Private Podcasts: The Best Way to Share Premium Podcast Content with Your Fans

If you’ve been running a podcast for a while, you’ve probably thought of trying to make a little money from it. 

There are lots of ways to make money podcasting, ranging from merchandise to sponsorships, but one of the most accessible options for many podcasters is offering premium content. 

Premium podcast content is a flexible and reliable way to make money from podcasting. It provides predictable recurring revenue for you (or at least enough to cover your hosting costs), and rewards your loyal listeners with more of what they love. 

The best news is that listeners want to support podcasts. Recent findings from Variety and Podnews show that 17% of people – equivalent to 19.7m podcast listeners – are willing to pay for shows in the next twelve months. Win win!

But where does all this extra content live? How do you make sure it remains exclusive to those paying for it, without having to remortgage your house to make it work?

Over the course of this guide, we’ll take you through how to build your premium content offering and how much you should charge for it, along with everything you need to launch your private podcast, successfully and for free, with Captivate!

What is Premium Podcast Content and Why Do It?

Premium podcast content is content that doesn’t appear in your normal, public feed. You don’t have to charge for it, but it is commonly paid for on a monthly basis (more on that later.) All you need is a few ideas, a few willing listeners and a podcast host that supports private podcast feeds. 

There are loads of benefits to offering premium podcast content, from generating predictable revenue to strengthening your relationship with your listeners.

Earn money from what you’re good at 

The good thing about offering premium content is that it doesn’t require a ton of leg work from you. In fact, you can make money from doing what you’ve already been doing: podcasting.

You can monetize material you already have – such as transcripts and research notes – or record extra episodes at the same time as your scheduled ones. All you then need to do is share it on your private feed, gated site or Patreon page for your subscribers to access. 

Greater freedom and flexibility

Another benefit of premium content is that you have control and ownership over what you produce and how much people pay for it. Unlike sponsorships, affiliates and partner content, you’re not tied down to a schedule or a script. You can focus on creating what your audience will love and dedicate yourself fully to providing an experience they’ll want to subscribe to. 

Fan and community focused

Premium podcast content is geared towards the people who matter most: your listeners. By rewarding your audience with high value, exclusive content and easy access to you, you can easily build close relationships with your fans and create a real community buzz for your podcast. What better way to secure sustainable growth for your show?! 

What kinds of premium podcast content are there?

Premium content comes in all shapes and sizes, but popular formats are: 

  • Exclusive access to back catalogues, Slack/Discord channels or video content
  • Transcripts, newsletters or research notes 
  • Bonus episodes, ‘uncut’ or unedited episodes, interviews or behind-the-scenes audio
  • Shoutouts, deciding which topic to cover next, thank you’s 
  • AMAs and livestreams
  • Early access to events or merchandise

It all comes down to what suits you and your listeners best. At the end of the day, it should be something you have fun doing, that provides value to your audience, and (most importantly) that you can keep doing in the long run. This is especially true if you’re doing paid premium content, where listeners will be expecting the bang for their buck. 

How much should you charge for your premium podcast content?

As we mentioned earlier, you don’t have to charge for your premium content. 

That said, it is pretty badass to be able to cover your hosting costs, especially if you’re going to have to pay extra for the use of a private feed (psssst: unlike other hosts, you don’t pay any extra with Captivate!)

a screenshot of a patreon
Spark of Rebellion Podcast’s Patreon has 5 tiers

It makes total sense to earn from your extra work, and you’ll be surprised how many listeners are willing to support you! Like all things, you get out what you put in, so when you’re starting with premium podcast content, consider:

  • The value of what you’re offering – make sure that your premium content is worth more than what subscribers will pay for it.
  • The size and behaviour of your listeners – do you have the audience to justify diving into premium content? Are your listeners asking for it?
  • Start small, test and tweak – like any new venture, offering premium content will need to be tested and measured to get the best results. We recommend you start with a small offering to test the appetite, and ask for honest feedback from your first few subscribers. That way, you’ll get an idea of your conversion rate (how many listeners turn into paid subscribers) as well as what works best.

Case Study: Spark of Rebellion

Check out Mark’s video on how his podcast, Spark of Rebellion, offers premium content and paid membership through Patreon:

Mark’s tips for pricing your premium podcast content:

  • Offering a $1 tier isn’t really worth your time. It’s much better to focus on creating higher value experiences for just a few dollars more. Your subscribers will thank you for it.
  • Don’t give subscribers too many options or overwhelm them with membership tiers. Three tiers, $5, $15 and $25 (or a low, medium, high scale) is more than enough to grow a successful and sustainable membership!

How to Share Your Premium Content with Private Podcasting

So, you’ve read all of the good stuff above and you’re raring to start offering your own premium podcast content, right here, right now!

All you need is a private podcast feed and, if you want to monetize, a way to collect and manage payments. A few popular options are Patreon, Glow, Supercast or, if you use WordPress, MemberPress.  

What is a private podcast feed?

