Video Monetization

Unlock Revenue: Sell Premium Content Like a Pro Using Memberships

By Elise Dopson
10 Min Read
Image of a man recording premium content to sell for his video membership business.

For most creators, the transition from free content to selling content can be a scary leap. 

Fear of rejection often creeps in when asking for money. You’ve spent a long time building trust with your audience and you don’t have how they’ll feel about it.  

In reality, there are several reasons why people pay for content, from convenience to supporting their favorite creators. 

And if you’re focused on growing your creator business premium content is the best way forward. It helps you build a profitable revenue stream, improve growth and stability, and strengthen relationships with your super fans.

This guide shares how to create, package, and sell premium content online. 

What is premium content?

Premium content is an extra valuable resource that’s kept behind a paywall. Also known as gated content, premium content goes above and beyond free content to provide extra value to your audience. 

Examples of this type of content include:

Premium content doesn’t always have to be a one-off product. You can house it inside a membership to deliver extra value to your audience and generate consistent revenue.

I think paid content is something that goes in-depth, provides real value and can be used over and over again. If it’s something that’s directly helped me earn more money in some way, that’s premium content.

Kaleigh Moore, freelance writer and creator of the Editor/Content Manager Template Bundle
A screenshot of editor/content manager template bundled as premium content.

Free content is where creators gain traction, build brand awareness, and get leads. It’s the top of their funnel (like any online business). Premium content, however, is a digital product that happens to be content. Customers get better quality content when they buy it—however you package it. 

Premium content offers advantages like:

The components of premium content

Something isn’t just premium because you called it that or because you’re charging (more) for it. At some point, you need to offer something that differentiates your free content from your premium content.

The best differentiation, we’ve found, is exclusivity and community—which together make a strong membership.

There are three main components of premium content:

  1. Exclusive: Customers can’t find it elsewhere.
  2. High-quality: The format—be that video or text—is more enjoyable to consume. 
  3. Useful: It’s more practical or in-depth than free content.

Jimmy Daly tries to strike this balance when deciding whether content should be free vs. paid for his content marketing community, Superpath.

The biggest difference is the format,” Jimmy says. “Text content is mostly free, and other stuff is mostly paid. Our paid content is a lot of presentations, video interviews, checklists, templates, etc. There are a handful of blog posts, but 90% of that stuff ends up on the blog for free.

Jimmy Daly, Superpath

Stuck for where to start? Steal Jimmy’s technique when deciding whether to make your content a paid resource. If you spend time creating a high-quality video, checklist, or template it’s probably worth charging for. 

A membership is the best way to sell premium content

Premium content is great for making one-off sales. But memberships give predictable, recurring revenue for your creator business—while also offering greater support to your audience.

Signature TV takes this approach. It has a huge variety of premium videos that teach people how to apply their makeup like a professional makeup artist.

Creators break down each stage of the makeup process in a different video. While people could get value from its Perfect Skin or Contour Trick masterclasses, a membership packages all of these premium resources (and more) into a monthly subscription.

Signature TV’s audience get more value from its membership content—without them having to purchase individual resources. They get access to masterclasses that teach people how to master each stage of the makeup application process, rather than one or two. 

A screenshot of Signature TV's premium content for online makeup classes.

Treat premium content use as an incentive for people to join your membership. You’ll not only generate more consistent revenue, but build a stronger community around your pro resources.

How to sell premium content online

From finding your idea to making your first sale, let’s walk through the process of selling premium content. 

Understand your audience

Premium content exists to better serve your audience and add another revenue stream to your creator business. 

A thorough understanding of your audience ensures both of these goals are met.

Ask your audience what they’d be most interested in purchasing. Your online community (such as your Facebook Group) is the perfect place to facilitate these conversions. You could also reach out via email for one-to-one conversations.

I wish I had known to research my audience more before starting out because it was tough to gain an audience when I didn’t even know who they were.

Charlie DeZube, creator of ChatGPT Mastery

Solving emotional or painful triggers will help you produce content people will pay for, and build your marketing strategy. With this information, you can craft campaigns that speak to your audience and stand out in the sea of social media content.

Choose a content format

Once you know the topics that your audience want to digest, you need to choose the best format. Do your audience prefer eBooks over podcasts? Would they rather watch a live stream than read a large piece of text-based content?

Whichever format you choose, it needs to be mobile-friendly as some 60% of internet users access content through a smartphone. Uscreen offers native TV and mobile apps to make content easily accessible to customers wherever they prefer to consume content.

An image shows various premium content distribution channels ranging from web, iOS, Android to Roku, Apple TV.

Decide on a price point

Pricing a premium resource is tricky. Make your product too expensive and you could alienate your audience…but sell yourself short and you leave money on the table. 

Go back to audience research and decide which pricing model your audience will connect with:

  • One-off pricing: a one-time, flat fee for lifetime access to your private content.
  • Tiered pricing: several paywalls that grant different levels of access. (For example, selling a $59 live stream with the option to upgrade and get a workbook for $69.)
  • Subscription pricing: a one-time fee charged each month to retain access. 

Look at other premium content competing for your audience’s attention. What do they charge?

Dom Kent, author of The Autonomous Freelancer, says: “I do look at competing products, but that doesn’t mean I match or try to undercut them. I use this for validation that what I’m creating has the right price point.”

You can also offer a discount to get your first few sales. If you run a community, for example, give your audience a percentage discount as a reward for their loyalty. 

