One of the most common ways to monetize a podcast is through sponsorships and in-show advertisements. It is what big podcasters do these days and it works for them. They have a vast audience that easily attracts big brands and sponsors. But what if you are not in the big league yet?
Today, podcast monetization is not limited to just sponsorships. Sure, it’s one of the most prominent methods of earning from podcasts, but there are many other ways you can monetize your podcast if you have a steady and loyal audience base. One such way is premium content.
While you have to wait for sponsors to see potential in your podcast and advertise in it, creating premium content and selling it is totally in your hands. As your fans see the value of your content and the additional value in getting access to more premium content.
What is Premium Content and why is it an effective method?
Premium content is the additional content you put out, separate from your regular (free) content. Listeners have to pay to access this premium content as it is placed behind a paywall and is entirely exclusive.
Users these days are more open to paying for exclusive content. In this era, a single person is willing to pay for a couple of streaming platforms for movies/tv-shows or music and podcasts. The key is to make the subscription affordable and make the content worth your listener’s money.
Another great thing about premium content is that it is not restricted to one or two types. You can create premium content in as many forms as you can think of and get paid directly by the listeners.
Types of Premium Content
As said earlier, premium content can come in different forms. Podcasters can switch between these methods every week or they can also mix them as they like. Here are some types of premium content.
Extra cuts, Behind the scenes & Bloopers
There’s a lot that gets lost in snipping and editing, especially in fun guest interviews where you get so much good quality content that you feel bad for leaving out even a single one of them. These parts that never made it to your actual episode can be great premium content - even turn into a series depending on your audience’s engagement.
Just like extra cuts, you can turn your behind the scenes and bloopers into premium content as well. Listeners who only hear your episodes created to perfection - thanks to all the editing tools we have today - would love to listen about what actually goes behind - preparing for your show, the recording and editing process and more.
Many podcasters have been repurposing their podcast by creating video versions of their episodes, mainly for their YouTube and social media audience. While your audio content is available for free, the repurposed video content can be used as premium content. It works especially well if you have an informative podcast as it gives you the benefit of visuals.
This is a widely used tactic, not just on podcast platforms but on every other entertainment platform. By paying for your premium content or getting a subscription, listeners can access your episodes a day or even weeks before they actually release to your regular listeners.
This will be a great tactic, especially if you have a mystery or crime podcast and you often like to end your episodes on a cliffhanger. Some people just can’t cope well with cliffhangers and would very much like to pay for early access to your episodes.
Did you know your archives could be used as premium content? Your listens increases with every episode as your audience grows over time. Many new listeners must have missed these archive episodes and would like to check them out. You can use this to your advantage.
By placing your old episodes behind a paywall, you can offer your listeners exclusive access to your old content.
Ask Me Anything episodes
If you still run out of ideas, you can always use your audience to create premium content. You can make Ask Me Anything episodes, where you answer questions from your audience - usually posted on your social media handles. These Q&A segments give your listeners a deeper insight into you and your podcast, further creating a loyal and steady fanbase. You can offer these series exclusively to your premium listeners.
When can you use this method?
Now that you know what premium content is and how to create it, one of the biggest questions remains : When should you create premium content?
There’s no checklist as to when you can make premium content. However, before using this tactic, make sure you have a good audience base. We are not talking about thousands of listeners a week but enough listeners that’d make your premium content a hit.
If you are just starting out, you should wait a few more months until you gain a more loyal audience. Your audience will only pay for your premium content if they have seen consistently good-quality content from you for free. Once they know that your premium content is worth their money, only then will they be willing to pay for it.
How much should you charge and how can you manage it?
When it comes to charging for premium content, less is always better. Overcharging can actually harm you more than it’ll benefit you.
Your prices should be affordable for your audience. If your prices are low, then you’ll have more subscriptions. If your prices are high, then your subscriptions will be less. Use your premium content not just to monetize your podcast but to also build trust in your audience.
You can manage the premium content subscriptions through Patreon. You can also create your own website on PayU that has a built-in payment gateway. The platform charges you a 2% service fee plus GST on every transaction for various modes of payment such as credit cards, debit cards and net banking.
In the end, just keep in mind that premium content should not dominate over your regular, free content. Your premium content is like bonus content that should not affect your main content’s quality and authenticity.