If you’re an online membership site owner, you probably already know that it can be challenging to decide which content should be free vs paid. In other words, should the new piece of content be another blog post on your site or should you include it as part of your membership course?
Generally speaking, shorter content usually means that it’s less detailed and visitors will not be willing to pay for it. Paid content should provide more value to learners.
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In this article, we’ll go over some ways that can help you decide which content on your membership site should be free and which content should be paid for.
Ways that you can decide which content should be free vs paid
Here are some points to consider when you’re unsure about which content should be free vs paid on your membership site.
#1. Does your content help solve people’s problems?
When considering if content should be free vs paid, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What does your content do for your audience?
- Does it help solve their problems?
- What problems does your content solve?
- Can members solve their problems by not subscribing to your membership program?
Answering these questions will give you a clearer image of the value your content delivers. If your content is related to the main problem your audience faces, it will be more valuable to learners. In this case, you should consider making it a part of your paid membership program.
However, if members can find similar solutions on the internet for free, your membership content will not be much appreciated. People will not be willing to pay for something that they can find on the internet completely free of cost.
Your membership content is a key part of your membership site. Ideally, your content should provide solutions to the audience’s problems and help solve the problems your membership program focuses on. This not only helps provide more value to members but also motivates members to renew their monthly subscriptions again and again.
#2. Consider how important your content is for your members
Considering how important your membership is for your audience is important for deciding if you should charge for your content or provide it for free. If your content provides a solution to a problem that benefits your members, you need to charge for it.
If your content helps provide a solution to a problem that can help save your members a lot of additional money then you need to charge for it accordingly. But if your membership content doesn’t impact your audience in any way, charging a fee for it makes no sense.
For instance, you can create a blog post about “10 great ideas for cutting down business costs”. This kind of content may be valuable to your members as it can help them keep their business costs to a minimum. If they see value in your content solutions, they’ll be ready to pay each month again and again whether they save $5 or $500.
Your membership content should have a positive impact on your members and help them fix their problems quickly. This way, it’s easier for you to charge for your membership content as your audience will find your content valuable and worth paying for.
#3. Types of content to create for your membership site
Depending on the type of content you create, you can offer it as free content or paid content on your membership site. It’s crucial to consider the type of content as some content types may provide more value than others.
Let’s look at different types of content you can offer on your membership site as paid content:
- Membership courses. Your membership course is the main “asset” you have in terms of valuable content. This provides solutions in a more detailed and professional way which makes it reasonable for members to pay a monthly subscription fee to access it. Membership courses cover the main topics of your membership program, helping learners solve their problems along the way. Since your membership courses are hard to produce, charging a monthly fee for it makes sense.
- Pre-recorded video courses. You can pre-record video courses and cover topics that are off-topic from your membership site or provide a more detailed solution to a problem. This way, you can offer premium video courses and charge a subscription fee for having access to high-quality, training videos.
- In-depth blog posts for members only. You can also provide in-depth articles that cover topics related to your membership program or related to your audience’s problems. These detailed blog posts can be offered to people who’ve subscribed to your membership program. Since they provide more value than a normal article and people can’t find anything the same on the internet, they will be willing to pay for the premium content.
Similarly, let’s go over the types of content you may want to offer as free content on your membership site:
- Free downloadable content. Offering free downloadable content is a great way to encourage people to see the value in your membership program. Such content can be leftover content from previous membership courses or something that you may have created in your free time. Instead of charging for it, you can exchange it for the user’s email address to build your list.
- Checklists can be offered to members as free content on your membership site. You can provide a checklist of “Important topics that you don’t want to miss” or “Are you ready to launch your own restaurant?” This way, your audience can keep up with ongoing topics or keep track of their progress on your membership site. Checklists can be provided to members free of cost as it can be a great way to incentivize members to consume more of your content.
- Worksheets are perfect for letting members test their newly learned knowledge and revise the topics they covered in your membership program. This way, you enhance the learning experience by providing additional material they can go through to test their knowledge and understanding of the topic.
Differentiating between free vs paid content is important when you’re considering what to put a price on. The more value your content provides, the easier it makes it for you to charge a fee for that content on your membership site.
#4. Consider how comprehensive your membership is
A great way to decide if the content is valuable or not is by considering how comprehensive the content is. If you’ve written a 500-800 word blog post about a generic topic, charging a fee for it would be ridiculous. On the other hand, if it’s a longer blog post that’s around 3000 words, covers basic problems in finer detail, and offers a complete solution for your members, you should offer it as paid content on your membership site.
If your content includes lengthy posts on different topics such as tutorials, business topics covered in lectures, or presentations, charging a monthly subscription fee is a great idea. But if you’re creating and posting 2-5 minute lectures or reads on your membership site, charging for them won’t work.
The level of comprehensiveness of the content and the work you put in determines how much value your membership content will provide to your members, so charge accordingly.
#5. Is your membership content fully exclusive?
If you offer membership content that is exclusive to only your brand, you should charge a fee for the content. This is because members won’t be able to get quality content anywhere for free so they’ll be ready to pay for it on your membership site.
The level of exclusivity of the membership content is important for deciding if your content should be offered for free or not. Exclusive content should only be available for members to consume through your membership site. This way, it’s easier to charge for it and it’s also a great way to provide unique content.
Offering unique, exclusive content helps enforce branding on your work and motivates members to subscribe to your membership program to access the exclusive content.
#6. Is your content tailored towards your audience?
Your content should be tailored for your audience or the people you want to offer your membership content to. Content suited towards your audience will have a higher chance to attract paying members since people will be willing to buy solutions that are tailored towards them.
But if you’re offering the same generic content as most membership sites in your niche, try offering the content for free. People will be inclined to just get it for free from you than paying for it at a different membership site. This way, you can focus on producing premium content that delivers more value to learners.
When deciding between which content should be free vs paid, you should consider your brand and the unique content you can create. If members can find the same content elsewhere for free, or for a lower price, it might not be a great idea to charge money for it.
What are some ways that help you decide which content on your membership site should be free vs paid? Let us know in the comments section below.