe Rogan is making $25 - $50 million a year from his podcast, they take notice.

However, most folks forget that Joe started his podcast back in 2009. "The Joe Rogan Experience" was one of the first comedy podcasts, and he did it for years before it made any money. It took him ten years to achieve that success.

So, don't expect to get into podcasting and make tons of money overnight!

However, if you're patient, you can earn a reasonable amount of income from your podcast. Here are some ideas!

Get listeners to support you on Patreon

Patreon is a 3rd-party platform that allows your listeners to support you monthly. Their website describes it best: "Fans pay you a subscription amount of their choice in exchange for exclusive content."

Here's an example Patreon page, from The Good News Podcast.

Enable the Patreon payment button

For Transistor customers, you can automatically add your Patreon link to your podcast's show notes, by going to your "Social" menu, and adding a "Patreon/donation URL:"

This link has the rel="payment" attribute which enables a special donation icon in some podcast players, like Overcast:

Recently, some high-profile Patreon users have been leaving (for a variety of reasons). If you're looking alternatives to Patreon, keep reading!

Create a membership site

Creating a membership website for your podcast listeners can be another way to earn an independent income. When they join, members get exclusive benefits, like access to private forums, Slack chat, and downloads.

Back in 2013, I launched a membership site for my podcast listeners. Since then, it's earned over $100,000 in revenue.

To create your own membership site, you can use tools like Podia, Memberful, or PodFan. These sites allow you to charge a monthly or yearly subscription, but I prefer to charge a one-time fee for lifetime access.

How to get podcast sponsors

Because of big names like Joe Rogan, and the ubiquity of ads on popular shows, many burgeoning podcasters hope to earn an income from podcast sponsorships.

How many downloads (listens) does your podcast need to attract advertisers?

You've probably heard ads for Squarespace, MailChimp, and They'll pay between $25-$100 per CPM (per 1000 downloads) to sponsor podcasts. (Midroll has a good Podcast Sponsorship Calculator here)

So, if your podcast episodes gets 50,000 downloads in the first 30 days, a Squarespace ad might net you $1,250 - $5,000.

However, 80% of podcast episodes get less than 1,100 downloads in the first 30 days. Unfortunately, the big advertisers won't be interested in your podcast unless you're getting 50,000+ downloads per month (for all your episodes combined).

How to get advertisers if you have a small listenership

But that doesn't mean you can't attract advertisers! Jon and I sell $250 ad spots for our show via our Patreon page. Our podcast gets ~1,900 downloads per episode in the first 30 days.

We do four episodes a month, so that equals ~7,600 downloads in a month. So our CPM is around $33.

We attract advertisers organically, because we serve a very specific niche: people interested in the software industry. We'll only feature 2-3 sponsors per episode. We're also different than most podcasts in that we don't differentiate between pre-roll and mid-roll ads (we just rotate the sponsors each episode).

Can you make money in podcasting?

If you're looking to make "a quick buck," podcasting is definitely not for you. It can take years to build a viable audience for a podcast.

In fact, one of the trends we've noticed is that shows who do attract sponsors have almost always built an audience outside of podcasting. For some, this meant building a large following on Twitter, while others built an audience through their blog or YouTube channel.

How are podcasts on Transistor earning revenue?

Here are podcasts that earn revenue from ads:

We have many podcasts that use their podcast to promote their brand:

And many of our customers use Patreon (or a donation model) to support their show:

You can migrate your podcast to Transistor (or start a new one!) by signing up here.

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Published on February 28th, 2019

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