465: Creating a Subscription Platform for Your Food Blog with Jen Matichuk

Listen to this episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast using the player above or check it out on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

A blue photograph of hands on a laptop with a food photo on the screen (with the photographed recipe on a cutting board to the left of the laptop) and the title of Jen Matichuk's episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Creating a Subscription Platform for Your Food Blog' across the image.

This episode is sponsored by Clariti and Memberful.

Welcome to episode 465 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Jen Matichuk.

Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Jason Norris. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Creating a Subscription Platform for Your Food Blog

Are you tired of brand partnerships or navigating the Google algorithm? Have you ever considered starting a membership for your community? Then you won’t want to miss this podcast episode with Jen Matichuk from Memberful.

And yes, Memberful is a podcast sponsor, but the content of this episode is not sponsored by them! We were just really excited to have an honest conversation about what it looks like to create a membership as a food creator, and how you might go about doing it, and Jen is the perfect person to cover this topic.

In this episode, Bjork and Jen chat about how to determine if a membership is the right option for your business, how to choose a subscription platform, how to predict if a subscription model will be successful for you, how to market content behind a paywall, and more!

A photograph of a woman on a tablet with a quote from Jen Matichuk's episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast, "When you're connecting deeply with your community, at least through membership, you are building a stronger base than you could possibly build just by chasing traffic."

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • More about Jen’s career and how she ended up in her current role at Memberful.
  • The details behind the membership that Jen started with Rhett & Link.
  • The importance of researching and communicating with your audience before creating any new format of digital content.
  • How to choose a membership/subscription platform.
  • The behind-the-scenes of how and why Molly Baz came to start her membership site with Memberful.
  • How to play the numbers game to predict how successful a membership might be for you.
  • How to determine the price point and pricing structure for your membership.
  • How to shift your mindset around marketing a product that you made.
  • How to approach transitioning some of your content behind a paywall.


Thank you to our sponsors!

This episode is sponsored by Clariti and Memberful.

the Clariti logo

Thanks to Clariti for sponsoring this episode!

Sign up for Clariti today to easily organize your blog content for maximum growth and receive access to their limited-time $45 Forever pricing, 50% off your first month, optimization ideas for your site content, and more!

Interested in working with us too? Learn more about our sponsorship opportunities and how to get started here.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

A blue graphic with the Food Blogger Pro logo that reads 'Join the Community!'

Transcript (click to expand):

Bjork Ostrom: This episode is sponsored by Memberful. With Google updates impacting programmatic revenue and uncertainty looming over social media platforms like TikTok, food bloggers and creators need a way to monetize their content and earn sustainable revenue. Look no further than Memberful. Memberful is the best way to sell subscription memberships to your loyal followers and control who has access to your recipes, cooking tutorials, lessons, podcasts, and more.

It’s easy to get your membership business up and running with features like content gating, in-house newsletters, private podcast feeds, and exclusive community spaces. I wish this was around when we started Food Blogger Pro. It would’ve made it so much easier. Plus, you can seamlessly integrate with tools you already use like WordPress, MailChimp, LearnDash, and Discord.

So there’s no need to migrate platforms or change your workflow. And by using Memberful, you’ll have access to a world-class support team ready to help you set up your membership and grow your revenue. They’re passionate about your success, and you’ll always have access to a real human when you need help, which is so critical.

Some of the biggest creators in the culinary scene are already using Memberful to foster community with their audience and monetize their content. And listeners to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast can go to Memberful.com/food to learn more about Memberful’s solutions for food creators and create an account for free. That’s memberful.com/food. Thanks again to Memberful for sponsoring this episode.

Emily Walker: Hey, this is Emily from the Food Blogger Pro team, and you are listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. This week on the podcast, Bjork is chatting with Jen Matichuk from Memberful. In this interview, they’re discussing why and how you might want to create a subscription platform or membership for your community as a food creator.

Just one quick note that while yes, Memberful is a podcast sponsor, this episode is not sponsored by them. We were just really excited to have an honest conversation about membership sites and why they might be a great option for food creators who are getting tired of the Google algorithm changes and would like a different option for monetizing their food blog.

In this episode, Bjork and Jen chat about how to determine if a membership or subscription service is the right option for your business, how you might choose a subscription platform, how to predict if this sort of subscription model would be successful for you, and how to market content behind a paywall when you’ve been previously providing all of your recipes to your community for free. I learned a lot from this podcast episode and know you guys will as well. So I’m just going to let Bjork take it away.

