November 1, 2023

How to make money podcasting: How much money do podcasts actually make?

A podcast can help you make money as a creator. Here are 12 proven ways to make money podcasting, and how much you can make with each strategy.
November 1, 2023

How to make money podcasting: How much money do podcasts actually make?

A podcast can help you make money as a creator. Here are 12 proven ways to make money podcasting, and how much you can make with each strategy.
November 1, 2023
Zan Romanoff
In this article
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This makes the editing process so much faster. I wish I knew about Descript a year ago.
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Transcriptions


The internet revolutionized content distribution: it allowed almost anyone to toss almost anything up on a website to let the world check it out and decide if they liked it. But it also changed how we paid for our media—or didn’t, as the case may be. 

Modern creators are obsessed with monetization for good reason. Many people start a podcast as a side hustle with the hopes of becoming a full-time creator. But lots of listeners tune into shows for free. Once you take into consideration the costs of podcasting, it’s tricky to figure out how to fund your show in the long term.

How much you make as a podcaster depends heavily on how many people are listening to your show, so creating something unique, thoughtful, and well-crafted (okay, and promoting it appropriately) is always your number one goal.

In this article, you’ll learn the various ways you can get paid to podcast, as well as what you can expect to make via each podcast monetization method.

What you need to start making money with a podcast

There’s more to monetizing a podcast than recording a few episodes and reaching out to potential sponsors. Put yourself in the best position to monetize your show by creating a successful podcast that people want to listen to and sponsor.

  • Podcast listeners. You don’t need millions of downloads to start monetizing your podcast. But the more listeners you have, the higher your income potential—brands pay big bucks to tap into shows that lots of people listen to.
  • An engaged audience. It’s better to have a super engaged but small audience than millions of people who listen passively. Before monetizing your podcast, strengthen your relationship with your listeners. This could be anything from creating a fun and personable brand for your podcast to inviting listeners to participate by submitting questions and comments.
  • Podcast skills. Depending on the monetization model you choose, you’ll likely have to record ads for brands to get them more sales. There’s an art to recording podcast ads, so listen to the ads on your favorite shows and take note of the scripting, pacing, and delivery. Which ads hold your attention the best? 

12 effective ways to make money podcasting

  1. Podcast advertising networks 
  2. Brand sponsorships
  3. Affiliate marketing
  4. Merchandise sale
  5. Listener donations and crowdfunding
  6. Premium content
  7. Live shows and events
  8. Email lists
  9. Syndicate your podcast 
  10. Book sale
  11. Consulting and coaching services
  12. Paid podcast subscriptions 

1. Podcast advertising networks

It’s a big jump from being independent and self-funded to getting companies to advertise on your show. Most companies will want a regular, dedicated listenership—at least several thousand strong—before they’ll consider contracting with you. 

Join a podcast network like SXM Media or PodcastOne to connect with advertisers, set rates, and negotiate contracts. Most deals will be negotiated based on how many downloads you’ll get. This metric is known as cost per mille (CPM).

Jim Fricker, co-host of Learn Spanish and Go, uses Buzzsprout to inject ads into the podcast. He says: “We appreciate this feature as it allows us to manually select ads that align with our podcast niche. When we log in to BuzzSprout, we’re able to see if any ads are available for insertion. From there, we can listen to them and either approve or deny them. 

“Over the past year, we've made $866.58 through this method by sporadically placing ads on our podcast,” Jim says. “We usually only accept one or two ads per month, and these typically run for two to three days each on all of our podcast episodes. Then they are automatically removed from our podcast.” 

2. Brand sponsorships

You don’t have to rely on a podcast network to find advertisers. If you have a list of brands you’d love to collaborate with, you can try to sell podcast ads on your own.

There are three prime slots that brands pay for—each with their own earning potential:

  • Pre-roll: ads that play in the first 10% of your episode (before or right after the podcast introduction)
  • Mid-roll: ads that play in the middle of each episode
  • Post-roll: ads that appear at the end of an episode (right before or after the podcast outro)

Podcast advertising rates also depend on the length of the clip. Studies show that the average podcast CPM for 30-second ads is $18. That goes up to $25 when the brand gets a 60-second ad slot. If you have 5,000 listeners and are offering a minute long advertisement, for example, you could charge around $125 per episode.

