One half of the podcast Murder With My Husband loves true crime. The other half loves to hate it. Payton and Garrett Moreland dove headfirst into podcasting in April 2020. After committing to doing the show for a year and a half, and creating a thriving community of listeners, they expanded their podcast to offer premium content in June 2022. Months after launching their subscription, they’ve been able to grow both their subscriber base and overall listenership.
We spoke to the pair about how going public with a once-forbidden topic in their marriage turned into a full-time job, how they decided to lean into subscriptions, and what’s next for their burgeoning podcast business.
Apple Podcasts: What was your road to podcasting?
Payton: Everywhere we’d go, I’d talk true crime with people. Garrett hated it. Once the pandemic hit and we were home alone all the time, I wanted to start something but didn’t know what that looked like — a YouTube channel, TikTok, whatever it was. Garrett said, “Well, why don’t you start a true crime podcast since you’re always talking about it with people?”
And I told him, “I don’t want do it alone — I don’t know who my co-host would be.” He told me he’d do it. I said to him, “You don’t even talk to me about true crime in real life. Why would you do a podcast with me? You hate true crime.” And he said, “Well, maybe that can be the thing. You love it and I hate it.” After that, we just bought the mics and started recording.
Garrett: Before we started, we said, “If we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it for a year, not missing a week. We’ll reevaluate from there.” So we bought the equipment and started podcasting.
AP: How did you determine what your benchmarks of success would be to continue after your first year?
Payton: At a year we had built a pretty strong core community around the podcast. I won’t say it was large, but it was strong enough and big enough that we decided this is worth it to keep going.
Garrett: Also around the year mark, we decided we need to do something different, something more than just audio. So we bought our first set of cameras, set up a little studio, and started doing the whole video aspect as well. We were making some income, but we were still spending more than bringing in. We saw some videos start to do pretty well and so we were like, “We have to keep running with this while we’re getting this traction. We can’t stop now.”
Payton: It all happened really fast. That initial boom of we were making some money, but we were definitely spending more, to then feeling like, OK, this can be something that’s eventually going to be our full-time jobs. It happened within a two-month span.
AP: What are your biggest hurdles right now?
Garrett: Sometimes we get stuck on constantly needing to do more. More content. More things that are different than other true crime podcasts. But at the end of the day, we gotta stay consistent and true to ourselves.
Payton: The biggest challenge for me is balancing emotional mental health with the business, especially being a husband and wife combo. I always use this terminology: The podcast literally comes to bed with us. It is the thing we talk about all day, every day because we don’t have kids or pets. This is our theme. When you’re doing 12 hours of research learning who these victims are, it can stick with you at night.
Garrett: And I also think just poor reviews or feedback in general. There’s people who love it, but it’s not gonna be everyone’s cup of tea, so we just have to keep going. It’s especially hard for Payton because she puts so much work into the episodes, into the victims stories, and everything. So when you get a bad review, it’s like, “What the heck?”
AP: After a year and a half, you saw success to the point where the show could be your full-time job. How did you decide to expand your podcast business even more and start offering a subscription?
Garrett: When we first started the podcast, we were actually doing two episodes a week. Then we stopped pretty quickly because it’s a lot of content. In the back of our minds, we were thinking if this works, we want to be able to produce bonus content. And if we’re doing two episodes a week now, it’s gonna be really hard when we actually go to produce bonus content.
But then, it got to a point where listeners were just asking us to do extra episodes. And at the same time, we started adding ads. Our fans were like, “What is going on?” So starting a subscription was great — we could say if you pay $9.99 each month, you don’t have to hear any of the ads. Plus, you get all of this bonus content. It was kind of a game changer for us.
Payton: The way podcasters make money is ads, subscriptions, and other content. It’s not actually just those four episodes that listeners are getting every single week. And so, as your business grows or your podcast grows, it has to be profitable. From a creator standpoint, you can’t just keep sacrificing all this time and money unless you have time and money to sacrifice.
AP: How did your audience react to the subscription and how did their feedback inform your content strategy?
Payton: We definitely knew that the listeners would want the podcast to be ad-free. And then when it comes to our bonus episodes, we do two full-length episodes a month for our paid subscribers. We wanted our audience to get their money’s worth. People really enjoy our subscription benefits. We haven’t received any bad feedback.
Garrett: I think a lot of people realize that subscribing isn’t just a way to go ad-free and get bonus episodes, but it’s a way to actually support us. So everyone’s been amazing about it.
Payton: Garrett and I are also very tentative when we ask listeners for money. We’ve been trying to focus on not overwhelming our audience. One week on the show we’ll do something about subscribing, the next week something about merch, and the next week, something else. We try not to announce everything at once, because as a listener it could be a lot.
Apple Podcasts Subscriptions has benefitted Murder With My Husband because if you have that opportunity to give bonus content or give something extra for listeners who are looking for it, all it can do is make your community grow stronger. When you have that option for people to donate or get bonus content and be even more involved in your show, it’s only going to help your show. It’s only gonna make the community stronger, make your content stronger.
AP: So what’s next for Murder With My Husband?
Payton: Our next steps are starting our own network, more shows, and maybe even having other people do shows on our network. Just trying to get an even bigger community of true crime that is very like-minded and move forward as an entity. And to keep building Murder With My Husband.
As far as the true crime side, we finally hit that point where we’re able to donate to nonprofits that are helping within the true crime community. One of our major goals is to make a difference in true crime. So many podcasts are solving cold cases or getting testing funded for cold cases, we want to draw attention to cases that need it.