How To Create a Membership Platform For Your Biggest Fans
Subscription-based video streaming is a massive, multi-billion dollar annual revenue generator predicted to reach $96 billion by 2025. This $100 billion number isn't the only mind melting stat. As a youtube creator, video is your bread and butter… and capitalizing on subscription membership is the future of creator independence and business growth.
If you've looked into current membership platforms, but you haven't found one that fits yet; it’s time to think about creating your own. As a youtube creator, you’re already sitting on a video catalog for your audience that only wants more! You want to maximize subscriptions in a cost-effective and meaningful way, start by building your own custom membership channel. There are a number of platform options on the market, and we encourage you to check out what’s out there if you haven't already.
At Special.tv, we streamline the technical process of building a membership channel. Our creators don't need to worry about any of the technical headaches of design, customization, marketing, or crafting an engaging experience. The steps below also originate in our easy, and step by step onboarding process, yet you can apply the following to several platforms. Special.tv provides one of the best membership options out of any platform, and Variety Magazine agrees.
Keeping it easy is always our intention. We work with and launch creator membership channels around the world. We represent diverse content verticals to have a community of independent creators and passionate audiences. We empower the creation and exchange of meaningful content through membership! We call this a network effect.
So let's get started by launching your own subscription membership channel.
Step One: Establish a Brand & Manage First Impressions
First impressions make a big difference and affect your audience’s experience! Lean into your unique identity to present your content on your membership channel. We recommend taking your existing brand and creating different (but similar) paid content for your community. Often we see creators add terms like “Uncut,” “Club,” “Plus,” or “Network” to the title of their membership channel! This establishes a tone that audiences respond to, and desire to be a part of.
Step Two: Introduce Yourself & Create a Pitch for Your Channel
When your fans first land on your membership channel; create a short and sweet, yet impactful introductory video. Offer that first look at who you are and what your membership channel represents to your audience. It's also the first watchable piece of content channel visitors see. A good introduction video captures a user and defines what value they’ll get by subscribing. From early access videos, bonus content, private community, ad-free viewing, and subscriber giveaways. Your likelihood to convert new subscribers to your membership channels will be greater with an introductory video! That’s big.
The details of each intro video will vary by brand, essence, and content. Make sure you can answer the questions: "Why should users subscribe?" and "What can they expect by subscribing?" and “how often will they get new content?” It’ll move your membership platform in a positive direction.
Things to consider for an intro video pitching your membership channel:
- Who are you? An individual, a studio, a network of creators? What do you make? Why do you make it? Will seeing and interacting with more of YOU be impactful? What about snippets of your content in a reel or teaser video?
- Why are you on Special.tv, and what is your channel all about? (Hint: Special.tv is a membership platform designed for video creators and their audiences. 90% of every subscription dollar goes directly to creators helping them bring more meaningful content to life.)
- What can audience members expect from a subscription, and how often will they get it?
- What is the value of subscribing to your channel on Special? (Said , why not follow your Instagram only?) Think hard about this one—it ties directly to your creative vision and business goals. Your value proposition could be offering premium content with a cinematic experience -- without ads or algorithms -- on Special.tv. Maybe it's early bird access, exclusive content, giveaways, community discussions, or all of the above?
- What empowers you to make more content and bring your biggest fans in closer to you?
Anticipate and answer questions before a potential subscriber has an opportunity to ask. Set your expectations for the what, where, when, and most importantly, the why of your membership channel. Indicate your future value and goals with your membership, and seek to communicate this through your intro video. We also recommend crafting a succinct description of this same story and value on your about page for those that might want to read more!
A few other tidbits worth mentioning...
If you have social media or other content destinations, clarify the value of your content as presented on Special.tv and how it's different. Also, make it known if you are providing exclusive or specific types of content. Heck, maybe tell your audience why you chose Special.tv and how we benefit the subscriber (e.g., subscription money lets you make more content they love, be independent, and push your creativity in new directions!). You know your audience, and you will have a sense of what resonates best with them. If not, experiment and give it a try!
BE. YOUR. AUTHENTIC. SELF.
This is what makes you special (see what we did there?!). Your uniqueness gets people to subscribe. Viewers show up for YOU. Let your personality flag fly. So be quirky, be raw, and be honest. Be YOU. More often than not, your biggest fans want to experience more of your personality and support what you do!
Step Three: Choose a Channel Structure & Dress It Up with Quality Imagery
On Special.tv, "properties" are how you structure your content. We'll use that term for ease of understanding here. The property you select then determines how content displays on your channel, how it gets viewed, and what content displays as "up next."
There are three types of properties on Special.tv: features, series, and shows. A feature contains only one piece of content (for example: a short film, a feature film, a special event, a documentary)). Series and shows contain multiple videos organized as episodes. Series' episodes go from 1-2-3-4 (like the Squid Games) and shows display from most recently added on down: 4-3-2-1 (like a podcast). When a video gets uploaded, organize into one of the three property types to showcase an easy to navigate subscription channel!
And here's where imagery comes into play. High-quality imagery and content thumbnails matter, but also make sure those images do not become repetitive. These are pieces that add to each video as a subtle way to engage users and they help users navigate while defining a channel's brand.
Here are a few quick notes on thumbnail strategy! When it comes to thumbnails and overall image choices, your channel isn't YouTube. Users chose to arrive at YOUR branded channel, so there's no need for a desperate draw of attention to all manner of different content. Your content is at its own center stage and enhanced by your branding, channel structure, and imagery. Premium video should never be clickbait, and here, it doesn't need to be.
On Special.tv, viewers engage with your content catalog, one that never serves them advertisements or recommendations for other creators. This way, your content thumbnails remain surrounded by your other video thumbnails. All is specific to the uniquely branded experience you want to cultivate. Small but mighty thumbnails present content through an engaging, branded interface will ultimately lead to higher subscriber acquisition and retention.
Step Four: Market & Promote the Work
We'll be honest here. The topic of marketing for creators can be covered in-depth through several articles—and we work 1:1 with each of our creators to plan marketing strategies unique to their content, vision, and membership goals. Your focus is to solidifying your brand and optimize your user experience for subscriber conversion--as Special.tv does 98% of the heavy lifting.
Okay, you cut a channel intro video, added some design and imagery to your channel, you've started uploading your bonus content and interacting in your channel community. Now comes the fun part! Time to tell the world - and we’ll help spread the word too.
Your first marketing move is make sure your channel offers excellent content. Let everyone know that your channel has arrived and the party has started.
Some quick steps:
1. Drop hints to your audience before you tell them what you’re working on, and even do that before your channel is live.
2. Cut some trailers that you can share across social media and YouTube with a link in the description or bio to tell people to check out your channel.
3. Offer a meaningful discount on annual subscriptions to the first 100 annual subscribers!
4. Launch a never before seen video and tell people to subscribe to your channel.
5. Reply every comment during the first 30 days!
Let Special.tv Be Your Guide
We’re here to help you every step of the way! We provide a one-on-one support rep to work with you on planning and strategy on how to monetize your subscription membership platform.