Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways podcasters can monetize their show. Unlike running paid ads in your content, 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.
If you already feel clued up about affiliate marketing and want to jump straight to the recommendations, then have at it!
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is pretty simple. As a promoter, you get paid by a company whose product you advertise when someone purchases 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 you love.
With affiliate links, your audience doesn’t pay any more for a product or service—in fact, in many 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. Usually, it is as easy as sharing a link with your audience. This 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:
Promote Them on Your Show
The most obvious way to 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, or yourwebsite.com/affiliateproductname—that way, your audience can easily type it into their browser. A great tool to create such links is Pretty Links. And, to get unbelievably meta, our link to Pretty Links is an affiliate link!
Include Them in Your Show Notes
Beyond telling your audience about a particular episode and sharing links on your topic or guest, your show notes can help you build revenue with affiliate marketing.
You can discuss 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, Blogs, or Emails
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 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 are tons of opportunities.
Keeping a “Resources” page on your website is good practice where you add any product, service, or tool you find interesting or useful. Some might be affiliates, but they don’t all need to be.
If you run an email list, affiliate links can be effective here, too, as they’re immediately clickable!
If you’re using affiliate links on your show or site, give your audience a heads-up about them. Tell them you might earn a commission if they 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 you don’t recommend. Trust and integrity are priceless.
Best Affiliate Programs for New Podcasters
So now that we’ve got the basics laid out, you’re undoubtedly dying to start your affiliate marketing ventures. Here are eight types of affiliate program you can apply for today, even if your podcast is still in the planning stages.
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 show notes to direct your listeners to relevant purchases.
With an Amazon affiliate account, you can link to almost any physical product, giving you many 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, you’ve likely heard about Audible. It’s an online book and podcast program owned by Amazon and run through Amazon Associates. So, anyone with an account can promote it. Their regular program payout goes as follows:
- $0.50 per audiobook sale
- $5 for a free trial digital membership
- $10 for an Audible gold member purchase
However, they also have a specific creator program podcasters can use that gives you $15 per trial signup through a custom link, which is great for promoting on your show. It’s the ideal 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 34,000 courses you can promote to your audience, and in exchange, you can earn 40% commission, up to $67, for every new customer you refer to Skillshare. This affiliate program pays out every month 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.
4. Alitu: The ‘Podcast Maker’ App
Alitu is our own product here at The Podcast Host. It’s a ‘podcast maker’ web app designed to make podcasting as quick and easy as humanly possible. It does this by automating most of it and offering podcast-specific tools for the rest. This makes Alitu perfect for beginners, non-techy folks, and time-strapped podcasters.
If you run your own podcast, it’s only a matter of time before you start getting some “How do you do this?” questions.
By partnering with us as an Alitu affiliate, you can point folks in our direction, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be in the best possible hands. On top of that, you’ll earn a recurring 20% commission for each person who signs up. That means you’ll get a percentage of their membership fee, monthly, for as long as they’re a member.
At Alitu, we have everything they need to help them get set up, not only to launch their podcast but to grow one that thrives.
Alitu is one single software for recording, editing, producing, and hosting podcasts. It’s designed with simplicity, automation, and efficiency in mind, making it perfect for newbies, non-techy folks, and people short on time.
Gone are the days of learning the ins and outs of Compression, EQ, and Noise Reduction. Alitu simply does it for you. Complex DAW editing interfaces are replaced by a clean and intuitive interface that makes cutting, editing, and arranging segments a breeze. There’s even a text-based editing option in Alitu now.
Alitu has a free music library, auto-generates transcriptions, and you can upload, publish, and distribute your podcast from directly within the interface, too.
We also have education, training, and support in place for our customers. We don’t just want folks to easily start their podcast; we want to enable them to keep going. And without the overwhelm and expense of multiple tools, logins, and subscriptions, we genuinely believe we’re the best place for new podcasters to create their future.
So, if you’d like to earn passive income whilst helping the next generation of podcasters find their voice, be sure to join us as an Alitu partner today.
5. BarkBox Subscription
Who doesn’t love dogs? Unless you run the “I really hate dogs podcast”, 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 the different affiliate programs they offer—BarkBox, BarkShop and Super Chewer—individually. Each program pays out differently—$18, 10%, and $20, respectively.
If you sense that your audience contains more cat people than dog lovers, perhaps something like WhiskerBox might be more up your alley. They offer a 10% commission for subscriptions you bring in.
6. Podcast Hosting: Buzzsprout, Captivate, & Podbean Affiliates
We’ve already mentioned Alitu, our podcast-maker tool, which includes podcast hosting as one of its many features.
There are many other great podcast hosting providers out there, too, though. So if your audience is already clued-up on things like recording and editing, and is just looking for somewhere to publish their episodes, then you might become an affiliate for someone like Buzzsprout, Captivate, or Podbean.
With Buzzsprout Affiliates, you can earn $20 for every paid account you refer. Every person you refer to Buzzsprout will also receive a $20 credit in their account, too!
With Podbean Affiliates, you earn $25 for each referred user signing up for a Podbean Unlimited Plan, and each person you refer will receive a one-month free trial.
