On January 15,WeChat started paywall on its Official Account platform, which became creators’ third revenue method other than tipping and ads. Content creators see it as abonanza as valuable content brings even more income than ads, especially intimes of the pandemic.

In the first dark launching, some accounts saw their subscribers grow threefold; some earned RMB 250,000 with 4 articles, while some suffered from unsubscription.Three months into the test, 20,000 accounts rolled out paid content, and 400 of them use it on all their posts.

Many creators, however, feel confused: what types of articles would readers like to pay for; what are the benefits; how to use it like no one else can? To give some food for thought, W-axis Technology has summarized some cases to inspire other creators with their experience.

 

01 What content would readers pay for?

 

If you take a closer look, you’ll find that the articles that attract the most payers are the “juicy” ones. If an article that charges 98 yuan tells readers about a surging stock or gives them valuable information about an industry, they will surely spend the money, for the gain far outweighs the cost.

 

Now, what exactly should creators write about to obtain more revenue? W-axis Technology has the following three points to make after sifting through paid articles released in the past quarter.

 

1.Serials

 

Writers put up the first few chapters to pique readers’ interest and require payment for the rest of the novel. This is the earliest and most important paywall model.

Qiao Heng was one of the first creators to try the paywall with his account, A Cabbage’ Writer Dream. He has long been posting serial novels on the account and now he would charge 1 yuan for three of the chapters he releases each week.

In addition to novels, the model also fits opinion-based articles on economics and business. A thoughtful beginning is enough to entice readers to pay.

 

2.Trend-reading articles

 

Articles under this category are mostly professional reports that predict trends in some industries for readers to invest their money in. If a stock analyst is right for once, readers will trust his words and recommend him to friends. Thus,user activeness and retention will be boosted.

Besides, experts in other areas can also leverage the paywall function. In fact, it does not only create revenue, but also sift readers and guide payers to access paid service in other platforms like Zhihu.

 

3.Use fulmaterials

 

Useful materials like packs of information and industrial reports have always been popular online. Creators can add them in several paid articles. The lists of content can be set at the top for free to achieve easier search.

Creators canalso put their paid courses from other platforms on official accounts for readers that want to learn them within WeChat. A better user experience can improve conversion rate.

 

02 Three features of paywall

 

After reading a host of paid articles, we found that in addition to locking content, some creators have found ingenious ways to make full use of the paywall.

 

1.Prohibition of sharing

 

When an article is set as paid content, the backstage system will forbid users to share it after payment. This leads to higher content quality, less plagiarism, and more value users attach to useful content.

 

2.Building communities

 

On January 29, Bioinformatic Skillset, a professional academic official account, released an article called General Analysis Process of Methylation Chip. Readers who pay 18.8 yuan for the article will be given a QR Code to a fan club group chat, which substitutes the traditional method of manually adding readers to group chats. This accumulates customers, helps brands to build private traffic and facilitates target operations.

 

03 Paid Articles on Mini Programs: A New Possibility

 

The biggest difference between WeChat and other platforms lies in the Mini Programs. What synergy would paid content and Mini Programs create?

By adding links o Mini Programs in paid articles, creators can put their offline membership online.For example, if a company promises that an offline customer who purchases membership with 99 yuan through a paid article can be rewarded VIP perks that worth 999 yuan on the designated Mini Program, its members in the offline system will beat tracted by the reward to go online. The whole-channel operation of user contact points will be achieved with a single paid article. Further more,businesses can provide discounts to its members to improve user stickiness.

 

 

Since the pandemic started, many creators have been looking forward to the beta test of the paywall. This is no wonder since the function is a new major source of income other than ads and tips. This is also in line with WeChat’s endeavor to reward creators, which has been frequently mentioned in WeChat Open Class Proby Zhang Xiaolong.

 

Runners of official accounts can use the paywall to recategorize their subscribers and refine their operations. Writing articles that attract 100k+views is no longer the only way to gain income, combining quality content with Mini Programs will also do the job.