AskPat 237 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 237 of the AskPat Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week. We have another great question today from Stephanie.
But before we get to that, I do want to thank today's sponsor which is AWeber.com, the email service provider that I use to help send emails out to everybody who subscribes to my lists. And that's super handy, because what you can do is pluck these emails and send emails out either sort of real time, when you have something going on, maybe a promotion, maybe you have something going on, or you just want to provide value at certain moments in time to your audience, and you can also set up an autoresponder, which means you can set up emails beforehand and have them get sent out sequentially over time to subscribers. And that's a great way to keep that relationship going, and then when you send out those broadcast emails, they don't seem spammy. They are just like another email that they got from you, and you can get your audience to take even more action and build an even deeper relationship with them. So, if you'd like to check out AWeber, you can get it for 30 days for one dollar. You can try it out for 30 days for one dollar by going to AWeber.com/askpat. You can see a video testimony from me there as well. So AWeber.com/askpat.
Awesome, so let's get to today's question from Stephanie.
Stephanie: Hey Pat! I just have a question. I have a podcast that's in a . . . area, and it is a very popular podcast in my area, but I want to get information on how to just have the last couple episodes be free and the other ones I charge for, or do a subscription for the older ones that you can have access to anytime. Do you have recommendations for that? How do you learn how to charge for some of them and have others free on iTunes and things like that? I've had a really hard time finding information about that. Thanks for all your hard work. I so enjoy your show, and keep up the good work!
Pat Flynn: Hey Stephanie! Thank you so much for the question today. It's interesting because a lot of people have asked me similar questions in the past, but I would never know how to answer because mechanically or technically speaking, I didn't know how to set this up. And I knew it had to do with, you know, different feeds and things like that, being able to have one feed that shows only the latest, few latest episodes in iTunes, and then another feed that has all of them, or a different kind of set of episodes that people could pay to get access for, either password protected or in a login membership area that they get access to that specific feed. So, I didn't really know how to specifically answer this.
So I called on my friend, Cliff Ravenscraft from PodcastAnswerMan.com. He's also in a mastermind group with me. I know he's done this in the past, so I actually asked him to come on and, if he was available, to send an answer. So, this is . . . you might consider this AskPat, but also AskCliff today. I know a lot of people who do this sort of premium podcast content stuff. Cornelius Fitchner over at PM podcast for helping people pass the project management exam, also Andrew Warner from Mixergy.com, he does this as well, and I know Cliff has done this in the past too. So, here's Cliff's answer to your question, Stephanie, and he's going to help provide us some information on technically how to set this all up.
Cliff: Hey, Pat and Stephanie, this is Cliff Ravenscraft here at PodcastAnswerMan.com, and I was asked to weigh in on this thought of making some podcasts episodes available on iTunes and reserving some for only premium podcast subscribers. So, here's the deal. I used to have a premium podcast feed several years ago. What I would do is I would have several different shows, and each of those shows had one to two episodes per month available for free in iTunes. So if you were to subscribe for free in iTunes and you subscribed to that podcast feed, then each month, you would get one to two episodes of each of the shows that I produced. However, what I did is I created this thing called plus membership. For ten dollars per month, you would have access to every episode of every podcast that I produced. Now, there was a time when I was doing a whole boatload of different podcast shows, producing about seven to fifteen podcast episodes per week. It got to the place where it was generating a significant amount of income, but it was also generating a significant amount of a headache for me, personally, to manage the password protectant fee.
So, the mechanics. This is what Pat had asked me if I would weigh in on. The mechanics. Do I understand how this works? Well, let me explain to you what I initially believed. Back when I first started this, it was 2008, I had just started my business. Wasn't making hardly any money at all at the time. And as a result of that, I would create. I wanted to create something, but I had to create it on my own. So, one of the things that I learned was that WordPress had a different feed for every category in your WordPress site. So what I did was, I actually created a different WordPress installation. And I created a different category for each of my different shows. And this is . . . this WordPress website, this additional site, was my plus member site. And every episode of every podcast went into that site for each of those different podcast. So, every podcast episode went into each of the different shows.
And what I also found out is that you could password protect a directory on your website, which would then require a username and password to be able to get in. Not just to view that WordPress installation, but also to view any feed or any information coming from that quote on quote directory on my web hosting account. I know this is getting geeky, I know it's getting technical, but this is the mechanics of what I had done. So, basically what happened was, I would actually create a WordPress installation that was completely off limits to the outside world unless you had a username and password. You had that username and password then you could access anything on it, including the RSS feeds. Then, I manually created a, using HT access, a password form, a password list, and I had a password manager, and all this other PHP stuff that I had created or actually I had purchased from a developer. Which, by the way, is not available anymore.
Anyway, I had purchased all of this stuff, and I was managing this system of peoples usernames and passwords. So every person had their own unique username, your own unique password, and that way if somebody stopped paying, I could actually go in and deactivate them, and therefore it would no longer allow them to access that site and or the RSS feeds, the podcast feeds. So the mechanics of what I was doing was that I had one RSS feed that was coming off my WordPress site, which was my main real WordPress site that was open to the world. It was over at GSPN.tv. And on that site, the one that's available to the world, I only published the episodes that I wanted to be available in iTunes.
Now from what I'm understanding here is that the desire's to make maybe the most recent five episodes available for free, but anything in the archives you pull offline. Well, what I could do is if I wanted to, is after a certain period of time, I could go in and manually remove those .MP3 files so that they're no longer there. The problem with that is, is that once you put something on the internet, things get archived pretty quickly and, you know, people can find it. So, if you're worried about people having access and finding ways around your system, if it's ever been on the open internet, it's likely that there's going to be some way to go and find it. It's just my own personal experience in this area.
