How to Grow a Podcast Audience of Paid Subscribers

by Pat Safford | May 13, 2022 | Podcasting

Read Time: 4 min read

Summary: TL;DR: To make your podcast profitable, focus on growing a base of paying subscribers alongside ad revenue. Consider different subscription models like flat-rate, tiered, or usage-based plans. Host premium content on platforms like Patreon or Spotify. Offer exclusive content like live shows or ad-free episodes to entice subscribers. Start small and expand premium offerings as your subscriber count grows. Set reasonable prices and consider freemium models or free trials to attract new subscribers. Promote your subscription option through podcast episodes, social media, and email marketing. By following these tips, you can increase revenue and build a loyal subscriber base for your podcast.

Podcast creators can monetize their shows by growing an audience of paying subscribers. The consumer revenue from these subscribers can supplement ad-based revenue, which in turn can make your podcast more profitable. Here are seven tips for growing your paid subscriber base for your podcast!

Pick a Paid Podcast Model

Before you start promoting a podcast subscription to an audience, you need to decide what type of payment structure or subscription pricing model best fits your show. There are a variety of subscription models podcast creators can use, but the most common pricing models are flat-rate, tiered, or usage-based subscription plans.

With a flat-rate model, paid subscribers will pay the same amount each time they are billed. However, fixed prices are usually best for single or simple products. Tiered and usage-based pricing allow the subscriber more flexibility in how much they pay and the amount of premium access they receive to your content.

Decide Where to Host

You can host content for paid subscribers both on and off your main podcasting feed. Popular podcast directories, including Apple Podcasts and SpotifySpotify, offer paywall options for premium content. Outside paywall platforms like Patreon and Switcher allow creators to post different forms of content on a separate site where podcast audience members pay annual, monthly, and per-project fees for access to premium content.

If you choose to host premium content on a secondary site, your hosting platform may provide additional support, but keep in mind that a percentage of your profits will go to the company. Plus, if you use a service outside your main podcasting feed, your content needs to be within the user guidelines.

Develop Premium Content

Offering premium content for paid subscribers can entice audience members to sign up for your podcast subscription. Having subscriber-only shows like live shows, Q&As, behind-the-scenes content, and video episodes can be a great way to monetize a podcast and further expand your audience.

Ad-free episodes and those with explicit content are also usually kept behind a paywall, but 53% of podcast listeners are likely to invest in a paid subscription for these types of content. Additionally, early access to bonus podcast projects, archive access, paid courses and services, and podcast merchandise are other perks you can offer paying subscribers as an incentive to sign up.

Start Small with Premium Content

Creating premium content for your podcast subscribers in addition to your existing show can be difficult, so start small! First, decide on what type of content you can offer paid subscribers.

As the number of paying subscribers increases, you can develop and launch new premium options like a podcast community or subscriber access to a Discord server. Ideally, the types of premium content you offer your listeners will expand and improve as your subscriber count grows!

Set Reasonable Prices

It’s important to establish reasonable rates when you first set up your podcast subscription model. Many creators offer their podcast audiences subscriptions in a range from $5 to $20 per month, but some podcast directories allow creators to set subscription prices as low as $0.49 a month.

Creators who choose to set up a tiered pricing model can give their audience multiple price points to choose from, which allows listeners to upgrade or downgrade their subscription as needed.

Offer a Freemium Model

Providing your podcast audience with a free trial to your podcast subscription or a freemium model allows your future paid subscribers to access your product before committing to a subscription. In general, free podcast trials allow audiences to access content behind a paywall for an average of seven to 14 days with around a 38.6% conversion rate.

In contrast, freemium models have no time limit, but they do allow listeners access to specific parts of premium content with an average conversion rate of 2% to 5%. This means granting podcast listeners temporary access to your show’s premium content could convert them into full-time paying subscribers!

Promote Your Subscription Option

After you’ve chosen a pricing model, developed premium content, and set prices, it’s time to promote your subscription to your podcast audience! Mention your podcast subscription options on each podcast episode you release so your entire audience has the opportunity to join your paid subscriber base.

And with a social media strategy, dedicating space on your podcast website to your subscribers, and sending out podcast emails or newsletters about what it means to be a paid subscriber to your show can grow your subscriber base.

Need help growing your paid podcast audience? Hurrdat Media has a variety of podcasting services that can help you encourage listeners to become paid subscribers to your show.