Major $$$ Opportunity: Podcast Memberships

The problem with many podcasts is they have small audiences, making them difficult to monetize. But what if you could earn a six-figure income by charging people to be able to listen to your podcasts? Then you wouldn’t need a ton of listeners to become profitable.

That would never work, right? Actually, it’s already working, as proven by at least several podcasters who are doing exactly that.

For example, Farnam Street is a “Like-minded community of high achievers committed to better thinking, wiser decision making and more focused growth.” Memberships sell for $149 annually or $25 per month. Members receive access to premium podcasts, hand-edited transcripts, ask me anything sessions, book summaries, bonus articles, free courses, membership in the community and more.

From the website: Our goal at Farnam Street is to help you go to bed every night smarter than you were when you woke up. Every day, thousands of people turn to us for the kind of multidisciplinary education you can’t get anywhere else. The Farnam Street Membership is for those who want to go a step further and make intentional learning a daily way of life.

The join page is especially interesting because people can choose to pay the $149 or they can pay more, if they choose. This community has grown to more than 9,000 members and is home to CEOs, investors, GMs and high-achievers in all walks of life, making it a great place to find new contacts within the community. In fact, the testimonial at the top of the membership page is from the former GM of the Cleveland Browns.

Have you done the math yet? 9,000 members times $149 isn’t exactly chicken feed.

If you’re starting your own podcast, you might want to map out a value ladder first.

For example, your bottom rung is going to be free, whether that’s a free newsletter, free excepts from your podcasts or whatever you choose.

The next rung is going to have a low entry price. Maybe you charge $10 a month for the podcast transcripts or summaries of the podcast episodes.

Next you might offer your annual membership at $99 or $199. This includes all podcasts, written materials and community.

Finally, you have a $1000 offer that could be an annual retreat, one-on-one coaching or whatever your subscribers would like.

Another paid podcast example is The Anfield Wrap, a Liverpool-based podcast company, with 10,000 paid subscribers as of 4 years ago (the latest info I could find) at £7 – £10 per month each. Take note of their pricing:

  • £7/mo audio only
  • £7/mo video only
  • £10/mo both

I’ll bet you pounds to donuts that most subscribers choose £10 per month because, “It’s only £3 more.”

I love the low price per month model because it’s a low barrier to entry AND most people won’t miss £7 or £10 leaving their bank account each month.

It’s worth noting that some attempts at using a subscription based podcasting model have failed. For example, it didn’t work for Tim Ferriss. But in his case, he didn’t make his content exclusive. He offered benefits such as Q and A’s for the paid members, but everyone could access the podcast content. It seems that it’s more effective to place your best stuff behind the paywall and then entice free subscribers to upgrade for access to the insider info.

I think at this time the best method might be to offer free and paid memberships, with 90% of the benefits going to the paid members. The only purpose of the free membership is to build your list of prospects.

Once you have a prospect on your list, you can repeatedly give them a ‘taste’ of what paid members get and then entice them to join your other smart members and get insider access to the full buffet of goodies you offer.


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