No matter how much you like jabbering into a microphone, creating podcast after podcast, there comes a time when the thought comes to mind, “I’d really like to get paid for all this time and effort.” The bad news is you need an audience before you’re going to notice any sort of serious cash flow. The good news is, once you have an audience, there are plenty of ways to get them to cough up some dough for the cause. Here are a few.

1. The wild and wacky world of sponsorships: The two basic choices with this technique are to either beat the bushes to find sponsors on your own or join a podcast network like Mevio (run by the first podcaster, Adam Curry). Curry’s network has signed up thousands of podcasters – 15,000 to be precise. Each podcast producer promotes show specific coupons which, when used, generate money for the show. How much? Curry says three of his podcasters will earn between $500,000 to $1,000,000 this year.

2. Beg your little heart out: If you aren’t getting independently wealthy through sponsorships, you can go the public television route and beg for donations. This might work to some extent but don’t plan on reserving a week in Fiji at a swanky resort just yet. Also, remember that a constant whine for donations ticks some people off and they simply quit listening. You must strike a tolerable balance.

3. Give a little for free: The online information marketing industry has been doing this for years, and some podcasters are finding out it works well for them, too. Though there are various permutations, it goes basically like this: give some content away for free, and charge for the rest. Don McAllister of ScreenCastsOnline provides every other show at no cost, but to get ALL the shows costs $57 for six months, which also includes bonus content. Another approach is to have the first part of each show available for free and charge a subscription fee for the whole thing. If a person really likes your material, it’s going to drive them crazy to get cut off at, say, the 20 minute point of a 90 minute show. Think they’ll subscribe? The odds are good.

The point of this article is to get that grey matter percolating inside your brain. Successful podcasters like Jason Hartman have proven there are literally dozens of ways to monetize that audio or video content you’re already producing. Why not do it right now? (Top image: Flickr | stuartpilbrow)

The Speaking of Wealth Team