Image of Apple Podcasts Preview for The Freelance Writing Coach podcast
Freelance Writing Coach

Maximize the income potential of brand sponsorship deals by putting together packages. That could be a package of eight pre-roll ads and four post-roll ads over the course of a quarter. It’s a great way for sponsors to get a good deal (especially if you’re giving a small discount on a bigger package) while getting a lump sum of money to power your podcast. 

3. Affiliate marketing 

Affiliate marketing is the lowest-hanging fruit when it comes to making money from your podcast. If you ever mention products on your show—books, music, makeup, whatever—see if the brand has an affiliate link you can place in your show notes. Whenever someone purchases the product through your link, you’ll get a small cut in the form of commission.

This podcast monetization strategy probably won’t make you rich since the average commission ranges between 5% and 30%. But it’s super easy to join most affiliate programs, making it an evergreen way for beginners and new podcasters to generate a little bit of income even when you’re first starting out. 

4. Merchandise sales

Merchandise is a great way to make money with a podcast, especially if you want to foster a deeper connection with your listeners. What better way to strengthen those relationships than with a hat, notebook, or stickers that lets them show the world how much they love your show? 

Take My Favorite Murder, a true crime podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Listeners of the show can get their hands on t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags with infamous slogans from the podcast.

Podcast merch examples from the My Favorite Murder podcast

While this podcast monetization strategy can supplement your income by hundreds of dollars each month (the average net margin for retail is 9.63%), be mindful that it comes with some extra work. 

Storing and shipping merchandise requires time, money, and energy. A print-on-demand company like Printful can take those tasks off your plate. The supplier will print, pack, and ship orders to your podcast listeners whenever they place an order through your merch store. 

5. Listener donations and crowdfunding

Once you’ve got a steadypodcast audience, consider setting up a Patreon, Buy Me A Coffee, or Ko-Fi donation link. All options allow listeners to become subscribers and contribute a small monthly amount to your show. Anyone who feels moved can kick you a few dollars every now and again. 

Patreon, in particular, can help you incentivize people to support your show financially with tiers. Higher tiers offer more perks for the listener—like bonus episodes, early access to new shows, or behind-the-scenes podcast content. Just bear in mind that this can add to your workload; you will now have to produce, edit, or curate this bonus content in some way.

Of course, you have to let listeners know your podcast crowdfunding options are there, so make the ask in each new episode. Ghost Huns, for example, has a Patreon page where listeners can support the show financially, and places a link to the page in each episode’s show notes.

Example of Ghost Huns promoting its Patreon group

The more specific you can be with your ask, the better. Don’t just remind your listeners that $5 is the cost of a cup of coffee—we’ve all heard that plea a zillion times already. Instead, let them know what they’re helping you do, i.e., “If you donate $10, that covers one month of hosting.” Listeners want to feel like they’re contributing meaningfully, so make sure they can picture exactly where their money is going when they give.

6. Premium content 

If you’ve got time to create premium content, selling access to it is a great way to increase your podcasting income. You only have to create it once but you can sell it an infinite number of times, essentially creating a stream of passive income for your show. 

Start with a list of problems that your podcast listeners struggle with. Then, create a resource that can help them overcome those challenges. That could be:

  • Online courses
  • eBooks or workbooks
  • Webinars
  • Digital magazines
  • Exclusive music 

“If you're looking to monetize through exclusive content, make sure that the material you provide is genuinely valuable to your listeners,” says Jim Fricker.

7. Live shows and events

Live events are a superb way to bring your audience together in person and create a stronger community of listeners. Whether it’s a live interview with the host, a Q&A session, or a recording of an upcoming podcast episode, use events to monetize your show and make money from ticket sales. 

The Diary of a CEO took this approach when monetizing the podcast. Host Steven Bartlett put together an immersive theater experience and went on tour to five cities, even selling out the London Palladium three times. Thousands of people flocked to social media to rave about the event, helping the podcast make money from ticket sales while also growing their audience. 

There’s a lot of time and money that goes into creating an event, from finding the right space to hiring a team to help out on the day. But it can be worthwhile if you want to monetize your podcast and create a strong community around the show. 

8. Email lists

An email list is the best way to “own” your audience, no matter what kind of content you make. If people opt in to receive a newsletter about your podcast, those email addresses are yours to contact—unlike social media followers, who could disappear if the platform goes under.

