With millions of Americans tuning in to their favorite podcasts each week, it’s easy to see why podcasting has become a viable side hustle or full-time gig for the savvy creator.
But whether you’re just starting to monetize your podcast or you’re already earning, it’s a common enough question: “How much money can podcasters actually make?” As you might expect, the answer to this question isn’t easy, and it depends on a huge range of factors. Let’s take a look at the spectrum of podcast incomes, and what to know about making money with your content.
What Affects Your Podcasting Revenue
Though there’s a wide range of factors that affect your podcasting revenue, they can be boiled down to two main things:
Your Audience Size
Because your income depends on how many people are listening—and therefore engaging with your content enough to want to buy more of what you offer—you’ll need to think carefully about the type of audience you want to attract. This is one of the reasons why choosing a niche, engaging your audience, and providing valuable content can be so important!
Audience size also matters for other reasons. If you plan to sell to advertisers, the more listeners you have, the more likely you are to get paid for ad space. In addition, your audience’s income matters: audiences with more disposable cash who are willing to pay more for premium products can net you a higher income.
Your Monetization Strategy
There are many ways podcasters can make money. From advertisements to affiliate sales to premium content, what you do matters. You might choose to sell online courses or special products, in which case your revenue depends on what prices you can reasonably demand. You’ll need to consider your monetization strategy and how to make it work for your audience to make an income.
The Spectrum of Podcasting Incomes
Given the diversity of podcasts based on the factors above, it’s clear to see why there’s no “average” number when it comes to making money on a podcast.
At the high end of the spectrum, top-tier programs like This American Life can make thousands of dollars on advertising alone. With about 2.8 million weekly downloads and an average advertising rate of $30 CPM (cost per hundred thousand listeners), it might make up to $84,000 per week!
Compare that to the other side of the spectrum: podcasters who put their time, effort, and money into what’s basically a passion project. These podcasters may get little to no returns—or even negative returns, with equipment purchases.
So, where on the spectrum do you fall?
You may be a podcast that’s seen moderate success, with 1,000 episode downloads on a regular basis. In this case, you might make somewhere between $500-$2,000 per month—if you’re using effective monetization strategies like listener donations or online courses. For a more successful podcast, with over 10,000 engaged listeners, you might make somewhere in the $10,000-$15,000 range—if you’re making the most of consulting services, speaking engagements, and more.
At the end of the day, though, the only way to reach numbers like these is to create proven content that delivers value to your engaged listeners. This, of course, only comes with time and effort, which is why it’s important to remember that podcasting is a slow grind: you won’t go from your first episodes to quitting your job in the first months. With the right strategies in place, though, you’ll find it easier to get there! Be sure to check out my recent podcast episodes to stay on top of the strategies you need.