Bjork Ostrom: Jen, welcome to the podcast.

Jen Matichuk: Thank you so much for having me.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. We’re going to be talking about all things membership product, kind of digital product because we’re going to be talking about Memberful. Anybody who listens to the podcast is going to be familiar with Memberful, a podcast sponsor. But we wanted to do a deep dive conversation around all things membership based because there’s been a lot of conversations as long as we’ve been doing this, but really right now. And one of the reasons why is because there’s so many things changing in the world of content and so many things changing around how content is monetized.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I want to hear a little bit about your story. So you’ve been at Memberful for four years and you’ve kind of lived in this world of helping creators and publishers strategize and think creatively around how they can take their passion, the thing that they’ve built a following around and create products or community or how would you even describe it? What is it that you’re helping creators and publishers do, and tell us a little bit about your role?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah, so like you said, I’ve been at Memberful for four and a half years now, going on five, which is kind of crazy, but I wear a lot of hats at the company. I really was brought on to help spread awareness of Memberful existing within the creator world. Because I came from a YouTube-focused background beforehand, helping build up a Memberful website with my previous company, Rhett & Link with Mythical Society.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, yeah.

Jen Matichuk: And-

Bjork Ostrom: That was one of the sites that I was looking at before I came over. So Good Mythical morning, have a huge following, and I saw that they have a Good mythical… Or what is it, society?

Jen Matichuk: Mythical Society. Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Mythical Society. So they’re kind of a company and community. So you’re a part of helping to launch that?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah, so when I started working there, I started on their social team. I was their social team.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Jen Matichuk: And so I knew their company incredibly well. I knew their fans really, really well. And so it kind of made the natural progression to like, “Hey, Jen, you want to build this membership and launch it and run it?” And I was like, “Yeah, that sounds great.” So we chose Memberful to do that on because it was White Label and Rhett & Link have very specific needs that they wanted to fulfill with the branding and how they’re communicating with their audience and how they’re presenting their brand to the world.

So I built it off of Memberful and it worked really well and it led to me moving over to Memberful to run things on the, we call it the strategic partnerships side of things, but really, like I said, it kind of involves bringing folks on, maybe educating them a little bit about membership first and then telling them a little bit about Memberful, what’s going on with Memberful, how we can help.

Sometimes people come to us and they’re already excited about membership, but then from there, once they’re bought in, they’re excited about it, we help them craft really everything that goes along with building a membership, launching a membership, and then growing their membership as well. So me and my coworker, Michael, work on that side of things.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. So can you talk to me about, so Rhett & Link, they have the show, Good Mythical Morning.

Jen Matichuk: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: And my guess is you have a company like that, and one of the things that you can do is earn money through YouTube advertising. Especially in a case like theirs, you have millions of viewers. You could also potentially do sponsorships. But they had this idea of, “Hey, we want to also create kind of a new place where revenue would come in through the business, through a membership site, kind of their society.” And they were smart enough to know that, “Hey, anytime that you have a following, that you’re able to capture a part of that following who want to engage at a deeper level.”

Jen Matichuk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: And it sounds like they were like, “Jen, can you help us do this?” And you’re like, “Okay.” And you explored, you found options and you were like, “Hey, let’s go with Memberful.” And so cool now that you are at Memberful.

But can you talk about when you went through the process of building and launching that thing for them or in tandem with them, it sounds like you kind of owned that project, what that was like. How did you make decisions around what it was going to be and did you have a big launch and what did you learn in the process of doing that for a creator business?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah. I mean, it was a, I will say it was a really big undertaking just because they wanted it to be so big. And it doesn’t always have to be, obviously. You could launch with one benefit and launch pretty quick, but Rhett & Link really like to make sure that what they’re doing has purpose and meaning, and it feels like it can last a long time within their Rolodex of different things that they’re doing.

So it was a very long process to figure that out. What that meant was I researched every single possible creator-focused membership that I could find across the internet, whether they were on Patreon or building their own thing. And this is end of 2018, early 2019, and we hadn’t really hit the creator membership boom yet, so there weren’t tons of companies that were offering something like that. So really it was Patreon or a WordPress plug-in or something else that they’ve built up on their own. And we saw Rooster Teeth’s membership platform that they had built up, thought that was really cool.