A private podcast feed is a podcast that is not publicly available. Unlike a public feed, a private podcast feed doesn’t get submitted to the directories, isn’t shareable and is only accessible via invite. It’s like a secret club for your show. 

Private podcast feeds are perfect for hosting premium content because they are designed to keep it secure and gated. 

That means no one – apart from the people you invite – will be able to listen in and download, keeping your premium content safe and exclusive to your paying subscribers. 

The bad news: quite a few podcast hosts don’t offer private feeds to non-business or enterprise podcasters, or they charge you extra for creating one. 

The very good news: Captivate makes private podcasting accessible to every single podcaster, not just to businesses or those who can afford it.

That means you can create a private feed and start offering premium podcast content today, at no extra cost, no matter what plan you’re on. Our $19 Podcaster plan comes with one private feed and room for 150 subscribers as standard. Magic. 

Read the guide or watch our video to see how our private feeds work and to get started!

Our Tips to Launching Your Private Podcast Successfully

All you need to start offering premium podcast content (besides the actual content) is a podcast host that supports private feeds. Once you’ve got that sorted, creating your private podcast is as easy as starting a public one – all that changes is the security settings. 

Pro-tip: You can start a private podcast for free with us, no matter what plan you’re on. Read our step-by-step guide to creating your private podcast feed on Captivate.

Here are our top tips for launching your premium podcast content successfully using private feeds!

1. Plan your content

The success of any bonus or exclusive content hinges on the quality and value of what you produce. Planning what you can offer, when and how often will dictate not only how much you charge for your premium content but will help manage your subscribers’ expectations from the beginning. Don’t promise them the earth unless you can give it to them. 

Like any new podcast, it’s good to launch a private feed with a strong offering that goes above and beyond what people are expecting. That instant buy-in makes subscribers more likely to stick around.

2. Set up a limited time offer

What better way to launch a private feed than with an offer?! Get people onboard straight away with an exciting offer that inspires FOMO and makes people want to join in. 

This doesn’t have to be a giveaway or anything expensive. It can be as simple as a livestream, listening party or access to a special series of episodes. Whatever it is, limit its availability to build momentum for your premium content straight away. 

3. Don’t be scared to ask for feedback!

Like anything in podcasting, the feedback of your listeners is worth its weight in gold. Asking for feedback from subscribers is a quick way to find out if your premium content is serving its purpose from the people paying for it every month. 

It’s easy to undersell yourself when money is involved, especially as an independent podcaster. Don’t be afraid to ask for honest feedback (what they’d like to see more of, what they could do without, what they’d be willing to pay more for), because you might be surprised by how much your subscribers are willing to support you. 

Create Your Private Podcast For Free with Captivate!

Private podcasting should be available and accessible to every podcaster, not just to those who can afford it. We want to give you the tools you need to scale, grow and monetize your podcast from day one, giving you the opportunity to offer free or paid premium podcast content to your listeners whenever you’re ready to. 

Private podcasting for anyone, at no extra cost

Our private podcast feeds are a great way to get started with premium content without having to pay extra for more features or third-party software. On Captivate, you’re free to test, experiment and play around with private feeds however and whenever you like, without expensive start-up fees or potential sunken costs. 

If your premium content does take off, we’ve made sure you have more than enough room to scale easily:

  • Our $19 plan includes one free private feed with 150 private subscribers.
  • Our $49 plan includes one private feed and 500 private subscribers.
  • Our $99 plan includes three private feeds and 1,000 private subscribers.

Safe, secure and easy to use

We’ve worked hard to make our private feeds easy to use for your listeners, and super secure for you. Here’s an example: 

Often, a listener has to manually paste a private RSS feed into a podcast app to access the private show, before typing in a username and password to be able to listen. 

screenshot of captivate private subscriber settings
Captivate generates a custom private feed URL for each added subscriber for added security

Instead, we generate a custom private feed URL for each added subscriber that can be regenerated at any time. It’s quicker and easier for your listeners, and protects your private content from any potential sharing or pirating. 

Automate your private podcast with Zapier

We’ve made it easy to manage your subscribers automatically, without having to manually add and remove them in several different apps. It also means that your new subscribers can start enjoying your exclusive content in minutes, rather than having to wait for you to activate them!

Integrate your Captivate private podcast with Zapier to automatically add or remove subscribers from your CRM or paid membership software like Patreon or Memberpress. Subscribers will be invited or access taken away immediately and from one central location – easy peasy and efficient!

Flexible without sacrificing security

Creating a private podcast with Captivate means you won’t be able to use certain elements of our platform, like our Captivate Sites™ or distribution.

We know that you might want to embed your premium content on a paid-for membership site or behind a paywall, so you can still use our embeddable players however you like. 

Want to start your own private podcast for premium content or something else? You can start today with a free 7-day trial of Captivate or log into your account to create your feed right now.

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Rachel

Rachel is Captivate's Marketing Coordinator and works closely with podcasters to ensure that the content that Captivate creates is genuinely helpful and easy to understand.