The PodCraft Podcast: Series 3, Episode 20
In the final episode of the series, I’m talking monetisation. Now, before you start telling me off for using a dirty word, I think it’s pretty reasonable to think about getting something back from the effort you put into Podcasting. This is all dependent on giving huge value to your listeners every episode, so there’s no reason they wouldn’t benefit, just as much, from a paid product that you put out. In the episode I’ll talk about ways to monetise your content, and the 3 main tools you can use to do so, from basic payment functionality up to a full-scale membership site. Let’s have a look!
Resources Mentioned on This Show
PayPal is an American, international e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. PayPal lets you setup buttons which essentially turn into a little bit of code that you put into your website. It also lets you put subscriptions, you can set up a button within PayPal that guides people to the PayPal website.
s2Member is a membership tool that helps you to create membership content or membership site in WordPress. s2Member is compatible with Multisite Networking too, and even with BuddyPress and bbPress. With s2Member, you can either lock down certain parts of your content, pages for people to have to pay for, pages for people who are members only. The Pro version of this plugin allows you to take payments straight on your website which means people don’t have to have a PayPal account to be able to pay for your products.
Pro Sites by WPMudev
Pro Sites is a paid plugin that lets you easily charge your network users for premium services. It is a tool designed for membership sites only not one-off sales.
- Choose one of the tools mentioned.
- For PayPal, create a couple of PayPal buttons, put them in your website and try to sell anything from your product.
- Or, install s2Member and setup a community on your website. Sell membership for it.
- Or, try the Pro Sites
- Pop a comment below. Give me a link of whatever product you put up.
Let Me Know What You Think
Tell me which one you went for and let me know what you’re selling. I’d love to see what product you’ve created based on the information here.
Now, as this is the last episode of the series, please do tell me what you think of the series. Let me know if you want more of the same type of series. I’d love to hear your feedback.
Finally, if you have enjoyed this, I’d appreciate it if you’d give me a review on iTunes. Just pop over to PodCraft on the iTunes website to do that.
Thanks again for joining me on this series! I’ll see you on the next series where we’re talking about planning and delivering content.
Hey folks! I’m Colin Gray and this is PodCraft.
Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Series 3 PodCraft. This is the series building a peerless podcasting website that is creating a great home for your podcast on the web. And dear, sob sob, we’re down to the last episode, episode 20 of creating a great podcasting website. I really hope you’ve got a lot out of the series. I really enjoyed creating that actually, it’s been a hard slugged in its daily, it’s my first time doing daily episodes so I hope it’s been useful, actually being able to it through in a shorter episode format. I’d love to hear what you think of the format, so, yes, if you want to pop across to podcraft.net/320, please do pop a comment and I’d really really value anything you can tell me about how you thought this, the last episode worked, whether the series format works for you, if you learned through the episodes, all that kind of stuff. Tell me what you think, tell me whether you enjoyed it, whether you didn’t, what worked for you, what doesn’t and then I can create more of the same hopefully good stuff for you in the future. But I do really enjoy making this focused series really, focusing on one thing for a series of episodes really is just good fun. It gives me a greats of a run of things to talk about so, yes, I hope you enjoyed it as well.
So this, the last episode we’re talking about the end result, the monetisation of your content. So, we’ve create a website, we’ve create something great, we’ve create that’s going to grow your audience, that’s really going to make a great user experience for all of your listeners, that’s going to attract in new visitors, that’s going to turn them into loyal listeners. At the end of all of that, whether your hobbyist or a business, it’s always good to get something back out of that effort and that means monetisation. So, that means all the effort that you’ve put in the last 20 days, it’s not unreasonable thing, you make something back out of that. Now, we introduced this a little bit earlier in the series talking about affiliate links, that means we talked about how to possibly monetise the recommendations we make, so you recommend a product, you recommend something external that you haven’t made yourself and hopefully get wee commission out of that. Now, it’s a great way to start in terms of monetisation but it’s a little bit passive. So, you’re just essentially recommending something, you’re passing people on to somewhere else and hoping that they perhaps take that recommendation. And commissions can be quite slim in that area too, I mean, Amazon are actually reasonably generous in terms of commissions. For real world products, I should say, this is, they offer anything between five and ten percent in terms of commissions and that’s actually relatively generous for real live products. You can get a lot higher commissions for information products for example, for courses, for digital products but anyway commissions are generally quite slim when you’re talking about affiliate marketing.
