I've been noticing a potential trend in it's beginning stages.  PAID CONTENT.  Several thought leaders are now offering paid private newsletters delivered via your email inbox for a modest monthly fee.

Chris Brogan has a newsletter on Blog Topics, a clean and simple weekly overview on developing quality topics for your blog – offered at $9.97/month.

Kevin Rose (Founder of Digg) has a newsletter called Foundation, that features interesting video interviews, product reviews, etc. – offered at $3.99/month.

Recently I wrote a post about Getting Outside of the Email Inbox, of which part of the article argues for getting more creative inside of the email inbox! What I like about these private newsletters most is that they are consistently delivered.  (currently I subscribe to Chris Brogan's Blog Topics in order to test this out). With my paid subscriptions, I am actually reading them because I want to make sure that I get the value out of the investment!  With my free subscriptions? I rarely get to them.

It's similar to paying a personal trainer or personal advisor. When you sign-up and commit dollars, you will make more of an effort to commit to the program.

I have often wondered why so many would give away so much for free, for no other reason than attempting to grow a massive audience.  It's more difficult to grow a large audience now given the volume of information available online and the distractions to boot.  Free information has the potential to attract freeloaders.  I think I'd rather have the committed followers willing to pay. Free is synonymous with cheap in my opinion, but you should understand why I believe this.

Being in the financial advisory business for so many years with a full-service brokerage firm, the one thing that we were taught was to believe in our value.  You see, we were never the low cost provider, therefore we could never compete on price.  During years of volatile stock market gyrations and disasters, the money I saved my paying clients by preventing them from making crucial emotional mistakes with their money far outweighed the fees that were charged.  They trusted me and believed in me.  Left to their own devices, they could have lost everything. Believe in your value.

In a world of information overload, people are starving for knowledge. If you've got that inside knowledge, and the ability to tell people what to do and how to do it, you should consider a paid content strategy. Certainly you should allow others access to bits and pieces of your “nuggets of wisdom” at no cost, or possibly offer a free test-drive, but people WILL pay for valuable knowledge, insights, advice, and guidance.

Bottom Line?  People want help, and they want to be told what to do. The more niche the advice, the higher the premium on your content. You can also offer a mix of free and paid articles and episodes to build momentum. Or, you can showcase the content to non-paid subscribers at a later date for free. They just don't get early access. Charge accordingly, but always remind and reinforce your value to your followers.

It is very difficult to go from an “all you can eat” content site to a paid content site, and perhaps a better idea is to implement your “pay to play” strategy sooner rather than later. Don't wait until you have 10,000 subscribers or followers. Set your value early in the game.

What platforms can help you set up a simple paid newsletter service?

This is definitely something I will be considering in the near future.  Wish me luck!  What are your thoughts? Do you think that paid content subscriptions will work as a revenue generation strategy?