Starting a paid members-only podcast w/ Joe Casabona

Starting a paid members-only podcast w/ Joe Casabona
Starting a paid members-only podcast w/ Joe Casabona

Apr 07 2022 | 00:28:40

Episode April 07, 2022 00:28:40

Hosted By

Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

Joe Casabona joins the Audience podcast today to talk about his journey as a podcast creator. Joe produces a mix of podcasts in the web, WordPress and podcasting space.

Matt and Joe cover some of the ways you can monetize a public podcast. Including digital products, courses, memberships, ads and more. Joe has found balance in offering sponsorship spots on public podcasts, but also uses Castos private podcasts for his membership offerings.

Creating a successful podcast requires a multi-channel approach. A solid website, a thoughtful podcast approach, and multiple ways of monetizing is a must.

If you enjoyed today's episode, please share it on social media!

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 My website has been the thing that's worked for me the most. It's the one place that I know I can send people to and they'll get everything they need. The transcripts are on there. I'll tell you, this is the God's honest truth. When I added transcripts to my podcast, I saw an increase in downloads. And for me, the thing that's worked is showing up and answering the questions, right? Because then people share that. And I guess that more than anything is the thing that works for me. Speaker 1 00:00:27 The audience, a cast dose, original experience broadcasting from the center of your audio universe, where creative podcasts find their home at <inaudible> dot com press play right here in your podcast player every week. It's like a cheat sheet for marketing monetizing, growing and creating your podcast. So good. You want to share Castillo's dot com slash audience with your closest friends? Okay. Audience starts now Speaker 3 00:00:59 Welcome to the audience podcast. Speaker 0 00:01:01 Thanks for having me on the audience podcast. I'm excited to be here Speaker 3 00:01:05 Also a Casto customer. Also someone who leverages our subscription slash private podcasting technology, generally sending people over to creator, but you also have like me. You're a WordPress podcaster. God help you. And yeah, today we're going to sit down and just talk about what makes us successful podcasts in how you position your value or your a subscription podcast. Speaker 0 00:01:32 Yeah, that, that sounds great. And yeah, I have new and I both have like a million podcasts, but I do, I have my main show that's that has the private show. I've got a, or the private podcast. I've got my WordPress only podcast, which is I try to relegate all WordPress stuff to that. And then I have a podcast about podcasting. That's how you know, you've made it right. I'm right up there with Evo Terra. Don't tell him. I said that Speaker 3 00:01:56 Evil hosts, the three clips, So you have experience with obviously doing a public podcast, obviously doing a membership courses. You're an instructor. You have the whole range of expertise on. If I want to monetize a podcast, it doesn't just have to be me selling sponsorships or ads. As other folks might call them. You actually create supplemental ways to monetize your shows. You live in a world where your WordPress podcasts are monetized responser ships, and then your creator courses brand is monetized by membership is one easier than the, Speaker 0 00:02:33 For me getting the ads was easier. Um, just cause I, I have a big network. I, my show started in the WordPress space and I had strong connections there. So people kind of trusted me as a brand ambassador or whatever. I started this show before influencers are really called influencers, I think. And so getting ads was easy for me. And then I built a whole sponsorship machine around that with memberships or with the private podcast. Right. You, I feel like you, you either need like those hundred super fans or you need a big following to really make that worth while, and again, this was something I kind of, I tried bolting on first and then that didn't work at all. And I tried it on Patrion on and I was just like, yeah, I hit 50,000 downloads. That's obviously enough for people to want to throw me some money every month. Um, and then the second time around, I learned from all of my mistakes and I actually had an audience and I focused the, the membership offering. And I think that's a really important part of it. And now I get a few members a month and they're into it and I haven't had much churn since I launched. So it's definitely a supplemental income at this point, but it's growing and I'm learning from it Speaker 3 00:03:52 So much easier to monetize your show. If you're, if you're starting a podcast today, you'd have to have a decent size audience in order to get that ad revenue. It's easier. Maybe if you're starting off with that smaller audience. Yeah. I can do a digital product. I