The Profitable Podcaster

5 Best Ways to Make Money with Your Podcast

If you’re a podcaster and you’re wondering how in the world you’ll make money off your podcast, you’re in luck! Today we’re covering the SMASH Framework, which is designed to help you understand all the ways you can make money as a podcaster. The SMASH Framework is:

Sponsorship: The most common way people think of to monetize their podcast because it’s the most visible. You get a company to give you money in order to advertise on your show.

Membership: Another commonly known way to monetize. Instead of asking potential sponsors, you ask your listeners to directly support the show, usually in exchange for some members-only benefits.

Affiliate Links: This is the lowest barrier to entry, but may take time to get a decent income. You sign up for affiliate programs of products you commonly recommend, and you get a cut of each sale from people who click your link.

Selling (Products or Services): I feel is the least-used way to monetize a podcast. You, using the podcast to prove your expertise, sell directly to your audience.

Helping (Coaching, Consulting, Courses): Similar to Selling, you use you podcast to land consulting clients, coaching clients, or sell your online courses. This could be a little easier than selling since you can have a podcast that does exactly what your “helping” service does.

The approach to your podcast should depend on how you want to make money, and understanding your options is a crucial first step!

Download your own copy of the SMASH framework here (no email required!)

Intro: Real quick before we get started, I want to tell you about a free email course I have called Five Fast Fixes to grow your podcast.

If you’re wondering why your podcast growth is stagnating or non-existent, you likely just need to make a few small tweaks to see growth. This free email course will go over what they are, why they work, and how you can implement them. To get this totally free email course, you can head over to []. That’s [] F-I-X-E-S for Five Fast Fixes to grow your podcast. That’s []. 

The goal of this podcast is to help you Make Money Podcasting, which is incidentally the title of this show. 

So today I want to share with you my SMASH Framework. The five primary ways that you can make money podcasting. That’s smash, S-M-A-S-H. That the first S is Sponsorship. The M is Membership. The A is Affiliate links. The S is Selling as in selling a product or service. And the H is Helping, as in coaching consulting in courses. So, let’s go through all of these options starting with sponsorship.  

Welcome to Make Money Podcasting. The podcast that teaches you that monetizing your show is no longer just about getting sponsors. On this show, you’ll learn tried and true methods to increase your revenue and turn your podcast from a money pit into a money maker. 

Hi! I’m your host, Joe Casabona. And I’ve been able to make six figures with my podcast. I’ll share everything I know with you here on Make Money Podcasting presented by Nexcess and Podcast Liftoff.

Joe Casabona: This is definitely the most commonly thought-of method for monetizing. Because it is again, the most visible. Sponsorship is having brands pay for an ad during your podcast episode. You’re going to hear one soon. Lots of podcasts, including my own will insert ads at the beginning, (that’s the pre-roll)  or during the middle, (that’s the midroll). Sometimes you’ll also hear some at the end, and (that’s the end-roll). 

And while it seems to be the most common, keep in mind that it’s not easy to get sponsors. You need to reach out to brands and convince them that giving you money to promote them is a good idea. 

Now, you can do that with no downloads. And in fact, in later episodes, we will talk about how you can do that. But I would recommend reaching out to brands that you already have a relationship, first and starting with a low price, $25-$50 per spot. 

There’s a lot of other advice that we can bundle in here. There’s a lot to know about sponsorships and we’re going to dedicate several episodes to sponsorships. But, if you are looking to get started quickly, I recommend, again, reaching out to brands and companies or people you already have a relationship with and price it stupidly low like impossible to say, low.

Podcasters tend to like this one because it’s easy to tie dollars directly to the podcast or even specific episodes. If an episode is sponsored by three sponsors at a hundred dollars each, then that episode made $300. If it costs you $50 to produce that episode, then you’ve profited $250 for that episode. But you’ll also want to have a lot of data around these episodes and your podcast. You need data about your listeners to pitch sponsors and traffic flow to keep track of what sponsors are performing well. 

So for example, you’ll want to know about how many downloads your show sees in the first 30 days.  You’ll also maybe want to keep track of click-through rates for those ads on your website, or if you want to set up special URLs to make sure that people are actually clicking through to your sponsors. And if they aren’t, maybe you want to adjust your ad read. 

Again, we’ll get into all of this because I’ve had sponsors since the very beginning of my first podcast, my first big podcast, How I Built It. And so I’ve thought a lot about this. But again, sponsors isn’t the only way. And there are…. So let’s talk about the other ways. But first, let’s hear from the sponsor of this podcast.

Sponsor: This and every episode of Make Money Podcasting is brought to you by Store Builder from Nexcess.

As a podcaster, you might be wondering what’s the best way for me to implement some of the things that we talk about on this show. How can I easily make money with my own website? And when it comes to setting up an e-commerce site, you kind of have the choice between an easy but limited platform or a limitless platform that you need to manage yourself, taking precious time away from your podcast.

Until now, Store Builder is e-commerce made easy for everybody. It saves you time and delivers a storefront that lets you get to business. As someone who has set up multiple e-commerce sites, I can tell you that store builder has been a much easier experience than anything else I’ve tried. Answer a few questions, add your content, and sell. 

