Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
Setting Up Your Podcast Subscription Program
Set up your subscription program in just a few steps.
This is Chapter 6 in our 9-part Subscription Guide. (If you missed it, our previous chapter was Chapter 5: How to Price Your Podcast Subscription for Maximum Sales.)
You've just learned how to price your podcast subscription and what premium content you can offer your listeners. Now it's time to set up your Supercast account.
Opening an account with Supercast
Supercast is an easy-to-use podcast subscription platform that lets you earn reliable recurring revenue from your podcast listeners. Opening an account with Supercast is free. You don’t pay anything until you have people paying you for your podcast.
To get started, click the Sign Up button in the top right corner of our website. Tell us the name of your podcast and answer a couple of other quick questions.
The last step in signing up is to choose the URL for your podcast landing page. This is where you’ll send people to subscribe to your plans. We recommend using the name of your podcast as the URL, both for branding and to make it easy for people to remember.
Connecting your Stripe account
Your listeners can pay for your podcast subscriptions using Apple Pay, Google Pay, or credit card. Supercast uses Stripe as the payment processor to make these transactions happen.
Your Supercast account integrates with your own Stripe account. If you don’t already have a Stripe account, go to stripe.com and get one.
Once you have a Stripe account ready, head to your Supercast dashboard:
- In the Supercast side navigation bar, click Settings > Payments.
- On the payments page, click the Connect with Stripe button. This takes you to Stripe.
- Find the Stripe account you'd like to link with your Supercast account and click Connect.
Your Stripe account is now linked to your Supercast account.
Setting up your plans
In Chapter 5, you decided how many plans you’d offer and how much you’d charge. Now it’s time to set up your plans in Supercast so they’re ready for people to buy.
In your Supercast dashboard:
- In the side navigation bar, click Plans. You’ll be taken to the New Plan page.
- Give your plan a name. This name will show up publicly on your subscription sales page. Some people choose to be plainly descriptive and call it Monthly or Yearly. Some people give their plans special names aligned with their brand. The Daily Beans, for example, has plans called Friend of Justice, Justice Enforcer, and Super Space Beans.
- Give your plan a description. Here’s where to list all the perks your subscribers will get in a clear and compelling way. Again, whatever you type here shows up publicly on your plan tiles.
- Upload artwork for the plan. We recommend a logo, icon, or special banner though you can also use your podcast artwork if you want.
- Set the price for your plan. Enter the amount as a plain number, without a currency symbol.
- Set the billing interval to monthly, yearly, or one-time.
- Use the Trial Type dropdown to choose which of the three trial types you want to offer, then fill out the fields that show up below. If you don’t want to offer a trial, leave the dropdown set to No Trial.
- Click Create Plan.
Your first plan is now set up!
Click View Signup Page to see how things will look to your subscribers. Don’t worry—even though you’ve created the plan in Supercast, it’s not visible to anyone yet. We’ve still got a few steps to complete before you’re ready to launch.
Repeat this setup process for as many plans as you like.
Customizing your signup page
Your signup page is where you’ll send your listeners to learn about your podcast subscription plans and sign up for one. Here’s how to customize it.
In your Supercast dashboard.
- Click Settings > Sign-up Page in the side navigation bar.
- Add a logo for your page. It will appear in the top left corner of your landing page. If you don’t have a logo for your podcast, you can skip this and your page will default to showing the Supercast logo.
- Specify an accent color for the page using RGB values. The accent color becomes the color of all the buttons and icons on your landing page, as well as your goal bar (if you choose to show one).
- Enter a headline for your page. To draw subscribers in, highlight your show’s mission or a compelling value point of your bonus content.
- In the Header Content box, add a brief description of your subscription program. Focus on why you’re asking for a subscription, what a subscription makes possible for you, or what subscribers will enjoy in general. You don’t need to list out what subscribers get in the plan because they can already see that in the plan tile you created in the previous section.
- Add your podcast artwork. We recommend having a version of your artwork that’s just for your subscribers to help distinguish this special program from your regular feed. A lot of podcasters add Premium, the Premium Feed, or something similar to their standard artwork.
- Optional: Add a video to take the place of your static podcast artwork by checking the Show a Video box. A video can be a great way to personally welcome people to the page and provide insight into your show and why you’re offering subscriptions. For an example of a great welcome video, see the landing page for Ad Free Shows at https://adfreeshows.supercast.com/.
- In the Plan Sub-heading box, set the subhead you want to appear over your plan boxes.
- Optional: Add an audio welcome clip by ticking the Include Welcome Clip box. If you use this, a player button appears underneath your podcast artwork. Much like the video option, the welcome clip allows you to offer a custom message to page visitors, except that it’s audio only. Because the video and the welcome clip are similar, we recommend you use one or the other but not both, so they don’t compete. Give your welcome clip a title. You can also give it a brief description if you want.
- Click Update Sign-up Page.
Your signup page still isn’t public just yet but to see what your new signup page will look like when it launches, click the View Signup Page button at the top of the page.
Adding audio content for your subscribers
Now you’re going to add audio content to your Supercast dashboard that’s just for your paying subscribers. This might be a bonus episode or an ad-free version of your public podcast, for example.
