Podcasts have been cropping up like crazy in all corners of the internet, and though it is no doubt a creative and interesting pastime, there are some other undeniable perks. While podcasting can be a fun hobby, many people around the world are starting to realize just how lucrative an effectively monetized podcast platform can become.

All that being said, making money from your podcasting isn’t an instant profit scenario. While precious few beginners' dollars might be earned passively, making any appreciable income from your content requires putting in some good old-fashioned hard work. Not sure where to start? Here’s a guide to help you get started on your monetization journey.

Build Your Audience

One of the essential criteria for making money also happens to be one of the most basic- have an audience! If nobody is listening to what you make, there is almost no way to make money off it. Due to the many benefits of having an engaged community, audience building is the number one step to success as it pertains to earning cash from your content. This means being active on social media, cross-sharing podcasts, and possibly trying to boost your brand first. The more followers you have following your movements, reading the text you publish, and engaging with you on a daily or weekly basis, the better your podcast will do.

Sell Your Stuff

Despite the focus primarily being on direct revenue streams, there is something to be said about the vast potential of indirect monetization. This can mean a variety of different things, but explained simply is the selling of products or services as a result of or based on your podcast. For many, this can look like branded merchandise or related published works and is a great vehicle for bringing more earning potential into play. If you don’t already have a website, resources like wiredclip.com go into detail about the pros and cons of various podcasting platforms and discuss the ease of integration with website hosts like WordPress. This can be a boundless source of income if your brand is strong enough. Plus, if you’re selling products directly on your own website, you won’t have to pay anything to an online retailer.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fundraise

Especially in the first few stages of building a podcast, it may not always be realistic to think you’re going to be making a high income from things like sponsorships and affiliate marketing. While in the growth stage, don’t be afraid to do some fundraising. If people are connecting with your content, you should give them an outlet to tangibly show their appreciation. This can mean encouraging online patronage or using crowdfunding to reach certain goals. It’s a good idea to grow your email list concurrently, as this can be a great way to directly reach interested fans, and can pay off in the future.

Sponsors Are Your Friends

Though sponsors aren’t the only way to earn money as a podcaster, they are a great option for making money both actively and passively. If your follower count still needs some beefing up, try using referral sponsorships as a way to circumnavigate numbers-based gatekeeping. You’ll get a kickback from each effective referral, and the potential for earning won’t stop unless the referral code or business ceases. If you are trying to scale your earning, you’ll want to introduce traditional sponsorship to your content. Consider incorporating regular ad slots in the intro or middle of your podcast. While you will typically make a set fee for these slots rather than an ongoing one, the financial payoff will likely be a lot higher. Rates will vary but largely depend on your brand, popularity, engagement, and listener count.

Whether you have ten followers or one hundred, it’s important to remember that every successful podcast starts somewhere. Namely, a place that requires building a new skill set and engaging in strategic decision making. Thankfully, by analyzing other successful podcasters and new market trends, the steps to earning real money are anything but a secret.

This Should Be Fun

By placing the importance on content first, understanding and targeting your audience, growing your brand, and utilizing smart selling methods, you can easily start making appreciable sums. By utilizing the advice in this guide and taking a small leap of faith you can kick start an epic career. Look to resources when you can, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and remember to always do your research. Podcasting can be as lucrative as it is fun, so don’t shy away from making money doing something you love!

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