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When Is Subscription Based Content Really Necessary?

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Scott Monty / Foter / CC BY-NC

If you’re a blogger, entrepreneur, or experienced professional in your niche market, when is it the right time to implement opt-in forms and pop up subscription ads to grow your following base? This question is brought up by a lot of novices, and even people who’ve blogged for a while want to know how to gain an upper hand on competition, or as Gary Vaynerchuck says, they’re looking for the right hook.

Being a follower of entrepreneurs and fellow marketers, how I subscribed to their content were all different. For some, it was through word of mouth and being recommended by friends or family to read articles from people who provided invaluable insight. Others, such as Gary Vaynerchuk, had such great content that they were willing to share without forcing readers to give e-mail addresses. This certainly made a lasting impression, as the quality of their content is what kept me coming back for more, and not because there was exclusive content offered. For the remaining few, I subscribed because there would be no other way to view their full content and insight.

I’m personally a believer in the idea of posting quality content that attracts readers and followers, and with that quality content, those readers voluntarily subscribe. As a reader who is hungry for knowledge, I’m turned off by the pop up opt-in forms, which is one of the reasons why I don’t go subscription based at this point in time with my own blogs. Anyone can add an opt-in form to their site, but very few are able to post content that is valuable to the consumer of that content. It’s one thing to get views, but it’s quite another to have that viewer continuely come back over a period of days, weeks, and months. It’s safe to say that a loyal follower who visits your site every day won’t need a subscription to learn of new content, unless you’re exclusively on YouTube.

Social media has certainly played a role in how people learn about a blogger or entrepreneur, as Facebook and Twitter have become the extended arm of a subscription button. While it’s nice that you have thousands of e-mail addresses on a subscription list, how many of those e-mail subscribers are opening and reading them?

This is why I’m more focused on quality content. The quality of my work is what’s going to drive traffic to my sites and social media accounts, and while I post on WordPress, the subscription tab is always there for people to voluntarily sign up for updates.

In the final analysis, I feel that the people who play the subscription card too much come across as a pushy marketer that consumers can’t stand. If you have insightful and quality content on your sites, you’ll have a more meaningful group of followers who are willing to interact, share, and recommend your content to their friends and family.

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