We looked a lot on a lot of Patreon ones specifically. And I kind of just gathered what benefits looked like for them, what seemed to be working for them, talked to a bunch of them, made sure that what we were offering could be really beneficial for our audience. And then I talked to the audience too to make sure that we felt good about potential benefits. So that was maybe reaching out on social media or sending out surveys or anything along those lines. So that was-

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Jen Matichuk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: The conversation with customers is such an important piece. I think sometimes we can go into the lab and dim the lights and not come out for a year, and then you present the thing that you’ve built and it’s like, Oh, actually that’s not what people want.”

Jen Matichuk: Yep.

Bjork Ostrom: And we’ve had a few conversations with people, whether it’s meal plans or a physical product or whatever it might be, but almost always you’re going to get the best version of it by just repeatedly talking to customers, which is not something that we do oftentimes if we’re creating digital content. We can kind of be in our silo. It’s different than a restaurant where people are coming in and reviewing dishes that you’re making.

We get some of that feedback, but not in the way of, “Hey, we’re crafting a product and we want to hear what would be something that you would really love.” So for anybody who’s maybe in the stages of starting to think about that, how would you encourage them to have those conversations with customers? And how structured should you be when you do have those conversations?

Jen Matichuk: Well, I think first of all, it kind of depends on their audience specifically. Where does their audience mostly live and how do they typically communicate with their audience? If they’re typically very much behind closed doors, not having a lot of conversations with their audience, first of all, it might mean that the engagement is low, and you might want to build that side of things up first and make sure that you are communicating with your audience and putting yourself out there along with your product.

That could be a really good first step, and that would make it feel less out of the blue if you reached out and said, “Hey, what about X, Y, Z?” So that’s the first thing that I would say. Another thing that I would say is go to the place that you communicate most with your audience. So if you’re on Instagram, always posting, send out a message that is just like a poll or a question or something like that that says, “Hey, I’m thinking about X, Y, Z. What do you think about this?”

And you’ll get responses. People will respond to you and keep it kind of loose with that first. However, if you’re very much communicating with your audience a lot, you are surveying them a lot and you’re very strict about how you’re communicating with them, maybe it is sending out an email survey and saying, “Hey, everybody in my mailing list that I communicate with twice a week and I have very rigid timelines with how I communicate with you, this is something that I’m excited about doing.

You’re my most engaged audience. Here are some questions that I have for you. If you could fill this out, that would be awesome.” Maybe you could give some sort of incentive for filling it out and get people excited about it. But oftentimes if people are excited about what you’re doing, they’re going to fill that out because they want more, they want more access.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great. So one of the things you mentioned as you’re researching was looking at kind of other options. Food Blogger Pro, we built it 10, 11 years ago, and so it is that WordPress kind of this mash of plugins, and we had to work with a developer to build all of it. In a lot of ways I feel like it is the problem that Memberful solved, which is all of those component parts in one. But there’s also, like you said, Patreon and there’s Susbtack.

So when you think of Memberful as a solution to the product or subscription based world, what are some of the differences that people should consider when looking at these different platforms, knowing that obviously you’re working with Memberful now, but also you went through the process of looking at it before you were with Memberful and then decided to use that as a platform. So how do you kind of differentiate and steer people in a certain direction as they’re trying to decide what type of platform they would use?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah. I mean, it’s a great question because I don’t think that everybody is meant to be on Memberful, and I don’t think that everybody is meant to be on Susbtack or Patreon. I think that a lot of these platforms serve creators in specific and different ways and meet them where they’re at in specific and different ways that make sense. So I’m never going to be even working at Memberful. I’m never going to be pushing somebody to fit into something that they might not fit into.

So really when I’m talking to somebody, I want to evaluate where they’re at and how much time they have to manage this and what they want to offer. What do they want to offer? What do they want to get out of this? So in order to understand if Memberful feels really good for them, I really want to hear a couple of things. They’re really interested in staying independent and having total control over what they’re doing. That’s one of their biggest things that they’re excited about. Not that you don’t have control on some of the other platforms, it’s that you have less control. So you know.

Bjork Ostrom: And when you say control, what fits under that umbrella?

Jen Matichuk: I would say in terms of how you’re presenting your product, how you are integrating with other products to bring your total product vision and tech stack to life, and how you’re collecting payments and how you’re communicating with your audience.

So if you’re on a Susbtack or a Patreon, you are a little bit, they’re controlling how you’re presenting your outputs. They’re saying, “Okay, we can change the feed in a heartbeat,” and the whole UI is going to change. And so the user experience is going to be completely different and your experience is going to be completely different. So you don’t-

Bjork Ostrom: Because it’s more of a, in a case of Susbtack or Patreon, it’s like a platform.