The best way to monetise really is create your own product and sell that. Now, when I talk about my own product or your own product, that doesn’t have to be a product, physical product as such, it can be, there’s a range of different types of products that we can talk about selling. And I’m going to go into that a little bit later. But, essentially, if you want to sell, if you want to make sales on your website, that means we need an e-commerce solution of some sort. You need some way to sell, to guide people to a shopping cart, to choose a product they want to buy and to take money from them for it. The most basic way to do that within WordPress is with PayPal. So, sign up with PayPal, free to sign up, so you want the basic version of PayPal. We’re not going for Pro sites rental at the moment. You can get business account at PayPal, still doesn’t cost you anything on a regular basis, so this is all entirely free. And then you’re going to go through and you’re going to start to setup PayPal buttons. Now, PayPal themselves lets you setup buttons which essentially turn into a little bit of code that you put on to your website. You place that on any page within WordPress, all you do is go to the text option within the post creation or page creation section and paste in the code itself then you can go back to visual and you can see how it appears. So then you have a little hosted PayPal button on your page and when somebody clicks that button, they’re taken off to the PayPal website. So, they’re not paying on your website, they’re actually directed off to the PayPal website. And their charge whatever it is that you set when you created that button. So, you just create a button for every product that you sell. So, say, you’ve written an eBook, you’re going to charge £10 for that eBook, you create a button specifically for that eBook that charges £10, it’s got the name of the eBook, it’s got a little bit more detail about it. So, when somebody’s guided to PayPal, they’ll see your details, they recognise it and they feel safe to press the sales button. Now, that’s fine for one off sales. Similarly, PayPal actually lets you setup subscriptions as well though. So, you can setup a button within PayPal that guides people to the PayPal website and then tells them that you’re signing up for a membership to the xyzed podcast whereby you’re going to pay £10 per month from now on until you stop it. And it will take the first payment straight away and it will then setup a subscription with that person’s PayPal account. So, that’s easy enough to do. You can set it up, you can set different levels as well, you can have like a Pro version, a platinum version, all that kind of stuff. There’s lots of different options within there but PayPal make it quite easy to do that. Now, I say that’s free, the reason is probably not the best way to do it, and I’ll talk about for the other options in a minute, is that people always end up having to go to PayPal for that. So, you always have to go offsite and they have to have a PayPal account, so people that don’t have a PayPal account essentially can’t buy your products. Now, these days, PayPal is actually ridiculously common, so, you finding somebody that doesn’t have a PayPal account is pretty uncommon. So, it’s not a huge disadvantage. And the fact that it’s free to setup doesn’t cost you anything ongoing, apart from a little transaction fee every time which is not ridiculous, similar to other services or in three and a half percent plus I think, means that’s a great option to start off with. So, if you just want to experiment with selling stuff, if you’ve got a couple of products, maybe a membership thing you want to try and sell then by all means try this initially. It’s a low effort and can let you validate whether people actually want to start buying those stuff.
Okay, so moving on from that though, I just want to talk about the tool that I use. This is what I’m going to really recommend if you want to start building out a serious e-commerce or membership website and that is a tool called S2Member, so, that’s just the letter S, the number 2 and then the word member and you can go and find the website for that at podcraft.net/s2member, just the name of the plugin there. So, go to that and it’ll guide you off to where you can have a look at the tool. So, S2Member is, as you’d imagine from the member there, is a membership tool, is a membership plugin, helps you to create membership content or membership site in WordPress. And the basic version of S2Member is entirely free, so S2Member can be used totally free and it’s actually pretty powerful even its free form. The benefits of S2Member is that it allows both one off sales and allows membership sites. So, I think that most people that run a podcast quite often people will start off with one product, so I think of maybe an eBook or a report or they want to actually sell a series of past episodes, so you want to sell your episodes one to twenty as a package you’re going to take them of your open feed and you’re going to sell them as a package of old episodes and you’ll sell that as a one off. But then, once you start selling that kind of thing, quite often people will realise that actually it’s a big benefit in getting membership, membership products on the go. So, whether that is, as we talked about yesterday, creating a community and then actually just paying for access to that community, that’s one way to get membership, actually you just offer £5 a month say, and people can get it and take part in this really focused supportive valuable community where you’re offering some of your time as well. That can be a very really valuable product in itself with very little setup. So, you just create that community, you charge £5 a month entry to it and then people can come back and they have to keep paying to keep access to it and they get a lot of value out of that. Or another option along those lines is a membership course so somebody actually joins your website, they sign up, they pay £10, £15, £20 a month and they then take part of the course. So, you’re releasing lessons every week, every month, you’re maybe doing webinars once a month, contributing two hours of your time say, to office hours or Q&A session. You have all that kind of thing where it’s training and resources that people can take part and you’re releasing new books, new reports, new lessons, new videos every month and this can be part of a huge training system that you’re building up, that people pay a certain amount of money every month to take part in. So, anyway, that I think is the two aspects to it and as I said, I think a