Welcome back! This weeks thoughtful takes on the future of publishing includes lots of news about emerging business models and a free downloadable resource in our top pick of the week.
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Stories, ideas and resources all in one place – catch up with past issues, or discover neat tools for independent publishing 👉 publisherweekly.org
💯 Top picks
Why do content creators focus on maximising reach, rather than improving engagement with the right people?
Editors at The Atlantic have become fatigued with placing too much importance on page views, and are focusing on metrics that offer more insight. For example: What kinds of audiences are visiting? What do those people actually value?
They’ve shared this (free with email address) downloadable resource that walks you through how to segment your audience, surface relevant content, deepen relationships and improve conversions. If you don’t have time to read it right now, save it and file for when you need a little inspiration - it’s only 9 pages and full of insightful opinions!
💸 Business models
A propensity paywall uses signals to measure a visitor’s likelihood of becoming a subscriber, and determines exactly how to encourage them to do it by sending the right messaging at the right time. Piano launched their own intelligent propensity paywall back in June and have since seen clients increase their visitor-to-subscriber rates by up to 75%.
Dan Oshinsky released the latest edition of Not A Newsletter in the usual Google Docs format and it’s packed full of interesting reads as well as an overview of what Dan learnt looking back on two years of working at The New Yorker!
Google and Facebook may have eaten up all of the news referral traffic in recent years, but this hasn’t stopped the Japanese startup SmartNews from gaining traction. For now, it remains the largest news aggregation service in Japan – but is growing rapidly in the US, making most of its revenue from advertising.
A creative plea from missionlocal.org for their loyal readers to donate and pay for their news, to keep the publication alive.
“If half of those users […] paid $10 a month, we would earn $168,000 a year. Counting in our current business members, we would be fully funded.”
“Publishers like Vice Media and The Stylist Group say they’ve gotten traffic and more importantly, revenue lifts from Apple News in the last three months.”
✍️ Modern journalism
The publisher aims to give a voice to underserved communities through new Personal and Opinion sections, which will expand the variety of voices on the publication and actually pay contributors, unlike the former Blog section that is being replaced.
NiemanLab summarise a week of good news for the two big publishers, with the NYT hitting 3.78 million digital subscribers, while The Guardian broke even with over half of its revenue coming from digital.
The Markup is back, with Julia Angwin reinstated as editor-in-chief, a new leadership team, and the same reporters
A little publishing news drama for you this week! The Markup is a nonprofit news site with a mission to investigate how big tech impacts society. In April, the cofounder and editor-in-chief was suddenly fired, causing the editorial team to protest. Now, Angwin has been reinstated, the people that fired her have left and there’s a new leadership team.
“The decision to disable an infamous message board fell to Matthew Prince, an internet executive who is deeply uncomfortable with his own power.”Cloudflare disabling 8chan after it hosted advance announcements about mass shootings was a widely discussed topic this week, sparking philosophical debate about the meaning of free speech and the law on the internet.
“Can the very online ever unplug?”
Mother Jones put the question to four writers with varying degrees of internet damage.