Can You Monetize Your Podcast with Subscriptions?
The podcast world is always evolving and it raises a lot of questions. Almost instantly after Apple Podcasts sent out a notification about their new subscription service, emails started flooding my inbox.
My podcast host clients were filled with questions like:
- Is Apple going to start charging people to listen to my podcast!?!
- Should I be charging people for my podcast!?!
- How can you be so sexy and be a kick-ass podcast coach at the same time!?!
That last one had nothing to do with Apple’s email but I get that question a lot and I NEVER dignify it with an answer.
So, to answer the questions not focused on my status as a podcasting sex-symbol…
No, Apple is not going to start charging people to access your podcast. That would be a really bad look for them.
But, they did announce a new option for podcasters to choose to charge listeners for access. There are a couple of ways you can take advantage of this including all paid content, freemium content (without any ads or designated extra content), or continue to offer our podcast for free.
Which brings us to the MOST important question… should you charge listeners?
First, let me point out that charging for access to your podcast is nothing new. It’s always been an option. Apple jumping in with this new service is just making it seem like something we should be considering more carefully.
So, should you charge your listeners?
Here’s my take. It depends on the purpose of your podcast.
If you are podcasting as a business (meaning your main business plan is to earn revenue by selling your audience to advertisers) then charging subscribers might be a consideration. It depends on how loyal your audience is. Are they willing to pay or would they rather sit through an ad and let the advertisers pay?
If, on the other hand, you are using podcasting as a way to grow your authority so you can develop a relationship with your audience, create loyalty so that when they buy (a product or service) they wouldn’t dream of buying from anyone but you — in that case, I say no.
Think about it, all the work you’re doing building a relationship with them and then you want to charge for admission to the friendship? Is that going to help them know, like and trust you? Will they be excited to also pay you for your product or service after you charged them to listen? Is your information or entertaining banter really that much more interesting and exciting than a gazillion other podcasts out there for free?
Are you in the business of podcasting or is podcasting a tool to help you grow your business?
I would say, don’t chase the pennies of a subscription if your podcast is supposed to help you land the big dollar clients.
But, every show is different and every strategy has its pros and cons. So, as a business owner, you have to decide for yourself. Take a look at your business plan and your marketing strategy and see if or where a paid subscription fits in.
If you decide to stay on the free side, know that there is nothing you need to do. Apple is not going to start charging your listeners. Their experience with you and your show won’t change after Apple opens up the subscription option this summer (2021).
Phew, you can relax.
But can you? In order for your podcast to do a good job of attracting and nurturing potential clients, you have to have an intentional podcast that is aligned with your goals.
If you’re scratching your head and thinking something like, ‘what is this too-sexy-for-podcasting coach talking about?’, well then, I invite you to book a free 15-minute coaching call with me. In just one quarter of an hour, I can help you diagnose and re-align your podcast to your goals.
Click here to access my calendar and book your call right now.
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