lot of people start off with those one off sales, those one off products and then graduate to membership. And that’s the reason I like S2member because it allows both. So, you can setup with payment gateway like PayPal or many of the other options as well and then, that allows you to either setup that subscription model or the one off sales really easily. So, I’ve talked about a few, well, I’ve talked about a couple of options there, so the one off sales- selling your podcast, that’s what I mentioned, selling, say, having the most recent five to ten episodes for free, people can subscribe to them on iTunes but if they want to listen to old episodes they have to buy it as a one off sale, you can do that with an S2Member. Other options on one off sales, you sell your writing. So, it might be that alongside your podcast, you also have a lot of articles, you have lots of tutorials, you have a lot of how-to things, lots of things that offer a lot of people value that they’ll want to read. With S2Member, you can have, say, the first paragraph or two of an article available for free but you have a button halfway down the page that says, “To read more, pay £2.”, so people have to click that £2 and then it takes a charge from them via PayPal or whatever payment method you’re going with and then they get to see the rest of it. And they’ll login, they create an account in S2Member so they can always come back and they can always see that content again. And you can create that kind of gateway, that gating of your content on every single page on your website. And if you have just the minimal fee like say five, fifty pence on a pound, £2, do it on dollars, whatever your currency is. It can be really nice way to actually get a little bit of income of content that you already have. Now, obviously this relies on you creating pretty epic stuffs, so you’ve got to have articles on there that are really valuable, offer a lot of value that people think a pound or £2 is actually worth it because, I mean, it’s not a small amount of money, you can get eBook with that kind of price but there’s no reason you can’t create a series of videos for example, you could put on a video on a page which are worth one or two pounds to a customer or a one thousand, two thousand word article it’ll be worth that as well. It’s as long as you’re offering a ton of value, you’re offering a ton take aways, ton of actionable stuff that people can do and get that value back straight away. Okay, so other ways to do one off sales might be a course as well. So, I mentioned a course earlier on in terms of a membership, you can charge people on doing memberships for a course but it might be that you want to actually just sell a course of ten to fifteen to twenty videos as a one off, £10 now and you get permanent access to these videos whenever you like, so, that’s fine as well. Similarly, you can do an add-on product, so your episodes, you’ve got free podcast, say, a good example of this is Coffee Break Spanish by Mark Pendleton. He does some really good add-on products for their podcasts, so you go to Coffee Break Spanish, you listen to a lesson and then you go to the website and you can buy add-ons, you can buy worksheets, you can buy all sorts of extras that really enhance that podcast experience. You can do the basic one for free if you want but then you can pay a small fee to buy these extras that really make your learning more effective, really make it more fun. So, it might be that you can create them for your own podcast, you can talk about something for half an hour, for an hour, you put together a report or a book or a product for something that enhances that stuff that you just talked about, whatever it was you just talked about, you put together something else that makes it better or makes it more actionable, you can sell that as a one off. Equally, that could be a membership, people could pay five, ten pounds a month and they get these add-ons sent to them regularly or they get to just login to the website and get to them, no problem at all. So, S2Member is really just a gating system, you can either lock down certain parts of your content, you can lock down pages for people to have to pay for or you can lock down pages for people who are members only access. That’s the basic principle of S2Member. Now, S2Member does work well with bbPress as I talked about yesterday so if you wanted to have that community aspect to your membership site then it’s a good one to go with. And it works with a lot of other plugins as well, so it’s just a good plugin to go with, the free version as I said is great and you can go for, you can actually upgrade to the Pro version for not too much things but $99 for the Pro version and that brings in a whole lot of other features including website payment pro with PayPal which means that you can take payments straight on your website which is actually quite a big advantage, it means that people don’t have to have a PayPal account to be able to pay for your products and that’s quite big advantage obviously.
So, just to briefly cover an alternative to S2Member, another one that I’ve used in the past is Pro Sites so, that’s by WPMudev which I think I’ve mentioned on previous episodes. WPMudev are a great creator of plugins. Pro Sites you buy individually for about $20 or you can subscribe to WPMudev website and you can have constant access to it and its updates. Pro Sites is a bit more basic, it doesn’t have as many options as S2Member but it a bit nicer to look in and is a bit easier to use. The one downside of S2Member is it got tons of options and the back-end, the admin panel for it doesn’t look the most attractive, it’s not the nicest user experience, not the easiest this to setup in the first place. I don’t think it’s too difficult by any means but certainly Pro Sites is a little bit more easy. I think Pro Sites is possibly lacking in a bit of power once you build it out, so you can start with it for a pretty basic membership site by all means Pro Sites is a good option. And that is another disadvantage as well actually, I say membership site there because Pro Sites is only really designed for membership sites not one off sales. So, while S2Member makes it quite easy for you to do one off sales to sell just a single article or a single product, Pro Sites is really just for memberships. And obviously the final disadvantage is the fact that Pro Sites is paid, so you have to pay for it, there is no free version and again to get updates in the future from WPMudev you have to subscribe so either that or re-buy the product I suppose. But, it’s an ongoing commitment in terms of cost.
