076: What to know before starting a membership Content Library – with Maris Callahan

Maris Callahan is the founder of The Social Broker, a content membership that helps Real Estate agents to build great online brands. In this episode, she joins Ward to discuss the aspects you need to consider before you can get your content library up and running, from the idea to launch.

✍️ Show Notes

📄 Show Transcript

This transcript is computer generated, please excuse any errors 🙂

Ward Sandler: Welcome, everybody! Today I’m talking with Maris Callahan, the CEO and founder of The Social Broker, a content membership empowering real estate agents to build polished and thriving online brands. She’s a long time believer in social media with 15 years of experience in public relations and social media for big brands, innovative entrepreneurs, and some of the largest national real estate companies. Maris is a returning guest. So welcome back to the Membership Maker Podcast. 

Maris Callahan: Maris, thank you for having me back. It’s good to chat again!

Ward Sandler: Yeah, for sure. We know choosing a membership model, and membership software is not easy. There are many aspects to think about. You run a very successful content library, and we often get asked about what to consider before starting a membership business like this.

Maris Callahan:  That’s a great question. And I’m sure it is one that a lot of people are thinking about because memberships are pretty hot right now. There are so many out there, and really, I had no idea how many different types of memberships there were before I jumped into the space myself. I think the first thing that I would, if I could go back and tell my past self, something to consider is that it’s really not passive income. This is not easy money. It is a lot of work. 

And really, you know, it’s not even comparable to doing a service or selling a product because your membership is always on, you know, people are always going to want access to you as the, if you have a, you know, a personal brand that, You know, includes you as the face of your membership, people will always want to kind of have access to your expertise, your skills. 

I love what I do, and I’d love the opportunity to teach real estate agents more about how to use social median meaningfully, and how to grow a really successful personal brand that eventually translates into new clients. But there is a lot more technical knowledge that I wish I had taken the time to research and to realize that, there’s just a lot of logistics involved in running, running a membership brand.

And a site like MemberSpace is a really awesome solution. I had my idea for my membership for months before I finally pulled the trigger. And part of that was because I didn’t know how to, I knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t know how to do it. 

Ward Sandler: Yeah, it’s a common, a common thing we hear is like, Oh boy, I know what I know what I want to do. How do I kind of pull all these pieces together? How do I connect all these tools together? And luckily we’re at a point with the internet where you can kind of piece pretty what used to be pretty advanced software together without having to spend a billion dollars on a custom developer or an application or things like that.

But question regarding the content library specifically. Is there anything that people should kind of keep in mind when they’re, when they’re like, you know what, I want to have a content library of some kind? Are there any kind of quick tips or best practices you can think of when it comes to that?

Maris Callahan: Yeah. Everybody always wants content that’s different and content that stands out from what other people are doing. And I think looking outside of your own industry for inspiration is something that’s really helped me as I’ve built my repertoire of content that I offer to agents. I don’t look at what other real estate companies are doing. I look at what other memberships totally outside of my industry might be doing to market to their audiences. So I might look at what a fitness brand is doing or what a fashion brand is doing. And that’s how I kind of keep content creation and how I can kind of keep bringing new ideas to my membership base.

Ward Sandler: Yeah, it’s smart because, for example, real estate, maybe they aren’t the most up-to-date in terms of like the best ways to present a content library visually, or even from a user experience. So if you just funnel vision and only look at your industry and you know, maybe quasi competitors, you might think, Oh yeah, this is how you should do it. But if you don’t branch out and look at like, for example, like fitness, right? That, that was a good example because that’s probably like, there’s so many fitness websites out there, so much fitness content libraries out there, and it’s super, super, super competitive. So it really creates some of the best stuff you can visually see some of the best user experience. And so you had to branch out to those own industries. I think that’s actually pretty, pretty darn smart. 

Maris Callahan: Yeah. And I think my membership is a little bit different from those that I know of and that I’m not only giving my members content to consume, which is, you know, videos and strategies and, and, you know, informational, educational content for them to kind of use and repurpose, but I’m actually giving them content to take and to post on their own social networks. So not only is there, you know, access to kind of to me and to the guest experts that I bring in for the sort of consumable content, but there’s content that they’re going to now use for their audience. So in that regard, I’ve not only had to get to know who is my target audience and what is it that they’re looking for, but who is their target, who is my audiences audience, and what kind of information and content are they looking to consume? Because I think with any content creation, knowing your audience and knowing what their pain points are, is the number one priority 

Ward Sandler: 100%. And this is kind of a side question, but, there’s content libraries, and then there are courses and there are other permutations. Where would you kind of draw the line between a course and a content library? And why are you even doing a content library? Why is it not a course?

Maris Callahan: That’s a great question. My goal is not only to, you know, to sort of provide oone option to agents. Real estate agents are my clientele, and I really want to be a resource to them throughout all stages of their career and all stages of their marketing journey. Some people come to me, and everyone is at a different level, right? So some people come to me with a lot of experience on social media, and maybe they say, I need a breath of fresh air. I’m tired of posting the same old content. So they come to me for the content. Other people might be just starting out either in real estate or in building a social media presence. And they might be looking for more of a, you know, more fundamental, how do I get set up? How do I get started, and what do I post? So by having a membership, you know, the content is accessible to people at all times. And it’s also, you know, people are able to go with their own pace. 

Ward Sandler: Right. So I guess the quick way of saying that would be kind of, what does your audience need? You know, what is the kind of, what’s kind of the availability that they want? Everyone’s audience is a little different in terms of what they’re looking for. Some people, their audience, absolutely wants a very structured step by step course. Some people want more of a buffet of like, give me all the good stuff, add to it over time and just let me get it as I want, and it sounds like that’s more of what your audience is looking for. 

Maris Callahan: Yeah. And someone gave me a piece of advice many years ago when I was branching out on my own, having my own business for the first time. And she said, ‘No matter what you will be successful, If you do what you say you’re going to do’. And I think that’s so important in the membership world too, because there is so much competition online for any subject. If you Google fitness or fashion, like how many millions of Google search results will come up ? So it’s important to have consistency, not only in, you know, marketing your membership, but in the product and the service and accessibility, you provide to your base.

Ward Sandler: That’s great stuff. Maris, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We really appreciate it. Would you like to share any resource or recommendations for folks trying to learn more about The Social Broker? 

Maris Callahan: Thank you. Yeah, my website is Thesocialbroker.com, and over on Instagram, I’m @the.social.broker 

Feel free to drop me a DM and say hi. I always love to talk about memberships. 

Ward Sandler: Sounds good. Thanks, Maris. 

Maris Callahan: Thanks, ward.