In your Supercast dashboard:
- Click Episodes in the side navigation bar. When you first land here and have no premium content yet, you’ll see a bar asking you to add some.
- Click the Add a Premium Episode button. You can also click the New Episode button. (Once you have at least one piece of premium content uploaded, you’ll always use the New Episode button.) The form you’ll see is likely quite similar to how you upload a regular episode with your podcast host.
- Give your episode a title.
- Add an episode description.
- Optional: Add a brief episode summary. Apple Podcasts is the main player that uses summaries. Most other players don’t support it.
- Drop your audio file in the Episode Audio box. It needs to be an MP3 file.
- If you have a video that goes with this episode, add a link to the unlisted YouTube or Vimeo video in the Video URL box.
- Use the dropdowns to specify language, whether the content is explicit or clean, and the episode type. Optional: Add tags on the content.
- Scroll back up to the top of the page to the podcast artwork. You can choose to leave your default podcast artwork here or upload specific episode artwork.
- Choose when the episode will publish: immediately or at a future time.
- Optional: Check Feature This Episode to have it show up as a sample episode on your podcast landing page. Visitors to the page can’t click these episodes to play them—they’re behind your subscription paywall after all—but they can see the title and any special episode artwork you may have chosen. It’s a good way to highlight any really compelling premium episodes you have.
- Decide who will have access to this episode: All your subscribers or only subscribers to certain plans.
- Click Create Episode.
Setting up RSS sync
Your premium subscribers will want to continue listening to your free podcast in addition to all the extra content they get. They could switch back and forth in their podcast players between your free feed and your premium feed, but for a really great subscriber experience, you can make everything available in one spot by folding all your public content into the premium feed.
Supercast makes this really easy to do with the RSS sync, which takes the feed for your public podcast from your podcast host and sucks into your Supercast premium feed automatically. Every time you publish a public episode on your podcast host, it’s automatically added in Supercast to your premium feed as well.
Here’s how to set up RSS sync from your Supercast dashboard.
- Click Episodes from the side navigation bar.
- Click Set Up RSS Sync.
- Paste in the URL of the RSS feed for your regular public podcast.
- Check Enabled to turn on the sync.
- Tell us if you want Supercast to grab all your past episodes and bring them over.
- Tell us whether you want Supercast to publish all new episodes from a sync immediately or create them as drafts for you to review before publishing.
- Click Create Import Setting.
The sync is live! We’ll start checking your public feed every five minutes for new content. You can disable the RSS sync at any time by clicking Configure and unchecking the Enabled box.
Customizing your subscriber welcome page
The content you set on your subscriber welcome page is the first thing people will see from you after subscribing to one of your premium plans. It’s a critical opportunity for reinforcing that they made a great decision, and you really appreciate their support.
The default welcome message is a simple Thank you for subscribing to [your show name]. It’s a start—but remember, this is a crucial first interaction with someone who just plunked down money to support you. You want them to feel special.
Take the opportunity to tell them about what they’ve just bought, why you’re happy they’ve joined, or what their money will make possible. Bring them into your story.
This is also the chance to share other information and perks with them, such as:
- links to an exclusive group or community that’s part of the plan
- links to downloadable PDF documents
- coupon codes for merchandise or consulting services
- a calendar link for booking a consult with you
- a link to a form for collecting their mailing address so you can send them merchandise
- your email address for sending you feedback.
Here’s how to customize your welcome content. From your Supercast dashboard:
- in the side navigation bar, click Settings > Subscriber Page.
- Choose whether you’ll use one welcome message for everyone or customize your welcome messages by plan type.
- Add your welcome message in the contact box. Whatever you add here appears online in the subscriber’s dashboard as well as in a welcome email.
- Customize how you ask new subscribers for a social share.
- Provide a pre-written tweet for people to use with one click.
- Near the top of the page, click Send Test Subscriber Email to see how the email looks. Click Preview to see the web page as it will appear in the subscriber’s dashboard.
- When you’re happy with your message and how everything looks, click Update Subscriber Page.
Publishing your signup page
Now the time has come to unveil your podcast subscription program to the world!
The first thing we want to do is confirm that the URL we have for your signup page is what you want it to be. You would have chosen this URL when you opened your Supercast account. Ideally, it’s really easy to remember, fairly short, and on brand for your podcast. Your podcast name usually works best.
But if there’s anything you want to change about it, you can do that now. As long as the URL you want isn’t already taken by someone else, you can change it to whatever you want.
In your Supercast dashboard:
- In the side navigation bar, click Settings > Podcast. The URL in red under your premium podcast name is the current URL of your signup page.
- Click Edit in the top right corner.
- In the Subdomain box, make any desired changes to your signup page URL.
- Optional: Adjust any of the other settings you see on this page.
- Click Update Podcast to save your changes. You’ll be taken back to your podcast profile page.
- Next to State, it will say Unpublished. To push your page and program live, click the green Publish button.
- Confirm you want to publish.
Congratulations! You’re officially a subscription podcaster. You can start sharing your signup page URL with everyone, everywhere.
Are you ready to launch? Read what’s next in our Subscription Guide with Chapter 7: Preparing an Epic Podcast Subscription Launch.