Jen Matichuk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: You’re a creator on that platform. Similar to Instagram where it’s like you can’t control what the feed looks like on Instagram or if they’re prioritizing reels over images. All of that is to some degree, you’re giving up control. Also with that, it’s like there’s less decisions to make about the platform, which to some people, it’s like that’s a positive that you’re just-

Jen Matichuk: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s a template and you follow it and that’s what it is. But what you’re saying is with platform like Memberful, it’s like, “Hey, there’s more kind of customization.” So it feels like, “Hey, this is your brand. This is who you are.” Kind of with the Rhett & Link, the Good Mythical morning, you wouldn’t go to that and be like, “Oh, this is a Patreon site.” It’s like, “No, this is just like nobody knows what it is.” They just know that it’s their community and you can sign up and be a part of it.

Jen Matichuk: Exactly. Yeah. So if somebody comes to me and they’re saying, “I want this to be the easiest thing I’ve ever done, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t care how it looks. I just want a place to put my,” not that they don’t care, but, “I don’t care necessarily how much I can customize it. I just want a place to put my content and for my fans to find it easily.” Patreon is a really good option for that. I mean, you can still customize to a certain degree.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Jen Matichuk: But that’s not what you’re going to get with Memberful because you do have to take a little bit more time to build something that is completely your own. It’s the same thing with templatized websites, building on Squarespace versus building on WordPress or building custom code, it’s a builder versus something that you have to start from scratch a little bit on.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. That makes sense. And the sweet spot is, in the case of Food Blogger Pro being a membership site, it really is all, we have the plugins which has the functionality, but there’s custom developers, custom design, and so it’s like, “What is the sweet spot?” And what you’re saying is there’s a spectrum. Everybody’s going to land in a different place.

If you are a well-funded company, you’re probably going to come up with a custom site with all this custom functionality. If you’re an individual who’s not very tech-savvy and you just want to write, maybe you’re going to end up on a Susbtack. But there’s this middle ground where you can have some of that functionality, you can have some of that brand alignment and you can have a lot of the features and functionality that you want, that would be like a Memberful.

There’s also, once you get into it, different ways that you can… Memberful is like, okay, it’s subscriptions. That’s kind of the transaction. But can you talk more about what actually would, and maybe it’d be different examples of creators who have come out of the platform. What does it actually look like to create a product, whether it’s subscription or not, and what do you see as kind of the through line with people who are launching some of these communities and having the most success with them?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah. I mean, like I said, it looks different for everybody because Memberful is very malleable. I’ve been using that word a lot. It feels very appropriate, but Memberful is very malleable and it can really help a wide array of different types of creators or entrepreneurs or business owners or really all of the above. And so getting started can look very different for each person.

If we’re going to talk about one of my clients, let’s talk about Molly Baz for a second because she’s a food creator and she’s pretty well known. Her journey through getting on Memberful was initially she actually started on Patreon And she had left her previous job and didn’t really know if she could convert her audience into something that they were supporting just her versus her previous job, they were supporting the entire company, and she was a piece of it.

So she was kind of feeling like, “I don’t know if this is going to work, so I’m going to launch on Patreon because it feels like if it doesn’t work, I can just close it and no harm, no foul. I didn’t spend money on it and I didn’t build out a whole site for it.” So she started on there and she outgrew it immediately. Because if we go to her site, she’s so brand focused. She has a very specific way that one, she communicates with people two, how she presents herself. She’s very visual.

And she felt a little bit constrained with what she had as options on Patreon. So she built a site, she worked with one of our partners that we work with a lot, Wonderly, they’re awesome, and built out a full site and built out basically one tier with one really big benefit, which is one recipe per week on Fridays and has kind of built that as the through line for her membership throughout these last couple of years.

So I think that she’s a really great story of somebody who they were a little nervous, but ended up being really, really successful. And I think had she fully believed in what she was doing before she launched on Patreon, she could have started on Memberful and had a really, really great growth throughout. Because the beauty of starting on Memberful is that you can actually start incredibly small and build as you go.

Bjork Ostrom: Before we continue, let’s take a moment to hear from our sponsors. This episode is sponsored by Clariti. Here’s the thing, we know that food blogging is a competitive industry, so anything you can do to level up your content can really give you an edge. By fixing content issues and filling content gaps, you can make your good content even better.