While the act of someone subscribing doesn’t make money directly, an email list can be another marketing channel that you can monetize alongside a podcast, whether that’s from selling affiliate links or securing sponsorships. (The latter of which can see you charge between $25 and $50 per 1,000 email sends.)

Use a tool like ConvertKit to build an email list for your podcast. Consider giving away a freebie, such as a free online course or eBook, to incentivize people to sign up. Mention this incentive in both your podcast recording and the accompanying show notes. 

Much like any other income stream for podcasters, this strategy starts with an engaged audience. Keep subscribers engaged with a regular newsletter that keeps your podcast top of mind and convinces listeners to tune into your show whenever a new episode drops. 

9. Syndicate your podcast

The more people who see your podcast, the greater chance you have at monetizing your show. One easy way to maximize your podcast reach is to syndicate each episode across a variety of podcast listening apps. 

You might be saying, “But wait, I already do that!” True, most podcast hosting platforms distribute your audio show to every major listening app—Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.—via your RSS feed. But those aren’t the only places your audience goes to find podcasts.

One easy win is to start posting episodes on YouTube—whether or not you do a video podcast. If you rack up enough subscribers, you can start making money on Youtube separately from your audio-only monetization strategies. 

Another approach is to embed your episodes on your website in SEO-optimized blog posts. The key is to include content that brings extra value to your audience—not just your show notes and a transcript. With enough traffic, you can then sell ad space on that website for another income stream. 

Finally, while rare, there are radio stations that will air certain podcast episodes. Helium Radio Network is one network that plays podcast clips for a radio audience. 

10. Book sales 

If you have a knack for writing and want to sell physical products alongside your podcast, consider writing a book. 

Ali Abdaal is one podcaster who uses this podcast monetization strategy. He recently announced his new book—Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You—on Amazon. All of his recent podcast episodes have mentioned or referenced book pre-orders in the show notes to build hype.

Ali Abdaal promoting his new book on his YouTube channel

Ali Abdaal’s book is being published by Celadon Books, but you don’t necessarily need a traditional publishing house to take on your book project. Platforms like Amazon allow you to self-publish a book and earn between 35% and 70% in royalties. Whenever you get a new order, the book is printed and shipped directly to the customer—a completely hands-off approach that lets you focus on writing and marketing your book, rather than the logistics of selling it. 

11. Consulting and coaching services

Do your podcast listeners tune into your show to learn how to get better at something? Supplement your income as a creator by giving one-on-one advice on the show topic. 

Let’s put that into practice and say you’re a web designer with a podcast that talks about designing websites as a side hustle. You could offer coaching services to listeners who want to get started in web design, or work with companies to consult with them on how to hire new designers in the industry. The latter—consulting gigs for companies—often means you can charge higher rates than coaching individuals. 

The best part? You don’t have to go back-and-forth with podcast listeners who want to book a coaching or consulting session. Add your availability to a tool like Calendly, sync a payment processor like Stripe, and let people book a paid session at a time that’s mutually available by placing a link in your podcast show notes.

Image of a Calendly calendar for coaching sessions.
Using Calendly to schedule coaching sessions.

12. Paid podcast subscriptions 

A paid podcast is only available to listeners who pay a monthly subscription to access your show. Depending on your goals and business model, it’s a great way to monetize your podcast and earn consistent revenue as a creator.

One show that uses this podcast monetization method is Peak Freelance. While they don’t sell podcast access as a standalone “product,” the show is only available to people with an active membership. This helps them create a sense of community among listeners while also supplementing their income with consistent revenue. 

Image of Peak Freelance members podcast page

You can still use this model without a membership or community website. Podcast platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts also allow content creators to host paid podcasts using features called “subscriptions.” Upload your show to either platform and configure a paywall for your podcast. Spotify or Apple Podcasts will then prompt listeners to subscribe to your paid podcast before they can listen. 

Podcaster Jim Fricker uses this method to supplement podcast revenue: “In 2021, we started offering some of this material on Apple Podcasts as exclusive content accessible to subscribers. We currently have 198 active paid members on our course platform (Teachable) and 57 paid subscribers on Apple Podcasts. We offer tiers for accessing our content that start at $4.99 a month and go up to $57 a month.” 

How much money do podcasts make?

