The Great Debate: Free Learning Resources vs. Premium Access at Collab365

By Mark Jones

February 24, 2024

Hello, Mark Jones here, your navigator through the dynamic world of Microsoft 365 and the entrepreneurial spirit fueling Collab365 Academy. Today's newsletter peels back the curtain on a topic close to our hearts and operations: the intricate dance between offering free content and gating premium resources. Plus, a sneak peek into our exciting experiment with Evergreen Webinars.

The Heart of the Matter

At Collab365 Academy, we're not just about creating content; we're about crafting experiences that empower, educate, and inspire. Our vast array of blogs, workshops, courses, free events, and ebooks is testament to our commitment. Yet, as we strive to serve our community, we're also faced with a reality many digital platforms grapple with: balancing generosity with the need to sustain and grow our operations.

Paying the Bills vs. Opening the Gates

Let's talk brass tacks. Offering top-notch free content is in our DNA—it attracts new learners, supports existing members, and builds a vibrant community around shared learning. However, the reality of running a platform like ours involves substantial costs—technology, content creation, and yes, the invaluable human effort behind every course, conference, blog, and webinar.

Attracting New Platinum Members

Our Platinum membership is the cornerstone of our model, providing exclusive access to comprehensive success paths, in-depth workshops, and a plethora of resources. It's also what allows us to keep the lights on and continue delivering exceptional content. So, how do we balance attracting new members to this valuable offering while maintaining the open, inclusive ethos that defines us?

"Will the recording be made available?"

Right from the early days of SP24 (2014), up until as recently as this morning, no matter what live event we're running, that's the question we always get. It's a natural question, usually asked for these reasons:

  • A person can't make the date and time, so they want to watch it at their convenience.
  • Or, they prefer to watch it at 2x speed to save time (I am definitely in this camp).

We have said "Yes" many times, BUT, there's a problem...

For many, many years, we've made the recordings available for free events and, do you know something?

The vast majority never watch the recordings.

If it's a paid event, then the percentages are a little higher (skin-in-the-game and all that), but in reality, if you don't book time out of your day, you'll likely never watch it.

It appears, that the secret sauce to getting people to take action is turning the learning into an event or gamifying it in some way.

We all need a little motivation (me included), so I can understand this.

Evergreen Webinars: A New Experiment

In our quest to blend the live energy of our webinars with the convenience of "nearly on-demand learning", we're going to be trialing "Evergreen Webinars". These sessions aim to capture the spontaneity and engagement of live events, infused with interactive elements to keep the dialogue flowing, even after the session ends. It's our way of giving you the best of both worlds, ensuring that every learning moment is as vibrant and enriching as possible.

A Candid Conversation

But here's where I turn to you. As we experiment with this hybrid model, navigate the intricacies of content gating, and brainstorm ways to enrich our Platinum membership, your insights are invaluable. How can we enhance your learning experience while ensuring Collab365 Academy thrives and grows?

Your Voice Matters

What's your take on our content strategy, the introduction of Evergreen Webinars, and the balance between free and gated content? How can we better serve you while ensuring the sustainability and growth of Collab365 Academy?

Share your thoughts, feedback, and ideas. Let's shape the future of learning together.



P.S. Remember, every piece of feedback, every suggestion, and every idea contributes to our collective journey of learning and growth. Check out Collab365 Academy for the latest in Microsoft 365 education and join us as we embark on this exciting new chapter.

Mark Jones

About Mark Jones

My goal is to help 1000 Microsoft experts have more freedom by selling their skills, working from wherever they choose.

To achieve this, I want to help educate via these sites:

👉 Collab365 Summits - Massive virtual conferences for Microsoft products
👉 Collab365 Today - Aggregation site for the best community blogs
👉 Collab365 Community - Huge blog site including plenty of Microsoft content

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