When you read ‘monetize your podcast’ you probably only think of 4 things: sponsorships, ads, affiliate links and Patreon. Listen to 10 podcasts and I’d bet money you’d be able to predict how those things are presented to listeners. They might even be the same ads, the same sponsors, the same product testimonials, the same Patreon reads if you listen to podcasts in the same category.

What if I told you that you can monetize your podcast AND stand out enough to engage your listeners? Well, before you believe that person who said these are the only ways to monetize your podcast and there are only a few ways to present those things to your listeners, consider these 2 real world scenarios:

Easy Exclusive Sponsorships

The host of Mother’s Quest, Julie Neale, took a mastermind together which connected us via Facebook. She posted something about genealogy, which happens to be a hobby of mine. I shared with her some of the surprising things I’d learned researching my family tree in past decade and the interesting DNA results of myself and family members. Essentially, we had a meaningful chat about the topic.

Later, I received private message from her asking if I’d be interested in doing her invite only podcast episode dedication. She laid out what the dedication entailed: A minimum contribution of X amount of dollars or over, a bio with links I’d like shared, and 2 minute or less recorded ‘dedication.’ She shared with me the link to her podcasts on her website with the approximate time the dedication appears.

I thought she was an absolute genius and naturally, said YES. I donated money to her show via her clearly laid out Support Mother’s Quest page, wrote out my info, then recorded my dedication. I should note that (You can hear it HERE)

Why It Works

Creating a Relationship: It starts with building a relationship. She engaged with me on social media. She asked follow up questions. She created an experience for me that was positive.

The Pitch: She knew she had an episode coming up on something I was passionate about. When she gave me the information, it was clear and easy to follow. If you want to see a GREAT example of a Support This Show type of page, then refer to hers HERE.

Exclusivity: Who doesn’t want to be special? That’s a feeling that’s good evoke. Yet, it also ensures that her sponsors align with her podcast’s mission, show theme and core values.

Examples: Letting me know that others had done dedications and where to find them was smart. I didn’t have to worry about doing it wrong.

The Fee: On the support page, she let’s you know exactly what it costs her each month to deliver you FREE content. Her minimum was a steal compared to that and your first instinct is to give beyond the minimum.

Creativity: It’s not just an ad or a sponsorship. You’re giving your listener bonus content that you get paid for.

It’s Done for You: Aside from a little clean up, the sponsor is doing the work by sending you the copy, the links AND the audio. Maybe it needs a bit of clean up but otherwise, you just plug it in to your show’s episode template (which you should have for putting together each episode).

Who This is For

If you’re looking to make money, save time, only accept sponsors aligned with your show AND want to create something that will engage listeners, then consider this style of sponsorship.

Not Your Average Affiliate Linking

Lisa Orkin, the host of Project Woo Woo, has the most unique Amazon Affiliate promo I’ve ever heard. This one is a little more work, but if you’re looking to get really creative with audio, this is an nice foray into scripts, sound design and voice over while making a little cash and will only cost you time to produce.

Lisa created a humous skit about the product she’s promoted. It’s scripted, acted out and a little sound design (FREE phone ringing SFX and using a Telephone/On the Phone EQ Filter found in most DAWs). You can listen to Lisa’s promo HERE at 32:10.

Why It Works

It’s Unexpected: It’s not just buy this product blah, blah, blah. It’s more engaging content for the listener.

Memorability: It’s funny enough to quote, which means when listeners are to act, they’ll remember that you have a link that can accomplish two things: supporting FREE content they enjoy and getting the product they want.

Shareable: You can post these skits on social media easily, especially if you create a fun audiogram to go with them.

Styling: It doesn’t have to be funny. It can be dramatic, suspenseful, serious and impactful. Basically, you can custom create it.

Reusable, Batched Created Content: You only have to make it once. While that part may take some time, you won’t have to keep promoting during your show (and it sucks when you forget to do it when recording the show). If you’re an Amazon Affiliate, you can batch produce them, then alternate episode.

Short on Time?

While you can create this yourself for free, you may not want to or you may not have time to. That’s okay, there are plenty of freelancers out there willing to do the acting and sound design for you, at fee, of course. Check sites like Fiverr or Upwork for help. Or contact me to get this done.

Who This is For?

The highly creative types that want some next level, engaging content to monetize their podcast. Or, those interested in a simple project to learn about scripted podcasting with sound design.

These are just two ways to monetize your podcast. I’m sure there are more because it’s podcasting- you’re only limit is your imagination and time. If you didn’t know that, you do now, so yay!

Did you notice that not once in the 2 examples did  I mentioned downloads? That’s because these methods works whether you have 1 listener or 1,000,000 listeners.

SURPRISE! You just read a how to about podcast monetization that has its roots in… ENGAGEMENT!!!

Here’s the thing: Most of podcasters monetizing are monetizing in the exact same ways, probably because 5%* of podcasters (aka influencers) are making money in these ways, sharing it and teaching it to the rest of us… usually for a hefty fee. Those traditional models have their foundation in download numbers. And of course the 5% leading the charge are making money with the traditional models: We’re all listening to them so, yeah, they have the big download numbers.

It’s okay if those models work for some. It’s okay they’re being taught for a fee. But I don’t want anyone believing that they are the *only* ways and you have do it just like the big shows. That’s not true at all. Because podcasting.

You’re Welcome 😊 Now go do something awesome.

*metaphorically  speaking or hyperbole? … anyways, not an actual stat