What’s the most important thing when it comes to creating content for your membership site? Many membership site owners might say, ‘Creating lots of content‘.
Well, they’d be wrong.
You don’t need to create a ton of content for your membership site. In fact, that’s a great way to overwhelm your members and drive them away running and screaming!
What you need to create is value. You need to over-deliver in terms of results.
In this post I’ll share with you a quick exercise you can complete to plan out ALL of your Membership Site’s content easily (and without a computer)…
This exercise has been regarded as the most popular pieces of advice that people got from attending our past Membership Summit events that they had paid over $500 to attend. Throughout this article we’ll show you to do the same exact exercise for free.
A lot of times, people jump into starting a membership site, without properly planning out their content first. Since content is the lifeblood of your membership program, it’s important to take a step back and consider:
- What content will you deliver through your membership program?
- How will you organize all of your knowledge and expertise into courses, modules, or lessons?
- In what order will students will progress through your program?
With this in mind, throughout this article, we’ll share a quick exercise you can complete to plan out all of your membership site content in five easy steps.
So, by the time you’re done reading this and going through it, you’ll hopefully be able to develop a complete content plan for your own membership site or online course.
Why Planning Your Membership Site Content Is Important
Before you can start producing your content for your membership program, you’ll need to take the time to thoroughly plan it out.
Here’s why it’s important to plan out your membership site content:
- You’ll have a high-level view of the learning path(s) your membership program will offer. Which also helps you with being able to better sell and position your program.
- You’ll know exactly what you’ll be offering through your membership program and will be able to work towards a clear end goal as you create your content. Without a clear plan, creating the content for your membership site can turn into a never ending project.
- You won’t get stuck halfway through producing content, i.e. you’ll know what content you need to create and when you need to create it.
- You’ll be in a better position to deliver more value to members and create a much better experience.
In other words, having a content plan allows you to ensure a consistent flow of content. It also helps you develop a better understanding of what you can offer and what members can expect to get from joining your membership program. This approach makes it easy to see if there’s any room for potential improvement.
How to Plan Out Your Membership Site Content With a Stack of Notecards
For this exercise, you’ll need a pen and a stack of 3×5 notecards. When you’re ready, follow the steps outlined below to get started!
Step #1: Split Your Content Into Three Sections
Take three notecards and write Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3 in the header area. We’re going to split it into three sections for a good reason.
Next, think of all of the content you’d like to offer through your membership program and split it up into three main sections or categories. In other words, think about all of the knowledge and skills and expertise that you have and divide that into three sections. Simply write the section names down – one section per notecard – next to Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3.
Pro tip: You can write the content subject in the middle of the notecard but using the header area will give you room to take notes on the same card.
You don’t need to go into any of the nitty-gritty details at this stage. The goal is to divide the breadth of your knowledge into three broad sections. Remember: the purpose of this exercise is to help you better understand and structure the content that you’d like to offer through your membership program.
For example, you might split the content into:
- Leads, Sales and Delivery
- Course 1, Course 2 and Course 3
- Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced (if you only have one course to offer).
In case you’re looking to offer something different through your membership program (for example consulting services), think about what sort of knowledge you would be able to share with your members and split that into three categories.
Step #2: Split Each Section Into Three Sub-Sections
Now that you have your content split up into three main sections, the next step is to go deeper and split each of the three main section into three further sub-sections.
Start by adding three notecards under each main section. So, Section 1 will have Section 1.1, Section 1.2 and Section 1.3 under it.
Next, write the content subject in the header area next to Section 1.1, Section 1.2 and Section 1.3.
Following our example, you’d split the Leads, Sales and Delivery main sections into three further sub-sections:
Leads: Online, Offline and Telephone
Sales: Sales emails, Sales pages and Order forms
Delivery: Articles, Video Tutorials and Audio Lectures
Repeat the steps for each main section i.e. Section 2 and Section 3. Once that’s done, position your notecards into a grid like the one shown in the image below:
By having all of your content structured and organized in front of you, you’ll be able to look at the big picture of all the content that you’ll include inside of your membership site. By being able to see it all laid out in front of you, you’ll be able to better plan out your material and see how it all fits together.
