Issue #64 — How to use paid acquisition to grow your email subscribers

Happy Sunday! Here’s all of the latest important stories and ideas in digital publishing.

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💯 Top picks

How to use paid acquisition to grow your email subscribers and paid memberships

“There’s an opportunity to simply fund email list growth and to walk away knowing that this is a leading indicator for subscriber, member and donor growth, as well as increased revenue from sponsorships and advertising.”

Research backed insights about how publishers can leverage ads to get more people into the funnel who may later convert to a member or sponsor.

💸 Business models

The referral program that built an audience of 1.5 million subscribers

Tyler Denk shares a behind the scenes view of business news publisher Morning Brew’s growth. They managed to go from 100,ooo subscribers to 1.5 million in just 18 months with a very successful referral program – relying on their existing readers spreading the word to grow at a rapid pace.

How The Times attracts and retains digital subscribers

“In a world of Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime, how does a publisher convince readers to pay £26 a month for a digital news subscription?”

Subscriptions are the new competitive field for media!

“The migration to digital has put news content in direct competition with everything else. News, social, video-on-demand, games, are now fighting for spending allocation, and time spent.”

The biggest changes for publishers in 2019 so far

A mid-year summary of the biggest changes that have impacted publishers this year from Twipe, including the threat of paywall blockers and the expansion into audio.

✍️ Modern journalism

An upstart sports news service is thriving amid media layoffs

“The Athletic now has more than a half-million readers, but can it turn a profit?”

One potential route to flagging fake news at scale

A software engineer and computational linguist has been studying fake news and has ideas for ways to identify it algorithmically. Since fake news articles are more likely to use expressions that are common in hate speech, linguistic analytics could provide better ways to identify it at scale.

Apply for funds to transform your newsroom analytics

The American Press Institute are offering subsidised access to the Metrics for News software and services that helps publishers priortise audience-driven content. Application form here.

Inside Glamour’s print-first to digital-first transformation

The UK publisher cut back on printed editions of its magazine in 2017, and replaced it with bi-annual collectible glossy issues. Publishing Director Camilla Newman shares some insights into their digital-first journey.

👩‍💻 Technology

YouTube is testing a members-only videos feature

YouTube are reportedly gearing up to sell subscriptions for publishers' videos by expanding their existing product to support standalone subscription based services.

Axios joins media push into software with newsletter product

“Digital media publisher Axios is planning to enter a new business that includes selling software for helping companies create newsletters for their employees. The move comes at a moment when more media businesses are seeking to diversify their revenue through software sales.”

“Plus, a new free course for online fact-checking taught via workspace app Notion.”

🤷 WTF?

MoodFeed recommends content based on how you’re feeling

Rather than browsing categories on BuzzFeed, you can now tell it how you're feeling instead! 🙃

MoodFeed is offering readers a new approach to finding content that fits their emotions - by allowing them to self-identify their mood based on 6 options: curious, stressed, bored, nostalgic, joyful, or hungry.