Although we live in a world where we expect everything on the Internet to be free, the publishing industry is slowly transitioning to a paid subscription model.
According to a report published by McKinsey & Company, the subscription business model has doubled over the past five years, and has become one of the biggest trend in the ecommerce world. That same model can also apply to content, and many businesses are taking advantage of it. According to the Digital International Corporation, by 2020, the global spend on digital media will reach $3.5 trillion. Even more, by 2020, the consumer spending on online media is expected to grow by 12.6% compared to 2015.
With this in mind, you may start to wonder if you should begin charging subscribers for premium content. Not only are some of the top media houses taking this approach—like the New York Times and the Washington Post—but so are some niche blogs, like Inman (real estate news and insight) and the Blog Marketing Academy. Here’s what you need to know about starting a subscription service for your blog:
Know When to Charge
If you’re a new blogger, or have a recently launched a website, now is likely not a good time to start charging people. Free content has clear benefits for your business, so it’s important for you to understand when’s the best time to transition to paid content.
When you’re a fresh brand, free content can help you grow your reputation with the online world. But if you already have a reliable, quantifiable audience, then it may be time for you to start charging. You’ll know when it’s time to start charging when your audience grows, and you find yourself spending a great dealing of time building quality content that users cannot find anywhere else.
Write High-Quality With Value
People will pay for information if they believe it will be of value to them. For this reason, it’s crucial that you write high quality content that’s infused with value. In many cases, this includes original reporting with reliable sources.
With this in mind, you might have first-hand knowledge of how to do something that the reader especially wants to learn. For example, if you were an affiliate marketer, you might charge people to show them exactly how you became successful, and provide concrete examples in the process (like screenshots of your own dashboard and revenue). If you plan on charging for content, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you providing the reader with information that can make a difference in their life?
- Are you offering content that they can’t find for free elsewhere?
- Does your content save them money in the long-run?
- Is the information difficult for them to acquire in other places?
Get Your Website Ready
You can’t charge for premium content if your website doesn’t look premium. You should invest in a theme that’s well-designed and has a layout and customization capabilities that take your business to the next level. Fortunately, each WordPress theme is very easy to install, so you don’t have to worry about the complications of building and launching from scratch.
Some themes even come equipped with premium subscriber widgets that make it easy for you to block your premium content and provide visitors with an easy overview of the benefits of subscription. Take a look at these WordPress membership plugins to keep your platform secure if your theme doesn’t come with its own.
Take Advantage of Influencers
Influencer marketing allows you the ability to leverage the reputation and brand of other influential people in your industry. Think of each influencer as your own personal “brand ambassador.” Today, influencer marketing the cost-efficient, highly effective alternative to the traditional celebrity endorsement. The truth is, influencers have a much more powerful effect than many realize.
A study conducted by ExpertVoice found that micro influencers were able to achieve 22.2x higher conversions than macro influencers (influencers with an exceptionally large social presence). The study also found that 82% of consumers said they were very likely to take action based on a recommendation from a micro influencer.
With these numbers in mind, you can work with an influencer to help promote your blog, and draw more attention to your content to help popularize it. As more people are influenced by the concept that you provide premium content, more users will opt to subscribe.