Transistor FM vs Hello Audio for Private Podcasts: Which is Best for Your Business?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Private podcasting is one of the most interesting marketing tools to emerge in a long time. These subscriber-only podcasts allow businesses and communities to engage directly with curated audiences beyond the free for all of the public podcast apps.

It’s one of the marketing trends I was most excited about in 2021, and that hasn’t changed. 

What is a private podcast?

Choosing the right app for a private podcast involves evaluating the tradeoffs, such as pricing, features, and your business goals.

Imagine a podcast that’s not available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or any other public directory. That’s private podcasting! People can play your podast on their favorite player—but you know exactly who they are and how engaged they are. You control who has access to your audio feed, and you can use it in so many ways. 

If public podcasts are a discovery and brand cultivation tool, private podcasts are a much more intimate iteration of that experience. You know who’s listening and what’s engaged them. It’s a trend that’s only going to grow as people get busier and more unwilling to sit in front of a computer. 

If you’re not familiar with the concept, private podasts can be used in your business quite creatively—here are some ideas you can implement:

  • Host an audio-only version of your courses (we do this with all of our courses)
  • Offer turnkey audio coaching, like my client Natalie does with her Birthright podcast
  • Create an audio lead magnet that people can access on the go
  • Internal training and company updates
  • Monetize an existing podcast with subscriber-only bonus content
  • Offer replays of client sessions they can access in a podcast app (I do this for my Spark Sessions and Alignthority™ Accelerator clients)
  • And many, many other creative audio experiences

Benefits of Private Podcasting

While public podcasts enjoy immense popularity, private podcasting offers distinct advantages for businesses, communities, and solopreneurs. Here’s how it leverages those powerful benefits:

Private podcasts can do a lot for your business and your personal brand.

1. Exclusive Content for Your Private Podcast Subscribers

Create a sense of belonging and value by offering subscribers access to audio content unavailable to the public. Share industry insights, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or exclusive interviews – the possibilities are endless! This fuels a sense of community and encourages subscription loyalty.

2. Targeted Engagement:

Tailor your content to a specific audience, fostering deeper connections and resonating directly with their interests. Unlike the broad reach of public podcasts, private platforms allow you to address your niche community, leading to higher engagement and better outcomes. 

3. Enhanced Control:

Maintain complete control over your content’s distribution and accessibility. Decide who can access your podcast, ensuring your message reaches the intended audience and safeguarding proprietary information. This level of control is invaluable for businesses and organizations who want to provide employee training on the go. 

4. Private Podcasting Offers a Flexible Format:

Meet your audience right where they’re at with a novel and flexible delivery method! Integrate diverse audio formats like interviews, workshops, live Q&A sessions, pocket coaching, or even audio courses. The private format allows you to experiment and adapt your content to best serve your audience’s needs, fostering learning and knowledge exchange.

5. Private Podcasting Offers Improved Data Insights:

We love data, but public podcasts don’t give us great insights. Private podcast solve that tricky challenge. You can gain valuable insights into your audience’s listening habits and content preferences and adapt your content from that information. Private platforms often offer detailed analytics, revealing which episodes resonate most and how listeners engage with your content. Use this data to refine your podcast and cater to your audience’s specific interests.

6. Private Podcasts Can Facilitate Community Building:

Foster a vibrant community around your podcast. Some private platforms often offer built-in tools for discussions, Q&A sessions, and even polls, allowing you to directly engage with your audience and build stronger connections.

8. Monetization Potential:

Explore various monetization avenues for your audio. Even Apple Podcasts allows you to charge subscription fees for access to your private podcast, offer exclusive content to paid members, or even integrate sponsorships within your episodes. The private format creates valuable opportunities to generate income from your content.

9. Personalized Learning:

Create personalized learning experiences. Private podcasts are ideal for educational institutions and businesses, allowing you to share customized curriculum materials, provide feedback, and engage learners in a more immersive way. I’ve had great feedback about how helpful audio learning is for many of our clients and students—it feels more intimate and personalized. 

10. Experimentation and Innovation:

Use the private format as a testing ground for innovative content ideas. Experiment with new formats, gather feedback from your targeted audience, and refine your approach before going public. Private podcasting can be a valuable incubator for future public podcasting success.

It’s clear that private podcasting is not just a niche alternative, but a powerful tool for engagement, community building, and content creation. So, consider harnessing its potential to elevate your audio strategy and connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Now that I’ve convinced you (hopefully) that private podcasting can be a great tool for your business, let’s dive into the technology that makes this format possible. 

The tech is actually incredibly simple: Private podcasts are fueled by a tiny piece of code known as an RSS feed. 

The team at SM&Co has extensively tested and used two of the popular apps for facilitating these subscriber only podcasts, Hello Audio (affiliate link) and (affiliate link)—and both are excellent choices. (We currently use Transistor.) Like many apps, there’s no perfect choice—it’s all about prioritizing what’s more important to you and your own specific use case.