Store builder was created and is supported by the e-Commerce experts at Nexcess. I host all of my important sites, including the membership for my own podcast and this podcast at Nexcess. Get the speed, security, and support you need when you need it. Whether you’re selling podcast merch, offering a supplementary course, or you have a membership or subscription. 

Are you ready to monetize your podcast the way you want to? Head on over to [] all one word, to try it for free for 30 days. That’s [ builder]. 

Thanks so much to Store Builder and Nexcess for sponsoring this and every episode of Make Money Podcasting. 

Joe Casabona: All right. The next way that you can make money podcasting is through membership or by offering your listeners bonus content in exchange for a monthly or annual subscription. I would say that this is actually the hardest path to take. You need a large and dedicated audience to pull this off. And then you need to convince them that you’re worth spending $5 a month on this is perhaps a no-brainer, for some folks, right? The super fans that you have. But you want to make this profitable for you, especially if you are lowering the…let’s say you have sponsors and you’re lowering the number of downloads, those sponsors will see, or the reach that they’re getting. 

On top of that, you probably need to create extra content. But not so much that you’re stuck doing extra work for one person. So if you’re going to take this path, I recommend really thinking about the value proposition. And if it’s worth it, then talk to your listeners to see if they’re interested.

This is why building a list is so important. If you have five people on your mailing list, then you’re likely not going to make any money off a membership. But if you have a thousand people on that mailing list, then you’re likely to make a few bucks.

And the last thing I’ll say here because again, we’ll talk about membership and future episodes is you want your benefits, especially at first to be a low effort for you and a high reward for your members.

My members get an ad-free extended episode of How I Built It every week, and they get it a day early. So, they get to listen to the episode before everyone else. They get to hear a behind-the-scenes conversation. And the conversation is not interrupted by sponsorship ads. I’ve adjusted my sponsorship pricing accordingly based on the number of members I have and the hit that my downloads take because of it. So this is all stuff that you need to think about with membership. 

Now, going in a different direction, the A in smash is for Affiliate income. You add affiliate links to your show, to your show notes, and transcripts. And you should definitely have show notes and transcripts. This is the path of least resistance because you can start today. Find some products or services that you love and will happily recommend anyway, and add affiliate links to your podcast website. 

If you’re going to mention affiliate links on the podcast, I would recommend a quick disclosure, which you’ll also need to have on your website letting people know that this show on this website use affiliate links. That’s an important disclosure to make. And you should have an easy-to-speak URL. 

You may not make a ton of money to start, but you can begin to offset some of the costs of your show. Plus, you can retroactively update show notes and transcripts. It doesn’t just need to be episodes moving forward. So again, I think this is the path of least resistance for a lot of people. I would recommend finding a few good tools that you recommend that are relevant to your audience and mentioning them. I’ve even seen some people use affiliate links as supporting this episode with its own ad break and everything. So there are a lot of different things you can do. 

The last two elements of the SMASH Framework are selling and helping. And they both have to do with generating leads and establishing expertise. If you have a product or service you offer, and I bet many of you do, you could use the podcast as lead generation. And this pairs well with using your podcast to build trust. 

At the beginning of each episode, you can mention a product or service related to the content of your episode. If you talk about fixing bicycles, you can mention your bicycle shop or the live training to change bicycle tires that you’re doing.

Make sure to have a clear call to action. I would recommend telling them to join your mailing list, to learn more, and to get a special deal. Then you can nurture that audience both on the show and via the mailing list. 

ncreasing the touch points for your potential customers is never a bad thing. And similar to selling products or services, you can use your podcast to land consulting clients, coaching clients, or selling online courses. This could be a little easier than selling because you can have a podcast that does exactly what you are helping “service does”. 

For example, I offer a podcast coaching service, something I’m probably going to promote on this show when I get a little bit more established. But the idea is that somebody listens to this show, understand. I know what I’m talking about with podcasts and then want to hire me to help them get their first sponsor, for example.

So those are the five methods of the five tenants of the SMASH Framework. 

S – Sponsorship

M – Membership

A –  Affiliate links

S – Selling

H – Helping

And of course, you are not locked in to anyone. But understanding your options will help you craft your episodes, and your call to action. It will also help you figure out where to spend your time.

For example, if you want to sell a product, then you shouldn’t worry about building a membership or designing ad packages. Instead, figure out the most common questions potential customers have and how you can help them.

In the coming episodes, we’ll take a deeper dive into each method with examples and everything. But there’s still more to think about before you do start making money. 

Right now, I’d love if you let me know by heading over to []. Let me know which of these methods sounds best to you. And which ones do you want to explore? 

But that’s it for this episode of Make Money Podcasting. 

Thanks so much for listening to Make Money Podcasting presented by Nexcess and Podcast Liftoff.  

For all of the show notes and to subscribe to this show, you can head on over to []. You can also sign up for that podcast tips newsletter I told you about at the top of the show.

Thanks so much to our sponsor, Nexcess.

Until next time. I’m Joe Casabona, and I can’t wait to see what you make.

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