Does your association have a super smart and strategic content strategy? Time to move beyond simply providing valuable content for members. To take your content strategy to the next level, start finding ways to monetize the valuable content you’re already creating. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! We’ve pulled together a quick and easy framework to guide your thinking to introduce a monetized content strategy with ease and efficiency.

Start with free content

It’s important to note that your members are already paying top dollar to access your organization, so we don’t recommend introducing new paid content structures for your members. Doing so will likely result in resentment or feeling like your association is penny pinching to squeeze every last dollar out of the members you’re serving. Not good. Instead, approach paid content as a way in for new audiences. 

Any solid paid content strategy begins with valuable free content. Start by consistently producing free, non-gated career content that’s accessible to anyone who may be interested.  This will lead to a higher likelihood of bringing these unpaid users into the folds of your sales funnel. Once they fall in love with your unpaid content, they’ll be more likely to sign up to join your email lists or interact with your organization in a more robust way. Eventually, once your value is proven they’ll likely purchase monetized content. Ultimately, the ideal new members for your  community will convert. Be sure that every free content piece has a call to action to provide the viewer a way to get more involved. Maybe it’s a call to join your free email list or sign up for a conference or session, or maybe it’s a simple call to interact with other pieces that are thematically similar. 

Introduce a selection of paid pieces

Once you’ve built a solid bank of free, valuable content, start creating some pieces that are so valuable that they are worthy of paid access. Start by creating a list of what your organization can lend expert viewpoints on. Then create a list of the top concerns of your community. Your initial paid content list exists at the intersection of these two brainstorms. Topics where you know your teams can lend valuable, expert advice and leave a lasting impact on your audience are ripe to succeed with a paid content strategy.

Experiment with content types

Once you have your topics, think about formats. Think beyond your typical white papers or research report downloads (though these are valuable content types too!). Think about content types that are new and cutting edge in the digital age. These pieces are much more likely to have success with modern users. A few ideas for great paid content types might be webinars, interactive career tools or resources, robust infographics and digital learning modules. 

Balance free vs. paid content

Your paid pieces should still include some element of free access to pique interest. Maybe it’s an executive summary or a free teaser video for a webinar or learning module. This free piece must include enough value to get the user interested, but not so much that they feel like they’ve learned all the need to learn without paying to access the full feature. Most importantly, it must be abundantly clear how to access the paid piece after they’ve finished interacting with the free section. Think about tactics like eye catching popups or large  buttons to show the user exactly what to do if they want to buy. 

Gate your paid content

One important element of creating paid content is gating your content pieces so they can’t be easily shared. It is a common tactic to sell a license meant to be shared by teams at one price point, and a viewership meant for individuals at another price point. As a savvy content creator, you’ll want to make sure your paid content can’t be shared to unpaid users. A great way to assure your content is only seen by paid users is by protecting your paid content with a password. 

Insert clear calls to action

Just like with unpaid pieces, make sure each and every paid content piece contains a clear and easy call to action to help users get more involved with your organization. Paid users are more serious and intentional users; these are the people you want to join your membership community! For these paid pieces, you can be a little more liberal with pointed, more involved requests like “become a member” or “sign up for our conference.” 

Promote, promote, promote!

Once your pieces are published, you can't expect your ideal users to just stumble across them. Create an actionable multi-channel promotional plan for each and every piece to ensure its success. Think about proven tactics like paid promotion on LinkedIn and building a schedule for  promotion across unpaid channels.

Start with these easy steps and you’ll have a paid content strategy up and running before you know it. For more ideas on how to generate revenue outside of member dues, be sure to read this piece. Diversifying revenue models will help secure your association’s future in a modern world marked by digital transformation and disruption. 

To hear more about new digital transformation strategies, join us in December at the digitalNow conference.