And wouldn’t it be awesome if you could figure out how to optimize your existing blog posts without needing to comb through each and every post one by one, or I know some of you have done this, create a mega Excel sheet with manually added details for each post that’s soon to be outdated anyway? That’s why we created Clariti, to save you time, simplify the process and make it easy.

So with a subscription to Clariti, you can clearly see where your content needs to be optimized, like which of your posts have broken links or missing alt text, maybe there’s no internal links or what needs to be updated seasonally. Plus, you can easily see the impact of your edits in the keyword dashboard for each post. Here’s a quick little testimonial from Laura and Sarah from Wandercooks.

They said, “With GA4 becoming increasingly difficult to use, Clariti has been a game changer for streamlining our data analytics and blog post performance process.” That’s awesome. That’s why we built it, and it’s so fun to hear from users like Laura and Sarah. So as a listener of the Food Blogger Pro podcast, you can sign up and get 50% off your first month of Clariti. To set up your account, simply go to Clariti, that’s Clariti.com/food. That’s Clariti.com/food. Thanks again to Clariti for sponsoring this episode.

Jen Matichuk: We also just launched, not just, but last year, we launched something that we’re calling our Memberful Hosted experience, which is kind of like a stepping stone to building websites. So if somebody’s like, “I want to test something out and I want to see if this is really going to work,” you can launch it on the Memberful Hosted experience.

Just plug in your Stripe account and build up a landing page, which is a sales page, and then you can have a couple of pages behind the fold that people can jump into if they sign up and figure out if it works. And if it does, you can build a website in the background and that transition over is super, super simple.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. So it’s almost like in the world of product development, they talk about this idea of an MVP minimum viable product. It’s like, “Oh, it’s the membership version of that.” Like, “Hey, I think this might be a thing, if you kind of want to test it out, get a feel for it.” Even in the early days for Food Blogger Pro, we did that where before we had it built, we pre-sold it and was like, “Oh, people actually are interested in this.”

We used that to fund building out the first edition of it. Similarly, if you’re a creator, you can test it out by saying, “Hey, I’m thinking of doing this platform thing. If you’re interested in joining early,” maybe it’s like a discount on what it normally would be, “You can go over and sign up.” Love that.

For somebody who has a following, let’s say they have a certain number of people on their email list, you have 10,000 people on your email list, or you could use a social platform if that’s easier. I think it’s helpful for people to kind of play the numbers game. Even if they’re not at the point where they have 10,000 followers or maybe they’re beyond that and they have a hundred thousand people on their email list.

But to be able to say, “Ah, generally speaking…” From somebody like yourself who has been through this multiple times with multiple creators, is there some type of expectation that we could have around if a certain percentage of people converting over? And I think that helps people kind of play the numbers game a little bit. So any thoughts on that?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah. I mean, it’s a tough number to find I will say. There are general numbers that we can put out there. Usually that’s looking at where your most engaged audience is. So the newsletter example, I think is probably the best example for this because people are taking an action to receive something that you’re sending out.

So oftentimes if you have a hundred thousand people on Instagram, you’re not going to have a hundred thousand people in your newsletter, and that’s because it’s paring down those most engaged folks. And oftentimes your newsletter subscribers would probably match the amount of likes or views that you would get on your content that you’re seeing-

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, interesting.

Jen Matichuk: … on Instagram.

Bjork Ostrom: So you have a hundred thousand Instagram followers, maybe you post something and 4,000 people comment or like, that might be a good kind of equivalent of what you find on an email list. It’s like that engaged group of people who will take the next action. They’ll sign up for an email list, they’ll like a post, whatever that might be.

Jen Matichuk: Exactly. It’s a little bit less easy to track that on Instagram with the way that the algorithm has kind of-

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Jen Matichuk: … messed with things over the last little bit, especially-

Bjork Ostrom: Meaning-

Jen Matichuk: … prioritizing reels.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That it’s become more of a content feed as opposed to social. You could have something that you have 50,000 followers and you might be getting a million views on a reel every 10 to 20 times you publish it because you’re figuring out how to create viral content. Is that what you’re saying?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Jen Matichuk: That or the opposite too.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, sure. Yeah, right, right.

Jen Matichuk: Where you have a hundred thousand followers and only 10,000 people are seeing your content.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, right, right.

Jen Matichuk: So it’s like people are being fed ads and people are being fed creators that aren’t folks that they’re following because they’re making their way up the ranks. They’re hacking the algorithm and figuring out how to be presented to those folks. So your content, even if you have a hundred thousand people following you, it’s not always going to be seen by all those people.