There’s a lot of money to be made in podcasting. One report found that podcast ad revenues—just one of the monetization strategies we’ve mentioned in this guide—hit $1.8 billion in 2022. That’s expected to double by 2025.

A small portion of the best podcasts are claiming a sizable share of podcast revenue. The Joe Rogan Experience, which is the world’s most popular podcast, reportedly makes $800,000 per episode. That could total over $176.8 million every year. 

The reality is: not all podcasters hit the big leagues and make as much money as Joe Rogan. More realistically, here’s how much you could make from your own podcast using the most popular revenue streams:

  • Podcast sponsorships: between $18 and $25 per 1,000 listeners
  • Affiliate marketing: between 5% and 30% commission 
  • Book sales: between 35% and 70% in book royalties 
  • Merchandise and physical products: net profit margins of around 9%
  • Email ads: between $25 and $50 per 1,000 sends 

Create a professional podcast with Descript

Regardless of which method you’re using to make money with a podcast, it all starts with engaging content that people can’t help but tell their friends about. That doesn’t just apply to what you say into the mic. Often, you can turn a podcast from okay to great with the right editing software.

Descript is trusted by thousands of the world’s top creators who use the podcast editing software to:

  • Edit podcasts like a word doc, from an automatically generated transcription
  • Remove filler words like “ums” and “uhs”
  • Fix audio mistakes with an AI clone of your natural voice
  • Turn typing into talking and add sentences into audio post-recording 
  • Remove unwanted background noise with Studio Sound

Take a free tour today and see why Descript is the tool of choice for the world’s top podcasters.

How do podcasts make money FAQs

What is the highest-earning podcast?

The Joe Rogan Experience is the highest-earning podcast. Host Joe Rogan reportedly makes around $800,000 per episode.

How much do podcasters make per podcast?

The average CPM for a 60-second podcast ad is $25, though you can make more money through your show with affiliate links, brand sponsors, merchandise, and digital products.

How do I start a paid podcast?

  1. Create a name and concept 
  2. Record your first episode
  3. Edit the podcast 
  4. Upload it to Apple Podcasts Subscriptions
  5. Enable Spotify Subscriptions
  6. Set a podcast listening fee 
  7. Configure your payout details 

Promote your paid podcast

Zan Romanoff
Zan Romanoff is a full-time freelance journalist, as well as the author of three young adult novels. She lives and writes in LA.
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How to make money podcasting: How much money do podcasts actually make?

Green piggy bank with a $100 bill coming out of it. The pig's curly tail turns into an audio cable attached to a podcast microphone.


Transcribe. Edit. As easy as tapping your backspace key.
Create your podcast from start to finish with Descript.

The internet revolutionized content distribution: it allowed almost anyone to toss almost anything up on a website to let the world check it out and decide if they liked it. But it also changed how we paid for our media—or didn’t, as the case may be. 

Modern creators are obsessed with monetization for good reason. Many people start a podcast as a side hustle with the hopes of becoming a full-time creator. But lots of listeners tune into shows for free. Once you take into consideration the costs of podcasting, it’s tricky to figure out how to fund your show in the long term.

How much you make as a podcaster depends heavily on how many people are listening to your show, so creating something unique, thoughtful, and well-crafted (okay, and promoting it appropriately) is always your number one goal.

In this article, you’ll learn the various ways you can get paid to podcast, as well as what you can expect to make via each podcast monetization method.

What you need to start making money with a podcast

There’s more to monetizing a podcast than recording a few episodes and reaching out to potential sponsors. Put yourself in the best position to monetize your show by creating a successful podcast that people want to listen to and sponsor.

  • Podcast listeners. You don’t need millions of downloads to start monetizing your podcast. But the more listeners you have, the higher your income potential—brands pay big bucks to tap into shows that lots of people listen to.
  • An engaged audience. It’s better to have a super engaged but small audience than millions of people who listen passively. Before monetizing your podcast, strengthen your relationship with your listeners. This could be anything from creating a fun and personable brand for your podcast to inviting listeners to participate by submitting questions and comments.
  • Podcast skills. Depending on the monetization model you choose, you’ll likely have to record ads for brands to get them more sales. There’s an art to recording podcast ads, so listen to the ads on your favorite shows and take note of the scripting, pacing, and delivery. Which ads hold your attention the best? 

