In most cases, podcasts are made available to the public. After all, that’s how to grow your audience and show.
But there are times when it is necessary to restrict access to your podcast content, especially when you plan to offer premium, private episodes to selected listeners only.
This is where learning how to create a private podcast comes in. It allows you to share your audio content securely with specific audience members using a unique and protected feed link sent to selected members.
This article shares the benefits of private podcasts and how to go about creating one.
Benefits of Creating a Private Podcast
A private podcast is a better way to monetize your show, especially if there is a huge demand for your content. With about 1 in 5 podcast listeners willing to pay for a podcast in the United States, a private podcast can be a very effective way to get paid for all of your hard work in creating value-rich content.
But monetizing a show is not the only reason to create a private podcast. For companies and organizations, private podcasts are excellent avenues to offer ongoing training to employees using a secure but easily accessible audio channel. Onboarding of new employees can also be done using private podcasts.
It is also a better way to send out weekly messages from leaders of businesses. Weekly messages from company CEOs to all employees have a more “human touch” or tend to be more personal when delivered through private podcasts compared to traditional email updates.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a CEO of a large company or own a business to use private podcasts. Course creators, authors, and podcasters who offer premium content can also learn how to create a private podcast to do any of the following:
- Offer bonus content that’s only accessible to specific members behind a paywall.
- Give membership-only access for free audiobooks to people who purchased physical copies.
- Provide premium ad-free content for membership-only access.
- Thank selected audience members for donations or to grow your email list.
Now, let’s get into the various ways you can create a private podcast.
How to Create a Private Podcast
There are various ways to create a private podcast, and the option you choose will depend on what your goals are.
Here are some of the ways to offer secure, private content to selected members:
Using a Podcast Hosting Company
Using a podcast hosting company is the most cost-effect option for most podcasters and works best for businesses, teams, course creators, and authors. We’ll get into the best podcast hosting companies to consider shortly, but for now, let’s focus on how to create a private podcast using these platforms.
The specific steps for creating a private podcast vary slightly between the different hosting companies. However, the procedure generally follows this pattern:
- Record a podcast episode (if you don’t already have one) and hide it from the platform’s webpage.
- Change the settings on RSS feed to private
- Add members or subscribers to your private podcast and share the feed URL with them.
- Members will receive an email with the secured feed link to listen to the private podcast on their favorite podcast listening app.
As you may already guess, podcast hosting companies will charge a monthly fee for their services. The exact cost depends on the company you choose, but payment plans are usually based on the number of feeds and the number of private subscribers. Some companies charge as low as $9 per month for basic plans while others can be as high as $49 per month.
Use a Third-Party Platform
Creating a private podcast using this option is most suitable for businesses and teams that want the highest content security. As expected, these types of services are more expensive. Storyboard and uStudio are two excellent third-party platforms to consider if you want to create and distribute company-wide audio content with maximum security.
Create a Membership on Your Site
A membership site is a great option if you are a podcaster with loyal listeners and want to sell premium content to interested audience members. Consider this option if your podcast hosting platform doesn’t offer private podcasting.
Creating a membership on your web page lets you distribute private content and accept payment for it.
Set Up a Donation Page
Established podcasters with high demand for premium content can consider setting up a donation or crowdsourcing page where they can accept donations in exchange for bonus private episodes.
Podcast Hosting Companies for Private Podcasts
Here are some of the hosting companies with built-in private podcasting solutions for users. Consider moving your content to any of these platforms if you want to get the best out of private podcasts.
Creating and providing private content is easy with Podbean. The platform allows you to control who has access to your exclusive content by email address using the Android or iOS apps.
The platform gives you access to paid subscribers with its premium sales services. You can also create different groups and grant separate access. This is an ideal option for businesses that want to create private podcasts for different departments or teams in the same organization.
Captivate offers three pricing tiers for private podcast hosting that allow you to have between 150 and 1,000 private subscribers. Subscribers can join the private podcast using a unique feed link that you can change for individual subscribers (in cases of leaked links) without affecting everyone else.
All private podcast plans offer unlimited shows and allow you to receive episode and show-level analytics as well as manage secure invites.
Consider opting for Transistor if you want a podcast hosting platform that’s best suited for member-only content through a membership webpage. It is also a great choice for team training and course creation.
With Transistor, you can have just one plan that includes both public and private podcasts for a single price. However, access to private podcasting features is only available on mid to higher pricing plans.
Professional-level clients who want a top-tier podcast editing, production, and hosting company should consider signing up with Resonate. With this option you can record, edit, produce, and host your exclusive podcast episodes all in one platform, eliminating the hassles of moving your content between platforms.
You can manage who has access to your podcast and remove listeners who are no longer eligible to receive your private content (for example, employees who have left your company). The platform also allows podcasters to grant and revoke access to private content, thanks to the individualized RSS feed for every subscriber.
With Resonate, your shows are not publicly listed on podcast directories and you have the option to use embed player to host audio on a secure intranet site if you don’t want to use RSS feeds.
Podcast Apps for Private Podcasts
Keep in mind that not all podcast apps support private podcasts. If you want to add private feeds, you should have one or more of the following podcast apps:
- Apple Podcasts
- Pocket Casts
- Google Podcasts
On Android devices, the following podcast apps will let you add private feeds:
- Google Podcasts
- Podcast Addict
- Pocket Cast
- Beyond Pod
- Player FM
- Dog Catcher
- Podcast Republic
- Podcast Casts
You cannot add private feeds to the following podcast apps because they don’t support private podcasts:
- Google Play
- Podcast App
- Podcast Guru
Before we wrap up this post, here’s something you should keep in mind. While a private podcast is secure and protected, members with access to the link can download the episodes to their devices.
Once the episode is downloaded from your secure feed, you no longer have control over the content. You can’t delete or retrieve it. This is why it is crucial to grant access to only members who are qualified to consume your premium content.
The best way to prevent your private podcast from showing up in search engines and getting into the wrong hands is not to submit it to directories (Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc).
There are many advantages to having a private podcast. But understand that it is not an effective way to grow your show if you are a beginner podcaster. Private podcasts are best for established podcasters and businesses or companies that want to create premium content for specific listeners.
If you are sure this is the delivery method you want, then creating a private podcast shouldn’t be too difficult as you can tell from the various methods outlined in this article.