So we’ve seen a lot of people, and I’m sure you’ve seen this too, a lot of people’s engagement rates just completely drop drastically and that obviously has a big impact on how you are creating and maybe the brand deals that you’re getting and how people are seeing how they’re engaging with your content. And that is a problem. So I mean, going back to how much somebody can expect to make on membership, really, like I said, look at your most engaged place where you’re posting content.

Newsletter is probably the best one to look at, and we could expect between 0.5 to five percent of those people to convert. And we’ve seen higher than 5%, of course. A lot of times knowledge creators, so those folks that have a very specific skill set that they’re sharing with an audience, they’ll see more than a 5% conversion. But we don’t often see a 0.5% unless somebody’s not pushing their membership or you can tell that they’re not excited about what they’re doing.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. So idea being it’s kind of that low single digits, but if you start to play the numbers game with it, it’s like, okay, you have 10,000 people and let’s say 2% of those convert, so you have 200 people. And from there, how do you know what you’re multiplying it by? What is that price point for? And I’m guessing, again, it can really range, but what are you seeing as common for something that people would pay to get access to a community or additional recipes in our world? What does that price point usually look like?

Jen Matichuk: So for the lowest price point, I’m seeing people do anywhere between five and seven dollars a month. And then you could give a month or two off for the yearly price. And more and more folks are also launching quarterly memberships as well to, instead of monthly, I would say, to lock folks in for three months versus one.

So that’s probably what I’m seeing mostly on the lower end. But at the same time, I’m talking to a bunch of people that are saying, “Okay, well if I price my content at $7 and then I look over here at New York Times and theirs is $5 a month, what that seems, mine’s way too high. That’s crazy.” And so it’s kind of making sure that the folks that are thinking about their membership are not comparing themselves to the New York Times, the Disney Plus, the Netflix of the world because they have unlimited content that folks aren’t joining just to consume everything.

They’re joining for specific things at specific times often. So it’s again, looking at what you’re offering as a benefit and deciding what that means for your time and how you’re offering it and talking to your audience. So figuring out that price point has a few different places that you need to pull from in order to determine what that perfect price point is.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yep. And so much of that gets into value, understanding where value comes from and understanding your audience. As an example, maybe you produce content that’s all around eating on a budget, that’s going to be very different audience than people who are retired and have a lot of disposable income. Or maybe you produce recipes for busy families where there’s two working parents, maybe they’re going to be willing to spend more.

And so, so much of that, like you said, comes back to talking to your customers and even asking, “What would you be willing to pay if I did this?” Helps to get insight on what that pricing could look like. But what’s great about that is you can start to play the numbers game a little bit. Even if it’s just easy math and you say, “Hey, I find…” let’s say you find something that’s really valuable, your audience would pay $10 a month for it. And so you have 200 people who sign up.

Suddenly that’s $2,000 a month that you’re able to create within your business. And you can start to play the numbers game a little bit, “Okay, if I can get a thousand people to sign up for my email list every month and 2% of those convert and that’s $10,” you start to see how you can play a different game than what oftentimes people would be looking at, which is like, “How do I get the next sponsor content deal?”

Or, “How do I increase traffic to make more ad revenue?” And all of those things are good, but it’s better if you can also have something that is an additional source of revenue that diversifies what you’re doing and allows you to own it as well. You’re owning it in a different way than having to rely on an algorithm or the next deal coming through. Are there other things that you’d point out kind of as benefits that people could think about or consider when it comes to building their own product in the form of a membership or a subscription based community?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah. I mean, I think that the couple of things that you pointed out are really, really big and really, really helpful to kind of nail in that when you’re chasing the algorithm, when you’re chasing brand deals exclusively, there’s a chance that those don’t pan out because you’re not in control of those and you’re also not connecting deeply with your audience when you are chasing the algorithm or building brand deals. That’s not building your reach in terms of building your base.

So when you’re connecting deeply with your community, at least through membership, you are building a stronger base than you could possibly build by just doing brand deals or just by chasing traffic. And so with that base, then you can, like you said, play the numbers game. I’m going to put more people into the top of my funnel via my newsletter, and hopefully that percentage continues to convert. And then I’m going to keep building and building and building that base.