So, anyway, I hope that gives you a good introduction to monetising your content, how you could sell products on your website, how you could sell memberships, how you could start to benefit from the massive amount of work you’re putting in to your website, creating lost of content.
So, that takes us to the tasks for today. So, I think, choose one of them, choose whether you’re going to go with the basic PayPal function. Just create a couple of PayPal buttons, stick them on your website, try selling anything at all. Just put together a collection of your best articles and sell that as an eBook for example, try that initially. Or get S2Member, install S2Member and actually setup a community on your website, as we did yesterday, and start gating that. So actually sell memberships for it, just start it like £2 a month, sell next to nothing in terms of cost and just say you’re going to put in a bit of time each month and a bit of value and see if people are up for it. See if your community or your fans, your listeners are up for actually paying just something, give it a shot, see what happens. Or, by all means, try a Pro Sites as well, if you want to choose that one, just run an easier entry. I’d love to hear how you go on with it though, so pop over to podcraft.net/320, podcraft.net/320 and drop a comment on the bottom of that page. Let me know which option you went for and let me know what you’re selling. Give me a link to whatever product you put up first. I’d love to see what product you’ve created based on the information here, I’m really interested to see.
And that takes us to the end of the series. So, that’s episode 320, that’s the episode 20 of the Series 3. We’re done creating out peerless podcasting website. I hope you now have a great podcasting website, all set up. You’ve got a great home for your podcast in the web. You’re really happy with how it’s looking, with all the tools on there, you’re really happy with how it’s growing out your listeners, attracting a new listeners and creating loyal followers. And if you have done, if you’re enjoying that, if you’re happy with that then my mission is accomplished. But I would like to hear your feedback, as I said at the start of the episode, please do tell me what you think of the series, whether you want more of the same type of series and yes, again just drop on to podcraft.net/320. But don’t worry, that’s not the end, we’ll be taking a break, short break and I would be back of Series 4 of PodCraft. Series 4 is going to be around planning and delivering content, so it’s going to be around all the process of creating your podcasting episodes from presentation skills to planning your strategy to actually defining your podcast in the first place. So, it’s going to be around how to create better content that people really are engaged with. So, I hope you’re up for listening to that next time around. And I’ve got a couple of really good guests. It’s more of an interview format for the next series. So, you don’t have to listen to just my voice again and again. So, I hope that gives you a bit of variety. But again, thanks for following me through the series. I really appreciate if you followed me through every single one of the twenty episodes. Or even you might still listen to a few of them, I really appreciate you as a listener coming with me on this journey, coming through every single episode. And the best thing you can do if you have enjoyed this, if you have just a minute, I would so much appreciate if you could pop on to iTunes and give me a review for the series, well, for the whole thing really. So, yes, it’d be great to hear from you in that way. Thanks again and I’ll see you on the next series of PodCraft. Farewell.
If you’ve been listening to all of the Series 3 of PodCraft then pop across to podcraft.net where you’ll find links to subscribe to the full PodCraft series. We can get all the other content from PodCraft including archives as well as all new episodes as they come out. Thanks for listening.
What Our Readers Think About Monetising Your Podcast Content with WordPress
I continue to marvel at the amount of knowledge you have accumulated and share. I’m in the process of creating a membership area on my blog site and deciding whether to get a PayPal shopping cart (right now I only have the ability to use individual buttons). I’m checking out S2Membership now thanks to you!
All the best,
Terry, thanks for the feedback, always appreciated 🙂
So, to update this, I’m actually using WooCommerce in more and more projects, and tying it to Stripe rather than Paypal. S2Member and Paypal still work just fine, but I’ve found that Woocommerce is just a really solid platform, really well supported and with a tonne of top quality plugins which make it do anything you like, including membership sites!
I use Woocommerce and the subscription plugin, for example, for my Production and mentoring services. Everyone we work with at The Podcast Host signs up using that system and it handles regular payments from them on.
On Stripe, I got a bit fed up with Paypal’s really substandard dashboard. It’s so difficult to manage reporting, customer tracking and a bunch of other stuff that you’d imagine would be their bread and butter. In contrast, Stripe is just amazingly simple and works a treat. Plus, the fees are lower as a bonus. So, if you’re thinking about it and can afford the outlay of a few WooCommerce plugins (it’s certainly a bit more expensive than S2) then I think that’s the way to go now.
Hope that helps!