Drip Content

The Ultimate Guide to Drip Content

Drip content can be a powerful way to connect with new customers and to get them engaged with your company and with the community.

Nowadays, businesses can’t operate successfully without digital marketing. With more people using the internet and social media than ever before, it allows them to meet their customers where they are and put their products in front of the right people at the right time. In turn, this allows them to increase their return on marketing investment and their revenue.

For you, as a membership site owner, it may be even more important to effectively get your content to your customers. An added benefit for membership site owners is that they can monetize the content they deliver through their digital marketing efforts. And here, drip content is a tool that offers immeasurable value.

With it, you’re able to keep your audience more engaged and increase your profits. But what is drop content exactly and how does it work? In this post, we’ll look at drip content in more detail and why it might be a perfect fit for your membership site.

What is Drip Content?

So, what is drip content exactly? Simply put, drip content is the practice of releasing your content to your members in parts. In other words, you don’t release all the content to your members immediately. You could, for example, release the chapters of an e-book or the modules in an online course according to a time-based schedule.

You can almost think of it like the TV series of years ago before platforms like Netflix and the like became available. At the time, you had to watch an episode and had to come back the following week to watch the next. 

6 Content Business Models

When you operate a membership site, you have several business models you can choose from. You could, for instance, choose between the following:

  1. All access. As the name implies, here you give your members access to all your content when they pay a one-time fee or monthly subscription. In this way, they can work through all your content at their own pace.
  2. Time frame. With this model, you give your members access to your content only for a specific time, say, for example, 30 days or 6 weeks. Here, you’ll typically charge them a one-time fee for access to the content.
  3. Online courses. This is probably the most popular business model that membership site owners use. As the name implies, your members get access to your online courses after paying a one-time fee or a monthly subscription.
  4. Online community. With this model, you give members access to a private member’s area. Here, they can discuss, interact, and have conversations about topics relevant to your products or services.  
  5. Product-based. This is another popular business model for membership sites. Here, you sell digital products like e-books, videos, or other resources to your members.
  6. Productized services. This business model allows you to deliver services like online coaching, consultancy, tutoring, and the like to your members.

Why Should You Use Drip Content?

As you can see, you have a lot of options, each with its own specific goal. So, why should you use drip content as part of your strategy? Well, it offers several benefits over some of the mentioned business models above.

1. Engagement

In the first place, drip content ups the engagement on your content. Remember the TV series we mentioned above? Well, just like the excitement builds for every new episode, drip content increases members’ anticipation and excitement about each new piece of content and hooks them in. In addition, because your audience isn’t rushing through the content, it gives them time to reflect and think more about your content.

Apart from being more engaging to your members, it also offers you the opportunity to engage more with them. For example, when you publish a course through drip content, your members will return to your site constantly. This, in turn, gives you more opportunities to market your other products or services to them. As a result, you increase your profit potential.

Another aspect of drip content that could increase your profits, is the perception that content delivered in parts is more manageable than all the content at once. So, for example, many prospective members may feel intimidated and be put off by a long course. By offering the course in smaller parts, you could accommodate these members and increase sign-ups.

2. Protection

It, unfortunately, happens that some customers sign up to your site, download the content, and then cancel their subscription. Even worse, some customers will subscribe, download the content, and then ask for a refund. This, ultimately, ends up in you losing revenue. 

In addition, content piracy has become all too common in recent years. So, someone would register on your site, download the content, and distribute it unlawfully on other platforms. By using drip content to distribute your content on a fixed schedule, you effectively eliminate these issues.

3. Improvement

A major benefit of using drip content as part of your strategy is that it gives you valuable insights into how your members react to your content. Let’s explain.

When you, for example, release your content as one large course, you don’t know how your audience will react to the course before the time. So, it could be a huge success or an utter failure.