12 effective ways to make money podcasting

  1. Podcast advertising networks 
  2. Brand sponsorships
  3. Affiliate marketing
  4. Merchandise sale
  5. Listener donations and crowdfunding
  6. Premium content
  7. Live shows and events
  8. Email lists
  9. Syndicate your podcast 
  10. Book sale
  11. Consulting and coaching services
  12. Paid podcast subscriptions 

1. Podcast advertising networks

It’s a big jump from being independent and self-funded to getting companies to advertise on your show. Most companies will want a regular, dedicated listenership—at least several thousand strong—before they’ll consider contracting with you. 

Join a podcast network like SXM Media or PodcastOne to connect with advertisers, set rates, and negotiate contracts. Most deals will be negotiated based on how many downloads you’ll get. This metric is known as cost per mille (CPM).

Jim Fricker, co-host of Learn Spanish and Go, uses Buzzsprout to inject ads into the podcast. He says: “We appreciate this feature as it allows us to manually select ads that align with our podcast niche. When we log in to BuzzSprout, we’re able to see if any ads are available for insertion. From there, we can listen to them and either approve or deny them. 

“Over the past year, we've made $866.58 through this method by sporadically placing ads on our podcast,” Jim says. “We usually only accept one or two ads per month, and these typically run for two to three days each on all of our podcast episodes. Then they are automatically removed from our podcast.” 

2. Brand sponsorships

You don’t have to rely on a podcast network to find advertisers. If you have a list of brands you’d love to collaborate with, you can try to sell podcast ads on your own.

There are three prime slots that brands pay for—each with their own earning potential:

  • Pre-roll: ads that play in the first 10% of your episode (before or right after the podcast introduction)
  • Mid-roll: ads that play in the middle of each episode
  • Post-roll: ads that appear at the end of an episode (right before or after the podcast outro)

Podcast advertising rates also depend on the length of the clip. Studies show that the average podcast CPM for 30-second ads is $18. That goes up to $25 when the brand gets a 60-second ad slot. If you have 5,000 listeners and are offering a minute long advertisement, for example, you could charge around $125 per episode.

Image of Apple Podcasts Preview for The Freelance Writing Coach podcast
Freelance Writing Coach

Maximize the income potential of brand sponsorship deals by putting together packages. That could be a package of eight pre-roll ads and four post-roll ads over the course of a quarter. It’s a great way for sponsors to get a good deal (especially if you’re giving a small discount on a bigger package) while getting a lump sum of money to power your podcast. 

3. Affiliate marketing 

Affiliate marketing is the lowest-hanging fruit when it comes to making money from your podcast. If you ever mention products on your show—books, music, makeup, whatever—see if the brand has an affiliate link you can place in your show notes. Whenever someone purchases the product through your link, you’ll get a small cut in the form of commission.

This podcast monetization strategy probably won’t make you rich since the average commission ranges between 5% and 30%. But it’s super easy to join most affiliate programs, making it an evergreen way for beginners and new podcasters to generate a little bit of income even when you’re first starting out. 

4. Merchandise sales

Merchandise is a great way to make money with a podcast, especially if you want to foster a deeper connection with your listeners. What better way to strengthen those relationships than with a hat, notebook, or stickers that lets them show the world how much they love your show? 

Take My Favorite Murder, a true crime podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Listeners of the show can get their hands on t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags with infamous slogans from the podcast.

Podcast merch examples from the My Favorite Murder podcast

While this podcast monetization strategy can supplement your income by hundreds of dollars each month (the average net margin for retail is 9.63%), be mindful that it comes with some extra work. 

Storing and shipping merchandise requires time, money, and energy. A print-on-demand company like Printful can take those tasks off your plate. The supplier will print, pack, and ship orders to your podcast listeners whenever they place an order through your merch store. 

5. Listener donations and crowdfunding

Once you’ve got a steadypodcast audience, consider setting up a Patreon, Buy Me A Coffee, or Ko-Fi donation link. All options allow listeners to become subscribers and contribute a small monthly amount to your show. Anyone who feels moved can kick you a few dollars every now and again. 

Patreon, in particular, can help you incentivize people to support your show financially with tiers. Higher tiers offer more perks for the listener—like bonus episodes, early access to new shows, or behind-the-scenes podcast content. Just bear in mind that this can add to your workload; you will now have to produce, edit, or curate this bonus content in some way.

