Ten essential steps to get started with Value for Value podcasting on the Bitcoin Lightning Network
How do I get more listeners? How do I generate more meaningful engagement with my audience? How do I make money? These are questions that most podcast hosts will have asked themselves at some point in their journey. If used to their full potential, Value for Value podcast apps like Fountain can help you find the answers. This is the essential guide for podcasters who are new to Value for Value or already have a show on the Lightning Network but need direction on what to do next.
Most podcasts are made available to listeners for free on any podcast app, which is how it should be if they are going to reach the widest potential audience. But where does the money come from? If you have a large audience, you might already have sponsors or sell advertising that generates revenue and keeps your podcast free for listeners. Or you might try putting some of your content behind a paywall or offering it to paying listeners before anybody else. If these aren't viable options, you might decide to be 100% audience-funded. You might not even be interested in making money at all and simply want to cover your costs.
Whatever the business model is for your podcast, Value for Value complements what you're already doing. Listeners who love what you do (and want the podcast to continue) can now pay you in the moment they are listening. If they are getting value, they can decide to give some value back by supporting the show based on how much it is worth to them. If they really enjoyed a particular episode, they can pay more. If they weren't feeling it, they can pay less - or nothing at all. All listeners need to start supporting your show directly is a podcast app like Fountain where they can stream money to you for every minute they listen or send a boost. This is all possible thanks to the power of the Bitcoin Lightning Network, where satoshis (or sats) are the unit of account.
The podcasts that are beginning to master this art are earning millions of sats per month, but Value for Value can be more than just an income source for your podcast. It is the feedback loops, the direct interaction with listeners and the sense of community that makes Value for Value a worthwhile pursuit for podcasters. This is what podcasting is missing. Now your audience can reach out directly to you, your co-hosts and guests straight from their podcast app to tell you what they liked, ask a question or simply say thank you.
Here are ten steps podcasters can take to build a lively community of supporters on Fountain.
If you're completely new to podcasting on the Lightning Network, the easiest way to get started is to claim your show on Fountain. When you claim your show, we add a value block to your RSS feed that allows you to start receiving payments and messages from listeners on any app, which get sent to your Fountain Wallet. If your podcast already has a value block because you added it another way, you will need to delete it before claiming your show on Fountain.
Claiming your show on Fountain offers podcasters a range of powerful features like splits and promotions. Fountain also gives you valuable insights such as who is supporting you and which episodes they are supporting, as well as an easy way to read messages.
Do you have co-hosts, guests or regular contributors that also create value for your listeners? Splits allow you to give them all a share of your podcast income. When a supporter sends a stream or boost payment to a podcast, the money gets divided and distributed to all the splits. You can add any Fountain user as a split, or you can add a Lightning Node Pubkey.
Add co-hosts and regular contributors to your Show Splits
If you have co-hosts or a wider team that are involved in making the podcast, you can add them to your show splits. That might include producers, researchers and volunteers - or even the designer of your show artwork.
Add guests (or listeners) to your Episode Splits
Listeners love interviews with interesting guests and get a lot of value from hearing what they have to say. Let your listeners know who your splits as this is another reason for them to support the show. You can also add regular listeners to your splits - learn more about this in section 8.
Before a new episode of The Survival Podcast gets published, host Jack Spirko asks his guests to create a Fountain user account so that they can be added to the episode splits once the episode appears in Fountain. This might be another thing you need to remember to do, but listeners are more compelled to support and join the conversation when they can reach out to the person they are listening to. Also, because Jack's guests are earning money from the episode they recorded, they are incentivised to let their respective audiences know.
Now that you and your splits are set up to receive sats from listeners, the next thing you need to do is let them know. Before you do this, it is worth considering why your listeners should support you. What is the money for? To keep the podcast ad-free? To pay for your hosting costs? To cover your time? To fund future projects or plans? Find a compelling way of articulating this to your audience.
Now that you've covered the WHY, now focus on the WHAT. Find a way to explain what Value for Value means in simple and relatable terms. Spend some time listening to other podcasts to see how they do this and reflect on how you can bring your own personal style to it - but make sure you keep it punchy.
Finally, let your listeners know HOW to support you. On Value for Value podcast apps like Fountain, users have two ways to do this; they can stream you some sats for every minute they listen, or they boost some sats and send a comment that will display on the episode page in Fountain.
Be mindful about your language when asking for support. If you ask for a "tip", you'll get small amounts, like tips in a coffee shop. The most successful podcasters avoid this term, and instead talk about repaying value.
You might find it helpful to write a script that you can follow or work on a pre-recorded segment that you insert at the beginning of the podcast. Once you have something that you're happy with, test it out and see how your listeners respond before refining it further.
If you are looking for inspiration for how to talk about Value for Value on your show, look no further than Podcasting 2.0. Nobody does this better than the founder of podcasting and Podcasting 2.0 pioneer Adam Curry. The show is a weekly 'board meeting' that discusses developments within the Podcasting 2.0 movement and it still holds the title of the most supported podcast on Fountain of all time. Expect incredibly dialled messaging on why and how to support the show as well as catchy audio jingles that give listeners a cue to Boost throughout each episode.
