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Podcast Monetization: Turning Your Show into a Money-Making Machine

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How are you doing in podcasting as a guest, host, or both?

When it comes to podcast monetization, many of us look in the wrong places to drive revenue with our podcasts. In this post, Doug Sandler explains 4 often-overlooked opportunities for podcast monetization and how to create a successful strategy that aligns with your values. Don’t miss out on the hidden potential of podcasting revenue – it may not be where you expect it, but it’s waiting for those who know where to look!






Read the Blog Post: Podcast Monetization: Turning Your Show into a Money-Making Machine

One of the biggest hurdles many podcasters face is getting too caught up in ego-driven metrics aka those numbers that stroke our egos. This includes things like how many downloads we have or how many episodes we’ve put out there. If you want to build a monetization monster, you’ve got to toss those ego metrics in the trash can. 

Here’s the reality: if your podcast is somehow related to your business or the services you provide, your number one focus should be on keeping it active without draining your resources—time, effort, energy, and money. 

Related: Why You Should Systemize Your Podcast

So, how can you do that, especially if you’re a new podcaster? How can you create a relevant message and connect it to your show’s services? And most importantly, how can you start making money quickly? 

See, many people jump into podcasting with a mindset focused solely on ego metrics, like downloads and sponsors. But the truth is, you don’t need either of those things to succeed in podcasting. Success is defined by you, and I’m here to share my experiences from hosting the Nice Guys on Business Podcast for the past seven years and 1300 episodes. Along the way, I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and I’ve learned to embrace them. Now, I want to help you avoid monetization mistakes and guide you toward achieving financial success in podcasting.

I wish I could give you a definitive timeline and say, “Hey, this strategy will work in a week, or that one will yield results in six months, or maybe this approach will take 30 days.” But the truth is, it all depends on your market, your offer, and your message.

Let’s dive into the golden opportunity that podcasters often miss—the one that can transform your podcast into a monetization monster.

Making a lot of money through podcasting

The Golden Opportunity

Here’s the thing about the golden opportunity in podcasting—it’s not actually your audience. Don’t get me wrong, having listeners is great, but what’s even better is having a small group of 20 people who are actually taking action rather than a massive audience of 20,000 who do nothing. 

Related:  How Michael Makes $37,000 with 28 Listeners

The challenge with a podcast audience, as you’ve probably experienced if you’ve been podcasting for a while, is that these people remain anonymous. It’s tough to get them to do anything unless you present them with an irresistible offer.

And here’s another challenge: when you start podcasting, you might not know what that irresistible offer is for your audience. So my advice is, for now, to forget about the idea of growing your audience size and instead focus on what I’m about to share with you—the four ways, tools, and opportunities that are often overlooked in the podcasting world. And guess what? These opportunities come from your guests, not your audience.

Let me explain what I mean by that. I’d much rather have a guest who aligns with my message and the services I provide, someone who ends up buying the things I have to offer, than simply having an audience member. Guests give us a chance to build relationships, which can eventually turn them into clients.

Katie Brinkley covered how to build relationships with podcast hosts here.

And the best part is, you can do this without resorting to any sleazy or salesy tactics.

And that’s not all. 

Imagine having a guest in the interview seat who’s an ideal candidate to refer you to their own customers or clients. 

Or turning your guests into affiliates or becoming an affiliate for the products or services they represent. That would mean finding a product or service that complements what your guest provides without competing with them. 

Then, we have the catch-all category. Sometimes you come across a guest who you really connect with, someone whose methodologies, purpose, services, and products align with yours. Even if you’re not sure how they fit into your immediate plans, it’s worth considering a future phone call to explore a joint venture partnership. 

Let’s dig into each in more detail.

The Four Ways To Monetize Your Podcast

Guest To Client

For the past five out of the seven years that we’ve been running our show, we’ve been using something called a pre-qualification application. This application helps me listen to the words of potential guests with two ears. Ear number one: Do the words they speak provide value to my community? Will my audience genuinely benefit from what they have to say? Can they potentially purchase the services my guest is sharing? This value should be evident to both my community and my guest.

