Today I’d like to talk about creating your own subscription podcast without the middle man taking a cut of your revenue.
Before we get too far down into the blueprint for monetizing your podcast, there are some hard requirements I’m mentioning in this episode:
- You must be okay with starting a free Stripe account.
- You’re using Castos to host your subscription podcast feed or feeds.
- Bonus: If you want to make other automation magic happen, I also recommend a free Zapier account.
Why start a subscription podcast over advertising?
What’s your knee-jerk reaction when you hear that the average podcast ad rates are $25 per 1,000 downloads? If you’re like most of us, your podcast is barely hitting 500 downloads per episode — you can’t even buy a cup of coffee let alone that new Porsche.
Most advertisers are looking for the largest audience possible, not the most valuable audience possible. That’s a topic for a different podcast.
When it comes to earning revenue, if you’re a brand new podcaster or a veteran with a niche audience, going by industry standard advertising isn’t going to make us rich.
Then there’s the quality and experience factor.
Don’t get me started on automated ad insertion from larger ad networks or other podcast hosting companies. Not only are we giving up control of the ad quality, it’s an abrasive experience for the listener. A 2020 report from Nielsen shows that host-read ads perform better anyway. Host-Read Podcast Ads Pack a Brand Recall Punch – Nielsen
If you’re going to do ads, you might as well sell them direct and read them on your own show. Again, different podcast episode for a different day.
Subscription podcasts at Castos vs the world
I rarely thank Apple for much in podcasting these days, but I am thankful that this 2.6 Trillion-dollar company decided to compete with us.
We’re going through another defining moment for content creators. Just like Facebook and others encroached on our blog traffic, big audio businesses are doing the same to our podcasts.
Apple offers subscription podcasts through their platform at a 30% cut + a $29 annual fee. The kicker? You have to manage your podcast on their website. The content is only available to listeners using Apple podcast app.
As a creator, you’re suffocating your total possible reach. Apple is making my case for me.
Subscriptions at Castos
- We don’t take a 30% cut. Each podcast hosting plan has a set of private subscribers.
- You can create as many private subscription podcasts as you want.
- Listeners can access the content on Apple or Google devices, using our free Castos mobile app or their favorite podcast app.
Let’s get back to that tug of war for your content: We’re building a subscription podcast system that podcasters will love. While Apple and others want you to exist exclusively in their platform, with their fees, and their algorithm — Castos is building a subscription platform that allows you to be anywhere & everywhere.
What type of subscription podcasts work best?
Here’s the thing: there are no rules; monetize as you see fit.
Want to run ads + have a premium subscription podcast? Go for it. I say however you can monetize your show is good enough for me. It’s a lot of work to get to where you are, I’m not going to hold you back.
Some subscription podcast ideas to get you started:
- Ad-free premium podcast
- Members-only or exclusive content
- Courses or premium series
If you can upload it, you can sell it.
And this is the important part: a subscription podcast doesn’t have to be an extension of your podcast or high-production.
You’re taking a collection of audio and putting it into a podcast feed to sell as a one-time fee or through a recurring payment. You can be as creative as you want with subscription podcasts at Castos.
- Want to sell an audio book? No problem.
- Create a training series for members of your online community? Easy.
- An audio feed for each client? Send them our free audio app with only your audio in it, for free.
Stripe as the payment processor
We recently launched native integration with Stripe.
You can find it in our Automations Engine inside your dashboard. Along with our Convertkit integration, the foundation to growing and monetizing your show is starting to come together.
Connecting Stripe to our Automations Engine means that as soon as a customer buys your product, we send them access to your subscription podcast to the email they used to purchase.
Remember, you can set up us many plans as you want in Stripe, and connect it to any private podcast in your Castos account. Handy if you want to have a few options of audio content to sell, or different tiers of access.
At the top of the show I mentioned the bonus for using Zapier. If you’ve never heard of Zapier it’s a freemium service that acts as the glue between apps on the internet. If you want to send customer information to a CRM or another email provider like MailChimp, you can do that too. Check out our YouTube channel for more ideas.
Stripe produces a checkout link, a typical URL, that you can place anywhere your visitors are headed:
- On your Castos website
- On your WordPress website
- In your weekly newsletter
- In your Twitter bio
You get the picture. Stripe makes it easy to sell a subscription podcast now that Castos integrates with it natively. Combine that with our free mobile app, and die-hard podcasters should love our solution more than Patreon or Apple.
For flexibility and fees alone.
Is starting a subscription podcast right for you?
I think building out your own subscription podcast is a fantastic idea if you are the following podcaster:
- You have premium content people want.
- You have an existing members-only product for your brand.
- You sell a physical or digital good and you want to augment the experience.
- You want to sell access to your podcast not provide a public one
Of course, like everything else, it will take some rolling-up the sleeves. Some hard work.
You’ve heard me say it over and over: A successful podcast relies on all of the other things that surrounds it.
The unique premise, the content, and the promotion. Especially the promotion. The easy route is go back and throw your podcast in an advertising algorithm. You won’t have to think about it or work hard to sell your thing. But you’ll also get paid the least. $25 dollars for every 1,000 downloads if you’re lucky.
Your subscription podcast’s success will rely heavily on your ability to create something someone wants or sees the value in supporting you as an independent creator.
And your marketing chops. How good are you at identifying the right audience to promote to?
For me, it’s putting the control and the creative back into my hands, with no middle man. That’s why I love podcasting and that’s why I love subscription podcasts at Castos.