How do I create a preview of a paid podcast episode for free listeners?

If your podcast episode is intended for paid subscribers, you can add a customized version of the audio to your post so that free listeners can listen to a preview.

On your Writer dashboard, select "New episode".

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After uploading an audio file, select the three gray dots and click on "Add free version".

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When prompted, upload a customized version of your audio file or record your own audio. You can let your free listeners know that this is a paid episode and to hear more, they can upgrade to a paid subscription. 

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After the free version of the audio has been uploaded, you can listen to the audio for paid subscribers or the audio for free listeners. Paid subscribers will only be presented with the original audio that you first uploaded to the post.

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Once you're ready to make your post live, select Publish and ensure on your Publish page that the audience for the post is set to "Paid subscribers only".

If you've selected to send the post via email and the Substack app inbox, check the box next to "Send a preview to free subscribers".

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How does my podcast episode look like to listeners?

On podcast players:

Since only paid subscribers can listen to paid episodes via their private RSS feed (except for Spotify who doesn't allow private RSS feeds), free listeners can click on an episode that has a free preview and listen to the customized version you've uploaded.

In the show notes, we'll let them know that they're listening to a free preview of a paid episode and link to your Substack publication.

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Note: The title that appears on the podcast episode is what you've entered as the title of your post.

In an email newsletter:

When free listeners receive your email newsletter, they'll be able to click on "Listen to preview" and be sent to the web version of your post on a new browser. They'll also see part of your episode details and then be prompted to become a paying subscriber in order to listen to the complete episode.

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On the Substack app:

Free listeners can tap on a post and listen to a free preview of the podcast episode directly on the Substack app. If they'd like to upgrade their subscription to become a paid subscriber, they can do so on the web version of Substack.com.

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