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How Podcasters Make Money

by Sharon Housley

Making Money From Podcasts

Podcasts started out as fun ways for ambitious garage DJs, independent musicians and talk show hosts, who had not ventured into radio broadcasting as a way to show their stuff and make a name for themselves. What started as a hobby for many, has turned into a lucrative profession for some.

Not surprisingly, podcasters, just like radio stations, have looked for ways to profit from their on-air dialogue.


Many podcasters profit from their podcast by having companies related to the show's content sponsor the podcast in its entirety. Sponsors might also sponsor specific themed shows or show segments for a fixed fee.

Sponsorship is usually indicated by an audio advertisement. Audio advertisements are typically 10 to 20 seconds in length, and they may be inserted into the podcast show at any point. Podcasts can also include what would be considered traditional commercials very similar to what is heard in a radio broadcast. Like radio broadcasters, podcasters can recruit advertisers directly that wish to advertise, or they can work with an ad agency to locate potential advertisers. Not be left out, video podcasters can also insert video advertisements into shows to raise revenue, similar to what would be seen as a television commercial.

Advertisements In Podcast Transcripts

Many podcasters create transcripts of podcasts, and post the transcript in an RSS feed. Podcasters will often sell advertisements to be included in the podcast show transcript. Podcasters can recruit advertisers directly and negotiate the advertisement price or they can use a 3rd party network that will automatically insert advertisements into their podcast feed. The most effective advertisements, are not surprisingly those that are contextual and related to the podcasts contents.

There are a number of third party services that work with podcasters to match advertising partners with podcasters. The advertising agencies attempt to match advertising content with the podcast's content. Pheedo and AdSense for RSS Feeds are two of the more popular third party ad serving platforms for RSS feeds. When using Pheedo advertisers select the categories of their advertisements, the categories narrow the types of advertisements that will appear in their feed. Google Adsense for Feeds uses contextual language in the feed to place the advertisements that most closely relate to the RSS feed's contents. If you are using Google AdSense for Feeds and wish to improve the advertisement's relevance be sure to include as much about the podcast show in the feed description. This will mean that Google will be able to use the language in your RSS feed to serve related advertisements.

Publicize Other Ventures

Many podcasters use podcasts as a covert advertisement. They use the podcast to attract interest to other products or services through which they receive a revenue share. Some podcasters promote products through affiliate programs or they own multiple ventures and use podcasts to subtly promote their ventures.

Subscription-Based Podcasts

No, not Cerious radio, some podcasters have moved to a subscription model where subscribers pay a weekly, monthly or annual fee to subscribe to the podcast show's contents. Podcasters can build a subscriber base and profit from the podcast subscriptions and renewals.


Other podcasters see no need to profit directly from the podcast. The podcast is used as a means to communicate, establish brand and name recognition. Podcasters can create good will in their industry by publicizing consumer alerts, health warnings or other relevant and valuable information.

Additional Benefits - Part of the Whole

Some companies may promote their product or service by offering podcasts as an added benefit. In other words the podcasters are not selling the podcast in itself, but customers receive access to the podcast as part of something larger. Many organizations have found that providing a podcast to members in addition to other member benefits is a great way to increase membership.

Podcasting once defined as a geek hobby, has now spawned an industry. Entrepreneurs have adopted traditional advertising mediums to the podcasting technology as a way to make some extra money.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage, a wireless text messaging software company.


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