Podcasting on Patreon: How to Build an Audience & Monetize

Emily Kingland
August 18, 2021
Podcasting on Patreon: How to Build an Audience & Monetize

Would you rather put on a concert not knowing if a single person was going to show up...


Put some work in beforehand to build an audience that'll show up for you?

Probably the latter, right?

If you want to monetize a podcast on Patreon, it helps to have an audience first. Because buddy, you've gotta pay for the platform whether anyone shows up or not.

In this post, we're going to explore...

Let's do it.

What is a Patreon Podcast?

A podcast published on Patreon charges subscribers -- or patrons -- a fee to listen. Any kind of media can be monetized on Patreon, including podcasts, blog posts, music, and videos.

The membership-based platform connects creators with new and current fans. Patreon users make money by charging patrons a fee per episode or per month for access to their content.

Patreon's co-founder and CEO, Jack Conte, puts it this way: "Patreon exists because when creators are paid, they can create more amazing things. Things that inspire us, teach us, challenge us, things that make us laugh."

What are the Benefits of Podcasting on Patreon?

Trying to decide whether or not to use Patreon to monetize your podcast? There are a few reasons why you might choose to do so.

Why podcast on Patreon?

  • 8 of the top 10 most popular creators on Patreon produce podcasts.
  • Collectively, podcasters bring in the second largest amount of revenue on Patreon, estimated at $3.52 million a month.
  • Patron pledges of support have increased by 33.37% since 2020.
  • Your audience may be small but they're dedicated. This allows for more intimate relationships with your subscribers (which is ideal for a business podcast).
  • You don't have to compromise your vision for your show with sponsors or advertisers.
  • Patreon users can customize membership tiers and benefits.
  • Patreon has earned patrons' trust.
  • Instead of building and maintaining your own membership platform, Patreon does it for you.

For the time saved and ease of use, Patreon takes a 5%-12% cut of anything you make using its platform. For podcasters, though, this isn't the only deal out there.

Podcasting on Patreon vs. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions

Recently, Apple Podcasts has come out with its own monetization feature. The major podcast directory now allows creators to charge their listeners a fee to hear their content.

One thing that sets Apple Podcasts apart is that a subscriber can access all of the free and paid-for content directly in the app. There's no having to exit one platform and enter another.

However, if the majority of your audience listens to podcasts somewhere other than Apple, it would make more sense to use a different monetization method.

Check out the side-by-side comparison of podcasting on Patreon versus using the Apple Podcasts subscription model.

How Much Do Podcasts Make From Patreon?

It's estimated that collectively, podcasters on Patreon bring in $3.52 million each month. Just a few podcasters, however, make the majority of this sum. That's because many of them had audiences before they started out on Patreon.

Famous Podcasters Already Had Audiences

For instance, Heather McDonald from E! News can charge a lot more for her highly produced episodes than a new show could. She's already ✨famous✨.

"With Patreon, it's not about likes and views. You can really connect with your fans, ignore the haters, and focus on the positive. I'd rather have 4 thousand patrons than 4 million Instagram followers."

Heather McDonald, Podcaster

It helps that her fans are willing to meet her on Patreon and pay anywhere from $2-$50 per month for exclusive content.

Podcasting on Patreon Without an Audience

But you're wondering how much you could make podcasting on Patreon. Not an actress/comedian/author interviewing other celebrities.

Most creators are earning around $6 per pledge.

So, pretend you start a Patreon and publish one new podcast episode a week. Your show is centered around health and wellness so you interview healthcare professionals. You charge $7/month, resulting in about $1.75/episode.

The subscribers start trickling in and pretty soon you have 100 patrons. That's $700/month -- not bad! Take Patreon's 12% from that and you gross $616 (not including some payment processing fees).


This is a possible situation for someone who just started out on Patreon without an already established audience. And, not to rain on your parade, but if you don't have an audience already, it'll probably take a few months to reach 100 patrons.

How to Build an Audience for Patreon

The other hypothetical is that you establish an audience and then start to monetize. That means delivering valuable content for *gulp* free.

You distribute that free content anywhere your ideal customer (listener) is. You'll probably syndicate your show across the major podcast directories and maybe even YouTube.

To build an audience around your free podcast, you can also...

  • Create a website or web page dedicated to your show.
  • Interview industry practitioners who share your content with their audiences.
  • Post micro content from your interviews on social media.
  • Launch an email campaign.
  • Launch a PPC ad campaign.
  • Swap interviews with other podcast hosts.
  • Write SEO-friendly blogs based on your interviews.

These ☝ are all things we recommend trying out before you turn to Patreon. You're more likely to make money with Patreon if you have an established audience first.

Now, let's get into how you actually set up a podcast on Patreon.

How Do I Set Up a Podcast on Patreon?

Before you create a Patreon, make sure you have a plan for how it will be structured.

  • Will you have multiple membership tiers?
  • How much will you charge for each tier?
  • What content upgrades will you offer?
  • Will you charge per episode or per month?
  • How often will you post content?

Once you have answers to those questions, you're ready to set up your Patreon podcast.

[READ: You can launch a business podcast in 26 steps. Here's how.]

