The Guide to Launching a Private Podcast

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The Guide to Launching a Private Podcast

January 30, 2023 • About 13 min. read

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In this blog post we’re going to guide your through everything you ever wanted to know about creating a private podcast.

Here’s the outline. You can click on the headings to skip to those sections:

Ready to read? Secure your helmet, we are blasting off in 3…2…1… 👩‍🚀

What is a Private Podcast

Most podcasts are free and available to the public. That was the original concept: Create content for the masses and send it all over the world wide web. It is a beautiful, accessible medium.

But, just like most things in life, having a little privacy sometimes is a good thing. 🥷

A private podcast is one that only a certain audience can access. Unlike most podcasts on distribution directories that are searchable and easy to listen to at the click of a button, private podcasts are not available to the public.

Private is Not the Same as Secure

To be clear, these aren’t some kind of ultra secret way to communicate. The goal isn’t anonymity or security.

So please don’t try to send your Social Security Number or the nation’s nuclear codes on them! 😳

Think of private podcasts a little white picket fence– the function is to delineate private property from public property.

Who Might Want to Create a Private Podcast

There are two general groups of podcast creators who might want to create a private podcast: Independents and brands.

Independent Podcasters

When we talk about independent podcasters in podcasting world, often we use the term “indie.” Because that sounds cooler, right? 🤘

Independent podcasters are individuals who make their own podcast. They aren’t corporations or businesses. They aren’t professional agencies. Independent podcasters are people like you and me who have something to say and have taken the step of making a podcast to say it.

Of course, just because they are independent, doesn’t mean they can’t get paid. Independent podcasting can be a great way to generate some revenue! 💰

And that’s where private podcasts come in.

We’ll get into more detail in the next section, but private podcasts can be a great way for indie podcasts to get paid. Remember the white picket fence analogy? On a listening app, independent podcast creators can use the white picket fence as a kind of ticket gate. Listeners have to pay a little bit to get a ticket to go through the gate.

Brands

Indie podcasters aren’t the only group of people who might want to consider going the private podcast route. Brands may want to as well. 🏢

When we talk about brands in the podcast world, we mean companies who provide goods and services. A brand might be a whole company or it may just be a branch of the company. For example, a music label would be the company, but a subgroup of artists in it would have their own brand.

We group things by brands because it helps us remember that podcasts are all about the target audience– how to best engage with them and how to create an audio environment that is appealing to them. 🤝

By creating exclusive content, brands can build stronger connections with their community. The plan is usually to create a kind of VIP member who feels closer to the brand than the general public would.

Indie Brands

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that many indie podcasters are also creating their own brand. In fact, some indie podcasters are either trying to sell a good or service themselves, or they are trying to make their podcast attractive to advertisers.

As with most things with podcasts, there’s a lot of overlap!

Large Organizations

Large organizations also create private podcasts.

Global corporations do internal, private audio (and sometimes video) podcasts to train and update their workers. 🏢

Schools and universities can make private podcasts to update teachers, parents, and students.

Churches and other religious institutions can make private episode content for their congregation. ⛪

Any large organization who wants to easily get information in the hands of their members may find that private podcasts are the way to go.

Why Make a Private Podcast

That brings us to why make a private podcast? Isn’t it more complicated and takes more time? Why make that choice? 🤔

We’ll get more into the “complicated and takes more time” question in the next section (spoiler: it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of work to make a private RSS feed).

But still, it is definitely a choice to make a podcast private. There are to be a good reason to do it. And there is. Several, in fact!

Make Money through Subscriptions

One way that indie podcast creators, and even some big shot podcast agencies, make money is through subscribers’ membership. A user pays a certain amount of money, become a private subscriber, and get access to the podcast on a listening app or membership sites. 🤗

Sometimes the subscriptions are annual, sometimes monthly, sometimes per season or a certain number of episodes.

Subscription membership is an effective way to start making money, especially if the subscriptions are priced right and if there is an option of autopay.

Think of all the kinds of companies that have people subscribe on paid membership sites: Netflix, Hulu, magazines, newspapers, gyms, those companies that send you cute dog toys in box every month. Delightful! 🐶

Subscriptions are often the gifts that people get someone who already has everything. So consider offering them this holiday season or as year-round birthday gifts!

Offer Bonus Content

Sometimes going the full subscription route is too big of a leap for podcasters. It is really hard to grow and maintain an audience when you make them subscribe to access your podcast. That’s why many podcasters choose a kind of subscription-lite path. 👶

In this option, the main podcast is available to the public for free, but the extra bells and whistles are not.

For example, sometimes one episode will slowly drop once every week or two for free on a listening app, but if the user pays money, they can binge all the episodes at once. Have a long car trip with your mother-in-law coming up? Step up a few bucks and get all those episodes going! 🧑‍🦳

This method of using private podcasts also works for bonus content. The meat of the podcast might be public, but the really cool episodes are private. The podcast might be about gorillas, but in the paid bonus content you get to hear from Jane Goodall. Swoon!

This option can be great for podcasters looking for donations, rather than a pure paid subscription model. Many times cause-based podcasters will ask their listeners to chip in to support the show, and in return the listeners will get access to bonus content or benefits. 🙏

In this way, private podcast feeds keep the public podcast content going!


Gather Business Leads

The second reason to create a private podcast is to gather contact information from warm leads. 📲

Let’s say a company or an individual offers SEO training and services. They might offer a private podcast series on tips to increase your SEO. You don’t have to pay for it, but you do have to submit your email address.

