Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways that podcasters can start to monetize their show. Unlike running paid ads on a show, companies don’t have to pay for you to advertise their products upfront—you get a cut after you make a sale.
There’s less risk involved on the side of the company selling the product, which makes it more likely that they’ll take a chance on a newer outlet. This is great news for new podcasters because it means you don’t have to rack up thousands of listeners before you can start to make money.
But before you can start using affiliate marketing to make a little cash, you need to understand what it is, how to use it most effectively and what the best programs for beginner podcasts are. And we’ve got all of that information right here.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is pretty simple. You as a promoter get paid when by a company whose product you’re advertising when someone makes a purchase through your unique link.
It’s a win-win scenario for product makers and promoters alike. Products get more advertising and you make money when you effectively share products and services that you love.
With affiliate links, your audience doesn’t pay any more for a product or service—in fact, in a lot of cases they get a discount. But you make a cut of the profit when a sale is completed.
How to Use Affiliate Marketing for Your Podcast
Affiliate marketing is a lot easier to do than most people think. In most cases, it is as easy as sharing a link with your audience. Which is why it’s one of the simplest ways podcasters can start to monetize their show.
There are three main ways that podcasters can promote affiliates:
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Promote Them on Your Show
The most obvious way that you can promote your affiliate links is to share them on your show. This is easiest to do when you have a special or unique link that people can easily go to, like affiliate.com/thepodcasthost—that way your audience can easily type it into their browser.
Include Them in Your Show Notes
Beyond telling your audience what this particular episode is about and sharing important links on your topic or guest, your show notes can help you build revenue with affiliate marketing.
You can talk about an affiliate opportunity in your show, then include the link in your show notes so your audience can access them easily. While you might not be able to flash a link on the screen while they’re listening, you can make it easier for them to support you.
Add Them to Your Website
Websites are wildly underutilized tools by podcasters. Usually they hold links to the latest episodes, maybe a bio for your hosts and a link to your Patreon page—that’s it.
But there is much more you can do on your website to promote and build a revenue for your podcast. And adding affiliate links is one of those things. Whether you add a banner, sidebar advertisement, and affiliate page or make a new blog post for each affiliate, there is a ton of opportunity.
If you're using affiliate links on your show or site then be sure to give your audience a heads up about them. Let them know that you might earn a commission should they choose to buy through these links. You might also want to assure your audience that you'd never use an affiliate link for a product or service that you don't recommend. Trust and integrity are priceless.
Best Affiliate Programs for New Podcasters
1. Amazon Associates
Amazon gives everyone a chance to try their hand at affiliate marketing with Amazon Associates. You simply need to open an account and start sharing links—you’ll have 180 days to make three qualifying sales before your account is reviewed.
Unfortunately, Amazon affiliate links tend to be pretty messy and not that aesthetically pleasing. However, you can use a WordPress plugin like Thirsty Affiliates to make them easier to share during your show. You can also place the links on your podcast website and in your show notes to direct your listeners to relevant purchases.
With an Amazon affiliate account you can link to almost any physical product, which gives you a host of options. But you’ll want to be careful that you’re not just recommending things for the sake of making money and focus on things relevant to your audience.
If you listened to a podcast it’s likely that you’ve heard about Audible. It’s an online book and podcast program owned by Amazon and run through their Amazon Associates. So, anyone with an account can promote it. Their regular program payout goes as follows:
- $0.50 per audio book sale
- $5 for a free trial digital membership
- $10 for an Audible gold member purchase
However, they also have a specific creator program that podcasters can use that gives you $15 per trial signup through a custom link, which is great for promoting on your show. It’s a great beginner affiliate program for podcasters because of the similarities between enjoying audiobooks and podcast episodes.
Skillshare is an online learning platform where you can learn more about things you’re passionate about—from graphic design and photography to running an online business or designing your space. It’s a wildly popular program that offers a great affiliate program that podcasters can participate in.
There are over 29,000 courses that you can promote to your audience, and in exchange you can earn up to $7 per sign-up. This affiliate program pays out on a monthly basis and accepts beginners into their program, so long as you can prove that you have a viable program that aligns with their mission.
This is a particularly good beginner affiliate program for podcasters that are in the business of learning. If your podcast teaches something so someone (like entrepreneurship or marketing) you could make some genuine cash to support your show.
Who doesn’t love dogs? Chances are your audience is full of dog lovers who would delight in supporting your show. Barkbox offers an affiliate program that pays out for purchases on their subscription programs and at their store.
With Barkbox you need to apply for all of their different affiliate programs they offer—BarkBox, BarkShop and Super Chewer—individually. Each program pays out differently—$18, 10 percent and $20, respectively.
If you sense that your audience contains more cat people than dog lovers, then perhaps something like WhiskerBox might be more up your alley. They offer a 10 percent commission for subscriptions you bring in.
What’s a better affiliate program for podcasters than a podcasting host? Buzzsprout is a great affiliate program for podcasters who work in the business field or those that want to promote podcasting.
There are two affiliate tracks in the Buzzsprout program. You can choose to make $25 per sign-up or get a 20 percent recurring commission. The latter of which can be a great way to build a passive income.
A really great, little used feature to the affiliate program is that your link code can work on any page of the Buzzsprout site. That means that you can get credit for sending someone to a how to guide if they purchase after that.
Picking the Best Affiliate Program
While these five affiliate programs are great for new podcasters, that doesn’t mean they’re the only options. The best affiliate for your podcast will be something that both you and your audience love.
While some affiliate programs are better for beginners than others, it never hurts to apply for a program that you know you want to talk about. There’s no better way to make money through affiliate marketing, then to be confident in a product or service that you’re promoting.
In The Podcast Host Academy we have a ‘find a sponsor' section listing loads more affiliate schemes. On top of that, you'll find all of our courses, downloadable resources, and we run weekly live Q&A sessions, too!