Best strategies for monetizing your podcast in 2023
Want to make money from your podcast? Here are the ways we're seeing podcasters earn money on our platform.
However, don't expect to start a podcast and make tons of money overnight! Most of these podcasters spent years honing their craft before they made a penny. But, if you're patient, you can earn a reasonable income from your podcast. Here are some ideas!
1. Get listeners to support you on Patreon
Patreon is a 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.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to offer your supporters a bunch of perks! For our Patreon, the main perk is a "podcast shout out" that we do at the end of every episode. We also list our Patreon supporters in our show notes.
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:"
Recently, some high-profile Patreon users have been leaving (for a variety of reasons). If you're looking alternatives to Patreon, keep reading!
2. Create a podcast 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 $150,000 in revenue.
3. 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 Stamps.com. They'll pay between $18-$35 per CPM (per 1000 downloads) to sponsor podcasts.
In 2022, Jack Rhysider (host of the Darknet Diaries) commented on the current state of podcast advertising:
A common rate is $20 CPM: that is for every 1000 downloads an episode has you get $20. So if your show has 20,000 downloads per episode you could reasonably charge $400 for a 60 second preroll or midroll ad.
Generally, advertisers will ask you how many downloads an average episode receives in the first 30 days.
However, 80% of podcast episodes get less than 1,100 downloads in the first 30 days. Unfortunately, most big advertisers won't be interested in sponsoring your podcast unless you're getting 50,000+ downloads per month (for all your episodes combined). Rhysider continues:
If your show has a few hundred downloads per episode then it's not really worth anyone's time to put ads in. You'll get a few pennies, your sponsors won't see any new traffic. And your listeners will have to put up with it so you make a few cents. But to keep pumping value into your show and not try to pull value out of your show yet.
Should you use a podcast ads marketplace?
A podcast ad network will give you rates that look something like this:
$18 per 1,000 listens (CPMs) for a 15-second pre-roll ad
$25 per 1,000 listens (CPMs) for a 60-second mid-roll ad
So, for a 60-second ad, you could probably make around $100. The ad network would take 30%, leaving you with $70.
Not great. Instead, I advise podcasters to find sponsors themselves (rather than relying on an ad network).
How to get advertisers for a podcast with low downloads
If you find your sponsors, you can often make more money and charge higher CPMS. Here's how Jon and I used to sell ad spots for our show:
$600 for two months (16 episodes)
Limit of two sponsors per episode
Sponsors alternate between pre-roll and mid-roll
Our podcast gets ~2,600 downloads per episode in the first 30 days.
We were able to attract advertisers organically because we serve a very specific niche: people interested in the software industry. Because we only feature two sponsors per episode (and they have to book a minimum of two months), we were able to reach out to companies we think would benefit manually.
Can you make money from podcasting?
If you want to make "a quick buck," podcasting is not for you. It can take years to build a viable audience for a podcast.
One of the trends we've noticed is that shows that 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.