Recording a DJ podcast and getting it on iTunes is one thing, but if you’re really serious about podcasting, you’ll want to learn how to make money from podcasting as well. That way you can cover the costs of things like recording equipment, music licensing fees, and your own time, plus you might even be able to make some extra cash to help you pay your bills as well. In terms of using your DJ podcast to make money from podcasting, you have a few monetization options to consider.
The most common way to make money from podcasting is to find sponsors to buy advertising time on your podcast. This ad time could take the form of radio-style ads, or it could be integrated more seamlessly into your content (for example, you might spend two minutes in every episode talking about the latest products from a certain sponsor). When it comes to sponsorship, there are two ways to go about things: you can find your own sponsors, or you can join a podcast network (more on that below). The advantage of direct sponsorship is that all of the ad revenue goes directly to you – there’s no middleman taking a cut. The disadvantage, though, especially for new podcasters, is that it’s often harder to convince advertisers to sponsor your show if you’re not part of a network and you haven’t built up a significant audience of your own yet.
Podcast networks can hook you up with sponsors so you don’t have to worry about finding them on your own. The downside of this arrangement is that the network will take a cut of the ad money (deals are often split 50/50), but the plus side is that being part of a network gives you access to advertisers (and an audience) that would be much harder to access on your own.
Another approach that’s similar to sponsorship is joining an affiliate program. Rather than providing advertising time during your actual podcast episodes, you can provide a series of affiliate links on your podcast website where people can buy products related to your podcast. Of course, you can also talk about those links on your podcast and encourage people to use them. Every time someone clicks on one of your affiliate links and buys a product, you get paid. The most popular affiliate program is through Amazon.com, and these links can earn you around 4 – 8% commission per item. That may not sound like a lot at first, but after a while, affiliate income can start to really add up, especially if you’ve got a large audience and you’re promoting your links well.
While subscription-based podcasts are not as popular as they used to be, many podcasters still use some sort of subscription model to fund their podcast. However, because people have come to expect so much for free these days, it’s unlikely that you’ll be successful with a pure subscription model as a new podcaster. Instead, many podcasters have found success with partial subscription models – giving some episodes away for free and charging for the rest, or letting people listen to a portion of each episode for free while offering paid access to the full episode.
If you’d like your podcast to be fan funded but you’re looking for an alternative to the subscription model, crowdfunding might be a better fit for you. You could either use a platform like Kickstarter to raise the funds you need to get your DJ podcast started, or you could use a patronage platform like Patreon, which acts as a sort of hybrid between a crowdfunding platform and a subscription service. With Patreon, you can ask people to donate a dollar amount of their own choosing for every episode you create. That way, your podcast can still be free for general listeners, but those who want to can choose to support you on an ongoing basis.
Some podcasts have even gone so far as to create their own branded merchandise like t-shirts and mugs that listeners can buy. It’s unlikely that you’d make enough from this strategy to fund your whole podcast, but selling merch can be a good way to make some extra cash once in a while, plus it acts as free advertising for you and your DJ podcast.
Even if you’re not monetizing your DJ podcast through any of the methods mentioned above, you can still make money from podcasting by using your podcast to build your brand as a DJ and promote your services. After all, your DJ podcast is your own creation, so you can really do what you want with it, whether that’s actively promoting your own mixtapes and upcoming gigs, or simply referring people to your website where they can find out more about you and what you do.
Whether your DJ podcast makes money or not, starting a DJ podcast is a great way to practice your DJ skills and get your name out there as a DJ. For more on podcasting for DJs, check out our blog post on how to record DJ mixes, or try out our lesson on mixing in key for tips on how to make mixes that flow seamlessly – a great skill for anyone running a music podcast.