What content should you include in your online membership?
Offering online membership is great for building a community and making money from your valuable content, but how do you choose which content should go inside your membership, and which you should continue sharing publicly? In this video, we’ll share some ideas for membership content and help you determine a membership content strategy that works for you. Let’s get into it.
If you’re already sharing public content to build an audience, it can be difficult to determine which content you should start charging for through online membership. The guidance we’ll share in this video will give you some ideas for additional content, but may also help you figure out a way to offer even more value with the content you’re already making.
To start out, let’s talk about how public or free content can work with paid or membership content.
There are many different ways to market your online membership site, but one of the best ways is through public content you’re already creating. Many membership site owners use their free content as a way of teasing the value in their membership content. If your audience is benefiting from your free content and you can convince them that there’s even more value waiting for them in your membership content, they are uniquely primed to buy.
The value they’ve gotten from your free content is evidence of what they can expect from your paid content, and if they’ve been consuming your free content for long enough, you’ve likely gained some affinity with them. Or in other words, they know, like, and trust you.
Let’s talk about a few of the ways you can use content you’re already producing as an in-road to your online membership without having to make extra content.
If you’ve already produced hundreds of pieces of content, you can put them “into the vault,” so to speak, and offer access to your archive as a part of your membership. This doesn’t require producing any additional content and can still provide tons of value to your members. And you don’t have to do this with all of your past content as long as you offer enough value in your archive to make it worthwhile for your members.
With this method, you can share a curated collection or playlist of content you’ve already created while still keeping the individual pieces of content public. This can work really well if you’ve produced several pieces of content around a specific theme and can group that content together to help your members accomplish a specific goal.
For example, if you teach video production and over the years you’ve made dozens of videos about how to set up lighting, you could group those videos together in a collection and offer it to your members as a curated guide to professional video lighting.
Part of the value here is the information itself, but it’s also the convenience of having all of the information in one place and assembled in a way that makes it easier to follow.
If you produce your content on a schedule, rather than make it public right away, you can share your content first with your online members. Having early access to content can be a great incentive, especially if your content is about current events or timely topics.
This method has you producing the same content but just shifting how and when you release it. For example, you could write an article that you share as a membership post, then a week later send it to your newsletter subscribers, and then the week after that publish it on your blog. It’s one piece of content, but you’ve incentivized subscribing to your newsletter or joining your membership by offering early access.
If you produce videos or podcasts, one of the ways you can offer a unique experience and provide early access is through live recordings. A members-only live stream can be an attractive benefit, especially if there’s an interactive element like a live chat or opportunities to “call in”.
This does require a bit of extra setup, and it may take time to get used to delivering your content with a live audience, but your members will love it.
A different format
Another way you can use existing content to offer something unique to your members is to provide an alternative or multiple formats. A great example of this is a live video recording of your podcast. You can continue sharing your podcast publicly, but let the camera roll as you’re recording and let your audience know they can watch a live video version if they join your membership. Other combinations work too, like a free blog that you record yourself reading as a members-only podcast or public weekly videos that you also offer as written versions for your members.
Even though it can be a bit more work to produce the same content in a different medium, your members can get a lot of value from having alternative options for consuming your valuable content.
We’re going to shift gears a bit and talk about some ideas for membership content you can offer alongside or in addition to the free content you’re already creating.
Behind the scenes
With content marketing, we often try to share the most polished version of our content as possible. But there’s a lot of value in seeing the process behind the curtain.
For example, let’s say you teach yoga and produce weekly videos with new yoga flows. Your online members might be really interested in your process for choosing your movements and building your flow from week to week.
If you’re someone who blogs daily about productivity, your members might enjoy hearing about how you manage your time to be able to write an article every day.
Some designers and developers even live-stream their design or development process and offer commentary on the decisions that go into the finished product.
While it does require you to document more of your process, behind-the-scenes content can be an attractive benefit for your members.
If you write, film live videos, or record podcasts, you likely end your writing or recording session with more content than will go into the finished product. Even if you feel like what you’ve edited out is unnecessary, your members might really enjoy the long-form version.
This is kind of a funny example, but take Zach Snyder’s cut of Justice League. The original theatrical release was 120 minutes, which is the standard length for most blockbuster films. After fans petitioned for a director’s cut, director Zach Snyder released a new version of the film that was 4 hours long.
Regardless of what you thought of the film or whether or not you watched it, there was a percentage of fans that loved the longer version because of the additional content and context. Your members will value long-form versions of your content for the same reason.
You could also go the route of creating long-form versions purposefully to create membership content. If you record a podcast, for example, you could stay on the mic for a bit after the main show and go into a bit more depth on your topic. If you make videos, you could keep the camera rolling and share some additional thoughts or relevant stories.
You can use this to sell your audience on your online membership by letting them know there’s an extra part of the show they get to watch or listen to if they join.
Finally, I’ll share a couple of ideas for content or benefits not based on existing content that you can offer exclusively to your members.
More access to you
If you have the availability, it could be worth it to offer more access to you through your membership. You could do this through an interactive live stream like I mentioned earlier, group calls where you meet with a handful of members and offer your guidance, or even one-on-one consulting with individual members. Just remember that your time and energy are valuable, so be sure to reflect that in your price. The more access someone has to your time and energy, the more they should be willing to pay.
Access to other members
Depending on the theme of your membership, access to other members could be a huge incentive. For example, let’s say you run an online membership for online business owners. You could facilitate community and encourage your members to meet with one another, share successes and struggles, and learn from one another. While they get a lot of value from you, there’s a lot of value they could be getting by interacting and growing with one another.
Hopefully, these ideas help you get a sense of what content you can continue giving away for free and what you should include inside your online membership.