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 podcast host to ensure that only members can access new episodes.

How to create a paid podcast

  1. Create an unlisted RSS feed with your host.
  2. Create your plans in Memberful.
  3. Consider including video with your podcast.
  4. Add your podcast to Memberful.
  5. Upload dynamic episodes.
  6. Offer a paid and free podcast.
  7. Submit your paid podcast to Spotify.
  8. Add purchase links to your website.
  9. Test the member experience.
  10. Go live.
  11. 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.

These are the criteria you should look for when choosing a hosting provider. The more of these items you can check off, the more secure your RSS feed will be.

  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.
  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
Transistor Best  🎉
Omny Studio Best  🎉
ART19 Best  🎉
Fireside Better
Megaphone Better
Libsyn Better
Castos Better
Buzzsprout Good
Simplecast Good

Consider including video with your podcast

A video podcast allows you to offer your members a video version of your podcast. Memberful supports video podcasts so that you can deliver both paid audio and video podcasts to your members. Learn more about video podcasts from Castos, one of our recommended providers.

You can also embed video podcasts on your WordPress site using our marketing content editor. This allows you to offer teaser video content to site visitors. Copy and paste the auto-embed / oEmbed code provided by your hosting provider on a separate line in our visual editor. The resource cannot be embedded if it's part of a paragraph or sentence.

Create your plans in Memberful

You'll want to set up some membership plans that people can subscribe to.

Log in to the Memberful dashboard, navigate to the Plans tab, and click New Plan. Fill in the details and settings for your plan and click Create Plan. Learn more about creating membership plans.

Create a plan

Thinking of selling multiple plans? Configure your upgrade/downgrade settings.

Add your podcast to Memberful

To create a paid podcast in Memberful, navigate to Media → 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 Media → Podcasts, go to the Which plans should include this podcast? section and 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.

Upload dynamic episodes

From the dynamic episodes section of the Podcast page, you can easily upload welcome and expiration episodes, along with episode descriptions. The welcome message provides an opportunity to onboard new members, while the expiration message helps explain why a feed may have stopped updating and how to take action to fix it.

Dynamic episodes

Learn more about dynamic episodes.

Offer a paid and free podcast

This will allow you to dedicate one feed to your free audience that's searchable by all popular podcast indexes. Your paid RSS feed will be added to Memberful and live on a separate feed. In this feed, you'll include all your members-only podcasts. It's also a good idea to include your free episodes in the paid feed so that paying members have access to all your content in one place.

Submit your paid podcast to Spotify

Memberful can be linked to Spotify, allowing your members to subscribe to your secure, paid podcast via Spotify. Learn how to submit your podcast to Spotify.

Copy the purchase link from the Plan Settings page in your Memberful dashboard and paste it on your website, or use the button options provided by your website builder. Learn more about adding purchase links to your site.

Memberful purchase links

(Optional) 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 Website → Settings.

Use our powerful Visual Editor to 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.

A custom landing page

Learn how to create a custom landing page.

Test the member experience

While your Memberful account is in test mode, you can use Stripe’s test credit cards to complete example member purchases and recreate their onboarding experience. Make sure to log out of your WordPress admin dashboard (if you've integrated Memberful with WordPress), and sign up with a different email address than the one associated with your website and Memberful admin accounts, as using the same email address can produce unexpected errors.

Additionally, you can use our Visual Editor via the Customize tab to see which features are customizable, how they interact, and what they’ll look like to your members across different views and devices.

Go live

When you’re ready to start processing orders, choose your currency and connect to your Stripe account via Account → Activate account. We will automatically delete all your test orders and member accounts when you switch to live payments.

Nice work connecting to Stripe! 🚀

Now you’re ready to start selling memberships to your audience. Here are a few ideas to make your launch a success:

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. For example, Stitcher doesn't allow this.

After a member buys 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. After tapping the iOS link, 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, 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 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 the 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 list, 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 also return to this page in their account at any time by logging in to their account and clicking Podcasts.

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. 😀