can do a course. If I have something very valuable to train and educate my audience on and I could sell a private podcast, we just did a webinar. I just hosted a webinar about three ways to monetize with Casos and our Stripe integration. And I brought up the, the, the slides from, uh, Tom Webster Edison research, the IB labs that your average cost per thousand as an advertiser would give you the creator. Your average cost per thousand listeners is anywhere between 18 and $25, depending on what audience or what content that you have is it's not much. And for a lot of us, it takes a long time to get to a thousand downloads per episode. And then if you reach a thousand downloads who the heck wants $25 after spending all of that time to grow that audience, which leads me into saying, what do you look at as the most successful ways to grow that audience? Everyone's favorite term? How do we get to that first 1000, which we might not at which we might not monetize with ads, but how do you get to your first 1000? Speaker 0 00:05:14 Yeah. And I'll say a couple of things here. I feel like it was a little bit right place, right time for me. I launched my show in my current main show, July, 2016, about three months later, a certain national public radio station launched a very similarly named show. Luckily, podcasting is not a zero sum game though. And so if I, if there was any confusion, I kept a lot of that audience. And I think it was, it came down to a couple of things for me. So show up, when you say you're going to show up, you don't need to have a weekly show. It can be a monthly show. And as a matter of fact, some of the biggest shows I know are monthly. So just as long as you show up, when you say you're going to show up, I think that shows the audience Speaker 3 00:05:57 Overwhelmed. I only just jump in. People get overwhelmed and myself, I don't know if this is just like a knee jerk reaction, but when people say, yeah, you have to show up, you have to be consistent immediately. My brain goes to, oh God, I gotta do this every week. It doesn't have to be like, you can set the agenda. But if you tell your audience, it's once a month, twice a month, that's when you have to show up. It's not, yeah, you don't have to pressure yourself. Speaker 0 00:06:20 And, and let's, let's look at Evo Terra again, as an example, he has another podcast pontifications and he was doing it daily for a while. And he just announced that he's switching down to weekly for a whole bunch of reasons. So if you're upfront with your audience and you say, Hey, this is what I'm doing. This is what you can expect. As long as you meet those expectations. You're good. My, my newest podcast, I did like four episodes. And then I stopped and I'm retooling it because I realized that I wasn't adding the kind of value that I wanted for this show. And that's my second piece of advice. Be consistent and add value, figure out why you want a podcast, what you want your audience to get out of it and then deliver the value for them. So the new podcast is called make money podcasting. Speaker 0 00:07:11 And I recorded six episodes. And I didn't really talk about directly how to make money. I was just, it was like set up your list and a lot of like, here's what you do. Here's what, here's all of the groundwork you need to do to set yourself up, to make money with your podcast. But I didn't feel like I was going in a good direction. So I stopped. I'm rerecording a few episodes and I'm going to record like five before I start releasing them again, either weekly or biweekly. And I think that's the third piece of advice, especially if you're just starting a podcast, it's okay to pivot. It's okay to experiment. And before you launch is you're in the best position to not be overwhelmed because you can record 6, 7, 10 episodes and instantly have two or three months worth of content to see how it's going. Speaker 3 00:08:04 I assume that part of the challenge for you. I don't know the answer to this. We have not talked about it. I assume that the particular challenge for you might be like the challenge that I have is whenever I set out to teach something to someone, I started ground zero and I start from, let's talk about the history of audio. And they're like, no, man, I just want to know how to make money with this podcast. And for me, that's always a challenge as somebody who teaches instructed instructs and is the success director at cats, those is I always start, ah, you want to start a podcast? Let's talk about 20 years ago. And really they're like, no, Matt, just tell me which USB microphone I need to buy. Is that a particular challenge for you as somebody who's a trained educator and course creator. Speaker 0 00:08:54 Yeah. Especially for this podcast because I'm not approaching it the way I teach a course. Of course you want it to be linear. You want the lessons to build off of each other. That's not really the case for at least this podcast. I want a lot of people to hear