With Castos Affiliates, you can earn 25% recurring commissions on all of your referrals for the life of their accounts. You can also earn 10% commissions on their podcast production and launch services.
And with Captivate Affiliates, you get a 25% recurring payout for the lifetime of every podcaster that you refer, based on their payment term. Payouts depend on whether referred customers choose to pay monthly or annually.
Need a user-friendly tool to create amazing email campaigns without breaking the bank? Then Moosend is for you. The platform sports an array of features, including a drag-and-drop builder, landing page designer, forms, custom reports and automated workflows.
Moosend’s affiliate program can benefit both you and your audience. You can introduce your audience to a tool that will help them cut back on cost while increasing engagement and conversion, while you can earn a passive income through lifetime commission.
To make your affiliate marketing efforts easier, the program will equip you with ready-made resources like banners, logos, one-pagers and guides. You can find all these in your affiliate dashboard when you join the program.
The Moosend Affiliate program offers a tiered commission structure. More specifically:
- Bronze Group (0-5 paid accounts) with 30% recurring commission
- Silver Group (6-10 paid accounts) with 33% recurring commission
- Gold Group (11-25 paid accounts) with 35% recurring commission
- Platinum Group (26-35 paid accounts) with 37% recurring commission
- Diamond Group (36 or more accounts) with 40% recurring commissions
- 90-day cookie duration
- $5 minimum threshold
Sign up to the Moosend Affiliate Program
8. Affiliate Marketplaces: Awin & ShareASale
Here, we get pretty Meta: an affiliate program within an affiliate program, a bit like that Leonardo Di Caprio film. This approach means you can refer publishers to an affiliate platform like Awin or ShareASale, earn if they sign up, then sign up to their new affiliate program and start earning via that, too!
You’re likely signing up to these platforms anyway, and you become an affiliate by default, so they’re a no-brainer.
Our links here are, unsurprisingly, affiliates…
- Awin – Refer a new revenue-driving publisher to Awin and earn $30.
- ShareASale – $150 referral fee for each qualifying merchant signed up through your referral links.
Affiliates for Podcasters: FAQ
We’re asked many podcast affiliate program-related questions in our IndiePod Community, so it made sense to answer a few of the most frequent right here!
What is Passive Income?
The term “passive income” essentially means earning money whilst not actively performing any job or task. The utopian idea of passive income is that you create some content, then go and lie in a hammock in the Bahamas whilst the money rolls in. In reality, any successful passive income needs regular maintenance and upkeep. However, the fact that you can earn whilst you sleep, take a holiday, or even lie in a hammock is still pretty cool.
Can I Have More Than One Affiliate Partner?
It’s rare for an affiliate marketer to be limited to working with one single partner. Most creators have a handful of affiliate products or services they promote and earn from. Some affiliate partners will forbid you to do things like direct price comparisons between them and competing services, though. If you create content that puts two platforms head-to-head, it’s best to check the terms of your agreement to avoid any repercussions.
Can Commission Rates Increase With My Conversion Rate?
Yes, it’s possible that if your conversion rates are high, a partner will increase your rate of affiliate commissions. Depending on the platform or partner, this might happen automatically. Or, if you have more of a direct relationship, you may be invited to talk with them. In these situations, the podcaster goes into negotiations in a strong position. Armed with this data, they’d be a candidate for a lucrative podcast sponsorship deal. They might decide to trade that for the uncertainty of affiliate marketing. Or, they might feel that there’s still plenty of money left on the table at this stage.
Popular Affiliate Networks & Platforms
There are a wide range of affiliate marketing program platforms out there. These third-party services mean that companies don’t need to build referral schemes from scratch. They also help businesses, products, and services by found by creators interested in promoting them.
Some of the most popular include CJ Affiliate, Awin, Impact, and ShareASale (remember, these have their own affiliate programs, too!). There’s nothing to stop you from working with some or all of these affiliate platforms, so it isn’t a case of trying to settle on “the best” one.
Once you sign up to an affiliate marketing program, you can begin to applying to any schemes listed on the platform. It won’t be long before you’re up, running, and sharing your first affiliate links.
What Will I Find in My Affiliate Dashboard?
Your affiliate platform’s dashboard means you can easily manage multiple referral schemes in one place. You can create links to specific products or services, track clicks and conversions, and collect and withdraw your earnings.
You’re also likely to find promotional material, marketing assets, and other useful resources partners have created to help you create an impactful campaign. You might also find contact details for a company’s affiliate manager. It’s this person’s job to help optimise how they’re being promoted by partners, and most of them will be willing to chat with you any time you need help or advice.
Picking the Best Affiliate Program for You, Your Content, & Your Audience
While these seven 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, applying for a program you know you want to talk about never hurts. There’s no better way to make money through affiliate marketing than to be confident in a product or service that you’re promoting.
And remember, we’d love to hear from anyone interested in becoming an Alitu affiliate. If you run your own podcast and have folks asking you how you go about it, Alitu is the perfect place to send them. As an Alitu affiliate, you’ll earn a recurring 20% commission for each person who signs up, which means a percentage of their membership fee, monthly, for as long as they’re a member!