If you have a dedicated community and you regularly produce content your community loves you for, then the short answer is: yes, memberships will work for you.
And if you’re still at the stage of wondering how to start your own blog, newsletter, podcast or vlog, then it’s still a good time to make memberships part of your business plan. Memberships are an increasingly viable way to make money from independent media projects long-term, as they ensure you’ll have the means to keep growing sustainably.
Here is a set of questions you can ask yourself to help gauge your publication’s suitability for memberships:
How big is my community?
At Steady, we’ve found that at least five percent of your community is ready and willing to support you, if you make it nice and easy and offer an appealing membership plan. And five percent is all you need to build a successful membership programme.
Measuring the size of your community will help you estimate your potential membership earnings. Your community includes all the people who follow your project: subscribers, irregular readers or listeners, social media followers and newsletter subscribers.
German gaming podcast The Pod has been a runaway success on Steady, earning more than €17,000 EUR from memberships each month. This has allowed them to produce more than 20 podcasts each month, pay their team of five and work free from advertising, something that was always important to them.
What is my revenue goal?
The average monthly membership payment on Steady is 5 euros. So if it’s your goal to earn €500 per month from memberships, you will need to gather 100 paying members.
If you know the size of your community, you’ll be able to estimate what you could earn with memberships. Check out our handy calculator.
What will I be able to do with this income?
Earning regular income could help you to save up for better equipment (microphones, cameras, recorders), or hire additional team members, like a graphic designer to spruce up your brand. Make sure to mention your goal when you talk about your membership programme, so your community can get on board and support you to reach it.
Some publishers earn enough via memberships to be able to increase their content output, offering exclusive members-only episodes of their podcasts, or paywalled articles that are only accessible to members. Steady offers a customisable Audio RSS Feed for podcasters and a paywall integration for blogs and online magazines, for this exact purpose.
How can I entice potential members? What can I offer them?
In our experience, offering benefits – like exclusive content, merchandise or personal shout-outs – can be a great way to entice potential members, but they’re not always necessary.
Our research shows that the key motivation for becoming a member isn’t extra rewards, but the opportunity to support the longevity of a project you care about. In fact, 37% of Steady's top 50 publishers don’t offer any additional benefits. Their community simply wants to support them and anything extra is a bonus.
But if you are keen to offer something in return for membership payments, there are many great options that don’t involve a lot of extra work. Read more about benefit strategies and what you can offer your members.
On Steady, you can also offer a range of membership plans at varied price points, each with their own set of benefits, if you wish.
What are you waiting for?
Launching your membership programme doesn’t need to be a lot of work. Using a membership platform like Steady means the technology and payment processing are taken care of, leaving you more time to do what you love.
If you have your own website, Steady can help make it even easier to recruit members with website integrations like Adblock Detection (which prompts users to become paying members) and an easy checkout process that keeps users where you want them – on your website, not somebody else’s.
Steady offers a broad range of currencies, including British Pound, US Dollar and EUR, plus a number of other European currencies, meaning your members pay what it says on the box and there are no surprises later.