How to calculate the ROI on your podcast show

by | Business

As an entrepreneur or business person, your podcast must deliver a return on investment. The questions are: How much? And short-term or long-term ROI?

Whatever ROI you’re looking for, keep this at the forefront of your mind: ROI should be the second priority with your podcast. The first? Outstanding content. Without a strong show and consistently good episodes, you won’t develop a loyal audience, and plans for ROI may as well be scrapped.

Content marketing

Regardless of whether you select short-term or long-term ROI, it’s important to integrate your podcast into your content marketing plan.

A quick digression here, if you don’t have a content marketing plan, a podcast is a great place to start, because a show’s content can be repurposed into social media posts, blog posts, thought leadership pieces, white papers, e-books, and more.

Unless you’re really well-known in your industry, it’s unreasonable to expect a new podcast to bring in new clients in the first few months—especially if you’re launching a new business.

In fact, you should have at least one funnel in place that is delivering warm leads before you turn your attention to producing a podcast show.

Short-term podcast show ROI

Here are some primary returns on investment in a podcast, beginning with the fastest wins.

Speaking engagements

Many entrepreneurs are consultants and may already have a revenue stream from speaking engagements. You’ll already know that speaking gigs are a doorway to new clients. When people hear just one or two strong episodes with credible content, they’ll want want you to speak at their event. Be sure to communicate in your podcast intro, outro, or show notes that you’re available for speaking gigs, and make the booking process easy.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is selling other people’s products or services for a fee. For example, Podmotion hosts its podcast with Buzzsprout, and we’re happy with their performance as a podcast hosting service. We hope that if you start a podcast, you’ll use Buzzsprout to host it. As an incentive to sign with Buzzsprout, this link will give you a $25 Amazon gift card once you create a Buzzsprout account, and we will receive $25 after your second paid invoice.

There are many other affiliate programs out there for nonfiction authors who launch a podcast show. Some examples are Skillshare, Moosend Marketing, Audible, and Amazon Associates. You probably know of affiliates in your own industry.

Follow these best practices if you decide to introduce affiliate marketing to your podcast: Select only one or two affiliates you believe in and are passionate about, and be transparent with mentions and links. You can include affiliate information in your show, show notes, blog posts, and elsewhere on your website.

Book sales

If you’ve written a book and it’s collecting good reviews on Amazon, it can take just one well-produced episode—or even the trailer to your show—to convince someone to buy your book. If the content and presentation are strong and listeners are captivated and convinced by what they hear and learn, they will want more and likely buy your book.

Now, we know that the earnings on books sales aren’t outstanding, particularly if you had a contract with a traditional publisher. However, most readers who buy a nonfiction book are making an investment in discovering more about you as an entrepreneur-author, and this can lead to long-term ROI.

Longer-term podcast ROI

New clients

A podcast show may bring in new clients quickly, sometimes after just two or three episodes. Setting new clients as a priority ROI will depend on a number of factors. These include: competition, the economy, your years of experience, and the general demand for your services. So for these reasons we’ve placed new clients under long-term ROI.

However, the good news is that a great podcast show helps separate the wheat from the chaff. The warm leads generated will mostly be from clients who resonate with you, your style, and what you have to say. They’ll potentially be a very good fit for you and your business.


Lots of podcasters think that advertisers/sponsors are easy to get. But with thousands of podcasts out there, securing a show sponsor takes time. For a start, you need strong download numbers. After around six months, you should be on your way, and finding a suitable sponsor to at least cover your production costs will be in reach.


Once you’ve done the hard work of creating content for your show, you’re in a good position to create at least one course from the content. Research what’s out there already on platforms like Udemy and Skillshare, and explore short- and longer-form courses.

Passive income opportunities

Many small businesses in the B2B sector are hungry for content, and there are creative ways you can fill this demand with the content from your show. Examples include paid subscriptions for content, newsletters, social media content, or a monthly ideas newsletter. Alternatively, consider creating one-off paid-for content such as a shorter version of your book, or a supplementary workbook.

Yes, these options take research and an investment of time and money upfront, but if you identify a niche at profit, it’s worthwhile

The ROI formula

Calculating the ROI on your podcast show means that you will need to have basic tools in place. Monitor your podcast show production expenses, including your own time. Next, you need to track your podcast show listener-affiliate journey. You can do this with either tracking code or a special landing page.

The ROI formula will look like this if you have an agency produce your show:

Podcast revenue minus expenses equals return on investment.

If you produce your show yourself, the formula will look like this:

Podcast show revenue minus expenses divided by production hours equals return on investment.

Remember to include any and all the time you spend promoting and marketing your show’s episodes—either in your expenses or production hours.

The investment side of the equation will be heavy to begin with. Producing your own show takes a significant investment of time at the start. Working with a podcast production agency takes time too, though not as much as a self-produced show. But as production gets underway a rhythm emerges and production time will decrease.

Questions? Podmotion would love to hear from you!


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