We recently expanded our Podcast Subscriptions feature to all creators in the U.S. Now all creators who already do what they love—podcasting—have another opportunity to get paid for it.
But before you roll out your podcast subscription to your listeners, how should you price it? It’s different for every creator and depends on a range of factors and variables. It requires taking a step back and thinking strategically to determine the right price/content balance.
Creators should consider their revenue goals, their estimated paying listeners, and their content types when pricing their own podcast subscription to ensure value for both their listeners and themselves. Let’s take a closer look.
Compare your paid podcast subscription content options
Your subscription content, including the format, publishing frequency, value for the audience, and production level, will majorly influence your subscription price. For the listener, this is both what they come and stay for. For the creator, this is the bulk of their work. The final step is choosing a price for your subscriber-only content.
We’ve all heard it countless times: Content is king. Since the bonus content you designate for your podcast subscription will impact your pricing strategy, that will be a significant part of the planning process. We’ve mapped out some of the content formats to consider for your podcast subscription to help guide you.
How premium is the podcast content you’re offering for subscribers, and how much is it worth? Examples of quality subscription content include extended podcast episodes that go more in-depth on topics covered in regular episodes, exclusive interviews, and host Q&As.
How often are you planning to publish your subscription content? The more you release subscription content, the more resources and time you expend, so you may have a higher subscription price for weekly vs. monthly premium content unless that monthly content is of significantly high value.
Your current base of loyal fans is another consideration. If you already have a lot of dedicated fans and downloads, you have more freedom. You could choose to produce premium content monthly because you already have a substantial active audience or weekly for potentially greater revenue. If you’re still building up your number of loyal listeners, you may want to release subscriber content more often to grow that audience.
Ask yourself what makes your paid content special and exclusive. How is it different from your free content? This could include ad-free episodes, early-access episodes, bonus “minisodes” or live streaming, and extended or exclusive interviews. Keep in mind the more premium your content, the more you can consider charging for it.
Consider the costs that go into producing your subscription content—the time spent, resources used, and expenses required for each new episode. Factor this into your subscription price to either cover the costs or make a profit, depending on what your revenue goal is.
When you’re thinking about balancing effort and quality for your paywall content, try to find higher-quality content types that are easier to produce. Some ideas are extended interviews, episodes without podcast ads, and bonus minisodes. Producing these premium content formats takes less effort. This way, you can maximize your subscription earnings while also providing valuable content to your podcast listeners.
Estimate your paying listeners
The number of paying listeners will help you get to your subscription revenue goal, so it’s a good idea to estimate how many of them may be willing to pay.
Use analytics as a guide
A great starting point is your number of current listeners. Anchor analytics tools provide audience and episode insights, including follower growth and the number of starts and streams from different podcast directories. Use your best judgment to assess what percentage of your current audience might become paying subscribers.
Survey your current audience
A more direct approach to estimating paying subscribers is to survey your listeners. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. You can ask listeners on-air to email or DM you if they would be interested in paying for a subscription and what price they would be willing to pay. And with Anchor’s Q&A and Polls features, you can survey your listeners directly through Spotify's streaming service. This will give you concrete, verifiable numbers to work with.
Beyond your active listeners, you may have an extended target audience on your social channels who haven’t converted to listeners just yet, but who you could consider tapping into. Engage with your audience to probe their interest and entice them to subscribe.
Once you’ve determined your estimated subscribers, you can set a subscription price to help reach your revenue goal, whether that’s offsetting your production costs or generating a profit. Be sure to keep the time factor in mind and what your monthly revenue target is so you can set your subscription price accordingly.
Depending on how early you are in your podcasting journey, it may be better to grow your audience more if you have a new podcast before launching your podcast subscription. In that case, focus on producing the best podcast possible until you’re ready. Or, you can start with other monetization options like podcast advertising or selling podcast merch.
Analyze the success of your subscription price over time
Think long term when planning your podcast monetization to reflect what premium content you’re able to offer now and how it can grow over time.
Being a podcast creator means continuing to improve and evolve your show, and listener feedback plays a big role in making a successful podcast. Continue to check in with your subscribers to get their thoughts about your premium content and how you can provide the best subscription experience possible.
Use Anchor’s analytics to track your subscriber growth. Send your subscribers email surveys to gauge how they are enjoying the subscription, what they might like to see included, or what could be improved. Polls and Q&A are excellent resources for checking in regularly with your audience to get quick feedback.
Zero in on your pricing strategy and launch your podcast subscription to make money from your hobby! Get started with podcast subscriptions to open a new window into podcast growth.