Podcast Networks: Everything You Need to Know as A Podcast Host

Podcast Networks: Everything You Need to Know + Alternative Options

Step right up and get ready to discover everything you need to know about podcast networks. There are varying opinions on the topic in the podcasting industry, so we will approach this from the lens of podcasters who want to money from their show.

With this guide, you will understand more about podcast networks, discover the pros and cons of joining a podcast network, and find some alternatives if a podcast network isn’t the direction you should go with your show.

When it comes to podcast networks, many people think you have to have hundreds of thousands of downloads even to be considered to join a podcast network. While that isn’t true, it’s still important to assess if a podcast network is right for you.

If you’re a pro podcaster and beyond the how, what, and why of podcast networks, this is a great refresher for you. I also have this blog post How To Monetize a Podcast Right Away to support you in monetizing your podcast.

Or maybe you haven’t even started your podcast yet and you’re in the research phase. Check out this blog post, 10 things to do before you start a podcast to get you headed in the right direction.

Are you more of an audio person? Check out our podcast episode, where I take you through the ins and outs of podcast networks and everything you need to know as a podcast host.

Podcast Networks Explained

What is a podcast network anyway? Understanding what it is is the first step to deciding if it’s right for you

A podcast network is a group of shows that are specifically under one name, one collection, or one company.

If you are an avid podcast listener, you probably know about some of the major podcast networks.

Top Podcast Networks

Podcast networks range from small independent collectives to huge organizations. Here are a few of the popular networks you’ve probably heard of.

If you are a business owner and you’re looking for join a network, it’s likely that most of these are not going to be networks that will work for you. Keep your business and podcast goals in mind 

Related Post: Creating a Quality Podcast

Requirements for Joining a Podcast Network

The requirements to join a podcast network vary depending on the size of the network. There are some podcast networks that require you to have at least 50,000 downloads per month while others are as low as 1,000 downloads per episode (so 4,000-5,000 downloads per month).

Are you a total stats nerd? Check out Podcast Stats: What do they mean and how to measure success.

If you are a smaller podcast, you can certainly look at smaller networks and determine if the pros outweigh the cons. Larger shows will be able to negotiate for more, but if you have a very niche show, you might have some wiggle room.

Note: You don’t need thousands of downloads to monetize your podcast right away

Don’t forget, we’ll go through some alternative options to podcast networks at the end of this blog post, so if you are feeling discouraged, I have some solutions for you too.

How Do Podcast Networks Work?

Now, once you’ve joined the podcast network, you’ll get access to everything they have to offer. This can include things like marketing, advertising, and even production support. There will also be opportunities for cross-promotions with other shows on that network. 

Podcast networks use a CPM (click-per-mille) model, which is a pricing model where the advertisers pay a set price for 1,000 impressions on the network’s shows. The network negotiates these and typically takes about a 30% cut from the advertising revenue.

Here’s an example:

At 8000 downloads per episode, the network negotiates $25 CPM. That comes out to $200 per episode with the network taking their $60 (which is 30%), leaving you with $140 per episode.

You have to consider if getting that many downloads worth what you get back financially. What are the pros and cons to get access to everything the podcast network has to offer? 

Also, remember that the top 5% of podcasts get about 1100 downloads in the first 7 days. (Buzzsprout Global Stats)

Pros and Cons of Joining a Podcast Network

When deciding if joining a podcast network is right for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Don’t forget, we’ll also be sharing some alternative options next if you feel that the cons outweigh the pros in this case.

Pros of Joining a Podcast Network

There are many benefits to joining a podcast network. The major one is access to support and partnerships. Podcasting tends to be a  very solitary experience. Sometimes it can feel like you’re talking into a vacuum. Having support and partnerships with people who understand podcasting and what all goes into it can make you feel less alone. 

Networks can also provide a sense of credibility for podcasters who are looking to be taken seriously in their industry. That credibility can lead to some collaborations that you might not get elsewhere.

Another thing you get access to by joining a podcast network is additional revenue and resources. The network is doing a lot of the heavy lifting and will have a budget for show improvements and more. 

Cons of Joining a Podcast Network

While these benefits might sound appealing, there are also some downsides to joining a podcast network.

Most networks will require you to give up some form of creative license or control over the content that you have on your podcast. It’s important that if they have you sign a contract, you read what and what isn’t within your rights as the show host. 

They may require you to move to a new platform as well. While this might not be a major concern for some, others might find this frustrating and unnecessary especially if you are currently using systems and workflows that really work with how you work best. 

Networks will take a cut of your revenue. As noted earlier in this post, the podcast network is entitled to about 30% of the ad revenue you make on your show. They may even have access to more, but you would need to review your contract to understand how this all works. 

Alternative Options to Podcast Networks

As a podcaster, you might feel like your options are limited, and a podcast network, though it has its own limitations, might be the only solution for you.

Well, there are certainly more options, so I will run through some possible ideas for how you can get similar results without joining a network.

1. Support and Partnership

If you are looking for support or partnerships, there are tons of podcast communities you can join today to make the most of your show. 

Here are a few incredible communities that are currently available:

Join some of these to create genuine connections with potential collaborators and supporters to help you along your podcast journey.

2. Credibility

Consistently showing up for your podcast and audience will help create credibility. You can also create more credibility to your name as a business owner and podcaster by being a 

See our podcast episodes on being a podcast guest: 

How to be a Great Podcast Guest and Host with Dr. AJ Austin

Finding Quality Guests for your Podcast

Guest Intake Forms [Tech Tips Series]

Double your Downloads by Podcast Guesting with Barb Nangle

Building Thought Leadership through Impactful Guest Appearances with Jason Cercone

3. Revenue and Resources

We have many resources here at Galati Media and highly recommend you check them out to see if there are things you need support on. 

Beyond that, I recommend that if you are looking to increase your revenue, you can always look into selling sponsorship slots to your show by focusing on your audience and the value that you provide as a podcast host. Or you can sell your own products and services. While we tend to focus on the latter, we have resources for monetizing your podcast any way you’d like.

See our podcast episodes on monetizing your podcast: 

How to Monetize Any Podcast

Are your Podcast Ads Actually Working For You?

Monetizing a Podcast with Digital Courses with Jono Petrohilos

How to Monetize your Podcast by Selling your Own Services and Products

How Much Money Can You Make With Your Podcast

As you can see, your options aren’t limited to just joining a network. With some guidance and work, you can get similar results.

Want to Know More?

Our goal at Galati Media is to bring messages that matter into the world via the podcasts we help support and produce. We also hope to help those feeling overwhelmed by everything that goes into a podcast feel a little less overwhelmed. 

We’ve been podcasting since 2018 and have learned much about launching podcasts, growing audiences, and monetizing shows.  Nothing we love more than sharing our discoveries with you to help you make the most of your podcast today.

Have questions? Reach out here or over on LinkedIn

I can’t wait to see you turn your podcast into more than a content machine for your business. Think of me when you’re finally making money from your show!

One last thing, you may find this post on 10 Ways to Strategically Grow Your Podcast Audience helpful.

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