New + updated
- Understanding Memberships, Subscriptions, and Paywalls
- Strategizing A Membership Program or Subscription Plan
- Step 2: Think about how can you deliver value.
- Tools to Set Up Tech For Your Program
- Carrot for Creators is the ultimate tool to build and share curated collections to connect with audiences and offer value-based content to subscribers!
Being a creator requires one to be entrepreneurial as well as having a whole lot of grit and determination. It’s hard work to conceptualize, create and churn out content that keeps audiences engaged every day. In order to make this one’s viable full-time job, you have to find a way to monetize. Common streams of revenue include advertising, sponsorships, affiliate sales, and creating/selling courses. Of late, another option is becoming popular – subscription and membership programs. These offer the creator a recurring revenue to bring some sense of stability to their income.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the revenue models of memberships, paywalls, and subscriptions as successful options for creators.
Understanding Memberships, Subscriptions, and Paywalls
There are subtle differences between them, but these variations aren’t as important as knowing how to use each avenue best for your business.
Becoming a member of certain programs gives viewers advantageous benefits. For instance, they get exclusive access to certain content or to an online (or in-person) community. Creators can host events just for members or offer specialized professional services. Some even offer branded products that would be attractive to members of their community.
In lieu of a strong membership program, many creators offer subscription services for some of their products. For example, a newsletter or a magazine. With a subscription model, creators are able to enjoy the advantage of a recurring mode of payment for a certain content or product, or even a service. Subscription models can also be used as part of a membership program.
You may have encountered paywalls on research platforms, news-related websites, or even on online streaming platforms. They allow you to have a certain amount of access to different payment scales. After you use up the number of free articles you can read or episodes you can watch for free, you’ll be asked to pay a membership or subscription fee. Once you are an official member or subscriber, you’ll be asked to sign in to access the content. If you use your own website to send out your content, a paywall will be useful.
There’s no single way blueprint that creators need to follow for a successful revenue program. It all depends on what you have the ability to offer and what your viewers need.
Strategizing A Membership Program or Subscription Plan
Step 1: Create value for your audience
The first thing you should ask yourself is, how you can create value for your target audience. You may have already developed a persona of your target audience (if you haven’t, it’s a good idea to do this now). Think about what this target audience needs.
- Start with figuring out the areas they may have difficulties in and what they are looking for. It also helps to know where they consume content from.
- You could also ask your audience what they need and devise a strategy in response to their answers.
Step 2: Think about how can you deliver value.
Once you’ve pinpointed what your audience needs and how you can resolve the situation, you can think about ways to deliver this to them.
A. Through content and community
What kind of content can you include in your subscription/membership plan? Your content, in the form of videos, podcasts, or downloadable information, can be made available only to a set of your audience.
If it would be advantageous for your audience to connect with one another, creating an opportunity for networking is a good idea. You can build a community where everyone benefits.
B. Decide on a channel
The technical aspect of how you will deliver the content and benefits that we’ve outlined above. Will you be creating a community on Instagram? On Facebook? Slack? or another platform? Figure out a channel through which you will be distributing content to your audience. You could even choose more than one channel.
For instance, offering audiences curated lists and collections is a valuable method of engagement with members. Creators often use Carrot to share their collections with their members while also using other platforms like Instagram for their daily content.
What’s the difference between members and subscribers?
Membership programs usually offer the community a variety of benefits, including a community to connect with. Subscribers are usually just paying for access to a specific form of content like a newsletter, videos, or articles. The payment mechanism in both these cases is ‘subscriptions.’
C. Pricing Tiers
The most straightforward way is to have one fee that gives members/subscribers access to the content you want to share. This is simplest for you. But having tiered pricing could make your content more accessible to some of your audience. It makes things more complex for you to ensure that each level of subscribers is receiving value, and it may need a special technical stack.
Tools to Set Up Tech For Your Program
- Website: A professional, branded presence with a functional online website is a credit to your business. A website also helps you drive sales and outline your membership programs or subscription models. It’s a space that’s safe from the social media algorithm.
- Payment gateway: A payment processor like Gumroad can be integrated with your website so you can accept payments from members.
- Subscription platform for online content creators: A platform that’s embedded with a paywall can be used to design your whole membership strategy. Whether your content is podcast or articles, you can set it up to have certain pages only accessible to members.