Step #3: Split Each Sub-Section Into Three Sub-Sub-Sections
If you’ve been following along up till now, you should have a grid of twelve cards (with three sections and nine sub-sections) in front of you.
Next, we’ll split each of the three sub-sections into three sub-sub-sections, like this:
So, following the our example, we initially split Section 2: Leads into Section 2.1: Sales emails, Section 2.2: Sales Pages and Section 2.3: Order Pages. Next, we will further split the Sales emails sub-section into three sub-sub-sections. This might be Subject line, Email Body copy and Email Call to action.
This step will definitely require more time and effort and that’s alright! By the time you’re done, you should have a total of 39 notecards organized into sections, sub-sections, and sub-sub-sections in front of you.
This is a great way to break down all your content into specific, individual sections. This could easily turn into 39 course videos or 39 pages inside of your membership site.
The Bug in the Rug
As a human, you can see the entire rug from the top at a glance. But if you were a bug sifting through the rug, you’d only be able to see walls of fiber around you.
Similarly, as a membership site owner, this is what you see:
But your members only see the walls of fiber. In other words, they see one page or one course video at a time! It’s easy to get caught up like a bug in a rug as you’re producing each individual video that you’re going to include in your membership site. You end up with tunnel vision taking this one by one approach.
Going through this exercise will help you see the whole rug, the whole picture of your membership program and allow you to see everything clearly.
This allows you to see any specific spots that might be missing from your training program or other parts that need to be filled in more. Or you might find out that the order of your training should be rearranged.
Bottom line is, having a pulled back view like this allows you to see your membership program much more clearly. In the fifth step, we’ll ask a few important questions to help you do this.
Step #4: Stack Your Cards Up
The next step is to stack up all of your cards. Take each section and put it on top of its corresponding sub-sections.
So, under Section 1 goes Section 1.1 and under Section 1.1 goes Section 1.1.1, Section 1.1.2 and Section 1.1.3.
Stack up Section 2 and Section 3 the same way. You’ll end up with a huge stack of cards like this:
Now, look at the stack of cards from the top. You’ll see only one card at a time just like a member looking at only one course page or one course video at a time.
In other words, just like the bug in the rug. This will give you a better idea of how prospective members will perceive your content as they go through each video!
Step #5: Go Through Your Cards
Here’s the final step. By looking at each of the cards one at a time, you’ll be able to notice rough spots and identify anything that’s missing.
You can simply insert a new card, re-order cards or make changes to the existing ones as necessary. Feel free to take notes on the back of any cards if you need to.
Here are some questions to ask yourself while you flip through your notecards:
- Are these in order? Do you need to re-order the cards in your stack to improve the flow of your content? Does the flow feel right? Simply move them around until the new order makes sense.
- What’s missing? Is there anything that you might have forgotten to add the first time around? If you need to add more items, simply insert a new card into the stack.
- How will members feel on each card? You want your content to have logical flow. Try to put yourself in the mind of your target audience to find out how they’ll feel on each card (or think what they’d feel as they’d watch that individual lesson in your membership site).
The purpose of this step is to help you smooth out the rough edges in your content plan for your membership site or online course. You can always go back to make changes to your cards, add notes and use colors to highlight important stuff.
Pro tip: You can carry these notecards in your pocket and lay them out in front of you when you go for a walk, when you’re on a flight or anywhere! By doing so, you’ll be able to run through them over and over again, figure out the best logical order for the sub-sections, and determine which ones can be merged together. You can also think about whether you need to add more sub-sections.
Once you’ve gone through your cards once pretty thoroughly, take a break for a day or two. Then revisit them with a refreshed mind and go through step 5 again to see if there’s anything you missed or didn’t think of before.
By the time you’ve worked through the exercise, you should have all of your membership site content organized into 39 notecards. This stack of cards gives you a plan for all the content that you’ll include inside of your membership site and will give you a clear overview of your membership program.