Make More Money from Your Membership Site with a Members-Only Podcast
✍️ Dennis Hammer
🗓 October 05, 2021
As the owner of a membership site, you know the value of cultivating an audience. A strong community of fans is key to growing - and earning - from your memberships.
Your content is undoubtedly great, but you should always strive to make it better. Better content means more value for your members, which prevents churn and attracts even more people.
💰 Ultimately, great content = more money in your pocket.
A members-only podcast is a unique way to add value to your membership platform, connect with your audience, and deliver exceptional content. These types of podcasts are private, meaning the episodes are only available to your members.
In this article, we're going to talk about the benefits of producing a members-only podcast and the different types of podcasts you can create. Then we'll show you how to get started creating your own.
Benefits of a Members-Only Podcast
First, let's talk about why your membership needs a podcast:
Connect with your audience on a human level
While written content is valuable, there's something magic about the spoken word. Your voice helps you connect with your audience on a personal level. They become your friend; a part of your inner circle. They develop a kinship with you that's hard to form with text-based content.
Boost your membership revenue
Adding a private podcast to your membership platform increases the value of your membership, which will attract more members. More members means more revenue. If you offer multiple membership tiers, you could add your members-only podcast to one of the upper tiers, thereby urging your members to upgrade to a higher plan.'
Get more value from your existing content
If you have already created content of some kind, turning it into podcast episodes is quick and simple. To your members, however, it's entirely new material. This gives you more mileage out of the content you've already created, and saves time and money you would spend creating new stuff.'
Keep everything on your membership site
You already have a membership site, so there's no sense in directing your members to a separate platform like Patreon. You can distribute a private podcast right through your MemberSpace site. Plus, Patreon doesn't offer the right set of features for an integrated community and it charges an additional layer of fees.'
Podcast content isn't hard to create
Podcasting may seem a bit intimidating at first, but once you get to the technical details squared away, creating a podcast content is actually quite faster then producing videos or writing articles. It will only take a few episodes before you become comfortable behind the microphone. If you outsource certain components of the podcasting process (like show notes, editing, and transcriptions), you'll be able to produce content as fast as you can talk.
The Different Types of Members-Only Podcasts
If those benefits of members-only podcasts sound good to you, you're probably wondering what you should create. Fortunately, you have a lot of freedom here. Here are some ideas of the different kinds of private podcast content you might publish. You could pick one or combine them all.
If you produce any public content (to attract members to your membership site), you could use a members-only podcast to offer supplementary material to your members. For instance, if you write an article about event planning, you could offer bonus content to members where you interview an event planner. This creates an incredible level of value for your members.
Behind the scenes content
If your audience loves you and your brand, they'll be delighted to see how it all comes together. Use your podcast to tell them about what happens behind the scenes. Keep it casual and laid back. Bring on some people in your organization that your audience rarely sees. Long time listeners who are invested love this stuff.'
If you already have a lot of existing content (videos, blog posts, newsletters, etc.), adding a members-only podcast is a great way to get more value out of it. You just have to turn those assets into an audio episode.
For instance, you could simply read an old blog post or newsletter into a microphone to create a podcast episode (though you might want to add some additional commentary to keep it fresh). You could use the narration of a video or webinar as the basis for an episode, too. Made a cool infographic? Pull out your mic and talk about it!
If you already have a public podcast, you probably sell ad space to create more revenue. A private podcast is a great way to offer an ad-free version to your members. Your long-time listeners will be eager to join your membership to get access to a version of your show that's focused entirely on your content. Just like bonus content, this is a useful way to convert non-members into members.
A members-only podcast is an easy way to get your community involved. Use your episodes to answer their questions and respond to their comments. You could even invite members on to your show to share their opinions and unique views.
For instance, if you notice a lot of comments on one of your members-only articles, you might offer your thoughts in an episode. With a little coordination, you could bring some of the commenters on to show your community how much you care. This is especially powerful if your members have special expertise to teach.