But there’s another ear I listen through—the second ear. It asks, “Not only do they have a product or service and a message that aligns with my community, but are they also potentially interested in buying the products or services I offer?” It doesn’t matter if you’re a coach, consultant, or if you sell mechanical services, engineering products, plumbing solutions, or podcast production like we do. 

Your guest should fulfill two purposes. First, their message should resonate with your listening audience. Second, the words they say should give you an inkling that they might want to become a client of yours.

Guest to Referral Source

By using that pre-qualification application and asking the right questions, you can determine whether someone is potentially signaling their interest in purchasing from you or if they have a similar business that could create a problem you can solve.

They might become a valuable referral source, where they refer business to you because you offer the solution to the problem they address. So if you come across someone who could potentially sit in the guest seat and refer business to you, why wouldn’t you want to invite them to be on your show?

First, imagine having a guest whose message aligns perfectly with your audience. They have valuable insights that your listeners would love to hear. But what if they also serve a community that you’re interested in? This creates a win-win situation where you can potentially become a referral for their clients.

By building a relationship with them during a 30- or 45-minute interview, you open the door to such possibilities. So whether you’re aiming for guest to client or guest to referral source, it’s essential to pre-qualify individuals who can potentially buy your products or services or refer you to their own contacts through their marketing list, email list, social media, or community.

Guest to Affiliate

Now, let’s move on to the third way to monetize your podcast: guest to affiliate. This approach is great because it allows both parties to earn money. Here’s an example: Suppose you have an accounting podcast, and a guest sitting in the interview seat offers accounting software as a service. By becoming an affiliate for their product or service, every time someone from your community makes a purchase, you earn a percentage of that sale.

The specific commission rate will depend on the terms of your affiliate relationship. But the point is, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. Building this affiliate relationship can bring you additional income without any harm, and you can always pre-qualify potential affiliates using the pre-qualification application.

Don’t skip this step. It’s crucial to ask the right questions before granting someone that coveted guest spot. If you have a weekly podcast, you only have 52 episodes in a year. You don’t want to give away too many of those spots to people who may not become a client, referral sources, affiliates, or joint venture partners.

Guest to Joint Venture Partnership

Now, let’s dive into the final one. This is the ideal option for those guests who don’t fit into the guest to client, guest to referral, or guest to affiliate categories. These are the individuals who sit in the guest seat, sharing a compelling story and offering a service that resonates with your audience. 

At the end of the interview, you may feel a connection and think, “John, I’m not sure where we can collaborate, but I really enjoyed this conversation. Would you be open to exploring future opportunities together?” If they express interest, simply schedule a follow-up meeting. As for the other three categories—guest to client, guest to referral, and guest to affiliate—you can easily follow up with them through a series of messages.

Throughout the process, you have several opportunities to stay in touch. From the time of the interview to the episode airing, you can send follow-up messages to keep them informed. Let them know when the episode is about to come out and when it finally goes live. Express your gratitude for their participation. These natural progressions in the podcast production and release cycle offer three perfect moments for communication.

By seizing the right opportunities and nurturing relationships, you can leverage your podcast to its full monetization potential.

Final Thoughts

You need to shift your focus away from ego metrics like downloads and anonymous community members. Podcasting is a long-term game, not a quick sprint. It takes time for your community to truly engage and take action. Even after 1300 episodes, sometimes it’s still a challenge to motivate people to respond to a well-crafted call to action. However, they will eventually take action, so don’t worry. Success in podcasting is a gradual process.

Instead, aim for the gold by building a monetization monster from the guest seat. Trust me; this approach will yield results much faster than solely focusing on growing your community. So, I highly encourage you to take this route. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your show starts generating revenue.

I hope this advice helps you on your podcasting journey.


About Doug Sandler

Doug Sandler is an entrepreneur and podcast industry leader. As a podcast host of The Nice Guys on Business, Doug has interviewed Gary V, Arianna Huffington, John C. Maxwell, and dozens of celebs. Doug is a nationally recognized speaker, writer, and founder of TurnKey Podcast Productions, providing podcast production, editing, launch, and podcast monetization strategies. His Nice Guys podcast, with over 1,300 episodes, has been downloaded 5 million times in more than 175 countries.

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