And of course, at the same time, you need to diversify and still do those big brand deals. Because that’s going to bring in a big chunk of what you’re making, and you should not stop that. But you’re going to have something to fall back on if another pandemic hits or for whatever reason, brands stop putting money behind working with creators. You just don’t have control over that, but you do have control over how you’re communicating with your audience, how you’re making them feel with the content that you’re creating and what you’re providing for them.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great. I think generally speaking, anybody who has a following, there’s different ways that you can think strategically about creating an income from that, sponsor content being one of them, working with brands. If you have a site, the traditional display advertising is a huge example of, or a common example of that, and for some people, a really significant way that they create income. But I also believe we all have these untapped resources within the following that we have. And obviously time’s limited, you can’t do everything.

But insofar as you want to be strategic about creating revenue, it might be worth it for creators to think about, “Hey, instead of publishing a new post this week or creating new content this week, I’m going to press pause on that and I’m going to think about launching a new kind of revenue stream and dedicating the time and the energy that you usually put into keeping the content treadmill going,” directing that to spin up a new thing that is revenue producing for you and I think that will serve all of us longer and allow us to reach these untapped places.

That could be really powerful and produce a lot of income, and in some ways, I think be life changing. I see that clip from Joanna at Jo Club and she said it. This is from the little testimony on the site, but, “Changed my entire business model for the better.” And I think that really can happen when we introduce some of these other kind of ways to create an income.

So how about on the marketing side? I think a lot of us are really good at creating free content and promoting that free content, maybe occasionally doing branded deals or sponsor content, but I think for a lot of people, they’re really comfortable in creating free content, publishing that free content, but not necessarily marketing a thing that you are creating. That might be uncomfortable for people. How would you recommend that creators who are used to creating free content, maybe doing some sponsored content, get into the world of being a marketer and saying, “You should sign up for this thing that I made.”

Jen Matichuk: Yeah. I mean, I think first of all, it might require a bit of therapy.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, okay. Totally relatable.

Jen Matichuk: I mean, a lot of people, this is just general, a lot of people undervalue their work and the internet has traditionally been a place where we’re giving things away for free, and that is changed now. You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to live like that, and people are willing to pay. And so it’s just trying to figure out, first of all, “Okay, how do I get over this fear of asking my audience to help support me and support what I’m doing?” So that, I think that would be the first thing.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. Love that.

Jen Matichuk: The second thing is looking at your benefits and what folks are drawn most towards and sharing on your socials or in your newsletter, little teasers of that content that you’re putting out for this paid audience, for this membership, and creating a sense of, “This is kind of what you’re missing out on behind the paywall.” It’s never taking away what you had once been making free. That is what would cause a little bit of a problem I would say, if somebody’s used to something for free for so long and then you just suddenly paywall it.

That is something that should be handled very delicately if you do decide to go that route with a lot of communication with your audience. But it’s oftentimes it’s just teasing out content to remind people that this is what you’re doing, this is the content that you’re creating, and you’re really excited about it. And making sure that if you are the face of your brand or a personality that is part of your brand, that your audience can see that you really believe in this product and you’re going to keep sharing about it because you believe it’s also going to help them.

And doing the classic marketing technique of, “Why does this benefit you? It’s not just benefiting me. Why does it benefit you to be a part of this community? What are you going to get out of it and what are the results going to be?” And sharing that over and over again via different avenues and different pieces of content is going to be the most helpful.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. Yeah, it’s almost like it’s continuing with that same spirit of sharing content and shifting it just a little bit to say, “I’m going to educate you,” instead of in our world, “How to make this recipe.” “I’m going to educate you on how this can be a potentially beneficial thing” or giving a little sneak preview into what it would be.

One of the things that we found with having a membership that people are a part of is it can also be really fun once people get inside and have those kind of transformational experiences where they discover something new or learn something new, or I think it gives everybody listening who is a creator, the opportunity to interact in a way that’s a little bit different than maybe you would normally at scale.

And you can bring it down and have a different level of kind of community that can be really impactful for those people who are a part of it, whether it be for an entertainment purposes, it’s just an enjoyable place and community for people to be a part of or educational. So how about if somebody’s thinking of this, they’re kind of experimenting with it, what are some of the first few steps that they should take? What are the next steps?

Somebody listens to this and they’re like, “Yeah, I think this kind of sounds interesting.” Can you kind of lay out at a high level, how could you go through the process of moving forward and actually making progress towards launching something like this? Because it can feel pretty intimidating to, especially if you’re a solopreneur and you’re adding it to your list of things to do. If you don’t have somebody who’s helping to actually implement it and launch it, how can somebody take action and move it forward but not get crushed by the amount of work that it would be?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah. I mean, well, first of all, I would say the biggest thing that I say to everybody is to start small. You don’t have to launch something or build something based around 30 benefits. People feel like they need to just pad what they’re offering to make it more enticing, and I don’t think that’s the case. That, you shouldn’t do that.

