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Free or Premium? The decision-making process for your articles in a freemium strategy.

Should this article be free or reserved for subscribers?

It’s a common question for publishers launching a freemium model, one of the most popular approaches for employing a subscription strategy where content is divided into free and premium.

For a metered paywall strategy, the answer’s pretty well defined (although this still depends on the publisher’s strategy)…

  • Some publishers block after a user has accessed a certain number of articles
  • Others present the paywall once the quota of sessions is reached
  • And the Peruvian publisher, El Comercio, defines metering as blocking content 24 hours after a user’s first visit

Hard paywall models are equally clear-cut: all content is blocked.

  • Financial Times is perhaps the most well recognized example of this model
  • Whilst others employ a softer version where the hard paywall is preceded by a soft conversion step, as is employed by Alternatives Economiques who first block a user with a newsletter wall before a paywall on the second article.

But, for publishers employing a freemium model, it’s a little trickier. Given that content needs to fall into either free (unlocked and available for all) or premium (blocked with a paywall and reserved for subscribers), the question comes down to how to best place an article.

There’s a few things to consider, best summarized by this decision tree:

It goes without saying that this tree should also be adapted to your individual strategy, content and audience.

The goal of free content:

  • Increase engagement
  • Prove the value that you have to offer
  • Encourage re-circulation
  • Promote your premium offers
  • Optional: generate leads for subscription through soft conversion strategies, including registration and newsletter sign up

The goal of premium content:

Read the full content on the Poool blog

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Madeleine White

Madeleine White

Content Marketing Manager at Poool — turning your audience into leads, members and revenue!