In this way, the private podcast is helping the SEO business person, not by bringing in money, but by bringing in leads.

If a person is willing to listen to a series with a podcast host talking about increasing SEO, it is likely that they may eventually pay for more advanced training or even hire the podcast host to provide SEO services! 🧑‍💻

The contact info of a potential customer who is clearly interested in your services is super valuable. Yet another way that private podcasts are helpful!

Internal Communications

If you haven’t ever worked for a big corporation, you may not know that there are whole departments dedicated to internal communications! 🧑‍💼🧑‍💼🧑‍💼

Internal communications is how a company keeps its employee up to date on what is going on in the company, or trains them on company-wide policies.

For example, a CEO may want to send an end of year message to their employees. Usually this comes in the form of a video recording, and then a link is sent out over the company email.

However, sometimes a private podcasting feature is a better fit for the message.

Maybe some employees don’t have access to good enough internet to watch a video. Maybe the company wants to create a whole training series, rolling it out slowly on a mobile app as it is being developed. 🧑‍🏫

There are many internal communications that might work best through internal podcasts.

Remember, internal podcasts aren’t a place for company secrets, even if they are password protected! Don’t share the secret recipe that makes your baked beans so good, if you are a baked beans company. Internal podcasts are just a way to make sure employees can access necessary information easily.

After reading all these reasons to use a private podcast feed, have you decided to try to make one for your own podcast? If so, tap into the next section to learn exactly how to do it. 👍

How to Make a Private Podcast

Making a private podcast can sound intimidating, but it is actually pretty easy. 😎

Each podcast host platform is a little different so we won’t get into click-by-click specifics for each user when it comes to making a unique RSS feed. Whatever hosting platform you use should have a step-by-step guide for this.

One URL Link per Private Podcast

If you go the route of a create only one other unique RSS feed, all you need to do is not send the RSS feed URL to podcast directories. Only send the link of you web page to the subscribers you want to have access to the content.

See, not so hard! 🥳

Individual RSS Links per Listener

Sometimes, rather than just creating one URL to send to every private listener, a podcaster will create a unique URL for each listener.

That way the podcaster can control each private RSS feed as if it was an individual account.

If a private subscriber decides not to renew a subscription, the podcaster can deactivate the link for that specific RSS feed. 🚫

Playlist with Password

Another route to provide a private podcast is to create a website that can only be accessed with a login name and password that is sent to subscribers. 🤫

The playlist would have a podcast player that uses a single unique RSS feed like we talked about above.

That way you don’t have to generate a new link for every private subscriber, but you still have individual account control via the login.

Overall, the key to the technical side of private podcasting is to see what your hosting platform offers.

Don’t be afraid to ask their customer service to guide in how to best execute your private podcast plan. Ausha’s team is always standing by and ready to help you start. ☎️

Technology is constantly changing and updating in the podcasting world. Develop a good fundamental game plan, and then always check for exactly how to implement it.

Where to Put a Private Podcast

We’ve touched on this a little bit throughout this blog post, but it is worth covering it in its own section: Where you should put your private podcast. 🧭

Nowhere, Kind of…

You can send your exclusive members an RSS feed URL and then they can figure out where they want to add it. They can insert it in whatever podcast app they are used to using: Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, etc.

Remember this can be an individualize RSS feed URL for a specific person or account, or it can be a single RSS feed URL you send to all your members.

Directory

The second option is to work within a podcast directory. Rather than handle the URLs yourself, you just have the directory do everything.

For example, Apple has a program where with a few clicks you can create a channel and subscriber-only access.

It costs a little bit of money, but that might be a good option if you don’t want to ever deal with the technical side of things. 💃

Donation Page

Some donation sites, like Patreon are set up to take money and then automatically send information or create direct access to exclusive content. This might be the best route for you to go, especially if you are a cause-driven podcast.

Your Own Website

Every podcast should have a website for SEO purposes alone (here at Ausha we make one for each of our users).

For private podcast content, you can make one page a memberspace that is password locked so only a member can login and access it. 🔐

This method can be especially helpful because you can track users on your own website and more data is always good! 📊

This can also be the best option if you are recording video episodes, not just audio ones. A lot of podcast platforms can’t play a video episode, only an audio one. But almost all websites have video players.

Summary

Ok, let’s review what you’ve just read in this guide 🧑‍🎓:

  • Private podcasting is not some kind of secret messaging service. It is just like a white picket fence- a little boundary to delineate what is free to the public and what is not.
  • Both independent podcasters and brands can benefit from a private podcasting feature.
  • It is one of the best ways to generate revenue, gather leads, or distribute internal company communications to the whole team.
  • The general technology behind it is an RSS feed URL or multiple of them.
  • You can provide your private podcast in a couple of different ways to members: through your own website, through a donation page, etc.

And yes, you know we are going to remind you to think about all this in the context of defining and growing your audience! 📈

You need to think through if limiting some or all of your content to members or donors is the best path for you and your team.

The advertising route might be better for generating money for you rather than a private podcasting solution. Technically, you can do both! 💸💸

It is easier to go from public podcast availability to private than vice versa so take your time in making your decision when to start private podcasting.

Overall, just make sure you keep producing great content, recording sweet audio, and well-structured episodes and you can’t go wrong! 💪

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January 30, 2023

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