Membership sites for podcasters provide independent avenues for building an income. But did you know that, as a podcaster, you don’t need a third-party website like Patreon to build a paid membership following?
Ever since Patreon was launched in 2013, thousands of podcasters have relied on the platform to build a paid audience and earn a full-time living doing what they love. And it’s definitely served its purpose.
Some podcasters even took their shows to YouTube by adding video. Radio stations have also added live streaming to their programs.
But when you build on platforms that are owned by other entities, you become subject to their rules. Over the last several years, the changes in the rules have pulled the rug out of podcasters that were once making a nice living.
GOOD NEWS! As time moves forward and technology continues to change, so do the rules for effective and profitable membership sites for podcasters.
Today, you have the power (and the tools) to create your own membership site that’s fully customized to your unique business model. You’ll also keep all of the money you earn, have total control over how much you charge for a membership, and maintain complete independence.
Let’s take a look at how easy it is for you to create your own membership site. This is a real game-changer.
What DID Work
From its early days, Patreon appealed to the podcasting world because it presented a way for podcasters to earn a substantial living simply by putting out great content that people were interested in listening to.
Successful podcasters who jumped on the popularity of Patreon quickly figured out that the best way to get new paid subscribers was to publish high-quality content on free-to-listen platforms such as YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Then, to capitalize on their popularity on the free platforms, podcasters began putting exclusive content behind the paywall of a Patreon membership.
And it worked.
Since its inception, Patreon has promised podcasters and other content creators:
- A way of making more money by providing exclusive content to fans
- Direct access to fans that pay for a membership to your Patreon account
- An independent way to run a business without relying on ads or paid sponsorships
The problem has always been that, by relying on Patreon for membership income, podcasters needlessly put their own success into the hands of a corporation rather than themselves. That means that you’re subject to all of their Terms and Conditions, even if you don’t take the time to read them.
What No Longer Works
In recent years, Patreon has been known to censor content or remove channels completely if they don’t agree with the content you post. When that happens, all of your paid members (and your full-time living) can be deleted in a moment’s time.
What’s more, it’s difficult to properly brand yourself when you’re working under the umbrella of Patreon to build your paid memberships. For the most part, all Patreon membership sites look the same.
A Better Way
There ARE better options for building a paid membership site. You can find ways to create:
- Complete freedom of how you present your online brand
- Full ownership of your own content
- Every cent of your membership fees, without taking a percentage as a “convenience”
- Total control of the content you create, no matter how controversial
- Simplicity of use, while showing your professionalism and commitment to your members
- The ability to interact with members in real time
- An independent voice that doesn’t require advertisers to earn an income
The exciting news is that a better option is out there. And it’s been right under your nose the entire time.
3 Important Reasons Podcasters Should Sell Memberships
Perhaps you’ve been reluctant to start selling memberships to your content. If you’re like a lot of podcasters, you may believe that charging for your content is the fastest way to lose listeners.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let’s take a look at three reasons why you should start selling memberships.
1. Offering Paid Content Establishes Your Authority
Within the world of podcasting, who do you look to as the biggest authorities within their niches? How did they become authorities?
The reality is that when the average listener hears your free content, the first thing they want to know is: “What makes this person an expert on this subject?” And you likely have some good answers to that question.
Then, if the content is exceptional, or even life-changing, the next question a listener might ask is: “Why are they giving this information away for free?”
This is where you establish your authority. By conveying to listeners that your deepest insights can only be found in a paid membership area, you establish tangible value for the most important information you share.
Building a paid membership site with exclusive, members-only content automatically creates an environment of authority by showing listeners that your content is only for insiders who are hungry for the full story. And if your free content provides the listener value, you’ll build a sense of trust that leads listeners into wanting to learn more by becoming a paid member.
In time, your authority within your niche, as well as your membership numbers, will rise.
2. Your Knowledge Is Valuable
You’ve spent countless hours researching and putting out content within your niche. Your listeners recognize how valuable your content is. But do you?
Let’s pretend for a moment that you woke up one morning and decided that you wanted to learn how to play piano like a professional. You’ve never taken lessons and don’t know how to read sheet music. But you want to become an expert at the craft without leaving your own house.
What would you do?
Chances are, you’d start looking up different free YouTube videos and podcasts and start learning the basics. But when it comes to playing like a professional, would you expect to find that content online for free?
Of course not.
In fact, you’d gladly pay $40 for a membership to a video or podcast series that teaches you to play piano like Chopin.
The same principle holds true for the knowledge you share in your podcasts. Your knowledge is extremely valuable. Don’t give it all away for free when there are many people who are more than willing to pay for it.
3. Your Biggest Fans Want You To Succeed
Have you ever spent time interacting with the fans who most enjoy your work? Do they ever share with you how much your podcasts have meant to them?
