How to plan a paid premium podcast

How to plan a paid premium podcast

A premium podcast lets your biggest fans support you in a whole new way.

Charging for access can create an income stream for your work, allowing you to focus more on delivering better or more consistent content and less on chasing sponsorships or working other jobs to keep your podcast journey going.

It's a win-win for both you and your audience.

There are many ways to offer premium content to your listeners, including ad-free, early access or subscriber-only episodes.

You may find one of these will suit your podcast and audience better than others, but regardless of what content you offer in a premium podcast, it's important to first think through some things: does your audience want premium content, how to create it, where to host it, how to price it and how to convert free listeners to paying subscribers.

In this quick guide, we'll walk through the key considerations and planning strategies to help you launch a premium, paid podcast that not only engages your audience but also lines your pockets.

Understanding your audience’s appetite

Before you jump into the premium podcasting scene, take a moment to understand your audience's cravings.

What content gets them buzzing?

What topics keep them hitting that play button?

By knowing your audience inside out, you can tailor your premium content to suit their tastes, ensuring that your subscribers get exclusive access to the content they value the most.

It's not just about offering more; it's about offering more of what they want.

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To gather information about your audience's favourite content, consider creating a listener survey or utilise social media polls, and request participation from your listeners.

Check from your podcast host's analytics which episodes are more popular than others. This will help you understand what your audience likes listening to and may be interested in paying for more of.

Creating irresistible exclusive content

If you choose to sell exclusive content for subscription payments (rather than asking for donations or support), your premium podcast episodes should be the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the VIP section of your content archive.

Whether it's in-depth interviews with industry leaders, behind-the-scenes insights, or bonus episodes packed with exclusive tips, make sure your premium content is irresistible.

Remember, your biggest fans are choosing to spend their hard-earned money on your podcast and supporting you, so give them something they can't resist and won't find anywhere else. Quality, my friends, is the name of the game.

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Think through the easiest content for you to make, or most useful content for your audience. You can even choose to offer multiple types of extra content. Just make sure that there is enough value that your listeners will want to pay for it.

(And if you get it wrong at first, don't be afraid to change things up!)

Choosing the right platform

Selecting the right platform is like choosing the perfect mic for your podcast – it makes all the difference.

Look for podcast hosting platforms that support subscription-based models, making it easy for your audience to sign up and enjoy premium perks hassle-free.

You may have to sign up to a second platform for hosting your paid podcast. Platforms like Patron, Supercast and Glow run alongside your main podcast host. Hosts like Buzzsprout and Pinecast offer combined free and paid content from the same host.

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Spend some time researching podcast hosts and find the one that offers what you need. Some hosts will be better at offering exclusive content and some for support- or donation-based payments.

If you find a host that's better than yours, you can usually easily migrate away from your existing host by importing your RSS feed. Check your new host's support pages for details.

Pricing strategically

Pricing is hard. Especially when starting from zero.

You want your price to be enticing for your fans and profitable for you. There's no point in going through the planning and set up only for your audience to not sign up.

There are two major ways podcasters charge money:

  • one-off or recurring "support", without providing much in the way of bonus content
  • recurring subscription plans, which offer exclusive subscriber-only content (like AMA episodes, access to communities, early access to episodes, ad-free episodes etc.)

Consider what value you plan to be delivering and price accordingly. You can always tweak prices later on (this is really common in another subscription-focussed industry, software).

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Look around at other paid podcasts to see what prices the market is expecting, and also what kind of content they are providing at different price points.

Typically you'll see multiple tiers of pricing, with more expensive plans giving more exclusive benefits.

Selling to your listeners

Once you have your premium podcast offering ready, it's time to sell.

The key here is to make it clear what listeners gain from subscribing to your premium content, whether it's exclusive episodes, in-depth interviews, early access, or other enticing perks. The benefits must be obvious, and attractive. Make it sounds like a no-brainer to sign up.

And don't be afraid of mentioning your premium content. Talk about the benefits in your free episodes, on social media and anywhere else you publish content. Your tone should be exciting and engaging. Just make sure to be delicate and sensible with how you promote. No one likes a constant sales pitch.

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Make it easy for listeners to sign up. Add links in show notes and on your podcast website. Pick a selling platform that has a simple, easy checkout flow.

Then go out and regularly promote your premium podcast. If you don't, who will?

Engaging your VIP community

Launching a premium podcast isn't just about creating exclusive content; it's about building a community of dedicated fans.

Engage with your premium subscribers through regular emails, Q&A sessions, live chats, or even exclusive in-person events.

Make them feel like valued members of an elite club, and they'll not only stick around but become your biggest advocates. A strong community not only supports your podcast financially but also fuels the passion that drives your content creation.

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As new members sign up, send them a quick email to say thank you and hi! Make a great first impression; this could be the first time a listener has ever had direct contact with you.

At first this could be done manually, but over time you could automate it using one of the many email marketing platforms.

Once you have made closer connections with your audience, it will be easier to invite people to in-person events or generate activity in a community forum.

Looking for a podcast host to quickly set up and easily manage premium your podcast? offers unlimited hosting and useful features specifically for private podcasts.