How to Monetize a Podcast

Image representing how to monetize a podcast by Joe Sanok | podcasting | Content Creation | Tips

Pain and Transformation

Before jumping into how to monetize a podcast, ask yourself, what is the last thing you bought?

Think about it, what did you buy recently? Maybe it was a power cord for your new iPhone (because they changed the input…again), a bottle of wine, or a new mask that matches your outfits better. Why did you buy that item? Was it the features, the craftsmanship, or the marketing? 


It’s because you had a pain and you needed relief. We don’t always think in these terms. Anything we buy is relieving a pain and transforming us into something new. It could be minor. I’m hungry and I don’t want to be hungry. Or it could be big. I feel alone and I want to feel a connection with others. 

Things to Consider

Most podcasters don’t think in these terms when they approach their content. Instead, they talk about what they are interested in exploring, interview guests with little plan, or just build an audience for the sake of building an audience. But the biggest difference between a professional podcaster who monetizes their podcast, and one that barely gets by, is that they focus on the pain and the transformation. 

In any social post, email, or podcast ask yourself,

What pain is my listener dealing with now and what transformation am I offering? 

Harvard Business Review released their “Elements of Value Pyramid” in 2016. It brings together the pains that content, products, and services offer. Here are some of the elements:

  • Reduces effort
  • Organizes
  • Simplifies
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Nostalgia
  • Affiliation
  • Self-transcendence.

For years as I was retraining my brain to think in these terms, I had this saved as my computer’s background. It forced me to always think about what pain and transformation I was offering. In Podcast Launch School we often say,

Fall in love with the pain and the people, before you pitch the product.

Three Steps to Monetize a Podcast

So how do you actually do this? Here are three quick steps to help you move from blindly making content, to creating a plan that will lead you to stronger monetization of your podcast (reread that last sentence, see the pain and transformation?). 

Who Are You Naturally Attracting?

First, who are you naturally attracting right now? For example, Melissa Vogel is one of our podcasters and has the Bomb Mom Podcast. It is aimed at helping moms who want to get back in shape, improve their mindset, and become a Bomb Mom. After some episodes, Melissa should figure out what type of moms she is attracting. Are they Type A achievers? Or moms that dealt with depression during being a stay-at-home mom? Perhaps they’re balancing work and working out? 

This is important because often we’re attracting people that have pains we are not addressing. 

Test Your Content

Next, create a free piece of content to test out whether the pain you think you’re addressing is actually what people want. This should have a clear call-to-action. It could be a webinar, self-paced video course, or Q&A Zoom call. Promote this through your most popular channels such as email, social, or on the podcast. 

This will give you an immense amount of data. If no one signs up for a free webinar with you, how can you ever sell anything? Maybe it was the time, the copy, or the pain you are addressing. If 500 people sign up, that also gives you more information. 

Get Feedback

Lastly, once you have a piece of free content that has at least 100 people that attend or went through it, gather from them, the next steps they want. This can be via email, a phone call, or a survey. Say something like, “Wasn’t that webinar amazing!? We had 200 people there and the energy and learning was awesome. It got me thinking about next steps and I’d love to hear what you wish I’d create. I want to hear from you what would be most helpful to you, rather than me just guessing.” 

When we focus on our listeners and trust they will give us the information to solve their pain, the transformation becomes clear. Then people will purchase, not because of marketing, but because we focused on offering transformation away from a pain.

This article first appeared in Podcast Magazine.

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok is a private practice business consultant who has the #1 podcast for counselors in private practice, The Practice of the Practice Podcast. His podcast, social media channels, and blog help over half a million private practice owners per month. For over 30 FREE marketing tools, resources, checklists, e-books, and other downloads.

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