it as soon as possible, because then I can get feedback. And then I could talk about topics that I know people really want to hear about a funny story about that. Right? As I teach in the classroom where I taught in the classroom for awhile and, um, the F the first grad course I ever taught was it's supposed to be a programming course. And there were like two or three prerequisites for that course. And I learned that the advisor for the program just let a bunch of students skip those prerequisites. So I'm going in and talking about advanced programming when none of these, um, students have ever written a line of HTML, which is like very rudimentary code. Speaker 0 00:09:55 So I made a lot of assumptions and then I had to redo the whole course outline. But what I'll do when I approach stuff like this, as I think what are my virtual prerequisites? And I didn't do that for this. I just thought, well, people want to make money podcasting. The first thing they need to do is build a mailing list. So I want to spend two episodes on that alone instead of jumping right to maybe the main question, which is how do I get sponsors, or how do I have a membership stuff like that? Speaker 3 00:10:20 Let's talk about the private podcasting that you have set up to your courses. If I go to creator, I can scroll down. I can look at the pricing. You have a $50 a year to join the membership $199 a year. Uh, if you want the, uh, pro plan, both offer the private members only podcast, how did you think about the content that you put on your private podcasts? So these plans are not just for the private podcast, it's the private podcast, a bunch of other stuff. How did you think about the content that you added into the private podcast? Speaker 0 00:10:56 Yeah, so a large portion of the private podcast is my main show, how I built it without ads and with bonus content. And so, again, it goes back to kind of the mission and the value. What do you want your members to get out of the membership? And you can see on the page there, right? I think the creator crew light is if you're looking for inspiration and create a crew pro is if you want to really get the step-by-step on how to do specific things. And so with creator crew light, and that includes the ad-free, how I built it. Our extended episodes are just a little bit more inspiration, right? We'll talk about something that might not fit in the main show. And so we'll have a members only for that. The other thing that my members get in this private podcast is a, it's called a weekly rap. Speaker 0 00:11:45 So every Friday I talk about the content I created, how I created it, a little insight into my process, and then things I'm struggling with. And that's, I think a really open thing to talk about with my members, because you see people putting out content and they, they try at least to make it look easy. And it's a struggle as we record this, it's been a tough couple of weeks for me, personal life-wise and I got three kids and my wife just went back to work. And so I'm, part-time, daddying a state, part-time stay at home thing again. And, and so I fell behind a little bit of content. That's something I'll talk about on the weekly wrap and how I'm trying to fix that. So they're, my members are seeing the process as it unfolds. Whereas my public content is kind of the separation from it. What worked, what didn't work, if that makes sense. Speaker 3 00:12:39 And you and I both in similar boats, we both have three kids around the same age. And my baddest last month has been terrible. I've been sick. My kids have been sick and one of my kids is still sick and it's just this constant thing. And it really takes away from content production when you're a solo, when you're a solo creator, the, the experience with doing private podcast. And one of the questions that I got in this webinar that I did was, Hey, this sounds great. I want to do, like, I have a show. I run ads on it, but how much more work is this going to be for me to create this extra content? How have you frame that for yourself? Do you have a workflow with removing ads, your automation guide, you do something with your ad show that just press one button, it cleans up all the ads. How do you approach sending off this content to cast those? Speaker 0 00:13:27 Yeah, well, a little bit out of the sausage gets me. I have a editor, so he'll send back both episodes for me, but I try to make it super easy for him. In two ways, all of my ads are prerecorded and I'll try to have breaks in the conversation where he can just drop those in. So essentially I record the ad free version and then add, put in the ads later. So that is, I think the process that probably works. I know like relay FM they'll since they live stream their episodes too. They'll, they'll try to have these natural breaks where they can easily cut out the ads, but the way I do it is the way that works best for me and my editor, what I tell my members, my students, but when you're launching