Of course, you have to let listeners know your podcast crowdfunding options are there, so make the ask in each new episode. Ghost Huns, for example, has a Patreon page where listeners can support the show financially, and places a link to the page in each episode’s show notes.

Example of Ghost Huns promoting its Patreon group

The more specific you can be with your ask, the better. Don’t just remind your listeners that $5 is the cost of a cup of coffee—we’ve all heard that plea a zillion times already. Instead, let them know what they’re helping you do, i.e., “If you donate $10, that covers one month of hosting.” Listeners want to feel like they’re contributing meaningfully, so make sure they can picture exactly where their money is going when they give.

6. Premium content 

If you’ve got time to create premium content, selling access to it is a great way to increase your podcasting income. You only have to create it once but you can sell it an infinite number of times, essentially creating a stream of passive income for your show. 

Start with a list of problems that your podcast listeners struggle with. Then, create a resource that can help them overcome those challenges. That could be:

  • Online courses
  • eBooks or workbooks
  • Webinars
  • Digital magazines
  • Exclusive music 

“If you're looking to monetize through exclusive content, make sure that the material you provide is genuinely valuable to your listeners,” says Jim Fricker.

7. Live shows and events

Live events are a superb way to bring your audience together in person and create a stronger community of listeners. Whether it’s a live interview with the host, a Q&A session, or a recording of an upcoming podcast episode, use events to monetize your show and make money from ticket sales. 

The Diary of a CEO took this approach when monetizing the podcast. Host Steven Bartlett put together an immersive theater experience and went on tour to five cities, even selling out the London Palladium three times. Thousands of people flocked to social media to rave about the event, helping the podcast make money from ticket sales while also growing their audience. 

There’s a lot of time and money that goes into creating an event, from finding the right space to hiring a team to help out on the day. But it can be worthwhile if you want to monetize your podcast and create a strong community around the show. 

8. Email lists

An email list is the best way to “own” your audience, no matter what kind of content you make. If people opt in to receive a newsletter about your podcast, those email addresses are yours to contact—unlike social media followers, who could disappear if the platform goes under.

While the act of someone subscribing doesn’t make money directly, an email list can be another marketing channel that you can monetize alongside a podcast, whether that’s from selling affiliate links or securing sponsorships. (The latter of which can see you charge between $25 and $50 per 1,000 email sends.)

Use a tool like ConvertKit to build an email list for your podcast. Consider giving away a freebie, such as a free online course or eBook, to incentivize people to sign up. Mention this incentive in both your podcast recording and the accompanying show notes. 

Much like any other income stream for podcasters, this strategy starts with an engaged audience. Keep subscribers engaged with a regular newsletter that keeps your podcast top of mind and convinces listeners to tune into your show whenever a new episode drops. 

9. Syndicate your podcast

The more people who see your podcast, the greater chance you have at monetizing your show. One easy way to maximize your podcast reach is to syndicate each episode across a variety of podcast listening apps. 

You might be saying, “But wait, I already do that!” True, most podcast hosting platforms distribute your audio show to every major listening app—Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.—via your RSS feed. But those aren’t the only places your audience goes to find podcasts.

One easy win is to start posting episodes on YouTube—whether or not you do a video podcast. If you rack up enough subscribers, you can start making money on Youtube separately from your audio-only monetization strategies. 

Another approach is to embed your episodes on your website in SEO-optimized blog posts. The key is to include content that brings extra value to your audience—not just your show notes and a transcript. With enough traffic, you can then sell ad space on that website for another income stream. 

Finally, while rare, there are radio stations that will air certain podcast episodes. Helium Radio Network is one network that plays podcast clips for a radio audience. 

10. Book sales 

If you have a knack for writing and want to sell physical products alongside your podcast, consider writing a book. 

Ali Abdaal is one podcaster who uses this podcast monetization strategy. He recently announced his new book—Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You—on Amazon. All of his recent podcast episodes have mentioned or referenced book pre-orders in the show notes to build hype.

Ali Abdaal promoting his new book on his YouTube channel

Ali Abdaal’s book is being published by Celadon Books, but you don’t necessarily need a traditional publishing house to take on your book project. Platforms like Amazon allow you to self-publish a book and earn between 35% and 70% in royalties. Whenever you get a new order, the book is printed and shipped directly to the customer—a completely hands-off approach that lets you focus on writing and marketing your book, rather than the logistics of selling it. 