When you, however, choose to release the course using drip content, you’ll be able to see how your audience reacts as you release the respective parts. As a result, you’ll be able to make adjustments and improvements where necessary to the content as you go along. In this way, you keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

4. Efficiency

Let’s face it, creating an online course, e-book, or other resource takes a lot of time and effort. So, if you want to publish a new course or content, it could take some time before you’ll be able to launch.

When you use drip content, you don’t have this problem. It allows you to create, for example, the first module of a course or the first chapter of an e-book and release it. Once released, you can then move on to the following parts. As a result, you’re able to release your content and generate revenue quicker.

How To Deliver Drip Content

You have a variety of options when it comes to delivering drip content to your members. Probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to implement a drip content strategy would be through email. Here, you’ll be able to do it manually or through one of the many email marketing tools available on the market.

Although it could be simpler and cheaper to implement, email does have some limitations, especially when it comes to rich content with extensive graphics or videos. If this is the case, your best bet would be to release your content to your members through your website.

Keep in mind, though, that, depending on your site, it may not have the necessary functionality to create user accounts, receive payments, or track a member’s progress through the content. You’ll then have to implement these features before you’ll be able to distribute your content. This could take some time and effort.

One great solution is to use the Restrict Content Pro plugin paired with the Drip Content Add-on. The Drip Content Add-on was built specifically to help you schedule and release member content.

How to Plan Drip Content

Once you’ve decided to use drip content for your membership site, you’ll need to do some planning. In other words, you’ll need to plan when you’ll be releasing the content to your members. Typically, there are a few ways in which you could do this depending on your specific needs and requirements.

Before considering which model you’ll implement, there are some tools you can use to make the planning of your drip content easier. These are:

  • Drip content schedule. A drip schedule lets you control when your members will receive your content, for example, on a specified date or after a certain period has elapsed. You’ll have to consider, based on your content and your audience, what the appropriate schedule would be. Based on this information, you’ll then be able to implement one of the drip content models described below. 

  • Drip content flowchart. Like a drip schedule, a drip flowchart helps you plan how you’ll release your content to your audience. It does, however, allow you to plan the process in far more detail and you’ll be able to plan exactly what content will be released by when and what action of your members it depends on.

Types of Drip Content

With the above in mind, let’s look at some of the strategies you can implement when using drip content. 

Evergreen Drips

Evergreen drips are some of the easiest drip content strategies to use. When using this strategy, your members will get access to the content based on a pre-determined schedule based on their start date. This cycle of releasing new content is then repeated until you’ve released all the content to them.

In other words, every member will receive the same content on the same schedule relative to their start or signup date. So, only members who start on exactly the same date will receive the same content at the same time.

Example:

A simple example of an evergreen drip campaign would be an online course where you release new modules of the course on the same day every month. So, for example, when a new member signs up and starts module 1 of the course on 1 August 2021, that member will receive module 2 of the course on 1 September 2021, module 3 on 1 October 2021, and so on.

If your course consists of 12 modules, the above process will be repeated with a new module released monthly until 1 July 2022. Keep in mind, though, that this is just an example, and you can basically use any timeframe for your drip content depending on your, and your members’ specific needs and requirements. You could, for instance, make new content available weekly, bi-weekly, or any other schedule that suits you.  

Fixed Date Drips

Unlike evergreen drips, fixed date drips do not depend on the unique starting date of a member. When you use a fixed date drip for your drip content, you release all the content to your members on a schedule with specified dates, irrespective of the date they joined or signed up. As a result, fixed date drips take a little more effort to set up compared to evergreen drips.

With fixed date drips you, therefore, know when you’ll start releasing content and when you’ll end. You have to be careful, though, especially when offering a course that you want members to complete on their own time, not to make the scheduled releases too close in succession.

Also, with a fixed date drip content schedule, you run the risk of losing prospective members when they come across your content when you’ve already released a few modules. The benefit of a fixed date schedule is that it prevents members from rushing through the content and downloading it before other subscribers.    

Example:

As an example, we’ll once again use an online course. So, for example, let’s say you have an online course with 12 modules that you want to offer over a year, starting on 1 January 2022. You’ll then promote your content to your audience to get as many subscribers as possible before the start date.