a membership is you want things that are going to be, especially at first low effort for you and high value or high impact for your members. Speaker 0 00:14:26 That ad free episode, low effort for me, because I'm adding the, I'm putting the ads in later. Anyway, if I was editing, I would do the same thing. I would just put them in later instead of having to find them and cut them out, having that extra 10 minute conversation. That's no effort for me. I just talk a little bit longer than I would. It's baked into my calendar invite. So it's time already blocked off on my calendar and the weekly wrap, since that's a members, only the production value is relatively low on that. I record that in de script and then I ship it off to dose. So the way I do that one is I have a template. I have a little like click sound in the beginning. That's actually me clicking a pen cause I love pens. And that's how the show starts and ends. And then I just talk in the middle of that. And I, and so those things are again, low effort for me and high value. I know they're high value for my members because I hear from them. And they're like, yeah, this was really great. I'm glad you talked about this. I'm really excited about this thing that you said is coming. Speaker 3 00:15:24 It's such a low pressure production. Not even just like a, not even just like a low dollar wise, like you're not doing a lot of sound design. You're not doing a lot of it might not be like, oh God, how do I map out a story arc for this particular episode? There's less pressure. And to me, that's my favorite kind of content because it's just a little bit more real and I've have a gut feeling that my audience, for the private stuff that I do with my membership podcast that I do is like, they want it. So like, I don't have to perform, I guess, is what I'm getting at. Like they want it and they don't care if it's raw because that's what they're there for. And I think that we might overlook this or are you dear listener might be thinking, yes, I want to do this membership podcast. Oh my God, how much do I have to do more sound design? Because they're paying for it. I guess it depends on what your audience is. If you sold them like this fiction Speaker 0 00:16:16 Writer, Speaker 3 00:16:18 Then you're in for a roller coaster ride. But if you're selling them access or director's cut type of stuff, you don't have to perform as much. And I think that that's a pretty good thing. Speaker 0 00:16:29 Yeah. I like to think about it as, as like the extras that you used to get on DVDs. Maybe I'm super old were talking about that, but Speaker 3 00:16:36 What's a DVD. Speaker 0 00:16:37 What's a DVD, right? This disk back in my day, if I wanted to watch something, I needed to buy a physical disc. But like the bonuses that you got with those DVDs were always my favorite part. You got the bloopers, you got like the pre effects, special effects stuff to see kind of how they did stuff. People love behind the scenes things, right? Because that human eyes is of the process. Somebody looking at me from the outside and you're like, Joe is insane. He puts out five pieces of content a week. How does he do it? My members are like, wow. Sometimes Joe really struggles. And I guess that's like, we all struggle. Oh, Joe put this really cool process in place to make it easier for him as a one man band to put out that content. Oh, and oh, one of those blog posts was actually repurpose content that somebody else wrote based on content that he recorded. So stuff like that, people love because now it makes them, it makes it feel more attainable to them. They see how it's done and they know they can do it too. Speaker 3 00:17:43 What makes a successful podcast to you? Like what everyone thinks that, Hey, I'm going to record the audio. I'm just going to do the story arc thing. I'm going to be as creative as possible and hold that thought, because I know you have some thoughts around highfaluting creators in the podcast space versus what it's really like to roll up your sleeves and create audio. What has worked for you basically? Has it been SEO? Has it been blogging? Has it been video? Has it been SEO? Has it been a whole mix of things? Newsletters? What works for you? Speaker 0 00:18:12 Uh, I think the gosh, this is going to sound like kind of pitchy and campy, I guess. But I feel like the website is, my website has been the thing that's worked for me the most. It's the one place that I know I can send people to and they'll get everything they need. The transcripts are on there. I'll tell you, this is the God's honest truth. When I added transcripts to my podcast, I saw an increase in downloads. So it's, for me, the thing that's worked is showing up and answering the questions, right? Because then people share that. And I guess that more than anything is the thing that works for me. Now I have an interview podcast. So I always ask my guests to share something else I didn't do for a long time. Cause I thought