Bonus content can be a fun way to engage and reward your loyal podcast audience, either publicly, through an opt-in, or exclusively in a premium subscription. Here are some things you could try making.
We all mess up. Sometimes, our mess ups can be hilarious!
Instead of only cutting out your mistakes, consider setting them aside for a blooper reel. With some good editing, and even a little fun music, simple mistakes can become hilarious outtakes that your audience will want to hear.
How you edit these bloopers can make them funny or boring. I generally suggest tighter edits. Look at other blooper reels from movies and shows for some ideas.
When you've developed a good relationship with your audience, they sometimes want to see how you make the magic. Your behind-the-scenes content could be an unedited video version of your podcast recording session (live-streamed or recorded), or your could show your audience your process as if they were in the room asking you, “How do you make the podcast?”
Like with bloopers, good editing can make this kind of content far more engaging. For example, if you have to go to a store to buy something for your podcast, record the whole trip but edit it down to only the interesting bits.
3. Sneak peeks
Sneak peeks come before the content you'll be publishing. It's not quite a trailer, but it is a way to build anticipation for what's coming.
You could make behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, or simply tell your audience a little of what's coming.
For example, a podcast about personal finances might offer a sneak peek like this.
This next episode might change your life! I talked to Jane Smith and she told me about a free money-saving app she uses. And when I tried it myself, I was blown away by how easy it was and how effectively it helps me save money. Just in the few days I've been trying it, I've already saved $100 I would have never thought of before! So make sure you listen to this next episode and tell me what kind of results you get from trying Jane's method!
This might work only when you have a longer lead time before your episode publishes. But even without lead time, you can give your audience a peek at what you're planning to do, or something you just discovered that you'll talk about in a future episode.
4. Extended editions
Remember The Lord of the Rings and it's extended edition? And then its director's cut? And then its extended director's cut? And then the extended extended extended uncut director's extended cut?
Fans bought these and there are plenty of advocates who will insist everyone should watch only the extended editions.
You could do the same thing with bonus content for your podcast!
While you might edit something down to make your podcast episode flow better, some of what you edited out might still be valuable content, just not a good fit for the published episode. Or you could save specific parts of content for the extended editions or bonus content.
That Story Show and The Babylon Bee Podcast do this well, saving some bonus stories or bonus conversation for the extended editions that are available only to premium subscribers.
5. Audience engagement
Interacting with your audience can be one of the most fun parts of podcasting! I don't suggest locking all interactions behind a paywall, but you could consider producing some of it into something your broader audience could enjoy.
- Questions and answers or “ask me anythings”
- Chats with audience members
- Reading and responding to feedback
- Trying suggestions from your audience
Similar to how reading reviews of your podcast (collected by My Podcast Reviews!) helps you get more reviews, sharing audience engagement will further engage your audience. Plus, this helps turn those featured audience members into super-fans!
6. Quick content
Even if podcast episodes are hours long, there are probably countless bits you could share in quick formats (not simply excerpts). This could be a selfie-style video, a short email, or other messages.
For example, I have a weekly email newsletter that shares multiple podcasting tips. Much of it is content I've already shared elsewhere, but I keep my emails very short. Plus, people might read my emails months or years separated from when I talked about the same content (but in a different way) in my podcast.
Your quick content can standalone behind your premium subscription, or it could help you promote your existing episodes to the public.
7. Downloadable resources
With some brainstorming, you can probably think of several things you could offer as bonus downloads for your podcast—maybe even for every episode!
These can be handy for your premium subscribers, but they also work really well as gifts for people to join your email list. (These are often called “opt-in incentives” or “lead magnets.”)
For example, here are some past episode-specific downloadable resources I've offered for joining my email list.
- In my episode using text-expansion for podcasting, I offered a bunch of TextExpander snippets to download.
- In my episode about everything to do before you record each episode, I offered a printable “preflight” checklist.
- In my episode about how to make podcast cover art, I offered a resource toolbox in a PDF.
- In my episode about speeding up your website, I offered bonus tips and tools in a PDF.
These free downloads have been huge for building my email list!
Brainstorm some ideas and try them yourself. It could be anything! Even an AI-generated wallpaper that somehow represents your whole podcast or even an individual episode could be enticing enough to attract your audience!
Lastly, never forget the value of relationships! The bonus “content” you offer could simply be connecting with you and other audience members in real time through an online community. You could create that on Facebook, Slack, Discord, or anything else you and your audience would use.
For example, I've recently purchased and completed several programming courses to help me as I build My Podcast Reviews v2 to launch in summer 2023. All of these courses also included access to private Discord servers, often with some course-specific access. So when I have questions about something related to one of those courses, I can ask in the community and I might get the answer I need from the teacher himself, or even from fellow members. In one community, a fellow member made a browser extension that fixed two frustrations many of us were having with the learning-management system hosting the courses. I would have never seen and benefited from that without being part of the community. And that's a wonderful bonus!
What bonuses have you tried for your podcast?
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