At some point in your podcasting career, you might consider charging your listeners for streaming some episodes. This is called Premium or Private podcasting in more professional terminology when podcasters provide advanced content for additional payment.
If you introduce private podcasts, your listeners' access to your content will not significantly change. They will access free and paid podcasts in the same way and from the same devices, with the only difference being that they'll have to pay for the latter.
However, for you, here arises a technical issue of limiting access to paid content for a specific group of people. And here is when you need private feeds.
If you are not profoundly into podcast hosting and RSS feeds and doesn’t know how all that stuff works, let's do a quick overview.
What is podcast hosting?
A podcast host is a platform where you store your podcast's files. When you further distribute your podcasts to podcast directories, you use RSS feeds.
What is an RSS feed?
RSS stands for Rich Site Syndication, and it's a listing of all the episodes you add to your podcasting host. If you want to publish your shows on podcast platforms, you do not submit the shows but the RSS feeds where those shows are located.
RSS feeds are classified as public and private.
Public feeds are what the majority of the podcasters use. They allow listeners to access audio content from popular podcasting platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc.
Public feeds are usually offered for free by hosting providers, and if you do not intend to promote paid content, you're good to go with any of them.
However, if you want to go the extra mile and start providing your listeners with premium content, you should consider the caveat that comes with public feeds.
The majority of public feeds have auto-updating features. This means once you upload a new podcast to your public RSS feed, it will automatically update all the connected platforms with the newly added content.
Therefore, if you want to keep your premium content only for paid users, public feeds will not work for you.
Private feeds require listeners to pay a subscription fee to access the content. They allow you to keep your podcast episodes exclusive and share them only with the specific listeners you choose.
In the case of private podcasting, the audio content is not added to public directories. However, listeners can still access it via popular podcasting platforms after they pay the subscription fee.
How to create a private podcast?
If you have plans to get into private podcasting, start with a podcast hosting that supports a private RSS feed from the very beginning. Make sure you carefully research this feature of your host, as not every hosting platform provides it.
Once you choose and buy hosting with private feeds, you can start promoting your premium shows. Each hosting has its technicalities when it comes to uploading and distributing content. However, the general logic behind all those platforms is that you gain access to a private space to store your podcasts and the number of invites.
Those invites allow you to provide content access to your paid listeners.
If you want to skip long and tiring research on private hosting providers, here are a few of the popular ones you can use.
Captivate recently introduced a private podcasting feature, which is available to its users without any additional charge. In other words, if you buy Captivate as a host platform, you will automatically have access to a private feed.
Depending on which Captivate tariff you use, your opportunities may be limited.
- $19/month users have one private feed and 150 invites
- $49/month users have one private feed and 500 invites
- $99/month users have three private feeds and 1000 invites
Resonate is mainly oriented to organizing private podcasts for the organization. It's a great solution if you want to start a corporate podcast and allow access only to your employees connected to the intranet.
The starting charge for Resonate's services is $99/month, and this tariff will allow you to connect up to 65 users. However, you can request a custom quote, depending on your organization's size and podcasting goals.
Transistor is another tool focused on creating corporate podcasts. This platform creates unique RSS feeds for each employee, and no other user outside of your employee list can access the internal podcast.
Once you enlarge your staff and have new members in the organization, you can request new private invitation links and add new members.
There are three paid packages for Transistor you can use:
- Starter | $19/month for 50 subscribers
- Professional | $49/month for 500 subscribers
- Business | $99/month for 3,000 subscribers
Spreaker Enterprise recently introduced private RSS feeds both for its existing users and new subscribers.
If you have previously distributed your content through Spreaker and already have an account there, you can change Visibility settings to Limited Access before distributing your podcast to different channels.
If you are new to the platform, here are the main subscription packages you can use:
- On-Air Talent for $7/month
- Broadcaster for $20/month
- Anchorman for $50/month
Even though starting a private podcast requires financial investment, it is a great opportunity to monetize your show. All that's left to do is create genuinely good content and effectively promote it to your listeners.