But, which platform serves your private podcasting needs best: Hello Audio or Transistor?

Let’s explore their strengths, weaknesses, and key differences across pricing, flexibility, and customer service—plus what you should do if you also have a public podcast.

Private Podcast App Pricing Comparison:

  • Hello Audio: Offers three tiers: Starter ($17/month) for 1 feed, Pro ($47/month) for 3 feeds, and Enhanced ($97/month) for umlimited feeds. Each tier also comes with one or two public feeds if you also have a traditional podcast. Yearly subscriptions offer a price reduction. Check current pricing here, as it is subject to change.
  • Transistor FM: Employs a per-listener/per downloads model, starting at $19/month for 50 listeners and 20,000 downloads and going up to $99/month for 3,000 listeners and 250,00 downloads. There’s also an Enterprise level plan available for very large companies. Prices scale as your audience grows, but remain more affordable for larger communities. Yearly subscriptions offer a price reduction. Check current pricing here, as it is subject to change.
  • Verdict: Transistor FM generally wins on raw affordability, especially for larger audiences. I like that you can have as many feeds as you want in this case (one of the reasons who moved from Hello Audio) on the lower tiers. However, Hello Audio’s annual plans become more cost-effective when you have large numbers of subscribers. When it comes to pure pricing, most folks will save with Transistor. 

Private Podcasting App Flexibility Features:

  • Hello Audio: The big advantage with Hello Audio in terms of flexibility is that it directly integrates with Stripe, the payment processor. Which means that you can easily sell access to your private podcast if you wish. It also includes an “Audio Inbox” that connects to apps like Zoom, which is incredibly convenient for folks with memberships and loads of content, and at the higher tiers allows for dynamic audio and listener tag based actions. 
  • Transistor FM: Creating a paid private podcast on Transistor is a bit trickier, involving a link to Zapier. If you’ve created a Zap connecting other applications before, it’s not a big deal, but it can be a bit tricky for some people. It also has dynamic audio options (you can, for example, include a promotion of your latest offer, or an infoproduct in the podcast). And, at the higher tiers, there’s a nice feature that auto-uploads your public podcast to YouTube. 
  • Verdict: Hello Audio wins with broader flexibility and ease of payments—but just barely. Transistor FM excels in detailed analytics and brand customization, perfect for data-driven private podcast creators. 

Private Podcasting App Customer Service:

  • Hello Audio: Has a live chat feature on their website as well as email support (what I primarily used) and in my experience respond within a day or two. My experience has been that simple questions are answered quickly, but more complex ones do need some back and forth. I didn’t love one of the founder’s comments about customers and their concerns about AI, which was what prompted me to leave the app as it gave me pause around their perception of their customers. (Though I do still recommend it to some people—but I always disclose that issue, as I know this is something of concern to many people.)
  • Transistor FM: They use a ticketing system for support requests and operates primarily through email communication. Response times in my experience are pretty quick, around the same timeframe as Hello Audio. 
  • Verdict: Both platforms offer decent customer service, typical of most SaaS companies these days. 

Beyond the Basics:

  • Hello Audio: Focuses on simplicity and ease of use for beginners. I love that they onboarding workshops and educational resources, which can be great for people new to this kind of product. If you use Thinkific (affiliate link), there’s a direct integration that’s pretty cool. 
  • Transistor FM: Prioritizes powerful analytics and customization for data-driven private podcast creators. This will appeal to podcasters who want deeper insights and granular control over their content.
  • Verdict: Hello Audio excels in user-friendliness, especially for newcomers. Transistor empowers experienced creators with advanced features. Pick your platform based on your comfort level and podcasting goals.

If You Have Both a Public and Private Podcast:

  • Hello Audio: This is where Hello Audio loses out—it’s just not built for public podcasting. You can do it, but the analytics aren’t great. 
  • Transistor FM: Because of the high quality analytics and the fact that it was built for public podcasts first, this is likely the better choice. 
  • Final Note: If you want to simply add member-only content to your public podcast, it may be easier to simply use the tools inside Apple Podcasts or even something like Patreon. 

Key Takeaways About Choosing Hello Audio versus Transistor FM for Private Podcasting:

Choosing the right platform hinges on your specific needs and priorities. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

Choose Hello Audio if:

  • You have a budget for upfront pricing and annual plans.
  • You prioritize easy payments or use Thinkific to host your courses.
  • You value beginner-friendly resources.

Choose Transistor FM if:

  • You have a large audience or anticipate significant growth.
  • You want deep analytics and data-driven insights.
  • You desire extensive customization and branding options.
  • You also have a public podcast.

Remember, both platforms offer free trials. Take advantage of them to gain firsthand experience and discover which one makes the most sense to you. Migrating a podcast is a pain (I’ve done it!), so you’ll want to do your research and make sure that you choose the right app to meet your business goals. 

Disclosure: Please note that some links on this website are affiliate links, which generates a small amount of revenue to support the free content we provide.

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