No matter what kind of website you have, content is king.

However, when it comes to running a membership site, you have to make sure that you’re offering something that justifies the cost of paying for access.

For many membership websites, the challenge is making sure that your content is both exclusive and shareable. You want to have your members enjoy things that are unique to your brand, but you also want to be able to use that material to promote your site to entice new users to subscribe.

Today we’re going to discuss several tips for making your site content valuable enough for your customers so that you can continue earning money with this passive revenue stream.

Join Us
Join Us

Free vs. Paid Membership Sites

Before we get into specific tips, we want to discuss the difference between a paid and free membership.

In either case, your content needs to be valuable, but your goals are slightly different. Yes, you’re trying to earn money in both situations, but with paid memberships, your earnings come from your subscribers. In a free scenario, it’s coming from advertisers.

In both instances, your goal is still to increase the number of subscribers, which is why content is still so vital to your success.

The best way to determine your site’s success is by looking at how engaged your users are on a regular basis.

With free memberships, your impressions and site visits matter because advertisers want to make sure that their ads are reaching a wide audience. With paid memberships, people who aren’t engaged are much more likely to cancel quickly, which can dry up your revenue stream.

Great Content
Great Content

Types of Membership Content

Unlike a traditional blog or website, your content is going to be formatted a little differently. With a blog, you’re writing a bunch of different text posts (augmented with pictures and video), which you want to share with new visitors.

With a membership site, however, you can’t just have an article or post that can be shared anywhere. Instead, you want to create content that is exclusive to members and offers more than what they could find somewhere else.

Some examples of membership content include:

Live Webinars

Downloadable Worksheets or Files

Video Clips (Streaming or Download)

Community Engagement (i.e., Q&A or forums)


Let’s break down the different options and how you can make them more engaging to your users.

Live Content – Webinars, Interviews, Behind the Scenes Access

The great thing about live content is that it creates a sense of urgency for members. Because they have to log on at a particular time to see what’s going on, it’s much better than having an archive of clips that can be browsed at your leisure.

That being said, archiving your live content is still a good idea, but you want to have a delay between when you went live and when it’s accessible as a download. If the content is available immediately afterward, then it cheapens the impact of “going live.”

When you have live content like a webinar or on-site interview, you want to make sure to hype it up to your members, as well as promote it on various marketing channels to increase subscribers. Also, consider how well you can broadcast the content, as no one wants to see something if it has a ton of lags and buffering issues.


Download from Web
Download from Web

One of the most common elements of any membership site (free or paid) is downloadable content.

These pieces can be worksheets, videos, or other things that you’ve created that will add value to your site.

E-Learning courses are a perfect example of downloadable content that will keep users engaged.

Because they’re trying to learn a new skill or subject, making these courses available will ensure that your audience stays engaged.

When it comes to downloads, you want to be strategic in how you offer it. Sometimes, people will sign up specifically to access these materials (i.e., for e-learning courses).

In other cases, the content may be a bonus aspect of the site.

Streaming Services

Live Streaming
Live Streaming

Sites like Netflix have so many paying subscribers because they have a ton of content available online. Streaming has quickly overtaken traditional methods of consuming videos and movies, which is why it can be an integral part of your site experience.

For example, if you have an archive of live interviews or webinars, you can maintain the integrity of your membership model by having each clip available only for streaming (not download). This way, you can ensure that people won’t simply download the content they want and then cancel immediately afterward. Imagine if Netflix allowed people to download and keep the movies they watch – subscribership would drop significantly.

Bottom Line – What Do Your Users Want?

While these tips can help you ensure that you’re producing the right kind of content for your site, the fact is that you have to make it desirable for your members.

A live webinar on a topic that subscribers don’t care about won’t make any impact on your engagement, which means that it could be a waste of time.

Getting feedback from users and listening to them is an excellent way to ensure that you’re making the right choices for your site.

This is why community engagement and online forums can be so helpful since they can give you insight into what they need and want the most.

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