No matter what industry you're in, there's usually something happening. A members-only podcast is a great way to comment on the news of the day. These types of episodes are usually easy to create because they aren't very long and you don't need to plan much: Just explain the topic and provide your reaction.
Something entirely unique
These are just a few suggestions, but you aren't limited to this list. You have complete freedom to create whatever you think your membership will enjoy. Don't be afraid to explore ideas until you find something suitable. If you can't come up with a decent topic, ask your members what type of podcast content they would enjoy.'
How to Create a Members-Only Podcast with Castos
Now that you understand why you should start a members-only podcast and the types of content you could produce, it's time to create your own show.'
Step 1: Choose a podcast host
Your first step is to choose a podcast hosting service. This is a cloud-based storage space for your audio files. A podcast host keeps your episodes optimized for your listeners and provides you with an RSS feed so people and services can access your show.
Look for a host that offers these features:
- A MemberSpace integration. This is key if you want your private podcast to work seamlessly with your membership site.
- An easy-to-use platform so you don't spend an excessive amount of time managing your podcast. Uploading episodes should be especially easy.
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth so you can publish as much as you want.
- Clear analytics so you can track your podcasts; performance
- A quality listening experience that understands that most users are listening to podcasts on mobile devices.
At Castos, we specialize in private podcasts. We make private podcasting easier with the Castos + MemberSpace integration. By using this integration, new members will automatically receive an email from Castos to help them subscribe to your private podcast in seconds.
Plus, if you already have a public podcast, but are interested in creating a private podcast, you can use Castos; one-click migration to move it over to Castos; platform. This way both your public and private feeds are on the same platform.
Don't take our word for it. Listen to Tony Merkel from the Confessionals podcast talk about how he was able to quit his job and become a full-time podcaster with the help of Castos and MemberSpace. Check out Tony's story.
Step 2: Integrate your private podcast with MemberSpace
Once you've chosen a podcast hosting service, your next step is to integrate it with your MemberSpace site. Exactly how you'll do this will depend on the service you chose, but if you're going with Castos (our recommendation), it's quite simple.
First you'll need to hide your Castos podcast webpage for your show. You'll find this toggle in the Web Page Settings tab on your Settings page.
Next, set your podcast to private in the Distribution tab.
Finally, add your subscribers via their email addresses.
Once your private feed is set up in Castos, you can use the MemberSpace integration to automate your members-only podcast subscribers. Whenever a member joins, they'll automatically receive an email with an invite containing a magic link. This link directs them to download the Castos Mobile app (to listen to private podcasts) and subscribe to your show in seconds. They can also listen in their favorite podcast player app e.g. Apple Podcasts.
And if a member leaves your membership (or you remove them), they will be automatically removed from the private podcast. No manual management required!
To integrate your private feed with MemberSpace, log in to your Castos account, click your name in the top right, then click Integrations.
Click Rest API and copy your API token.
In MemberSpace, click Customize in the top navigation, then Integrations Castos. Paste in your API token and click the Integrate with Castos button.
Finally, choose which MemberSpace plans will grant access to which of your private podcasts in Castos. Click 'Update Now.'
And you're all set! As you can see, integrating MemberSpace and Castos is quick and simple. From this point on, Castos will do all the work. All you have to do is focus on creating content.
Step 3: Create your members-only podcast content
Now that your private podcast is integrated with your MemberSpace account, it's time to start creating your own content. It's easier than you think, but we strongly recommend reading our how to start a podcast guide. It teaches everything you need to know:
- Planning your podcast: Choosing a topic, format, and name.
- Setting up your show: Purchasing equipment and software.
- Recording your first episode: Script writing techniques and a recording tutorial
- Editing and producing your episode: Follow step-by-step editing tutorials and tips.
- Publishing your episode: This is as simple as uploading your audio file to WordPress.
Start Your Members-Only Podcast Today
We've shown you the benefits of producing a members-only podcast, offered some content ideas, and explained how to get started using the Castos + MemberSpace integration. Now it's up to you to get started. If you aren't a MemberSpace customer, sign up for a free trial.