Could a membership program work for you? A quick checklist

If you have a dedicated community and you regularly produce content your community loves you for, then the short answer is: yes, the membership model will work for you.

But even if you’re just in the planning stage of starting your own blog, newsletter, podcast or vlog: it’s still a good time to make memberships part of your business plan. Membership strategies are an increasingly viable way to make money from independent media projects long-term. They ensure you’ll have the means to keep growing sustainably.

Here is a set of questions you can ask yourself to decide whether memberships are right for your project:

Is my community big enough to offer memberships?

At Steady, we’ve found that at least five percent of your community is ready and willing to support you, if you make signing up easy and offer an appealing membership plan. Thankfully, five percent is all you need to build a successful membership program. 

Measuring the size of your community will help you estimate your potential membership earnings. Your community includes all the people who follow your project: podcast subscribers, more irregular readers or listeners, social media followers and newsletter subscribers.

Picture of the cast of The Pod, a gaming podcast successful with a membership program.
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.

Can I reach my revenue goal by going community-funded?

The average monthly membership payment on Steady is 5,25 euros. So if it’s your goal to earn €500 per month, you should gather around 100 paying members.

If you know the size of your community, you’ll be able to estimate your membership revenue. Check out our handy calculator.

What will I be able to do with the income from my membership program?

Earning regular income could help you 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 in your pitch, 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?

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 your members’ support, 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 program 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.

Ready, Steady?

Join our free Membership Crash Course to learn everything you need to know about starting your own membership program.

After you sign up, we will send you a weekly email to help you understand and successfully use memberships. You can unsubscribe from the mailing list at any time. Your data will be used exclusively in accordance with our privacy policy. The company Autopilot (data protection declaration) takes care of sending the e-mails.

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