Podcasting How To

Podcast Subscriptions and YOU

When it comes to monetizing your podcast, podcast subscriptions may not be your first thought. But here are several reasons why a podcast subscription should be included in your monetization plan!

When it comes to monetizing your podcast, podcast subscriptions may not be your first thought. Truthfully, the first thought that comes to mind when you say “make money with my podcast” is ‘advertising’. And of course, podcast advertising is also a fantastic avenue for monetizing your podcast. But introducing a subscription to your podcast listeners doesn’t have to compete with your podcast ads. In fact, a podcast subscription has quite a benefit to you and your listeners!

What is a podcast subscription?

Just what it says on the tin! Using a subscription model means that fans of your podcast can pay a specific price per month (or per year) for extra access to your podcast. As for what you can offer with your subscription, you can include:

  • Bonus content cut from publicly available episodes: for example, if your twenty-minute interview runs long, you can share the full uncut episode to your subscribers while sharing the cut version to your public listeners.
  • Behind-the-scenes content: Sometimes you record content by accident, or let the recording run long as you have off-topic discussions. While this would normally be edited out and discarded, you can offer the full cut (or just the cut bits) to your subscribers.
  • Ad-free episodes: This is where your podcast subscription can fit in tandem with your advertising monetization strategies – your subscription is where listeners can go to get ad-free content, so that regardless of your ad status the episodes are making money for you and your podcast.

Benefits of Podcast Subscriptions

Podcast subscriptions can offer you quite a few things, like:

  • Steady income: Subscription-based monetization provides podcasters with a reliable source of income. Unlike advertising revenue, which can fluctuate based on listener engagement and market conditions, subscription fees are predictable. This stability allows podcasters to plan their content and business strategies more effectively, as they have a clearer idea of their revenue stream.
  • Deeper Audience Connection: Subscribers are often more engaged and invested in the content. When listeners pay for access to exclusive episodes, early releases, or bonus content, they tend to feel a stronger connection to the podcast and its host. This can lead to a more loyal and dedicated fan base. Podcasters can also interact with their subscribers more directly, fostering a sense of community and personal connection.
  • Freedom and Independence: Relying on advertising can sometimes mean compromising on content to cater to sponsors’ interests or dealing with the uncertainty of securing advertisers. A subscription model allows podcasters to maintain creative control and independence. They can focus on creating content that genuinely resonates with their audience, without being beholden to external advertisers or sponsors. This creative freedom often results in higher-quality content that attracts and retains subscribers.

Tips for Podcast Subscriptions 

  • Cater content to your audience avatar: You’re obviously familiar with our audience avatars (and if not, you can learn more here)! This is a great palace for them to come into play. Ask yourself what your audience avatar – your platonic ideal of a perfect podcast listener – would want from a podcast subscription, and ask yourself what you’re able to offer. From there, start planning out extra episodes, behind-the-scenes, director cuts, etc
  • Keep releasing content for your non-subscriber listeners: It can be easy to lose sight of your non-subscription listeners, but remember that you also have to keep putting out the best content possible for them as well!
  • Go into your recording sessions knowing that some content will be made for your podcast subscribers: For example, if you’re working with a cool guest or you’re on-location for a special event, recording some content specifically for your subscribers alongside recording for your overall podcast. This may mean that you’re conversing for another thirty minutes, or you hang out at the venue longer, but this will go a long way in giving you content to share. This means that you also have the added benefit of not having to scramble when it’s time to launch your podcast subscription officially.

Ready to get started with a podcast subscription? Check out our post on getting Apple Podcast Subscriptions set up for your podcast

By day, a marketing writer for Podbean. By night, surrounded by eclectic projects like stop-motion puppets, half-knit sweaters, and a violin that won't learn to play itself. Certified Fresh(c) by a master's in English.

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