How to price your content
Pricing is a big part of deciding what offers suit your audience and bringing in the most revenue for your business. Testing different price points and offers is always a good idea, because everyone’s business is different. Getting started, however, can also be overwhelming because of all of the variables that can impact your success and all the different ways you can structure your offers: single articles, time passes, subscriptions, memberships and even voluntary contributions. LaterPay has been helping content producers best monetize content for many years so we have compiled some guidelines and things to consider when pricing your content:
The longevity of your content is a big consideration when setting pricing for individual pieces. You must ask yourself if the piece of content is today’s news, which will be forgotten tomorrow, or whether it will be evergreen and referenceable for a long time. Another consideration is whether the topic is written about in many other sources. A news article is typically priced lower because it holds value for a very short period of time and most newsworthy subjects can be found in several other places. In this case, our recommendation is to start testing somewhere below $0.50 for those articles.
Content that has more longevity would get priced higher. For example, access to the Draftkings cheat sheet, from Daily Fantasy Solutions, changes over time and is useful throughout the NFL season so it makes sense that the single purchase costs more. Some users will find more value in longer-term access to this single piece of dynamic content, which they can reference throughout the season, than short-term access to the whole site.
Research reports, e-books and other content requiring more research and time to produce would get priced higher as well. For example, the comic book publisher Backlit Comics is selling access to volumes of it’s comics for $3.99. Graphic novel enthusiasts might value having unlimited access to the books so they can go back to them at any time.
Here at LaterPay we like to use the 24hr day pass as a great starting point to test time passes and your audience’s willingness to pay for your content. Generally it’s an easy enough concept to grasp since it relates back to the physical world, where you would purchase a copy of your daily paper. This is especially true for sites that offer similar content to daily newspapers. Pricing the day pass here at between $1.50-$3 makes most sense.
Other sites with a much less frequent article publication schedule may not want to offer a day pass or they may want to set the price much higher since the reader will not be coming back regularly to purchase another time pass.
You can experiment with time passes of different lengths, which may work well for your publication. But generally, we do recommend starting with the day pass and considering subscriptions for longer access periods. Engagement is a big component in retaining subscribers so be sure you’re doing your best to reduce churn to get the most out of your subscription offering.
Subscriptions and Memberships
Subscriptions are probably the most conventional way of selling content online. It’s the holy grail for publishers and many have implemented subscription or membership offerings in one way or another. Because this is a fairly common practice nowadays, your offer has to be priced competitively. You’re competing with general interest sites like The New York Times, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more focused interest sites like The Athletic and The Motley Fool. We recommend that your price be aligned with that of your competitors. Generally we have seen a price tag between $5 and $10 per month or under $100 per year to be a good starting point in subscriptions.
Contributions are voluntary to the reader so you can’t control how much - or even if - your readers will pay you. But you do have two options for displaying the offer and one might work better for your audience than the other.
You can choose to show a menu with pre-set amount choices, like the San Francisco Chronicle did on their fire tracker. This is designed to encourage higher contributions.
Alternatively, you can choose to implement a contribution button with just one pre-set amount, making it super simple and easy for readers to contribute with one or two clicks, like Pueblo Pulp does here. This is designed to encourage impulse contributions by making them hassle-free.
In the end...
Based on industry patterns and the successes our merchants have seen, the guidelines above are good starting points for testing your pricing. They won’t apply perfectly to all the content out there, however, and you still need to consider your specific use case and make adjustments. Any data you may have about your audience and their consumption habits will be very useful in determining if you need to make adjustments in price points.
If you’d like to talk in more specific terms about your content monetization strategy and content pricing specific to your site, reach out to us.