As a dedicated YouTube creator, it can be difficult keeping revenue regular and steady. Find out how membership sites can help.
Whether creating videos is your main profession or a side hustle, having stability when it comes to revenue is always comforting. You can earn money on YouTube, making your creative passion a lucrative endeavour. The main way creators make money on the platform is through ad revenue.
By joining the YouTube Partner Programme, you can receive revenue based on views and clicks of the ads displayed on your videos. In order to join, you must first meet some requirements. This includes:
- Having more than 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months
- Over 1000 subscribers
- Have a linked AdSense account
It can be difficult to rely on this revenue alone, however. The amount can be unpredictable, making it hard to plan for the future. A smart way to bolster your earnings and gain a bit more foresight is through memberships.
YouTube Channel Memberships
As a YouTube creator you have two options: YouTube memberships or membership sites. There is actually a third option of third-party membership sites like Patreon, but shh!
YouTube offers an in-platform membership programme, with which you can reward your fans perks in exchange for extra earnings. This is perfect if you’re someone who feels at home on YouTube, and doesn’t necessarily want to increase their workload.
With a YouTube channel membership, members gets perks like custom emojis, exclusive access to live chats, and additional content. Creators can choose how much they charge for memberships, ranging from $1 to $50.
There are a number of limitations to sticking with YouTube channel memberships, though. From a creator’s perspective, the lack of freedom and control can be off-putting. This is a very different story with separate membership sites.
Of course, with any situation in life, there are pros and cons to running your own membership site. It being right for you depends on how much work you want to put in, how much certain things matter to you, and how serious you are about turning content creation into your business.
Here are all the perks and positives – for a creator – of setting up your own dedicated membership site. This list isn’t exhaustive and, depending on how you do things, there could be many more pros!
Own Your Audience
On YouTube, you don’t actually own your audience. You don’t have their email addresses or direct contact. If something happened to YouTube, or you were deplatformed for some reason, you would lose your audience completely.
A membership site means you build an email list, so own your audience. That also means there are wider marketing opportunities available to you.
Lots of experienced creators have their own branding and style. Membership sites allow you to show this off, and create a personalised experience for your audience. On YouTube, the only branding you can really display if your channel photo and video thumbnails.
Better Growth Opportunities
YouTube creators can keep an eye on their analytics in order to help their channel grow. However, if you are a whole business that offers other services and products, membership sites offer better growth potential.
Utilising third party tools lets you create more advanced marketing strategies, increasing traffic, memberships, and sales (if that’s something you’re offering).
Control Your Business
Maybe you create videos to promote your freelance project or clothing brand. Using membership sites allows you to take more control over your business, and move it beyond video content alone. Although YouTube recently integrated Shopify into the platform, a third party site offers more freedom.
Retain More Revenue
YouTube keeps 30% of earnings made through channel memberships. Twitch retains a whopping 50%. If you want to offer lower pricing options and get more people through the door, a membership site will let you do this. When you take control, you could keep up to 95% of revenue made through memberships. This leads nicely onto the next point…
Decide on Monetisation Options
You choose how you monetise your memberships. Depending on the kind of content you offer, and the niche you operate in, different systems will work for you.
You could offer a one-time payment, which is perfect for online courses, or you could offer tiered options to make things more accessible. The choice is yours.
It wouldn’t be fair to only list the positives of having your own membership site. There are some drawbacks, however it all depends on your perspective and who you are.
Creating More Content
Usually, a big perk of becoming a member of a content creator’s community is seeing exclusive content. You might be an educator, entertainer, service, or simply an inspiration – people get value from your content and want to see more of it (especially if they’re paying for it!).
Though you may love making videos, you might be busy running other aspects of your business. Having to create content that’s additional to your published YouTube videos might seem like far too much work for you.
Learning New Software
YouTube is helpful in that it offers everything on the platform, ready for you to use. Having your own membership site could mean you need to learn how to build a website, or work with new software. In a world where time is money, again, this may not be an attractive proposition.
YouTube’s relatively easy to digest analytics are a little different to a deep dive into Google Analytics. Coming off platform for memberships means you have a website to grow. That involves having a marketing strategy, which could sound daunting.
If you have limited marketing and SEO experience, you may be in for a steep learning curve. Although, marketing skills are incredibly useful – potentially vital in this digital age – if you’re running a business of any sort.
You can see from the list above that there are far more pros than cons, when it comes to having a membership site. The important thing to note is that some of these pros or cons might carry a lot more weight regarding your personal situation.
Time is precious, meaning a personalised membership site might not be a practical fit right now. Other creators may value ownership of their audience more highly than anything else. In this case, taking matters into their own hands is most assuredly the best option.
You don’t need to be a web designer or developer to create your own membership site, by the way! There are lots of Wix tutorials or Squarespace courses to help you learn how to use website builders. On WordPress, you can use various plugins to create the kind of membership site you want.
If you feel that you have something valuable to offer audiences, membership sites might just be the way to boost your revenue and grow your content creation career!