According to the fixed date schedule, you’ll then release the first module of the course on 1 January 2022, the second on 1 February 2022, the third on 1 March 2022, and so on. This cycle will then repeat until you’ve released all the content in the course.    

Activity-Based Drips

Activity-based drips are like evergreen drips, except that the delivery of the content does not depend on a specific time, but rather a specific activity completed by a member. As a result, they can be a bit more complicated to set up compared to evergreen drips.

Because of the way how they work, activity-based drips are commonly used with online training or courses where members must complete a specific module or take an action, like a test, which allows them to move on to the next module. One of the benefits is that members can work through the content at their own pace without feeling rushed to keep up with the schedule.

Example:

A perfect example of an activity-based drip is an online course that requires learners to complete and submit an assignment after each module. So, let’s say you want to release a course with 12 modules. You can then set up the drip schedule so that members will receive new modules only after they’ve submitted an assignment based on their current module.

Here, you can also choose to make the first module of the course available to members when they sign up or on a specific date. After the release of the first module, members will then get new content as they progress through the work and submit assignments.

Issue-Based Drips

In contrast to the abovementioned drips where members get the same content throughout their subscription based on either time, date, or an activity, issue-based drips deliver content to members based on when they sign up. This model can be complicated to implement, and it’s not that common compared to the other models mentioned here.

So, when you use issue-based drips to release your content, your members will content that’s relevant to that specific time. Also, typically, with issue-based drips, members don’t get access to any content that you released before they joined. The benefit of this is that it allows you to make your older content available to your members for an extra fee.

Example:

A good example of issue-based drips is publications like magazines that make a new issue available every month. In this example, new members will have access to all new issues from the date they join but won’t have access to any back issues. These back issues can then be available to members at a specific price.

Manual Drips

As the name implies, manual drips are simply when you release content to your members manually. So, they’re a variation of fixed date drips but with no specific date for release specified. As a result, they’re also relatively simple to implement, although they do require some manual action on your part to release the content to your members.

Example:

A good example of a manual drip is where you want to release an online course, but you’ve not completed all the modules yet. So, let’s say you’ve completed the first module. You can then release the first module to your members and start working on the second module. Once the second module is complete, you’ll then release it and start working on the third.

You’ll repeat this cycle until you’ve released all the course content to your members.

Easy Drip Content with Restrict Content Pro and the Drip Conten Add-on

Drip Content for Restrict Content Pro lets you schedule the release of member content instead of it becoming available immediately when he or she joins. The schedules you define instruct Restrict Content Pro to release the content based on the member’s join date.

If a member tries to view the content before the schedule allows it, they see the standard restricted message that Restrict Content Pro normally shows when a member does not have access to content. Once the time period defined in the schedule has passed, the content will be visible to the member.

Let’s say you write tutorials that teach people how to play the guitar. Your lessons normally take 3 months to complete. Without drip, your members could sign up, download all the content, and cancel their membership the next day. With drip, you can release each lesson on the schedule you want and retain your members for the full 3 months. Drip Content is a great way to retain members and increase your revenue.

Using the Drip Content Add-On Step by Step

Download and install the plugin from your iThemes Member Panel here. Follow the normal WordPress plugin installation methods. If you need help installing the plugin, refer to the WordPress plugin installation documentation.

To license the plugin, please view our “How Do I License iThemes Products on My Sites” article.

Configuring The Drip Content Add-On On Your Website

Drip schedules can be defined on subscription levels and on post, page, and custom post types. Two types of drip schedules are supported at this time:

  • Content-Type – allows you to schedule the availability of posts, pages, and other custom post types registered on your site.
  • Taxonomy – allows you to schedule groups of content based on the taxonomy term they are assigned to.

You can use both schedule types at the same time. Let’s take a look at each drip schedule type.