The people who listen to you on a regular basis want you to succeed. And it’s not just because they enjoy watching other people find success.
In reality, your regular listeners know that if you’re not making any money doing what you do, eventually you’re probably going to stop doing it.
Fans that follow you closely count on your insights and takes. They set aside time to hear what you have to say on your podcasts. You become a part of their daily lives in more ways that you know. And when you stop making podcasts, they won’t have your voice to listen to any longer.
There’s a very good chance that many of your biggest fans will pay to become members if it means you’ll continue putting out great content for them to consume.
Why Your Own Membership Site Works Better
Just because something has worked doesn’t mean it’s your best option. Even though others may have found success using platforms owned by outside entities, does that mean you are locked into doing it their way?
The simple answer is no.
Building on other platforms puts your journey in their hands.
Building the way others built confines your unique journey to their path.
When you sign up with Patreon or other membership sites, you’re given a template of how your membership site is going to work. This includes how it looks, how much you can charge for memberships, how often membership fees are charged, and how you’ll receive them (after they deduct their fees).
Basically, you’re working within their chosen parameters. And while you have the freedom to create any kind of content that you’d like, you certainly don’t have any freedom in how you present the content to your members.
Running your own membership site gives you complete freedom to build your brand from the ground up. You’ll never need to rely on a third-party platform that can change their rules or disappear at any time, for any reason.
How Do I Launch My Own Membership Website?
Today, almost 40% of the Internet is powered by the WordPress content management system (CMS).
And there are many good reasons for that.
Did you know that WordPress is 100% free and open-source? That means it is the community that makes it work so well. The WordPress community is actively invested in making things better.
Do you like things for free? There are thousands of free and premium plugins and themes that can help you turn your site into almost anything you can imagine, including a podcast membership site.
Are you technologically challenged? Anyone, even someone who lacks the most basic CSS or HTML knowledge, can easily build a WordPress website in minutes.
Do you like to keep your customers safe? WordPress website security is simple when you use a plugin such as iThemes Security Pro.
Do you want to make things your way? WordPress is incredibly versatile.
Do you want to be found by the search engines? Google gives WordPress a 99% rating for SEO-friendliness.
To start building your site, all you need to do is secure your own domain name, download the free WordPress open-source software, sign up to a reliable WordPress website host, and run their one-click WordPress installation.
From there, you can begin searching for a free or premium theme that fits the desired mood of your membership site. While there are thousands of themes to choose from, Kadence Theme is one of the best options out there. It gives you premium theme features in a free solution, and you’ll be effortlessly building your new site in minutes.
3 Benefits of Using WordPress For Your Membership Site
WordPress is your best option for building a membership website because:
It’s Easy To Learn and Use
Even if you get stuck, there are countless subjects covered in the WordPress Help Forums that will answer your simplest or toughest questions with ease.
One Easy-to-Use Plugin Transforms Your Site Into a Professional Membership Site
This is where the WordPress membership site magic happens.
No, you don’t need to design and implement all the details of your membership site. All you need to do is download and install the Restrict Content Pro plugin.
Immediately, you’ll have a full-featured, powerful membership site that’s ready for you to customize in any way you see fit. What’s best, it will integrate seamlessly with almost any WordPress theme.
You Brand Yourself With Your Own Domain
Would you rather send your podcast listeners to patreon.com/mypodcast or mypodcast.com when you promote your paid membership website?
Which one do you think more establishes you as an authority in your field? Which gives you the most credibility and will most impress your listeners?
The answer is simple: Your own domain name.
Keys to Success for Podcasting Membership Sites
Keep these principles at the forefront of your mind as you begin to grow your paid membership numbers using WordPress and the Restrict Content Pro plugin:
- Paid members are always looking for new content. Make sure you let them know when they can expect it (i.e. daily at 8am, every tuesday at 5pm, every first of the month at midnight)
- Routinely interact directly with your paid members. It means more to them than you may realize
- Invite members to exclusive Q&As and other events where you’ll be live and present
- On your membership site, provide paid members with a way for them to interact with each other and have conversations about your content and niche
- Continue putting out high-quality free content on all major platforms, while directing listeners to exclusive content on your membership site
- Don’t charge too much or too little for a membership. Research your competition to find the sweet spot
- Act big. Think bigger
- Utilize email drip campaigns to keep in close touch with your members
- Be in it for the long haul
Start Your Own Podcasting Membership Site Today
Maybe you’re not ready to quit Patreon yet. If you’re earning a substantial amount of membership money from it, we certainly don’t blame you.
But to reach your full independence and success as a podcaster, start building your own WordPress membership site. Then, begin directing your audience to it rather than Patreon.
In short order, you’ll find a much more committed group of members that will stay with you as long as you keep putting out great content.