Is Membership Right For My Audience?

Written by
Sam Lucas
 on 
November 30, 2021

As you, a YouTube creator, gain traction, build your audience and start to brainstorm new ways to expand your business, there are many paths to take. In recent years, membership has become a primary means for creators to earn more money from their content and audience. But, membership isn’t right for everyone. In this article we’ll break down a few questions to ask yourself to determine if membership is right for you!

As with any business opportunity, a creator should always put their audience first. Without your audience, not much is possible. We live and breathe to create great content for an audience that loves what we do. The last thing we want to do is jeopardize our trusted relationship with our audience!

To start, we see creators follow a consistent business model during their growth trajectory. Creators post their first video on YouTube. This may not be your best video ever, might have only received 25 views or might have gone viral, but this is usually where it starts. Over time a creator perfects their craft and defines their content-audience fit. You have found your niche, your genre, your audience, your workflow and things are coming together. At this point, you’re earning YouTube adsense, albeit small paychecks… but things are clicking. Most creators earn $4 per 1,000 views. Your channel may have 100 - 10,000 subscribers at this stage.

Once your audience size sees consistent growth, viewer engagement is increasing, and you have strong momentum, brands may start reaching out to do paid partnerships or brand integrations with you. Their company, or products likely align or share similar traits with that of your YouTube channel’s audience! The more aligned a product can be with your audience the better! Brand sponsorship deals can range in price, but most creators earn an average of $12 per 1,000 views. As Adsense revenue kicks in, and you’ve started to get more frequent brand deals, now you are on your path to full time content creation as a business and career! In this stage, you may be close to, or quitting your day job, growing a team, and increasing the production quality of your content! Your channel may have 10,000 - 100,000 subscribers at this stage.

Now you’ve established yourself on YouTube. Your audience is tuning in to your newest video each week, engaging in your comment section, and building a virtual relationship with you. They want more. You have created a website, expanded your audience to other social media channels, and established your brand! Creators in this stage begin to give their audience something to “buy in to.” Whether that is a title or association of being your fan… or merchandise that they can buy, they are a part of your club! Airrack calls his subscribers the “mafia” and sells merchandise for them to show their support and belonging to his "mafia". HugeFlyFisherman has coined his “I suck at fly fishing” motto and has cultivated an audience that loves his humor! HugeFlyFisherman sells stickers and hats with his catch phrase - and this merchandise has spread globally!

Give your audience empowerment and belonging. Give them an identity! At this stage of global merchandise sales, you may have 25k to 1million subscribers, but you can begin empowering your audience day 1!

Next comes membership. You’re a full time content creator, you have a large engaged audience, your brand is established across YouTube and other social media channels. You’ve created a collective of your audience that identifies with your brand and mission. Now is the time to launch a membership website to further offer your biggest fans more value and more opportunities to engage.

Membership should be an extension of your content business and an extension of your YouTube channel. It can serve as a "bottom of funnel" approach to better know your audience, and further monetize your content!

Through membership, a creator can gain detailed analytics and control over their audience that was not available to them on free social media platforms like YouTube. Membership enables a creator to earn revenue based on the value you set for yourself, and not arbitrary values that are in flux. Membership enables creators to become independent from having deliverables and deadlines for other brands.  Membership enables you to create content and ideas in a safe place free of ads and algorithms, where you can deviate from your tailored for YouTube strategy and create content experiments or show your audience a different side of you!

With membership on Special.tv, creators keep 90% of every dollar earned putting more money in your pocket to create more meaningful content and experiences for your audience. We recommend that creators in this stage have at least 25k YouTube subscribers as you can expect to convert 1% of your audience to a paid membership. These are your biggest fans!

Now, what things might you want to consider before taking the leap? You’ll want to make sure you are ready to commit. Your audience needs to trust that you are creating more value for them, the lifeblood of your business. You want to be sure that you can keep up with your content schedule on both YouTube and on your membership site!

You also need to know that going independent and building a membership revenue stream to your content business won’t be an overnight success. It will take time and persistence, but we see creators convert 1% of their audience to a paid membership of $5 - $10/ month in the first 30 days and grow to converting 2% in the first 6 months. The possibilities are limitless and can become your core driver and sustainability of business and revenue growth!

There has never been a better time to get started - get early access now! Special.tv is a membership platform built purposely for YouTube creators and their biggest fans!

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