If you’ve ever wondered, “How much do podcasters make?” you’re probably thinking about taking your hobby to the next level.
Truth is; 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 show needs to become popular with a large number of loyal 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 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. These 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 sponsorship 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.
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 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 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 shows 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 podcaster as an authority of some sort on a specific subject.
Many of these people are willing to pay consistently for personalized help.
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 offered via links, and many other physical products.
How Much Do Most Successful Podcasters Earn?
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.
Many successful podcasters do earn about $5 to $30 million annually. Here are a few successful podcasters 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 hosted by American comedian Joe Rogan, brought in $30 million in 2019. Forbes ranked Rogan the highest-paid podcaster of 2019. 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 delivers well-thought-out personal finance lessons to over 13 million loyal listeners every week. The podcast earns around $10 million annually.
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.