I was asking too much already like, oh, they came on my show for free. Speaker 0 00:18:57 And they talked to me for free. How can I ask them to do this one extra thing? But it's not like I'm asking them to like make an audio gram and add their own video testimonial. I'm just like, here's the link? Do you mind? And I always tag them in the tweet. So all they gotta do is retweet it. And you can tell when, when they share those episodes do better. West Kao's episode was great because not only did she retweet, but she like actually like tweeted about it versus another recent guest who was like, who didn't share it and their downloads were low. And I think the other thing that kind of helps with that, right? As I'm trying to have conversations that they're not having another podcasts, right? Cause you see that you have, you see people doing the podcast tour and they have the four stories that they tell. And I don't, I'm not an, I, I found her story podcast. Not anymore. At least I want actionable advice. You talked about how you built it over here. How can my audience build it now? What are the takeaways for them? And I think that content is super helpful. Speaker 3 00:19:59 This is a, that's a great segue. Thanks for teeing that up for me. We see, we meaning you. And I, I know we run in the same podcasting spaces a lot and maybe the listener hears us before that look, it has to be storytelling. It has to be creative. It has to be unique and it has to be different. And when I hear all of those things, while they're also true, it's just, it's just, man is more pressure, but it's more pressure, especially if you're one person doing all of this stuff. And my advice like, like you were saying before is to just, let's not get so much pressure. Let's do what we love. And let's continue to seek improving this craft of podcasting. Let's respect the craft a little bit and hold that thought as well. What are your thoughts on this whole like creative push when a lot of podcasts like you and I both create podcasts for WordPress and it's just like news oriented to me, it's a utility show. I don't need to get creative. I need to create something. I guess there's a trace of creativity in this. I just need to deliver this important content in a timely fashion that my audience wants. I don't need to do the hero's journey with this type of audio. So that was a long way of getting to like, how do you split the difference in your head, creative utility? Does it matter? Does it not? Speaker 0 00:21:19 Yeah. Well, so let me tell a story. Ah, Speaker 3 00:21:24 Damn you Joe. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:21:26 The stuff you should know is one of the most popular podcast. It's an early podcast, right? As far as like, like there are people who will say, like I started podcasting in 1999, I started podcasting in 2002 or whatever, but stuff you should know is one of the oldest, most popular podcasts. Their first episodes were six minutes long and they basically just re-read articles from stuff from HowStuffWorks. And that podcast blew up. Now. It got really big after Josh and Chuck paired up because there they had good chemistry, but how stuff works in, come in and go, wow, we need sound design. And we need all of these amazing effects and an army of researchers to this day. Josh and Chuck, as far as I can tell are still doing the research themselves. And then they get in the booth and they record three or four episodes together. Speaker 0 00:22:19 So no, you don't need this. Amazing. Sure. It's great. If you want to do that, if you want to flex your creative muscle a little bit, but make good content that helps people again, define why you're doing the podcast and how you're adding value. My podcast has been going strong for six, seven years at this point. And I've just been having interviews with people. Hey, what did you do? What worked? What didn't work? What lessons did you learn? And it's really worked for me. I gained an audience and it really it's plateaued at times, but I've never seen it go down because, Speaker 3 00:23:05 And this is in the face of experience, podcasts and myself too. Like when people come to me and they say, I want to start another show, I'm going to start another podcast. And I say, okay, what are your goals? Well, not really sure. I want to grow an audience. Okay. Well, what kind of, what's the format of your show? I'm just gonna do an interview show and we all have like this collective sigh of, Speaker 0 00:23:20 Oh, Speaker 3 00:23:21 Not another interview show and you and I, and everyone listening to this, we all do interview shows in the back of our heads. We know what we're do differently creatively to spice up that conversation. But in the beginning for the beginner podcasters, they don't, they haven't gone through the rollercoaster ride yet. So they're just like hit record in zoom. Let's talk for an hour. Then I just ship it and I'll just talk to my friends and that's okay. But you have to