But what happened was, for me, I only put episodes each month that I wanted the whole world to get. They're in the main website which went into the main feeds and fed the iTunes and all the other free podcast subscribers. And then when people became plus members, I gave them instruction on how to take the RSS feed from this password-protected RSS feed and how to install that inside of iTunes.
Now the reality is that iTunes kept changing. They keep updating, you know, new versions of their software, and it kept breaking things, and every time it broke something, I had to fix it, and people's credit cards were getting canceled, and I had to go in and keep managing all this stuff, and I could've hired an outsource to all that stuff. But, long story not made too short, the reality is that eventually, I got so overwhelmed with just keeping up with the whole thing that it wasn't worth the amount of money I was generating to manage all of that.
Now, here's the deal: Today, if I wanted to do it all over again, would I go the route that I did? No, absolutely not. But I share that with you to share my own experience of the raw basics of what you could do. You could actually password protect the directory on your web server and install a WordPress installation and then control usernames and passwords that way. That's a huge pain, and it doesn't necessary work with the tools out there, and now there's more than just iTunes to support. You've got PopItCast, Downcast, you've got all these other different podcast applications people want to stick their RSS feed into. And if it's password protected, some of them support password protection, most and many of them do not support password protection. So it's almost to the place where you have to kind of get to the place where you might actually need to create a system that gives each person a unique podcast feed, but it is not necessary for them to enter in a username and password into that feed. I even had it built into the URL of the RSS feed. And even that's not supported. But, there are services out there, I hear, that will allow you to do something like this.
Now here's the situation. I'm going to tell you about a service I've heard about. On paper, it looks like it offers this. I don't know, I cannot vouch for the quality of the service, the support of the service, or even the functionality and whether or not it even works. But I can tell you, if you want to you can go to Nanacast.com. N-A-N-A-C-A-S-T.com. And they are set up, and they communicate that they are able to give you the ability for people to pay for a premium subscription where they will only get certain episodes that you publish there and everybody has their own unique custom RSS feed and all that stuff. They do it all for you. Now, if I were going to do this today, I would go to Nanacast and try them first. I'll get to the place why I share with you why I would not do that, and why I still wouldn't do it today. I wouldn't even want to create podcast feeds that are paid only. But, that's a whole ‘nother story. We'll get to that in a second.
But anyway, or . . . if that didn't work, if nanacast didn't work for me, I can see that there are other ways. I could actually . . . today I have the financial resources, if I wanted to, I could hire some developers to develop a system for me that would be much easier to manage. And I could outsource the support of keeping track of who's up to date with their credit card filings and which ones are not. And some of that could even be automated through the developing of the software, all of that could be done. I could hire that out today but I won't. And here's why. Fundamentally, podcasting, when people hear about podcasting, they think about podcasting as being free. And that, certainly . . . free is not in the definition of podcast, so by no means, does a podcast have to be free. But most people associate it, a podcast, with being free.
So what I recommend, and what I've learned, is that I find that, people find more value in audio products, or even audio books or products where you say, “You know what, here's what I'm going to give you if you pay, whatever the amount is that you charge for, for $49.99, I'm going to give you a ten-part audiobook series on such and such.” And basically, what they do is they go and they sign up, and they immediately get the instant download of those ten .MP3 files, and what you did is gave them ten episodes of your own little podcast which is this product. But, if you ask someone to pay $49 for a podcast, it's sometimes more difficult for them to kind of buy into that in their mind. But if you say it's $49 for this audio product that's going to teach you how to do such and such, it just seem to be much less of a barrier.
Now I . . . trust me, I understand the value of delivering episodic content VM RSS feed, and I understand the desire to have that available to only a certain number of people. If I were going to try it today, which I probably wouldn't, I'd prefer giving away free content as a podcast delivering that consistently, and then offering products and services, both audio products, visual products, other digital products, and even some physical products. But if I were wanted to do a premium service, the next place I would look first would be Nanacast. And if not, I would have a developer build something for me.
Pat, I don't know if this is what you were looking for, my friend, but that's my exhausted thoughts on it. Anyway, God bless you guys. Have a great day, and take it easy.
Pat Flynn: Alright, there you go. That's Cliff's answer, and thank you Cliff for taking the time to do that. I really appreciate it, buddy. For those of you out there listening, you can find Cliff at PodcastAnswerMan.com and also get involved with his course at PodcastingAtoZ.com, which I highly recommend if you're looking for some help and to make sure somebody's there that's going to make sure that you get your show up and live on iTunes . . . just, Cliff has done such an amazing job.
And Stephanie, I hope that answers your question, and for having your question featured here on the show today, you're going to get an AskPat t-shirt sent to you, completely free, shipping included. All that good stuff. You'll get an email from my assistant very soon to collect your information. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com, and you can ask right there on that page.
I also want to re-thank our sponsor today, which is AWeber.com, the email service provider that I use and have been using ever since day one of me starting to actually start to build an email list, and I say that because I didn't start to build an email list right at the beginning, and that's one of the biggest mistakes I've made as somebody who's trying to build a following online. You've got to start an email list for several reasons, not only to collect the email list of subscribers that you can then send emails out to drive traffic to your site for promotions and things like that. It's a great way to build a relationship with your audience as well, but think about this: If you're a blogger or business is shut down, maybe because it was hacked or you couldn't sign on anymore, you would have no way to talk to people anymore. If you have your email list, you can take that email list to people have subscribed, maybe set up shop on a new place if something were to happen to your old place. And that is my number one reason why I suggest starting an email list. So, check them out, AWeber. 30 days for one dollar for a trial. You can check it out AWeber.com/askpat.
Awesome. Thank you so much, and as always, I love to end with quote, and today's quote comes from, or is from, sorry, Joseph Campbell. He says, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”
Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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