How To Create Content That Markets Itself

One of the best ways to grow your membership business is by providing a way for your members to quickly and easily share your content. You’re probably already using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to spread the word but encouraging and empowering your members and visitors to share your content with their communities is one of the most effective ways to supercharge your visibility.

But what happens when your content is locked away behind a pay-wall or is for members only and not accessible to the public? How can you entice visitors to stick around and buy your content when they can’t see the content that’s supposed to be enticing them?

In this post, we’ll show you how to easily transform the protected content you create for your members into a powerful marketing tool.

Beyond Default Content Protection

MemberMouse’s default content protection mechanism is what we call a “hard block.” The thing is, being able to share your content is a key ingredient in creating content that markets itself. If your content has a “hard block” on it, when a member tries to share it with a friend, they’ll be redirected to an Access Denied error page. This wastes a great opportunity for you to engage with prospects and sign up new customers.

content protection for membership sites

Granted, we don’t want to leave your valuable, paid content wide open to the world, but we do want a way to give non-members a peek at what they’re missing — just enough to get them interested in signing up for a membership.

This is where Conditional Access comes in.

Before we look at how to create this type of dynamic content, we need to get on the same page with the terminology we use to describe the state a user is in when they attempt to access protected content.

The 3 Types of Access

Just like Eskimos have many different words for snow, here at MemberMouse, we have specific terminology to describe different user access states.

Yes, it’s a little bit nerdy… but hey, this is what we do!

MemberMouse lets you to display different content for 3 types of user states:

  • Current Access
    • Members are in a current access state if they currently have access to the protected content.
  • Future Access
    • Members are in an future access state if they don’t currently have access to the protected content, but will at some point in the future based on their drip content schedule.
  • No Access
    • Non-members and members are in a no access state if they don’t have access to the protected content and won’t have access in the future based on their current access rights.

When you know what relationship a member or non-member has to the protected content in terms of access rights, you can easily tailor specific content to target each state individually.

Now let’s look at the nuts and bolts and show you how to set this up on your site.
how to protect content on your membership site

A Step-by-Step Example

In this example, the tool we’ll use to create highly shareable & marketable content is called the Access Decision SmartTag. This allows you to create shareable content that will be displayed in full to members who have access and will show special messaging to users who don’t have access.

We’ve broken the process down to 4 easy steps.

Step 1:

The first thing we need to do is create a new protected post or page. This article gives you step-by-step instructions for creating a protected post or page in WordPress. After doing this, that piece of content is protected by MemberMouse’s default content protection mechanism, “hard blocking.”

Step 2:

The next thing we need to do is create the content that everyone will see no matter what their access rights are. Here’s an example:

<h1>Day 5: The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Learn!</h1>

<!-- placeholder for dynamic content -->

<p>Coming Up: In the next article we'll teach a simple trick to turn lead into gold.</p>

At this point we’ve set up our headline at the top of the page and our plug for the next article to be visible by everyone who can access this page.

Step 3:

In this step we’ll replace the <!-- placeholder for dynamic content --> that we added in Step 2.

This is where the magic happens.

The Access Decision SmartTag has three different attribute values that you can use to specify the content you want shown for each case. Here’s a simple example:

<h1>Day 5: The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Learn!</h1>

[MM_Access_Decision access='true']

<!-- content for members with current access goes here -->


[MM_Access_Decision access='future']

<!-- content for members with future access goes here -->


[MM_Access_Decision access='false']

<!-- content for members with no access goes here -->


<<p>Coming Up: In the next article we'll teach a simple trick
to turn lead into gold.</p>

When viewing this page, the visitor will only be shown the content inside the SmartTag that correlates to their access value in addition to the content that's available for everyone (i.e. not contained within the access='true', access='future' or access='false' parameters).

Step 4:

Finally, let's complete the example with some sample content:

<h1>Day 5: The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Learn!</h1>

[MM_Access_Decision access='true']

Here's the video you paid for:

<iframe width="640" height="390"


frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>



[MM_Access_Decision access='future']

Thank you for purchasing access to this video.

You'll be able to watch it on [MM_Content_Data id='1' name='dateAvailable'].


[MM_Access_Decision access='false']

You don't have access to view this video.

Interested in learning the most important thing ever?

<a href="[MM_Purchase_Link productId='1']">Click here to become a member</a>


<p>Coming Up: In the next article we'll teach a simple trick
to turn lead into gold.</p>


Here's the result:

  • Current Access
    • Members with current access will be able to watch the protected video.
  • Future Access
    • Members with future access will be displayed a message letting them know that they will have access to the video on a specific day. This content utilizes the Content Data SmartTag which calculates the date the current member will get access and prints it on the screen.
  • No Access
    • Non-members and members with no access will see a message saying that they don't have access and then display a link for how they can sign up. This content utilizes the Purchase Link SmartTag which generates a special link that when clicked will automatically take the visitor to a checkout page where they can purchase access.

As you can see, the Access Decision SmartTag gives you a lot of flexibility in controlling who can access your content and what they'll see based on their access rights. All you need to do is follow the example above and place your pre-sales content within the [MM_Access_Decision access='false'] SmartTag.

Now when your members share this page with friends, post a link on Facebook or share it on Twitter, everyone who's not a member will see your pre-sales content instead of being redirected to an Access Denied error page. And that's how you create content that markets itself!
a recipe for viral content

Final Thoughts

By utilizing the ability to customize the content you display to visitors without access, you’re able to transform your protected content into a powerful marketing tool. Whenever you or your members share your content, instead of being hidden behind a pay-wall, your pages become what we call “self-promoting.” Putting the power of the Access Decision SmartTag to use on your site is a great way to make your protected content work for you.

If you’d like more information on how to customize what your members and visitors see in RSS feeds, Archive Listings and most importantly, Search Results, check out this article from our support center.

Matt Brown

Matt is an enthusiastic Marketing Associate at MemberMouse. Originally from Chicago, Matt now resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and cat. He loves reading, writing and getting outdoors.

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