Two pairs of different mixed-up shoes and socks

The Difference Between Memberships and Subscriptions

News outlets, borrowing from association membership tactics and pay services’ subscription strategies, are mixing up the two concepts. Also: why the president of the American Heart Association helped introduce the new Apple Watch.

As you might know, the world of journalism is diving headfirst into membership-driven offerings. But one place where news outlets are getting tripped up is the terminology: Some are mixing up subscriptions and memberships.

It’s a difference that might seem like semantics, but it can affect how you develop your organization’s community.

Let’s start by defining each. A subscription model requires people to pay for a service or product. Meanwhile, a membership model consists of much more: Members are not only invited to share connections, experience, time, and many other nonfinancial things but also to pay dues for access to such a robust community.

In a piece on the Poynter website, writers Emily Goligoski and Kate Myers explain that the terminology mix-up can be misleading.

“What’s at stake is clarity and intentionality with the people our sites serve, as well as a mutual understanding of what is different about the relationships that membership-driven organizations have with their supporters (namely, the opportunity for members to contribute knowledge and participate in other ways),” Goligoski and Myers wrote.

It’s an interesting debate that associations might gain something from, even if they fall closer to the membership side of the equation than the subscription side.

Heart Health on Apple’s Big Stage

Heart disease is the number-one killer of Americans. Now, Apple is doing what it can to change that.

The new Apple Watch 4, which was unveiled Wednesday, will offer electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) testing that can deliver a person’s health information straight to his or her doctors. No traditional consumer device has ever had this feature.

This was a pretty big deal—such a big deal that Apple invited Ivor Benjamin, MD, president of the American Heart Association, on the stage to talk about its impact.

“Capturing meaningful data about a person’s heart, in real time, is changing the way we practice medicine,” he said. “In my experience, people often report symptoms that are absent during their medical visits. That’s why information is vital—information about a person’s daily lifestyle choices and their specific health data.”

Other Links of Note

Is it time for a social media audit? To make sure you have the right strategy in place, you have to first determine what is—and is not—working. Here’s how to do it, from Hootsuite.

Audiovisuals are one of the most important aspects of a conference, but they can be expensive. Meetings Today explains what you need to know to negotiate with confidence.

Online ads can run anywhere. It takes the right targeting, message, and context to make digital campaigns connect with the right audience, from The Agitator.

(Ogovorka/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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