The Rules of Membership Content (Break These at Your Own Risk)

“A training roadmap to guide you”.

That’s part of the promise of WishList Member. We’re not just gonna hand you software and say “good luck” like so many software companies do. We know our software is a means to an end — and we’re going to help you reach that end: recurring revenue.

Part of that is your approach to content creation. As you can probably imagine… with over 109,000 membership sites being powered by WishList Member, we’ve picked up a thing or two on content creation — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In this article, we’ll cover the rules of membership content. These are non-negotiables when it comes to creating content for a membership site — and the major difference between membership sites that grow and those that fall flat and die. Let’s jump in!

Rule #1: Less Is More

The infamous Frank Kern.

Known as one of the top online marketers in the space, millions earned online, infallible… right?

By his own admission, he made this mistake.

He’s talked about this on his podcast, but several years back he launched a (now defunct) monthly newsletter, Mass Control Monthly. To gin up sales, he offered a huge bribe to get people to join a free trial of the newsletter. And, it worked. He had several thousand people sign up for the trial and he was stoked. As he said, even if just half of the people became paying members, he was going to be making several hundred thousand per month.

As it turned out, the trial tanked.

The conversion rate on trials to paying members was abysmal.

Wondering what happened, he paid the even more infamous, Dan Kennedy, $10,000+ to ask for advice and find out what happened. Dan’s advice?

Less is more… essentially.

He told Frank he’d overwhelmed the people on the trial with too much information. Think of it this way… You might love pizza. But, if someone gives you 1,000 pizzas… after the 30th one, you’re not gonna want to see a pizza for six months.

The truth we’ve uncovered after working with so many membership site owners is there’s a balance between too little and too much content. Too little and people will feel cheated and cancel. Too much and they’ll feel overwhelmed and cancel. Either way, they cancel.

Most membership site owners product too much content (or plant to). Remember, your members have lives. Kids, school, sports, PTA meetings, running their own business, and so on. The trick is giving them the *right* information that makes the difference.

Which leads nicely into…

Rule #2: Results Is King

A simple thought experiment will demonstrate this…

Imagine you have two buttons in front of you. Both buttons promise the same thing: press the button and you’ll be taught how to make a million dollars.

Now, put aside your normal skepticism here. I know it’s silly, but just assume you know that pressing each button will, indeed, teach you what you need to know to get that cool million. But, pressing the first button will teach you these million-dollar secrets in 60 minutes. And, pressing the second button will teach you these million-dollar secrets in 30 minutes.

Which would you choose?

Virtually everyone will press the second button.

Why spend 60 minutes learning what I can in 30… IF I’m getting the same result?

That’s the point here.

People don’t want more information, they want more results. Information is simply a means to that end. So, don’t think: “How can I create more content so my members think my membership is valuable?” That doesn’t work.

Instead, think: “How can I get my members more results so they’ll never want to cancel?”

That completely changes the way you think about your content.

And, to be blunt, having worked with some of the biggest membership sites on the web, we can tell you unequivocally… this is how the most successful membership site owners think about it.

The most results in the least amount of time. That’s what you’re after.

Rule #3: Entertainment Matters

Think teachers.

You’ve probably heard the criticism: “Teachers should be paid more”.

Of course, we agree… but it begs the question, “Why aren’t they?” If education is as important as we all believe it is, why don’t we pay teachers more? Especially, when we pay entertainers (musicians, actors, athletes, comedians, etc) millions.

Of course, there are a lot of cynical theories, but I think it’s simpler than that.

We value entertainment over education.

That is, we “say” we value education most, but our actions betray us. As a general rule, the average person spends way more on entertainment than they do education. When’s the last time you said to a friend, “Hey, let’s catch the lecture on 19th century history at the theatre tonight!”

Haha. Yeah right.

But, the latest Marvel or Star Wars movie? Pfft. Get the light saber and face paint because this is happening!

Ultimately, the point is this… like it or not, you need to make your content entertaining. Now, that doesn’t mean jumping around like a court jester and being inauthentic. There are lots of ways to be entertaining. An angry rant can be entertaining. Some people love movies that scare the daylights out of them. Fear, anger, sadness, love, inspiration… all these things are entertaining to us.

We’ll talk about this more later, but for now… just know, the more entertaining your content is, the more your members will engage with it, the more they’ll learn, the more they’ll act, the more results they’ll get, and the more they’ll love YOU for providing all this to them.

So to recap…

  1. Don’t try to overwhelm your members with content… they’ll cancel.
  2. Focus on helping your members get results.
  3. Make it fun and entertaining.

Do those three things and you’ll be in good shape.

Up next, we’ll talk about how to create your content “silos” — the first step in creating your overall Content Strategy. By the time you’re done with this series, you’ll have a full year’s worth of content planned and ready to create — and the content part of your membership site… handled.

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