Paid podcast guide

If you want to create a paid podcast so you can build a connection with your audience and drive revenue for your business—you’re in the right place!

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.

How to create a paid podcast

  1. Create an unlisted RSS feed with your host.
  2. Create your Plans in Memberful.
  3. Add your podcast to Memberful.
  4. Add your podcast to Plans.
  5. Add Plan purchase links to your site.
  6. Create a custom landing page. (optional)
  7. Connect to Stripe.
  8. Your listeners subscribe to a podcast.

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:

  1. The ability to include <itunes:block>Yes</itunes:block> tags in your RSS feed.
  2. The option not to submit your podcast to directories like iTunes and Google Play.
  3. The option to disable any automatically created website for your podcast.
  4. The ability to customize the paths for the RSS feed.
  5. The ability to customize the paths for the MP3 audio files.
  6. 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 Security Rating
Acast Best  🎉
Transistor Best  🎉
Omny Studio Best  🎉
ART19 Best  🎉
Fireside Better
Megaphone Better
Libsyn Better
Buzzsprout Good
Simplecast Good

Create your Plans in Memberful

To create your Plan(s), log in to your Memberful dashboard, navigate to the Plans tab, and click New Plan. We recommend that you offer at least one monthly Plan and one yearly Plan, and add both Plans to a Plan Group so your members can upgrade / downgrade on their own.

Plans tab

Add your podcast to Memberful

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 a new podcast

Add your podcast to Plans

Podcasts must be included with a Plan to sell access. You can include one or multiple podcasts with a Plan or multiple Plans. There are two ways to include a podcast with a Plan:

Option 1: 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.

Add podcasts to plans

Option 2: You can also add a podcast in the plan’s settings via Plans → Select a Plan → Plan Settings.

Add podcast to an individual plan

We’ll create secure RSS feeds for each user with an active subscription to a Plan that has podcasts included.

There are two ways to add a Plan purchase link to your site:

Option 1: Select Buy Plan from the Memberful editor button on any WordPress page or post.

Memberful editor button

Option 2: Copy the raw HTML link from the Plan Settings page in your Memberful dashboard and use it with the button options provided by your site builder.

Memberful HTML Plan purchase links

Learn more about how to add Plan purchase links to your site.

Create a custom landing page

To sell memberships to your audience without a website, you can create a customized landing page hosted by Memberful by navigating to Customize → Landing page.

You can add a title and description to the page, select which plans and downloads will appear on the page, customize their name and description, and add additional content like FAQs or testimonials. If you’re on the Pro or Premium plan, your custom branding will be applied as well.

A custom landing page

Learn how to create a custom landing page.

Connect to Stripe

To test Memberful as an end user while in test payment mode, log out of your WordPress dashboard (if applicable) and sign up with a different email address than the one associated with your Memberful (and WordPress) admin accounts. You can use the + sign to create unique accounts, e.g. [email protected].

When you’re ready to start processing orders, choose your currency and connect to your Stripe account via Settings → Payment. We'll automatically purge all your test orders when you switch to live payments.

Your listeners subscribe 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 (e.g. Spotify and 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.

Subscribing to a podcast on iOS

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.

Subscribing to a podcast on Android

If a member purchases a subscription on a desktop, we 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.

Subscribing to a podcast on a desktop

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.

If a member has access to multiple Podcasts, you can deep-link to the subscription page for a specific Podcast in their account by including the Podcast's ID as a query string in the URL:

Subscribing to a podcast in a member's account

Please note: When a member’s subscription lapses, their private feeds will no longer be accessible. If they remain inaccessible for 3+ months, Pocket Casts will stop trying to refresh them — even if the member re-subscribes. To fix this, the member will need to contact Pocket Casts' support team.

Way to go! 🎉

Now that you have a paid podcast, it’s time to announce your offering to your loyal followers and solicit some feedback. This will get you selling right away. Then, you can slowly add more member benefits as you go. You may also want to:

Can't find what you're looking for? We'd love to help! 💪

Send us a message through the orange chat bubble in the lower right corner of the page. You'll hear back within a few hours Monday - Friday. 😀