Members join for the content, but they stay for the community.
While anecdotal, this trend can often be observed in memberships of all shapes and sizes.
However while the community aspect of most memberships is the glue that holds things together, that certainly doesn’t mean you can slouch when it comes to creating content.
Your membership content might consist of:
- Live training
- Mastermind Q&A calls
- Member perks
- Tools and software
- Action plans
- Member only interviews
Or, more likely, a combination of several of the above.
People join your membership because they have a goal they want to achieve; an outcome they want to realise – and it’s your content that’s going to get them there.
But with so many plates to spin running a membership website, it’s easy to settle for “good enough” when it comes to creating that content.
In this article we’re going to look at why it’s important to focus on improving your content, as well as give you some examples and steps to start this process within your own membership.
What do we mean by “improving” content?
When we mention improving your membership content, we’re referring not only to the new content you’re creating for your site; but also to enhancing any existing content you already have.
It essentially comes down to putting more thought and effort into making your content richer, more useful and more likely to get the results your members joined for.
Our overall aim is to create content which is:
- Higher quality
- More accessible
- More effective
Focusing on these three core areas in enhancing existing content as well as changing your approach to creating new content leads to a wide range of benefits for your membership.
The benefits of improving your membership content
- Differentiate your offering – by providing richer content, you stand out from “me too” memberships which are all offering the same sort of thing as each other.
- Provide increased value – your members will value higher quality content far more than content which is simply adequate
- A more polished, comprehensive and cohesive user experience – better, more accessible content makes for a far smoother and enjoyable member journey
- Cater to different learning styles – these will vary amongst your members, so investing time in enhancing your membership content across different mediums and formats will help members learn more effectively
- Increased engagement and consumption – high quality, accessible and compelling content will hook members in more and increase how many people actually consume what you create; and higher engagement leads to greater retention
- Improved results for your members – if your improved content helps increase the chance members will get a positive outcome, they’ll reward you with their loyalty.
- Stay up to date and relevant – doubling-down on your commitment to better content should include spending time refreshing and updating any content which is out of date; keeping your membership on the cutting edge of your market.
- Less pressure to create new content – we know how important it is to “feed the beast” in terms of providing updates and content to members; however a revamp of an existing piece of content can sometimes be even better than releasing something new.
Ideas for how to improve your membership content
Update or refresh something that has gone out of date
If your membership is centered around a technical topic, or involves tools and software that are continuously evolving then chances are that the content you create will regularly go out of date.
If the changes have been minimal then you can improve your content and ensure it stays timely simply by providing an ‘addendum’ – an additional lesson in a course, for example, which covers the specific changes that have occurred since publication.
However at some point the majority of this content may be rendered useless by how out of date it is, in which case re-creating it either entirely from scratch, or just the parts which are outdated, enables you to re-release this as a fresh piece of content updated for the current day.
Provide additional formats
People learn in different ways.
Some are very visual and work better with video or rich media; others learn better when listening to audio; while others do best with plain old text.
To this end your content can be made vastly more valuable to your entire member base through the addition of multiple formats.
So if you’ve recorded a video course, strip out the audio and make that available for download.
Then go a step further and have the audio transcribed too using a service such as Rev.com.
Create worksheets and activities to accompany these and you end up with a comprehensive set of options to better cater to multiple styles.
People join your membership because they have a goal they want to achieve – and it’s your content that’s going to get them there.
Maintain a list of related resources
Where possible, providing a list of regularly updated related resources for a course, tutorial or other piece of content is a great way of enabling members to either round out what they’ve learned or to take it further.
These resources may be related content within your own membership, or even links to other people’s content too.
The simple act of curating this content on behalf of your members provides added convenience and value to them.
Enable discussion of specific content
This is where the power of your community comes into play, when you connect it up to your content.
Doing so enables discussion to take place, so members can ask questions, clarify anything they’re unsure of, and compare notes and progress with other members.
If you have a discussion forum, consider creating a dedicated section or even individual dedicated threads for your membership content.
Not using a forum? Consider running a Facebook group for this purpose, or even just enable WordPress comments so members can post questions.
Conduct a survey
One of the biggest benefits of running a membership is that you have a built-in focus group; so it makes sense that you’d tap into that resource and base ideas for new content on feedback from your existing members.
If you’re not surveying members and asking them what they want, then you should be!
For that matter, you should also survey non-members and ex-members too; naturally you’d be asking them different questions (i.e. “What content would make you join?” or “What content would have made you stay?”) but the purpose is the same – to identify which topics, challenges and problems your audience want you to tackle within your membership content.
If you have a forum or Facebook group, you could keep it simple post up a question for people to respond to; or if you want to go further you can set up more in-depth surveys using services such as SurveyMonkey.com
Spend time organizing your content
This may seem like such an obvious thing, but it's an area often overlooked within membership sites; particularly those with a large amount of varied types of content.
There's a real risk of overwhelming your members if your content isn't well organized and easy to navigate.
You could have the best content in the world but it would be all for nothing if it's just too much for your members to wade through.
If using WordPress for your membership site, you can make use of its built-in categories and tags to ringfence different topics and content formats.
It's also worth considering creating some sort of ‘index' or ‘roadmap' which gives your members more direction through your content, showing them where to start, where to go next and so on.
This is something we do to great effect within the Membership Academy with our ‘Membership Roadmap' – where we map out the process of planning, building and growing a membership site step by step as a way to direct people to the most relevant content for the particular stage they're at.
Analyse existing free content to inform your paid content
Content marketing is often one of the most effective ways of promoting your membership.
Using free content to sell paid content.
So it stands to reason that you should be taking cues from the free content that most resonates with your audience when it comes to creating new paid content.
Make sure you're on top of your stats in terms of which blogs, podcasts, videos or whatever else you're creating is getting the best interaction, feedback, discussion and social activity.
This is more valuable information than simply looking at traffic, as it's a better indication of what topics and areas will hit the mark with your members.
Pay particular attention to any follow-up questions your audience ask, and look at ways you can answer those and go further within your membership.
Show as well as tell
Keeping in mind what we've said about the fact that people join memberships in order to achieve an outcome, hit a goal or access a solution to a problem – it stands to reason that actually showing people that this is possible and demonstrating how others have taken action is a great way to push your content to the next level and really show the value is has.
Consider adding case studies, or specific examples of practical application of the theories, strategies and tactics you're teaching.
Conduct interviews with success stories – other members who have followed the path you lay out and achieved the result they wanted.
As well as inspiring your members and adding credence to your content, it will motivate them to actively participate, consume and implement your content.
Speaking of which…
Information without action is merely entertainment.
Your members will never hit their goals or solve their problem if they don't take steps to put into place what they're learning from your courses, training sessions and resources.
And as such, they're never fully realising the true value of your membership and, inevitably, they'll leave.
It's in your interest to ensure that your content leads to action.
Provide exercises for members to complete, create worksheets and activities, signpost what their next steps should be and look for ways in which you can hold your members accountable and ensure they're actually implementing rather than just consuming.
What will you do today to improve your membership content?
Improving your membership content doesn't have to be a huge undertaking.
Small changes and improvements over time can make a huge difference.
Choose one thing to focus on this week, that you can start taking action on today.
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