You can access the audio version of this article and much more with the membership.
No membership, no problem
Membership is the most popular way to set up a revenue stream for a community. However, not everyone is comfortable of adding membership to their stack. For number of reasons:
- more workload to cater to the paid members,
- hard to market - why your community not the product right around the corner,
- selling community as product is hard.
But there's light in the tunnel. Sometimes taking the sponsorships route is much easier.
So where to get started with sponsorships? I'd suggest to understand the points of contact in your industry. Continuing the example of podcasting community.
Where are people interacting in podcasting industry? A few ideas off the top of my head:
- finding guests for interviews
- finding co-hosts for interviews
- finding sponsors for podcast advertising
Each of those points of contacts can be monetized. Example
Poddit is a place to find a guest for the podcast (and vice versa) and also the team is managing a community for podcasters in Facebook.
You don't need to create a whole software to start it. Airtable base on Flurly can be totally enough.
Okay, let's do membership!
If you are open to add memberships then it's very simple. All you need to understand is how to productize your community. Which sometimes it's easier to say then do. To do this understand what's the product inside your community. Taking podcasting community as example, it can be:
- educational program for podcasters
- exclusive deals for podcasting tools
- pool of sponsors for advertising
Each of this can be packaged as a product (with one time payment or recurring payments).
Charge one-time payments for - one time access to the product (1 edition of your educational program, 10 tool deals from 100 tools, etc).
Recurring payments for - up to date access to the product.
I'm a fan of this model. Having a free and paid community at the same time. Keeping the community open to the general public while having a specific paid version.
Why is this great:
- you are not limiting your growth with paywall,
- you let the members get the taste of the community before upgrading.
A great way of organizing this is to have a mastermind group in your community. In the case of podcasting community it can be a paid channel with masterminds for:
- growing the podcast
- finding sponsors
- adding other mediums (blog, Youtube)
Of course this are not all the ways you can monetize your community. However, those are the easiest and most popular ways to kickstart the monetization.
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