Podcasts have become a common way of sharing information with the public since the invention of the iPod. Over the years, podcasts have significantly evolved. Podcasts have morphed into a dynamic entity with numerous podcasts about various topics.
Today, there are more than 2.4 million podcasts, with over 66 million episodes between them. Public podcasts are recorded and posted on various podcast platforms for listeners to access them.
The use of public podcasts has changed, however, as more creators have moved towards the monetization of their podcasts. Private podcasts have been adopted to make money from podcasting and earn a living from it.
Creating a private podcast can be a great way to share audio content with a select group of people rather than broadcasting it to the general public. This exclusivity is what is meant to push subscribers toward choosing private or paid podcasts.
There are several different methods for creating a private podcast, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
1. Private Membership Platforms
One method for creating a private podcast is to use a dedicated private membership platform. The dedicated platform works like conventional podcast applications, except that the content is restricted by a paywall.
A popular private membership platform is Patreon. Patreon gives creators the chance to host private podcasts. The option to use Patreon is the most cost-efficient option for most creators. The creators upload their audio files and create a podcast feed. Once the feed is created, it is shared through a user-specific link with every subscriber. Creators state the specific subscription charges for listeners to get access to their private podcasts.
Patreon takes a cut of 2.9% of the stated subscription charges for the podcast. Creators who opt to use Patreon should factor in this charge when deciding the subscription charges for the podcast.
Patreon might not serve every creator and their subscribers well. In such cases, one should consider an alternative to Patreon.
Conventional podcast applications such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify have also introduced subscriptions for private podcasts. The applications now grant creators the ability to post podcasts as either public or private. The public podcasts can be viewed by any user, while the private podcasts require one to subscribe so that the podcast episodes can show up on your feed.
The use of private membership platforms is convenient because it allows users to easily manage and distribute their audio content. The applications also offer creators access to a range of tools and features for editing and enhancing their podcasts.
2. Private RSS Feed
Podcasts work through distribution to various podcasting applications via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. An RSS feed is what contains all the information for a specific podcast.
When creators create a podcast, a corresponding RSS feed is created. Any episodes and episode notes posted by the creator are added to the RSS feed. Using the RSS feed, podcast subscribers can access the podcast from their preferred podcast application. For public podcasts, the RSS feeds are usually accessible from any podcast application.
To create a private podcast, one can opt to create a private RSS feed and share user-specific links to the feed with the subscriber. Several tools can be used to create private RSS feeds for podcast hosting.
One common tool used by creators for creating private podcasts is FeedBurner. The tool allows the creator to create a custom feed URL for the created RSS feed. To ensure that the RSS feed is private, the creator must ensure that the access controls are set to limit access to the podcast to private. The URL can then be shared with the podcast subscribers.
With the URL for a private RSS feed, podcast subscribers can also add the podcast to their podcast application of choice. This is possible if the podcast application allows the addition of an RSS feed using an access link.
Using private RSS feeds is useful because it allows users to distribute their podcasts in a standard format. It also allows creators and subscribers to use a variety of different podcasting tools and apps to manage and listen to their audio content.
3. Private Website
Private podcasts can also be created and shared on a password-protected website. The website can act as a subscriber site where the private podcasts are hosted and can be accessed from. Creators have the option to use tools such as Squarespace and WordPress to password-protect the pages containing the private podcasts.
As a membership site, creators with public podcasts can also add them to the site to have an all-encompassing site. When using WordPress for website development, one can use the BuzzSprout plugin. This tool allows the creator to pull the whole podcast feed using its RSS link.
Pages containing the public podcast are left accessible to all users. To add the functionality of private podcasts to the website, the creator will include a paywall on pages containing the private podcasts. Paywalls can be developed using plugins such as MemberPress and WooCommerce.
Using private websites allows creators to share their audio content in a more visual and interactive way. It also allows them to easily manage and update their podcast content. The use of private websites is also recommended for creators who offer more than just podcasts. Creators who also have merch, blog posts, etc. can use the website as an all-encompassing site for the products they offer.
It is likely that in 2023, the best methods for creating a private podcast will involve using a combination of specialized podcasting software and a private hosting platform. This will allow creators to easily record, edit, and publish their episodes while also ensuring that only authorized listeners have access to the content.
Additionally, using a private hosting platform can provide valuable insights and analytics, helping creators understand and engage with their audience more effectively. Overall, creating a private podcast in 2023 will require a combination of technical expertise and a well-defined strategy, but the potential rewards can be well worth the effort.