Your listeners can choose to stream or boost from any podcast app that supports Value for Value. Podcasters recommend Fountain because is available on both iOS and Android and we make it easy for those who don't own any Bitcoin yet to start supporting. Listeners will earn sats just by listening to your show and can choose to send them to you. All they need to do is download Fountain Podcasts in the App Store or Google Play store and create an account.
Here are a few ways you can direct your listeners to Fountain:
• Mention Fountain in each episode of your podcast
• Include a link to listen on Fountain in your show notes
• Share a link to listen on Fountain when promoting a new episode
• Add a Listen on Fountain button to your website or newsletter
5. Read and respond to Boosts from your supporters
Some of the most supported podcasts on Fountain have a regular segment in their show where they read out the top Boosts. This is a great strategy on multiple levels. It enables your audience to participate in the show and join the conversation, which is great for community building. It compels your listeners to send more interesting comments (and send more sats). When this regular feature starts to build momentum, it also creates a sense of FOMO with your regular listeners urges them to get involved. Reading out Boosts is also an opportunity for you to regularly remind listeners why they should support the show and how they can get started. It's also a good practice to respond to some of your comments in the app as it tells your audience that you are active.
Rabbit Hole Recap is a weekly news show with a loyal following amongst Bitcoiners and is one of the most supported shows on Fountain. At the end of each episode, Marty and Matt spend five or ten minutes reading out the top boost messages on the last episode, calling out their user name, the amount they sent and the comment. At the end of the segment, they mention their favourite apps for supporting the show with and explain how to top up your wallet.
6. Create clips on Fountain (or ask your listeners to)
Clips are a great way of sharing the most valuable moments in podcasts with other listeners. When you create a clip, users who follow you will see it in their activity feed. You can also share your clips as a video, which are great for promoting new episodes on your social media pages.
When your listeners create a clip from your podcast, other users can like the clip and send them sats. Because your audience have a financial incentive to share your podcast with other listeners, they effectively become your marketing department. This is groundbreaking for podcasters - now your listeners can help you get more listeners.
If someone is discovering you or your show for the first time, they can preview your podcast without needing to listen to a full episode. All clips from your show can be found in the clips tab on your show page in Fountain. All the clips you create will be visible on your profile.
7. Stream sats to your listeners with Fountain Promotions
Fountain Promotions allow you to pay listeners to sample your content. This is a unique way of growing the reach of your podcast and getting new subscribers. On Fountain you can promote a clip from your podcast, an episode or the show (which automatically promotes your most recent episode). Your promotion will appear on the homepage of the app until your budget runs out.
Cole McCormick wants to be known as "the guy that has streamed the most sats to listeners" This might sound like an extreme strategy, but it's a tried and tested technique. YouTube stars like Mr Beast have built massive audiences by giving away money and the same is happening now in podcasting. Cole's experiment will see him invest regularly Fountain Promotions for a full year - and it's already paying off. His show, America +, was one of the 10 most played shows on Fountain in July 2022 and many of his new listeners have stuck around and become regular supporters.
Value for Value is still early and there's lots of opportunity for innovation. Podcasters are pushing the limits of possibility with how they are adopting Value for Value in their own unique way. Here are a few examples.
Use your splits to donate money to a good cause
Some podcasters don'y employ the Value for Value model as a means of generating income for themselves and instead they are choosing to give away the money their podcast generates to support causes of projects which they care passionately about.
Geyser is a global crowdfunding platform that helps Bitcoin builders and creators to fund their ideas. In The Geyser Podcast, hosts Mick and Stelios interview the project founders and listeners are able to donate from Value for Value apps and send sats directly to their node.
Reward your biggest supporters
Giving back to your most engaged listeners lets them know exactly how much their support means to you and makes them feel extra special. Done in the right way, rewarding your supporters can also be a great way to incentivise higher quality engagement and higher value donations.
Before Kevin records an interview with a guest, he will ask his listeners to submit questions by going to his show (or any of his episodes) on Fountain and sending a Boost. The best question will be put to his guest and the listener that submitted it will be added to the episode splits.
9. Look at the data
As you start experimenting with Value for Value, looking for insights and patterns in the data will help you identify what's working and what's not. If you've claimed your show on Fountain, just go to your wallet and press Podcast Income to go to your show page and see your stats.
Whatever answer the data gives you, it's important to ask yourself how the results could be attributed to what you're doing. For example, if one episode got significantly more more support than the others, why could that be? Was it something you said about Value for Value? Was it the guest that you had on? Or was it due to the number of times the episode was clipped?
Here are some questions that you can start with:
• What percentage of your audience are listening on Fountain?
• Is your income increasing over time?
• How many listeners are supporting you?
• Do you supporters prefer to stream sats or boost?
• Which episodes are getting the most support?
• What feedback are you getting from listeners?
10. Be patient
As many podcasters will already know, patience is key. If you've worked your way through this list and put some of these tips into action, don't expect to see results overnight. Try to be consistent. Commit to doing what you can manage and sustain it over a period of time.
Kyrin Down has a podcast dedicated to analysing how Value for Value podcasts are applying this new model to build unbreakable relationships with audiences. If you're looking for inspiration or new ideas, look no further.
If you have any resources or ideas you wish to share with us for inclusion in The Fountain Guide to Value for Value, we would love to hear from you. If you have more questions about how to get started, please say hello and schedule a meeting with our team.