NoteIt’s important to understand that Drip Content does not define the actual content restrictions. It schedules the visibility of the content based on the restrictions you already have in place. If you define a drip schedule but do not define content restrictions, the content will not be protected.

Content-Type Schedules

The Content-Type drip schedule type enables you to drip specified posts, pages, and other custom content types based on someone’s membership level. This drip type can be defined in two places – at the post edit screen during content creation, or at the subscription level edit screen under Restrict > Membership Levels. Let’s have a look at each.

To define a Content-Type schedule on a subscription level:

  • Go to Restrict > Membership Levels
  • Add a new subscription level or edit an existing subscription level
  • Define the schedule(s) using the Drip Schedule controls
  • Save the subscription level

To define a Content-Type schedule on a post, page, or other custom content type screen, simply edit the content in question and define the schedule there. For example, to add a schedule to a new blog post:

  • Go to Posts > Add New
  • Create your post as you normally would
  • Define the schedule(s) using the Drip Schedule controls
  • Publish the post

You may have noticed that the controls on the subscription level screen differ from those on the post edit screen. This is because, on the post edit screen, you only have to define the Subscription Levels and Delay Access settings. We already know the post information.

Any schedules made on the post edit screen will automatically show up under the appropriate subscription level screen under Restrict > Membership Levels. Likewise, any schedules made on the subscription level screen will show up on the appropriate post edit screen. They are the same schedule and are just displayed differently based on where they are being displayed.

Taxonomy Schedules

The Taxonomy drip schedule type enables you to define schedules on categories, tags, and other custom taxonomies. This makes it easy to manage schedules for many pieces of content at once, without having to edit each piece of content to define the schedules.

WordPress comes with Categories and Tags built-in. Drip Content supports these taxonomies, as well as any other public, custom taxonomies that have been registered by other plugins. For example, Easy Digital Downloads registers Product Categories and Product Tags. Drip Content also supports these.

Taxonomy schedules are defined on the subscription level screen under Restrict > Membership Levels. To define a taxonomy schedule:

  • Go to Restrict > Membership Levels
  • Add a new subscription level or edit an existing subscription level
  • Define the schedule(s) using the Drip Schedule controls
  • Save the subscription level

In the example above, all posts in the Day Zero category will be available as soon as the member joins. All posts in the Second Week category will be available eight days after the member joins, and all WooCommerce products in the Product Category named Product Cat One will be available one month after the member joins.

Displaying Member Content

Using the included shortcode, you can display a list of scheduled content that a member will receive with his or her membership. To do that, use the [rcp_drip_member_content] shortcode. By default, the shortcode shows a list of content types and taxonomies that are currently available, as well as a list of upcoming content types and taxonomies with the date they will become available to the member. Let’s have a look.

[rcp_drip_member_content]

In the image above, the first four items are available based on their defined drip schedule. The member can click and read them. The last two items are the things that are not yet available and will become available at the dates listed. Once those items are available, they will also be linked and available for reading.

Showing Future Items 

If you’d rather not show the unavailable items, you can do that by adding a simple option to the shortcode – like this:

[rcp_drip_member_content show_future="false"]

In the above image, the upcoming items are not shown because we instructed it not to do that by using the show_future option.

Sorting The Schedule Display


You can sort the output by specifying the order by the option on the shortcode. Supported sort options are:

  • date – sorts the schedules by the date they become available to the member.
  • name – sorts the schedules by post/taxonomy name.

Example of sorting by date:

[rcp_drip_member_content orderby="date"]

Example of sorting by name:

[rcp_drip_member_content orderby="name"]

You can add this shortcode to any post or page. When viewing a page with the shortcode, if the user isn’t logged in, nothing shows. Likewise, if the user is logged in but does not have a subscription, or if they have a subscription but their subscription does not have any drip schedules, nothing shows.

Wrapping Up

When you operate a membership site, drip content is an excellent way to keep your members engaged and encourage them to return to your site regularly. In this way, you’ll get more chances to market to them, and build a loyal following in the process.

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