For the most part, I had all the details of the Membership launch ready to go about three weeks before I announced anything here. All the content was written, the membership drive giveaway prizes were lined up, and the whole signup process with PayPal and the IPN was in place. 1
Back in early January, when I decided to do the membership, my original idea for the perk was a members-only email journal. It was going to be a once-a-month email with written content just for members — primarily the Members Showcase, the Q&A, and then something called “The Cut List”. 2
However, there were several problems with an email journal that, in the end, didn’t sit right with me. Primarily, I didn’t want what I was writing to be hidden behind a paywall. Nor did I want to force you guys to have to get another email.
Though I liked the idea of some sort of members-only communication that had a personal touch, doing it via email, private forums, or an authenticated RSS feed just didn’t make sense.
In part because it would have made it more difficult for you, and in part because I didn’t want to have to draw the line between what writing went on shawnblanc.net and what writing went to members only. I wanted it all on the website.
Why should I put what may be some of my best work behind a paywall and then make it more difficult or annoying for members to access it? If anything it should be easier for members. And the only way I know of to keep it easy is to publish it publicly and let you continue to access it the way you have been.
So I canned the idea of the members journal. Which left me very few perks: the Members Showcase, the Q&A, and the promise of doing some giveaways to members throughout the year.
But something was still lacking. I mean, clearly, the whole point of becoming a member is to support the main writing that I do here on the site. But I still wanted a cool and exciting perk for the members.
And then, just less than a week before the announcement, I had the idea for Shawn Today. Why not do a short, daily broadcast just to the members? The premise is that the members are the truest of the true fans. So why not talk to them, “check in” with them, and let them know what’s in the pipeline for the website that day or that week.
Or, to put it another way, if shawnblanc.net is a movie, Shawn Today is that Disc 2 which contains “The Making Of” and “The Director’s Commentary”.
Having it be audio (and sometimes video) meant it was a unique enough format that any member who loves my writing but isn’t interested in the broadcast wouldn’t feel like they were missing anything. And it would be personal enough so that those who do love my writing would feel like it would be the icing on the cake.
It was the final piece of the whole puzzle that made me feel proud of the members-only perks.
What I did not expect was what a huge hit Shawn Today would actually be.
Currently more than 90% of members are listening to Shawn Today. And in the past week I have gotten more email from members regarding the broadcast than any other topic. Some have written in with responses to topics or questions I’ve thrown out during various shows, some have written in just to say how much they love it.
What current members are saying about Shawn Today
“Shawn Today is fast becoming one of my top podcasts. Concise and full of great content.” — Orin
“You guys are really missing out on @shawnblanc’s Shawn Today.” — Ben Brooks
“Dude, I know you must be hearing this a bunch. But I am loving Shawn Today!” — Myke Hurley
“Really enjoying listening to Shawn Today on my way to work. Great work!” — Stephen Hackett
“Just signed up as a member and wanted to let you know I’m really digging the extra members-only content. Already enjoyed your blog posts, so it was an easy decision.” — Alex Knight
“I listen to @shawnblanc’s Shawn Daily as I’m getting started in the morning. It’s like we’re hanging out. It’s nice.” — Dave Caolo
Here are a couple of my favorite broadcasts so far:
Thoughts on Fanatics: Thoughts on fans vs. true fans (fanatics), and how I haven’t yet had a chance to read the latest Apple rumors.
Hot Coffee: Stories of brewing coffee at Anna’s grandparent’s house in northeastern Colorado.
“Aren’t We All Just 8th Graders?”: Debunking that feeling of “once I get big enough then I’ll start pursuing my idea.”
If you’d like to get access to Shawn Today you have to become a subscribing member. Your membership will help me take shawnblanc.net full time.
Ideally the value and enjoyment you already get from shawnblanc.net is worth 3 bucks a month to you and the perks like Shawn Today are just icing on the cake. But whatever your reason may be, I would love to have your support as a subscribing member.
- I had been putting off writing “Beginning” though. I didn’t write that until the night before. Mostly because I was so nervous about this whole venture and writing and publishing that article was the final step that would seal the deal and make it official. ↵
- The cut list was going to be a list of links that never made it onto shawnblanc.net for one reason or another. The name for The Cut List was Sean Sperte’s idea. ↵