You should offer one or two things that feel really impactful, that you’re really excited about offering and put those out there. So the first step is to think about what you want to offer for membership and why, and really define those two things. Because if you’re just doing membership to be like, “I just need an extra buck,” then it might not be the thing that you should do because you’re not going to feel really motivated to put out this extra content.

But if you really define those two, how am I going to do this? Why am I going to do this? What am I going to offer? That’s going to really, really help define what you’re moving forward with next. And then jumping from creating benefits or creating the ideas of the benefits that you want to offer is figuring out how you want to deliver those benefits to people.

So do you want them to exist on your website or build something off of your website, or do you want to have something that is a Discord focused membership where you’re just posting things through Discord and making it super simple or kind of just figure out the amount of time that you would want to spend on something and that should help determine your next step with creating this.

So create those benefits or figure out the benefits, figure out how you want to deliver those benefits, and then that’s going to help you determine what product that you want to use. So do your research, figure out what products you want to talk to, reach out to people and be like, “Hey, tell me a little bit more about this, why I should use this. I want to offer these things and I want to offer them this way.”

And if you go into those conversations with really specific ideas of what you want to offer and how you want to offer them, then it’s going to make your choices a lot easier on what product you’re choosing to work with. And then from there, once you choose your product, it’s maybe working directly with that customer support team to build it up. That should be something that you take into account when you are choosing that product, is how responsive are these folks? Are they helping you build something?

Are they answering to anything that you’re saying? Are they helping you in any way that is useful to you? And work with them on that. And then from there, it’s just figuring out how you’re implementing it. That can be really time-consuming for some folks if they have to build a whole website. But if they have a site and they want to add a few pages, if you work with somebody like Memberful, we have folks that we can introduce you to and help project manage and figure out that side of things.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. The other thing that I love about what you shared is the why behind it. Not just like, “Hey, this is going to be a way for me to make more money,” but it’s like, “Why am I doing this in the way that I’m doing it?” An example being, “Well, if I can get compensated for this, I can justify the time that I’m spending to do it.” Whereas if you weren’t, maybe you couldn’t justify that time. So I feel like really defining that why is such a great thing to spend time with and to understand as well.

So that’s great. Super fun to talk to you, Jen, about all the ways that you could look at this from different angles. If people want to connect with you, is there a way that they can do that and interact with you online, whether it’s officially via Memberful or anywhere else that you can be found online, and or if people want to take the next steps with Memberful, how can they do that?

Jen Matichuk: Yeah. You can shoot me an email [email protected] or you can find me on Instagram and send me a message, Jen Matichuk is my Instagram. Or just shoot me a message on LinkedIn. I’m always happy to connect with folks. So yeah, would love to chat.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Cool. Jen, super fun to talk through this. Thanks for coming on. Really appreciate it.

Jen Matichuk: Thank you for having me.

Emily Walker: Hey there. This is Emily from the Food Blogger Pro team. We hope you enjoyed that episode of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Thank you so much for listening and tuning in. Today, I wanted to chat a little bit more about one of the perks of the Food Blogger Pro membership. If you are a Food Blogger Pro member, you likely already know about these, but maybe you’re a new member or you’re thinking about becoming a member, and I just wanted to let you know about one of my favorite things in the membership.

Every month we host a live Q and A over Zoom with an industry expert and usually Bjork. They chat about topics ranging from republishing content to Google algorithm updates, Pinterest or Advanced SEO. Sometimes we’ll do an Ask Bjork Anything or even questions about creating content, plugins, site speed. Really, we cover every topic you might need to know something about as a food creator. As a Food Blogger Pro member, you’re given the option to submit questions in advance, or you can submit questions during the live Q and A, and the guest and Bjork will answer your questions and provide feedback.

It’s always a really awesome opportunity to get advice and feedback from experts in the food creator community, and it’s just a really fun way to connect as members and get to know each other better. These Q and A’s are hosted live, but we always post replays on our site and for our members only podcast if you can’t make it live. So anyways, it’s just a really great feature of the Food Blogger Pro membership. If you aren’t yet a member, and this sounds like something you would like access to, head to FoodBloggerPro.com/membership to learn more. And that’s it for this week. We’ll see you back here next week for another episode of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Make it a great week.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.