11. Consulting and coaching services

Do your podcast listeners tune into your show to learn how to get better at something? Supplement your income as a creator by giving one-on-one advice on the show topic. 

Let’s put that into practice and say you’re a web designer with a podcast that talks about designing websites as a side hustle. You could offer coaching services to listeners who want to get started in web design, or work with companies to consult with them on how to hire new designers in the industry. The latter—consulting gigs for companies—often means you can charge higher rates than coaching individuals. 

The best part? You don’t have to go back-and-forth with podcast listeners who want to book a coaching or consulting session. Add your availability to a tool like Calendly, sync a payment processor like Stripe, and let people book a paid session at a time that’s mutually available by placing a link in your podcast show notes.

Image of a Calendly calendar for coaching sessions.
Using Calendly to schedule coaching sessions.

12. Paid podcast subscriptions 

A paid podcast is only available to listeners who pay a monthly subscription to access your show. Depending on your goals and business model, it’s a great way to monetize your podcast and earn consistent revenue as a creator.

One show that uses this podcast monetization method is Peak Freelance. While they don’t sell podcast access as a standalone “product,” the show is only available to people with an active membership. This helps them create a sense of community among listeners while also supplementing their income with consistent revenue. 

Image of Peak Freelance members podcast page

You can still use this model without a membership or community website. Podcast platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts also allow content creators to host paid podcasts using features called “subscriptions.” Upload your show to either platform and configure a paywall for your podcast. Spotify or Apple Podcasts will then prompt listeners to subscribe to your paid podcast before they can listen. 

Podcaster Jim Fricker uses this method to supplement podcast revenue: “In 2021, we started offering some of this material on Apple Podcasts as exclusive content accessible to subscribers. We currently have 198 active paid members on our course platform (Teachable) and 57 paid subscribers on Apple Podcasts. We offer tiers for accessing our content that start at $4.99 a month and go up to $57 a month.” 

How much money do podcasts make?

There’s a lot of money to be made in podcasting. One report found that podcast ad revenues—just one of the monetization strategies we’ve mentioned in this guide—hit $1.8 billion in 2022. That’s expected to double by 2025.

A small portion of the best podcasts are claiming a sizable share of podcast revenue. The Joe Rogan Experience, which is the world’s most popular podcast, reportedly makes $800,000 per episode. That could total over $176.8 million every year. 

The reality is: not all podcasters hit the big leagues and make as much money as Joe Rogan. More realistically, here’s how much you could make from your own podcast using the most popular revenue streams:

  • Podcast sponsorships: between $18 and $25 per 1,000 listeners
  • Affiliate marketing: between 5% and 30% commission 
  • Book sales: between 35% and 70% in book royalties 
  • Merchandise and physical products: net profit margins of around 9%
  • Email ads: between $25 and $50 per 1,000 sends 

Create a professional podcast with Descript

Regardless of which method you’re using to make money with a podcast, it all starts with engaging content that people can’t help but tell their friends about. That doesn’t just apply to what you say into the mic. Often, you can turn a podcast from okay to great with the right editing software.

Descript is trusted by thousands of the world’s top creators who use the podcast editing software to:

  • Edit podcasts like a word doc, from an automatically generated transcription
  • Remove filler words like “ums” and “uhs”
  • Fix audio mistakes with an AI clone of your natural voice
  • Turn typing into talking and add sentences into audio post-recording 
  • Remove unwanted background noise with Studio Sound

Take a free tour today and see why Descript is the tool of choice for the world’s top podcasters.

How do podcasts make money FAQs

What is the highest-earning podcast?

The Joe Rogan Experience is the highest-earning podcast. Host Joe Rogan reportedly makes around $800,000 per episode.

How much do podcasters make per podcast?

The average CPM for a 60-second podcast ad is $25, though you can make more money through your show with affiliate links, brand sponsors, merchandise, and digital products.

How do I start a paid podcast?

  1. Create a name and concept 
  2. Record your first episode
  3. Edit the podcast 
  4. Upload it to Apple Podcasts Subscriptions
  5. Enable Spotify Subscriptions
  6. Set a podcast listening fee 
  7. Configure your payout details 

Promote your paid podcast

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