How to Set Up a Podcast on Patreon:

  1. Go to patreon.com and select Create on Patreon in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Make an account with your email, Google profile, or Facebook profile. Select Sign Up.
  3. Enter your podcast name where it asks what you're creating.
  4. Choose the Podcast category.
  5. Answer the questions about the content you'll be publishing.
  6. Watch the Patreon CEO's short introduction video.
  7. In Settings, upload your podcast cover art. Create a custom link for your show.
  8. In About, enter your show's description.
  9. In Rewards, set your patron tiers.
  10. In Goals, set any goals you have for your Patreon.
  11. In Payments, choose whether patrons will be charged per episode or per month.
  12. In Thanks, add a note or a video link to thank your subscribers.
  13. Save each page. Select Preview & Launch to review before you go live.
  14. Once everything is to your liking, hit Go Live.

You're live, baby!

Next, start uploading the content that corresponds with each patron tier. Podcast episodes should be in an MP3 format. If your episodes include video, upload the MP4 files.

Patreon, unfortunately, doesn't offer any promotional functions within its platform. However, there are multiple ways you can market a new show outside of Patreon.

Types of Patreon Podcasts

There are several strategies you can take when monetizing your podcast with Patreon. Here are six of them:

1. Early Access

In the case of an early access strategy, you'd be offering your patrons just that: early access to new episodes.

This type of Patreon podcast should be done in tandem with your free, regular access show. That is unless early access is part of a higher membership tier. In this case, regular access may be part of a lower tier.

(To build an audience, we suggest offering free episodes via podcast listening apps.)

2. Ad-Free Show

If you're using Patreon to monetize your podcast, the episodes should be ad-free. Otherwise, you might have a few angry patrons on your hands.

Doing the ad-free format is normally one part of a podcaster's overall Patreon strategy. You should think about combining it with other tactics.

3. Exclusive Episodes

Some Patreon podcasters offer entirely exclusive episodes to their patrons. These would be separate from the free content you syndicate to Apple, Spotify, etc.

You could also include exclusive episodes in a higher membership tier. The episodes could be entirely different from your free ones or they could be from your gated back catalog.

4. Exclusive Content

The cool thing with Patreon is you can mix your media types -- it doesn't all have to be audio.

Blog posts with helpful resources. Behind-the-scenes videos. Live Q&As. Weekly advice and/or insights. Templates for making something. Tutorials. Original research reports.

Make it easy on yourself and repurpose the material from your podcast interviews to make more exclusive content.

5. Extended Episodes

Another type of Patreon podcast features extended episodes.

Your free show may truncate part of the interview so that you can charge people to hear the rest. It's a smart way to build an audience while also teasing your paid-for content.

6. Master Class

If you're podcasting for a business, you could offer a master class through your Patreon. This could be a mix of audio, video, and written content.

[WATCH: A totally FREE B2B podcasting master class? Yep. Get The B2B Podcasting Course here.]

If this sounds interesting, we recommend offering a free podcast and advertising your master class on it. Patrons can then pay to access the podcast episodes, videos, templates, and/or blog posts associated with your class.

Patreon Podcast Examples

Next, we'll look at some examples of podcasts monetizing with Patreon. These include B2B podcasts as well as non-business shows.

You're Wrong About

You're Wrong About is an idependent podcast hosted by Sarah Marshall and Micheal Hobbes. The two discuss famous and, oftentimes, misunderstood pop culture events.

On their Patreon, YWA features exclusive content, bonus episodes, and more.

Some Good Content

A B2B show, Some Good Content is hosted by John Bonini and explores better ways for businesses to create valuable content.

The content including all of the podcast episodes are on Patreon. Bonini also offers discussion opporutnities via LinkedIn and Facebook.

The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus -- better known as The Minimalists -- host the #1 Health show on Apple Podcasts. They cover topics pertaining to mental health, relationships, finances, and living with less.

The Minimalists' Patreon features extended episodes, videos, and exclusive Q&As.

The Fantasy Footballers

A show about -- yep -- fantasy football, The Fantasy Footballers is hosted by Andy Holloway, Jason Moore, and Mike Wright.

Their Patreon offers early access episodes, exclusive content, and Q&As.

The #1 Way to Monetize Your Podcast

If you have a dedicated audience already, Patreon is a great option for monetizing your podcast.

However, if you're in the B2B podcasting space, there's a way to make a lot more off of your show. It's called content-based networking.

As a marketer, you want to invite your ideal customers to be interviewed on your podcast. It's the perfect platform to launch a trusting relationship rooted in valuable content.

Here's how it works:

  1. You launch a podcast centered around your ideal customer's industry.
  2. You invite your ideal customer to be a guest on your show.
  3. You interview your ideal customer, building rapport and making them look really smart to their peers.
  4. Your ideal customer becomes your friend.
  5. You promote the podcast through repurposing.
  6. Your guest also promotes the episode to their audience.
  7. You nurture the mutually-beneficial relationship with your ideal customer.
  8. Your ideal customer becomes your real customer.

Not a bad deal, eh?

If you want to learn more about the #1 way to monetize your podcast, we're here to talk.

Otherwise, if you want more B2B podcasting knowledge bombs, subscribe to B2B Growth on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.