When I first started blogging, I was riding waves of confusion. Small wonder then I sped full steam ahead towards the first membership program that crossed my radar.
Lucky for me, the program was top-notch. What wasn’t so lucky is that the program content was way over my head because I didn’t do my homework before I joined.
Let’s face it, most of us put more thought into ordering a pizza than choosing a membership program. We’re in a hurry, get sucked in by hype, and then grumble when things don’t work out.
If you’re serious about getting the most bang for your membership buck, step away from the sales letters, stop drizzling drool on the bonus offers, and look both ways before leaping into a program.
To get started, ask yourself some questions to create a ‘wish list’ for your ideal program:
- What’s your experience level? Based on this, what types of content and support will give you the greatest benefit?
- What’s your budget? Is a comprehensive program with in-depth training on multiple topics your best bet?
- What are your expectations? Are you simply interested in self-study materials, or is an active, engaged community a must?
- Do you learn best from written, video, or audio materials?
- What’s your blogging philosophy and style? Are you a hard-driving Internet marketer or a laid-back blogger?
Once you’ve examined your wants and needs, it’s time to start the hunt:
- Ask around. Ask bloggers you respect which membership programs they personally recommend or have heard good things about.
- Check them out. Visit the blogs of the individuals running the recommended programs. Read posts, sign up for newsletters, and grab free downloads to check out the quality and overall tone. Also visit Twitter streams, Facebook pages, and blog comment sections. Is the person encouraging and helpful in their interactions?
- Send a message. When you’re seriously considering a membership program, use the contact information to send a message with a question about the program. Do you receive a courteous, timely reply?
- Decide. Weigh the results of your research, as well as the the program content, benefits, and fees against your ‘wish list.’ Spend time in thoughtful consideration before making a choice.
No matter how great a membership program is, you’ll need to engage and take action to get the most out of it.
Here are some things that will help:
- Get familiar. The amount of information in membership programs can be overwhelming. That’s why the program I belong to, the A-List Blogger Club, has a welcoming committee and a site road map to help new members feel at home. If the club you choose doesn’t offer something like this, explore on your own to get familiar with things. If there’s a forum, set up your profile right away, and add a link to your blog, as well as social media information, so members can easily visit and follow you.
- Ask for help. If anything is unclear or doesn’t work right, notify the program director or a forum moderator immediately.
- Make a plan. Make a note of content or forum threads that have special appeal to you. Then, commit time in your schedule to return to these areas, learn, and take action.
- Get involved. Be active on the forums and participate in club projects as much as possible. All programs are different, but some ways to get involved in the A-List Blogger Club include participating in the ‘Anatomy of a Guest Post’ thread, where members get expert feedback as they perfect pitches and posts for Write to Done or Goodlife Zen. There’s also an ‘Anatomy of a Launch’ thread where members receive live coaching on launch strategy and implementation as the rest of us look on and learn. Other ways to engage in the A-List Community include getting and giving blog reviews and other feedback, serving as forum moderators, sharing special skills in seminars and case studies, working with other members to contribute to a library of mindset tools or basic blogger resources, welcoming new members, and saying ‘yes,’ when someone asks for a helping hand with a new project.
- Give feedback and suggestions. If you have an idea for improving the membership program, share it with the person in charge. The A-List Blogger Club library of ‘how-to’ seminars and screencast videos is bursting at the seams because folks share questions and ideas, which serve as springboards for exciting new materials and projects.
- Reevaluate. Review your membership every few months. Are you following through with your initial commitment to learn, take action, and participate? Is this an energetic, thriving community? Are you still amazed by the quality and value in the program? Would you recommend this program to all your blogging friends? Do you need to recommit to the program or is it time to make an exit?
I may have struck out on a membership program my first time at bat, but I hit a home run when I joined the A-List Blogger Club. These days, I’m an affiliate and self-proclaimed ambassador for the program, with 533 forum posts as of this moment. I couldn’t be happier with my choice of membership programs, and that’s how I want you to feel about your choice too.
Joining and participating in the program that’s right for you will boost your blogging in ways you can’t even imagine. So know your goals, do your research, and when it’s the right time and the right program, walk through those membership doors and give it your all.
Because that’s how you’ll get the most bang for your membership buck.
Your turn: Do you belong to a membership program or have you considered joining one?