Create a paid podcast
With Memberful you can create a secure, paid podcast for your members using your existing RSS feed. Memberful does not host your podcast files, but rather works with your existing host.
In this help doc:
- Create a podcast
- Add podcasts to a plan
- Subscribing to a podcast
- Redirect settings
- Prevent unauthorized sharing
- Updating a podcast
- WordPress plugin
- Memberful API
- Create an unlisted RSS feed with your host
Create a podcast
To create a paid podcast in Memberful, navigate to Plans → Podcasts and click Add a new podcast. You only need to provide two pieces of information to create a podcast: a name, and the URL for the RSS feed. Learn more about hosting your podcast.
Add podcasts to a plan
Podcasts must be included with a plan to sell access. You can include one or multiple podcasts to a plan, and to multiple plans.
There are two ways to include a podcast with a Plan.
When you first add a podcast (or edit it) via Plans → Podcast, go to the Which plans should this podcast be included? section and click Select from your list of plans.
You can also add a podcast in the plan’s settings via Plans → Select a Plan → Plan Settings.
We’ll create secure RSS feeds for each user with an active subscription to a plan that has podcasts included.
Subscribing to a podcast
We want it to be as easy as possible for your members to subscribe to your private podcasts. In addition to the RSS feed, Memberful creates easy subscription links for the most popular podcast players on each platform. It’s important to note that not every podcast player lets users add private feeds to their library (Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher).
After a member purchases a plan with a podcast included, they’ll see the Podcast Subscription page. Which podcast apps members see will be different depending on their platform.
When a member is subscribing to a podcast on iOS, they will see the following options. Tapping any of the listed applications will automatically take them into the app with their own secure feed pre-populated in the Add feed field.
When a member is subscribing to a podcast on Android, they will see the following. After tapping the “Android” link, the system will let them select from any installed podcast player apps on their device.
If a member purchases a subscription on a desktop, we try to make it as easy as possible to subscribe in their podcast player of choice. While there are two options for subscribing to their feed on their computer, we provide a way for them to subscribe on their phone from their desktop as well.
Select an app from the dropdown menu, and we’ll create a unique QR Code that the member can scan with their phone’s camera. Scanning the code will automatically take them into the selected app with their secure feed pre-populated in the “Add feed” field.
While this subscription page can be shown within your checkout immediately after the transaction goes through, your members can return to this page in their account at any time by logging in and clicking Podcasts.
To make it as easy as possible for your members to subscribe to your private podcasts, we recommend showing the podcast subscription page within the checkout as shown above. However this means that if you have any automatic redirects setup for your plans, members will need to click Continue to site in order to get there.
This might cause issues with affiliate tracking you have on your site, or you might want to create your own subscription page on your website, bypassing the subscription page in Memberful.
There are two ways to change this setting when creating or updating a podcast.
When adding or editing a podcast, you’ll see the following option to show the podcast subscription page within your checkout or not.
You can also set this individually for any plan with a podcast included, on the Plan Settings page. Set the podcast subscription page to display within the checkout, follow your site-wide automatic redirect, or specify an automatic redirect just for this plan.
If you want to redirect back to your website, and bypass the podcast subscription page in your checkout, just select No in either place.
Prevent unauthorized sharing
Because each of your members gets their own secure feed to your podcasts, you can mitigate unauthorized sharing of their feeds. If their subscription becomes inactive for any reason (expired card, no renewal payment) their feed will stop accessing your content.
If you find that a member’s feed has been deliberately shared with unauthorized users, you can contact us at any time and we will deactivate the feed or replace it with a new one.
We also monitor access internally and can alert you if we suspect unauthorized access is being made to any of your secure feeds.
You can see the secure URL each member has access to by viewing their profile in the dashboard:
Updating a podcast
You can edit the name or origin URL of a podcast at any time. Since the RSS feed your members are subscribing to is controlled by Memberful, even when you update the origin URL their access will continue uninterrupted.
Memberful maintains a powerful and easy to use Wordpress plugin that lets you protect content on your website and sync with your Memberful account. You can use shortcodes to create your own podcast subscription page on your website, link to the podcast subscription page in a member’s account, or check for access to any specific podcast to customize which content they can see.
We've included a function for checking if the current signed in user owns Podcast Feeds. You can use them in your WordPress theme template files:
has_memberful_feed( $id )
If you pass this function an array of ids, the function will return true if the member owns any of the Podcasts Feeds.
If you’re building a custom application, you can use the Memberful API to get the unique RSS feed a member has access to.
Create an unlisted RSS feed with your host
Because Memberful does not host your actual audio files, we work in combination with your existing host to create secure RSS feeds for your members. As long as your RSS feed is unlisted and not easily guessable, your content will be extremely secure while also making it easy to listen to in most podcast players.
It’s important to follow a few key steps to make sure it remains as secure as possible:
- The ability to include
<itunes:block>Yes</itunes:block>tags in your RSS feed.
- The option not to submit your podcast to directories like iTunes and Google Play.
- The option to disable any automatically created website for your podcast.
- The ability to customize the paths for the RSS feed.
- The ability to customize the paths for the MP3 audio files.
- The ability to protect a feed with a password or unique token.
With these criteria in mind, we recommend the following hosting companies based on their support of the above criteria:
|Hosting company||Block tags||No directory||No website||Custom feed URL||Custom MP3 URL||Password protection|
|Megaphone||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅ With file name||❌|
|Libsyn||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅ With file name||❌|
|Simplecast||✅||✅||⚠️ Unlisted||⚠️ Can't change||✅||❌|
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- Install the Memberful plugin
- WordPress troubleshooting
- WordPress hosting providers
- Enable SSL (recommended)
- Theme compatibility
- Member account links
- Other plugins (recommended)
- Protect WordPress content
- Organize protected content
- Private RSS Feeds
- WordPress shortcodes
- WordPress functions
- Disconnect/reconnect plugin