have this pursuit of getting better with an interview show. I think what's your take. Speaker 0 00:23:56 I agree wholeheartedly. My first podcast was called til podcast. It was just me and my friends talking about like having bar room discussions. Essentially we talked about what is Bitcoin? None of us did any research. We just kind of talked about what we thought Bitcoin was. There was a terrible podcast, right? First of all, panel podcasts, hard opinion here. Panel podcasts are awful. You need a really good moderator to have a good panel podcast and you need to make sure nobody hijacks the conversation. But with interview shows, right, you need a red thread, I think is what, what Tom Webster calls it. You need a through line. So you need to become good at interviewing somehow Matt and I are both educators. So I think that helped us out Speaker 3 00:24:39 Really pushing the envelope with calling me, throwing me into the barrel of educators. But I, I appreciate, Speaker 0 00:24:45 Yeah, absolutely. I gotta suck up a little bit. You're you're inviting me onto your show, but that helps, right? Because at least my approach was to how do I get the listener from zero to win as, as Troy Dean says, while listening. So starting from nothing, what you've learned, what you would do differently. What's your top takeaway for the listener? I think that's an interview format that really worked for me having a meandering conversation. Doesn't work for a lot of people. It works for a certain podcast. I don't know if I'm allowed to say his name anymore, but it, it works for certain podcasters, but it, that doesn't work for everybody. So if you're going to interview, then you need to, I think you need to have a goal in mind and then you need to talk to the person you're interviewing on how to attain that Speaker 3 00:25:32 The user of the show, Stuart barefoot. He and I are on this mission now to slightly adjust the battleship of the audience podcast, slightly adjust where we're headed with it. We're talking about subscription podcast today. Casos is obviously where we're leading that pack. We hope we, we like to think we are a for subscription podcast, making it easy anyway, for creators of all shapes and sizes to launch a subscription show. And we want to talk to people covering more of this stuff. Our through a through line red Speaker 0 00:26:03 Tape, Red tape, Speaker 3 00:26:05 Red Speaker 0 00:26:05 Thread Speaker 3 00:26:05 Thread, our red thread is, um, respecting the craft. We don't want to go full Monty of just like we're here to sell subscription to podcasts. It's all we want to talk about. I think our red thread is respecting the craft of podcasting. What does respecting the craft of podcasting mean to you? When I say that phrase out loud, Speaker 0 00:26:26 I th I think it means being true to yourself and being, um, and being there for the audience. It's really obvious, especially these days when someone's just trying to sell you something. I think it's the person who shows up at your door with Cutco knives. They're not just there to help you cook better, right? They're there to sell you knives. If you're starting a podcast for the sole purpose of selling subscriptions or selling your service, it's going to be really obvious. But if you show up and you share what you know, and you use it as an opportunity to teach, then people will trust you. And then ultimately you will sell more. Like, I think that's really the thing people need to know, like, and trust you in a podcast is a great way to do that. So respecting the podcast is doing, I think it's making the best content you can make to best serve your audience. Speaker 3 00:27:26 Joe, you have a story about Cutco knives. I have a recent story about HVAC systems and AC units for the house. I'll share that with you after we stopped recording here, Joe Casabona. Thanks for joining today to talk all about your or giving us all of your podcasting knowledge, uh, creator, search for him on YouTube as well. I'm sure if you just punch in Joe, Casabona, you'll find him on YouTube. He does this wonderful live stream weekly now. Speaker 0 00:27:53 Yeah. I took a month off with the baby and all that, but I had to come back with a vengeance. Speaker 3 00:27:58 I love to just join in and make his lights flash by donating a couple of bucks just to make his lights change colors. That's fun. Speaker 0 00:28:05 I deeply appreciate that's like the best investment I ever made was setting up that automation to make my lights flash and somebody super chats. Speaker 3 00:28:12 Yeah, not the 20 years of doing this stuff online was that one automation of lights, everybody else's Join the academy for free You'll see Joe, they are in the website module and Hey, if you want to talk about subscription podcast, getting your subscription podcast off the ground, go to or email me [email protected]. Thanks for listening. We'll see you in the next episode.

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