T-shirts, mugs, hats, pens, and more products that podcasters can make to make money podcasting and grow their audience

Many podcasters want to make money from podcasting, either to pay for your hobby or for a business. Here are five ideas to get you started on making products that your audience may like.

1. Extra content

When you have great content and a loyal audience, you could consider creating products out of bonus content.

  • Pre/postshow—Record what happens before and after you officially present the podcast. Some fans will enjoy the casual approach even more. YouTube stars Rhett and Link offer a “Good Mythical More” channel which is simply the aftershow for each of their “Good Mythical Morning” episodes.
  • Bonus episodes—Create some great content and promote it frequently. For example, Welcome to Level Seven (our unofficial Agents of SHIELD podcast on Noodle.mx Network) has raised nearly $300 by simply offering a “pay what you want” bonus episode about the B-movie Howard the Duck for their Marvel-loving audience.
  • Unofficial commentary—Passionate fans love the bonus content for movies and TV shows. Regardless of how thorough the studio is with official content, consider making a fan commentary audio track that your audience can play along with the movie or TV show. This commentary could be snarky (like RiffTrax) or enlightening (explaining connections, theories, and observations that the producers wouldn’t even mention).

2. Podcast merchandise

Your podcast fans may want to “represent” with merchandise that contains your own branding. The creators of Homestar Runner make nearly all of their income from selling such branded merchandise.

This requires that your podcast have great branding.

Here are just some of many potential merchandise you could create for your podcast.

  • Mugs
  • Apparel (hats, shirts, hoodies, shoes, etc)
  • Accessories (jewelry, buttons, wristbands, device cases)
  • Stickers
  • Posters
  • Cards
  • Toys

CafePress is a popular place to get such things made, but there are many other places, too.

3. Unofficial fan products

If you’re making fan content about someone else’s content, you may be able to make unofficial products that fans will love. But be careful about violating copyrights and trademarks.

T-shirts are often great for this, as they can carry fun messages that fans would love to wear. For the TV show Once Upon a Time, we could put anything about happy endings or fairy tales and even add something like, “I’m a #Oncer,” on the shirt.

The fan products could even be something creative you manufacture yourself, like carvings, 3D-printed models, paintings, and more.

Lou Mongello, from WDW Radio, has had huge success with creating unofficial products for fans of Disney and Disney Parks.

4. Training resources

You may be surprised how many topics could have accompanying “how to” resources. Here are some random ideas.

  • A video-game podcast could teach how to improve your game strategy.
  • A knitting podcast could have a “how to get started knitting” course.
  • A movie-review podcast could create a course on “how to become an actor” or “how to produce your own short movie.”

This is where you need to get creative and ask your audience.

5. Solutions

Beyond making training resources, you could also create products that provide a solution for people. I created my Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin because I saw a need for podcasters to easily place specific icons and buttons to promote their presence in social networks, apps, and directories for podcasters. I also created and continue to add to Podcast Places to be a free solution for podcasters to find out where they should submit their podcast. And My Podcast Reviews was the final realization of a need for podcasters to get their international podcast reviews.

Look for pain points that your audience has, and see if you can create a solution. This could be a physical product or a digital product. Maybe it’s a WordPress plugin, a special worksheet, a piece of software, or something completely different. If the idea catches on, it could find a customer base beyond your own audience.

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his wife, Jenny, live near Cincinnati with their son, "Noodle Boy."

8 comments on 5 product ideas for podcasters – TAP205

  1. Corey Fineran says:

    I really enjoyed this episode, Daniel. I love that you included some ideas that can help the hobbyist podcaster. I recently decided to do t-shirts and hoodies with the Ivy Envy logo and I wanted to share our experience. Rather than doing Cafepress or a similar service, we found a local t-shirt screenprinter. The cost was significantly lower and it’s nice to support a local small business. The lower cost (t-shirts were only $6.75 apiece) allowed us to get a better profit margin AND charge less. We ran a sale the day we started selling them and had a great response. After about a month, we’ve sold 45 t-shirts and hoodies.

    Selling shirts has given us a little revenue to work with, but more importantly, it’s allowed our listeners to feel more connected with our podcast and they have become walking advertisements.

    1. That’s awesome, Corey!

      I love supporting small businesses, especially when it means saving money, too. Did your local company have a minimum order?

      The problem I see with getting it done like that is having to handle stock (of multiple sizes) and shipping.

      1. Corey Fineran says:

        I got the $6.75 price by ordering 25 shirts in the initial batch. If I ordered a smaller quantity, the cost was higher. The cost for the screen was only $20 and they keep your screen. So when I get more orders, I can have as few as 5 shirts printed at a time and they still only charge me $6.75.

        One of the reasons I ran that one-day sale when we introduced the shirts was to encourage people to order quickly so that I could cover the cost of printing that initial batch.

        I don’t keep a large amount of shirts in stock because I can run a batch with them for about $40. I have started to recognize trends, so when I need a size I don’t have, I’ll order a few of the common sizes to have on hand. Shipping is time consuming, but I use it as an opportunity to build relationships with the people that care enough about our podcast to order a shirt. I’ll include a hand-written note, an Ivy Envy sticker or some other Cubs item.

  2. Daniel: Thanks for sharing these product ideas. I will have these in mind when my stand-alone podcast app for my show is ready.

    1. Great!

      Whom are you using to make that standalone app?

  3. April Hill says:

    I’ve found that people often like merchandise that they need or want and don’t ever think about buying themselves. I went to a home and garden show where one of the booths gave away yardsticks. Nearly everyone who walked out the door had one. For weather related podcasts, people love weather radios and rain gauges. Who knew?

  4. Veronica Hubbard says:

    I have a newly formed podcast for MSers (multiple sclerosis) and want to start selling ms products!

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