If you’ve ever wondered, “How much do podcasters make?” you’re probably thinking about taking your hobby to the next level.
The truth is that many podcasters earn zero income for several months. If anything, most budding podcasters usually have negative cash flow because they invest in podcasting equipment, tools, and even podcast editing software at the start of their venture before ever earning a dime.
However, all the effort could be more than worth it if you create attention-grabbing content and gather enough followers. Just to give you a hint, top podcasters rake in over a million dollars in revenue annually.
But before you get your hopes up, here’s a more down-to-earth perspective.
Can You Make Money Podcasting?
Short answer: yes, you can!
Long answer: you can make money podcasting if you approach it properly.
Many newbie podcasters are too quick to make a killing because they’ve heard of successful podcasters who are financially free through podcasting.
While you can achieve financial freedom or at least make some steady side income from podcasting, it doesn’t happen overnight.
Your own podcast show needs to become popular with a large number of loyal podcast listeners before it becomes a reliable income stream.
The first mistake you must avoid is trying to monetize your podcast too early. Doing this can stunt the growth of your podcast audience and negatively affect your future earnings.
It is best to leave out the idea of monetizing your show until you meet the following criteria:
- Be listed in several of the major podcast directories, such as Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher among others.
- Deliver great content via new episodes at least once every week.
- Grow your show to have at least 1,000 downloads per episode.
- Establish a presence on multiple social media platforms with a large fan base.
What are the Income Sources for Podcasters?
There are several income sources available for podcasters. The main podcast monetization methods include:
Advertising and Sponsors
When you hear a podcaster saying something in the lines of “this episode is sponsored by…” it is a typical example of how advertising and podcast sponsorships work.
Sponsors pay podcasters to mention them on the show. And the more people who listen and download the podcast, the higher the chance the advertiser or sponsor has of making more money from the show.
In other words, podcasters with more listeners can get paid higher amounts of money for advert space.
Another popular way of making money with podcasts is through affiliate marketing. Instead of charging for ads, podcasters can earn a cut from the money their listeners pay for services, brands, and products discovered through the podcast. These are generally added as an affiliate link in the show notes, every-time a product or service is mentioned in the show.
For example, podcasters add links to the various products they mention during the show in the episode’s notes so that listeners can easily learn more about the products and possibly buy them.
For each product purchased using the affiliate link, podcasters earn affiliate sales commission.
Some podcasters choose to charge money to give listeners access to certain types of episodes. It could be archived content, bonus content, ad-free content, or exclusive premium content.
Loyal listeners may also pay monthly subscriptions to binge-listen to their favorite podcasts.
To monetize using paid subscription, podcasters must first attract a loyal fan base who are willing to pay for content.
Many podcasters fund their own podcast using their money, some solicit financial donations from their listeners.
Usually, this is done through crowdfunding campaigns on GoFundMe, Patreon, or Kickstarter platforms to keep the podcast going.
Consulting and Coaching
Thousands of listeners look up to their favorite podcast host as an authority of some sort on a specific subject.
Many of these people are willing to pay consistently for personalized help.
Being a Podcast Host
If you are running a successful podcast of your own it’s not unheard of for other podcast shows to reach out and ask you to be a host on their own podcast. Much the same as a podcast sponsorship this is often a paid gig. Providing you can offer valuable content to a specific niche audience it can also be seen as free self-promoting podcast advertising.
Sales of Products
Many fans show their love and support for their favorite podcasts by purchasing merchandise offered for sale through the show.
These can include branded t-shirts, gift certificates, digital products or an online course offered via links, and many other physical products.
How Much Do Most Successful Podcasters Make?
Podcasters charge for ads based on the number of people who have listened to the episode.
This is known as cost per thousand impressions or CPM, which can range from $20 CPM to $100 CPM usually calculated at a dollar per 1,000 listeners.
For example, if your podcast has 100,000 downloads per episode and you are paid $25 CPM for an advertising campaign, your total income for that episode is:
25 x 100 = $2,500 per episode.
Broadly speaking, you can expect to earn anywhere from $500 to $900 in affiliate sales per episode if your podcast has about 10,000 downloads per episode.
How Much Hosting Companies Predict an Average Podcast To Make Per Month
|1,000 Downloads||5,000 Downloads||10,000 Downloads|
- 1,000 downloads – “Roughly 1% of your audience will purchase through your affiliate link (at an average of $15 for each sale).“
- 5,000 downloads – “At this level, you can charge $20 CPM and expect to have one sponsor per episode.”
- 10,000 downloads
Riverside fm says:
“Typically, a podcaster with around 10,000 downloads per episode can expect to earn somewhere between $500 to $900. Very successful podcasts can earn much more, reaching up to $30 million in annual income.”
“If you have 10,000 downloads per episode, people will really start to notice your show. You’ll be able to charge about $50 CPM for ads.”
Wired Clip says:
“If you are getting close to the 10,000 downloads per episode you can expect to make in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 from your podcast.” – Wired Clip – How much do podcasters make
Successful Podcasts and How Much They Make Each Year
Many successful podcasters do earn about $5 to $30 million annually. Here are a few of the most successful podcasts and their average revenues:
- The Daily by The New York Times raked in over $10 million from advertising in 2018. Of course, this is a podcast by a well-established American newspaper with about 2 million listeners per day, so the earning potential is incredibly high. But it is an excellent example of how lucrative podcasting can be.
- The Joe Rogan Experience podcast hosted by American comedian Joe Rogan, brings in over $30 million. Forbes ranked Rogan the highest-paid podcaster. He didn’t get there by fluke. He consistently delivered engaging content with each new episode until his show reached about 200 million downloads per month.
- The Ramsey Show hosted by Dave Ramsey show podcast delivers well-thought-out personal finance lessons to over 13 million loyal listeners every week. The podcast earns around $10 million annually.
Can you make a living off a podcast?
Yes, it’s possible to make a living off a podcast, but it requires considerable work, strategic planning, and sometimes a bit of luck.
Who is the richest podcaster?
The richest podcaster is Joe Rogan, a comedian, UFC commentator, and host of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” His Podcast is bringing in over $30 million.
Exactly how much do podcasters make? You should know by now that it depends on several factors.
But the bottom line is that you can be successful and rake in tons of banknotes if you are willing to put in the hard work, stay consistent and committed, and get creative.
Podcasters have various revenue streams and can increase their income-generating capacity by exploring as many of these avenues as possible.
But it all comes down to increasing your downloads by delivering high-quality content.
Other resources used for research in this post: