In the past year, The Guardian\u2019s paid member base went from 50,000 to 200,000 \u2014 an incredible increase in any industry. Its membership program was introduced in 2014; although it got off to a slow start, ramped up promotions in July 2016 brought in a flood of eager members and inspired The Guardian to aim for a new goal of 1 million.\r\nHow did The Guardian attract new members?\r\nFrom the start, The Guardian has emphasized the importance of supporting quality journalism, a strategy that\u2019s worked to bring in members whose values are in sync with The Guardian\u2019s goals. Managing director David Magliano confirmed that paid members don\u2019t receive any special content as part of their membership.\r\n\r\nThe Guardian alerted readers to the membership option with brief messages placed on its site; intensive testing was performed to fine-tune the placement and content. Thirty messages were tested; some were placed at the bottom of articles, and others were positioned as pop-up ads displayed to visitors with ad blockers on. Links to stories were also used to entice potential subscribers.\r\n\r\nIn addition, social media outlets were used to advertise the membership program. As SODP recently reported, a large number of media brands are developing a strong social media presence in an attempt to leverage the massive number of young users.\r\nBenefits for paid subscribers\r\nAccording to Natalie Hanman, executive editor of membership at The Guardian, American readers appreciate the brand\u2019s liberal perspective and global outlook. While the desire to support open journalism may drive some readers to pay for a membership, other perks include discounts on events and priority booking services, depending on membership level.\r\n\r\nThe program has three options: $6.32 for supporters, $19 for partners and $76 for patrons. The Guardian has yet to reveal the ratio of paid members in each tier.\r\nWhat\u2019s next for The Guardian\u2019s paid membership program?\r\nThe Guardian is expanding its coverage of stories deemed \u201cunderreported\u201d in order to deepen relationships with readers in the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition, the outlet will continue asking readers which topics are most important to them. Although the goal is to boost flagging revenue, the program may also help content quality at The Guardian remain high.\r\n\r\nWhat do you think about The Guardian\u2019s membership program? Are paid memberships the future of digital publishing?\r\n\r\nShare your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.