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Elon Musk Outlines Coming X Premium Subscription Packages, Including a Higher Priced Ad Free Option

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X Adds Lists to Search Results on Web, Providing Another Way to Discover Topical Discussions

X is looking to move to the next stage of its subscription package push, with X owner and CTO Elon Musk outlining two new X Premium packages that will be released shortly in the app.

As outlined by Musk, a key element of X’s new strategy is to offer no ads for paying users, which is based around the idea that X Premium take-up this far has been low because as X has acknowledged, most users never post in the app.

A lower-cost tier will still include ads, but you’ll get access to post editing, longer video uploads, a checkmark, etc., while current X Premium users will still get half the ads, at least within certain app elements.

Musk hasn’t outlined the pricing of the new packages, but you’d assume that the top tier will have to be higher than $US12 per month, in order to offset the losses that the company will incur due to reduced ad exposure. The lower tier will obviously be lower than the current $US8 package, but the question then is will it be low enough to inspire much more take-up, when 99% of X users, thus far, have shown no interest at all in paying to use the app?

In theory, the concept of charging users to access X does make logical sense.

When Elon Musk took over at Twitter, the company was on relatively unstable financial footing, which, according to Musk, put it at risk of going bankrupt within months.

In order to solve this, Musk settled on a solution that could theoretically address several of the platform’s key problems all at once.

  • Musk had made a big noise about bots taking over the app, noting that, in his team’s estimations, at least 20% of active Twitter profiles were actually bot accounts. Part of Musk’s takeover pitch was that he would banish bots, a problem that no social platform has been able to conquer at scale.
  • Twitter clearly needed to increase its cash flow and operating margins, while also, ideally, reducing its reliance on ad dollars, which means that the app is then also bound by advertiser demands in regards to moderation, brand safety etc.
  • Musk also had personal gripes with the existing verification system, because many publications and identities that he dislikes held a blue tick marker of authority in the app. In this sense, buying the platform gave him more power to address what he sees as mainstream media manipulation.

Boosting verification take-up would address all of these key points, and Elon had initially set a target of the platform bringing in at least 50% of its revenue from subscriptions in the short term.

If he could get every active user to pay, that would solve all of Twitter’s major problems. And as a bonus, it would also connect user credit cards to their presence in the app, which could be a valuable step towards facilitating expanded payments and purchases in-stream, another aspect of his “everything app” plan.

In theory, this all makes sense. But the problem is that, in reality, people aren’t just going to give you money for nothing of perceived value in return.

Musk’s first misinterpretation was the assessment that people would pay for a blue checkmark, because of the perceptual value it held in the app. For years, users had been looking for a way to get themselves a blue tick, in order to gain an extra level of importance in the app, at least in an aesthetic sense.

But the problem is, Elon also used this as an ideological whip, as a form of punishment for those that he dislikes.

As a result, in making the decision to also take the verification checkmark away from all the previously approved profiles in the app, that immediately eliminated the value of what the marker represents, because as soon as it was scaled back to only paying users, no one saw it as holding any real relevance anymore.

So he essentially de-valued his own product, almost as soon as he created it, all based on his own personal bias. That’s at least partly why fewer than 0.5% of X users have signed up to pay $8 a month, and while these new tiers will add additional considerations to this, it’s hard to see it becoming a more significant consideration for many.

The other element that Musk has seemingly overlooked is that the vast majority of users don’t post at all in the app, so adding elements like reach boosts and posting tools hold literally no value to 80% of the product’s target market.

Which is why X is now moving to ad reductions instead, in the hopes that that will hold more appeal. But really, most people are used to ads, and are not overly bothered by them in-stream. Yes, some people will pay, and in that sense, it could increase take-up. But I would hazard a guess that total X Premium subscribers will remain lower than 1% of X’s total audience, even with these new options.

That’s also why X’s $1 to post experiment will also fail, because most people don’t post, and don’t want to post in the app.

Musk’s view is that this small fee will help eliminate bots, but it’s too low to act as a significant deterrent for bot armies (who can just add this into their flow-through charges to customers), and if he prices it any higher, nobody will pay.

But again, in theory, it does make sense. If you force everyone to connect a credit card, a phone number, and pay for a profile, that should at as a significant impediment for those creating bot accounts. Cybersecurity experts have suggested that that won’t be the case, but you can see, conceptually, where Musk is coming from, and why he’s taking this approach, even if it has been unpopular and highly criticized.

So what could Elon have done differently?

My argument would be that X’s subscription push could have worked, and might still, if X were to concentrate on providing value add elements for your money, rather than trying to just make people pay.

Businesses, for example, would certainly consider paying for enhanced analytics, which X could absolutely accommodate. Various third-party tools provide analysis of X audience, including demographic info, words in bios, hashtag usage, location, comparative data between accounts, etc. There’s a heap of valuable X analytics that brands already pay for within third-party apps, which X could do much better at facilitating direct.

Building that into its business package would then provide real reason to pay, which X has thus far missed.

For regular users too, there are other add-on options that could hold more appeal. The model here would be Snapchat’s “Snapchat+” offering, which has been by far the most successful social subscription package, reaching 5 million paying users, which is 5x more the number of X Premium subscribers, despite it being launched a year after X’s program.

X could also look to offer ID verification for a price, with an official checkmark for confirming your identity, and reach benefits once confirmed.

There’s a range of options that X could explore, and its subscription push could work. But it likely needs to be rolled out over time, with the team working to build in more valuable additions to entice sign-up as it evolves.

The problem is, after cutting 80% of its staff, X’s development options are limited. And Elon also needs money right now, due to X’s difficult financial situation, which has been further complicated by Musk building billions of dollars of loan interest into the company’s obligations.

The subscription path does, logically, hold promise. But it’s a longer-term play, that’ll require behavioral shifts. LinkedIn, for example, is aiming to reach 100 million ID verified accounts by 2025, and it’s not even charging for that option.

That’s a more realistic target, based on steady take-up over time.

Essentially, X’s timeline has been accelerated too much. Maybe by necessity, maybe because that’s just how Elon operates. But at this stage, it doesn’t seem likely to take, even with new sign-up tiers.



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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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