Alternatively, an early bird discount for people who buy premium content within the first 24 hours creates urgency. And this type of time-sensitive deal can increase sales by as much as 332%.

Package your premium content

You’ve got your idea, in a format your audience will like, at a price point that feels good. 

Next, choose a platform that allows you to:

  • Host your premium content
  • Customize your template
  • Encourage community or conversation
  • Add a paywall and process payments using a variety of payment options (including subscription plans, if you’re taking the membership route)—without extortionate fees 
  • View reports and track analytics 
  • Keep customer information secure  

A WordPress site is not the best option for most creator businesses. You’ll need expensive WordPress plugins and design know-how. And, unlike Uscreen, WordPress isn’t built for creator businesses to sell premium content online.

Uscreen was the only platform we found that includes a billing system, subscription engine, video hosting, and delivery all in one platform.

Sassy Gregson-Williams, Naturally Sassy 

For each premium resource you create, design a landing page on your membership site for people to learn more about the paid product. To optimize this landing page you should:

  • Write engaging headlines that use emotional triggers and appeal to pain points
  • Use several calls to action throughout the page, such as “Get access today”
  • Add social proof, including reviews, testimonials, and influencer endorsements

Practice With Clara, for example, has a long list of testimonials—people who’ve enrolled in her online yoga classes and community – and want to share their positive experiences with others.

A screenshot of a premium community built for Practice With Clara yoga classes.

5 tips to monetize premium content

Now that you know the steps to create your premium offer, let’s explore how you can spread the word—and most importantly, sell your paid resources.

1. Create a marketing strategy

The more people who see your premium content, the more chances you have to make sales. However, the key here is the quality of your website visitors rather than the quantity. So targeted website traffic is essential to a premium content marketing strategy

Here’s what that means in practical terms: show your landing page to people most likely to get value from your premium resource.

How do you do this? 

  • Optimize the landing page for SEO to target people searching for the content you offer
  • Share it with your audience on social media, by adding the link to your Instagram bio and promoting it through Stories 
  • Create a series of blog posts around related topics that tease your premium content, and make sure to save the “juiciest” bits behind a paywall 
  • Create email marketing funnels that start with a pop-up to opt in and continue with regular promotion emails 
  • Invest into ads (if you have the budget) that target your audience persona.

2. Offer premium content within a membership

The subscription business model works by repeatedly charging customers to access your premium content. 

Your creator business benefits from recurring payments because sales compound over time. This consistent income means you have time to work on more products without the financial stress as your previous content generates regular income for you.

The secret to pivoting people from one-time payers into repeat customers is to give people a reason to sign up. 

A membership can feel like a long-term commitment. However, if there’s a low-commitment membership level where customers believe they’ll get more value from the subscription option, there’s a good chance they’ll sign up. 

We take this approach at the community I co-founded, Peak Freelance. An All Access membership grants access to templates, swipe files, and masterclasses. They can all be bought standalone or with a monthly subscription – and most people go for the premium plan.

A screenshot of Peak Freelancee's all access membership to multiple premium content assets.

3. Encourage previous customers to share your premium content

Once you’ve made your first few sales, reach out to people and ask for their feedback. If they enjoyed the content and found it useful, use their words on your sales page to help others connect with their story.

Get it Done uses this approach with its landing page. Seeing testimonials from other happs clients helps potential customers who are on the fence.

A screenshot of a customer testimonial for a premium content business.

Identified loyal fans willing to share their positive experiences with your content? Take this one step further and invite them to your referral program.

A referral program incentivizes people to refer a friend in exchange for a reward—such as a discount on their next purchase or another premium resource for free. This keeps money within your creator business and empowers your most loyal customers to become brand advocates.

4. Use premium content as an upsell

It’s infinitely easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one. And the statistics prove it: some 44% of a business’ revenue comes from existing customers.

Take your monetization strategy to the next level and use premium content to upsell existing customers. 

If you sell online courses, for example, offer premium content—such as cheat sheets or workbooks—at a small additional cost. Or with a membership model, you can give fans the chance to add-on a live stream where you brainstorm solutions to their problems together. 

Upselling is a win-win for everyone involved. You increase revenue per customer and the customer gets even more value from your business.

5. Track analytics and check-in with customers

Premium content is just one step in your journey to deliver value to your audience. Gather information on how they interact with your content, such as:

  • Qualitative data: how your customers think and feel. What did they like? What was missing? How would they improve your offer? Why did they buy your premium product?
  • Quantitative data: numerical data, including metrics like landing page conversion rate, customer satisfaction score, repeat customer rate, checkout rate, and audience retention.

Use these insights to fine-tune your premium content and marketing strategy. 

Let’s put that into practice and say 65% of people who paid for live stream access watched the video until the end. You reached out to the viewers who exited midway through to ask why. Most said they were kinesthetic learners—people who learn by doing.

Using that feedback, you could host mini activities in the live stream for people to implement the techniques you’re teaching. This helps you give that group of customers exactly what they need and happy customers stick around. 

Premium content FAQs

What is an example of premium content?

A live stream is an example of premium content. Content creators can host live streams that teach people how to do something and hide the video behind a paywall.

How do I create premium content?

1. Identify your audience 
2. Choose a content format
3. Decide on a price point
4. Package your premium content

What is the meaning of premium content?

Premium content is a paid product hidden behind a paywall. It can take many formats—live stream, eBooks, and courses included. The biggest difference between premium and free content is the extra value it gives to customers.