Issue #69 — Loyalty is membership's North Star

Welcome back to your latest roundup of the biggest stories and ideas in independent publishing.

Last week’s issue had lots of content about creating better newsletters and this weeks is full of interesting ideas about podcasts. Plus: the latest research about metrics in memberships, what happens when newspapers disappear and how trolls manipulate the media!

💯 Top picks

Loyalty is membership’s North Star – Here’s how news sites & advocacy groups measure it

“The traditional marketing funnel just doesn’t work for us — we have 10 funnels!” Publishers of all sizes running memberships are grappling with the question of how to measure success. The Membership Puzzle Project released their latest piece of research which investigates the most important metrics and how to measure them, with plenty of real life examples.

💸 Business models

Slate shares the details of their podcast revenue for 2019! [Podcast]

Slate has been doing podcasts for 14 years and expects to hit 200 million downloads this year. They will also be reaching another milestone – 50% of their revenue will be from podcasts. This is from both podcast advertising and members-only podcast content which has 60,000 members.Listen to president Charlie Kammerer talk about their success in this 25 minute episode.

How publishers get their reporters to drive subscriptions

“For many newsrooms, paying subscribers have replaced pageviews as the key barometer of success.

That means thinking up new ways to steer reporters to create subscriber-worthy stories. Some, such as Business Insider, offer bonuses for reporters who hit subscription targets. Others, such as News Corp Australia, have tried to implement quotas, which have met resistance from newsroom unions. For many publishers, the answer is to simply raise awareness of what is working among reporters.”

The Information and Bloomberg discuss a bundled subscription

Axios reported that Bloomberg Media and The Information are in talks about a bundled subscription. Could this be the beginning of a trend where publishers with similar audience alignment join forces, in what is becoming a competitive subscription landscape?

✍️ Modern journalism

This company opens up the black box of what print newspaper subscribers are actually reading

German company Lesewert creates a “reading value” score that tracks how readers are consuming printed media. Their data uncovers what people are reading, which days of the week people read the most, as well as demographic information. Unsurprisingly, they found the average age of newspaper readers to be over 60.

How a local newspaper became digital-first to save its 123 year-old legacy

Here’s a real example of how to combat the decline in consumption of printed news. This local newspaper built a digital-first workflow, implemented a paywall and consolidated its subscription plans. They now have increased circulation and revenue! 🙌

The books and movies that made us better journalists

This article is full of reading recommendations from journalists - sharing the most important articles, books and movies that inspired their craft.

Aiming for its next million supporters, The Guardian launches a major “affinity campaign”

The Guardian is now supported by millions of readers - but the publisher knows it needs to start spending money on marketing to continue to earn more reader revenue. So they're launching their first major campaign since 2011, called "Hope is power." Other large publishers like the New York Times are doing similar things.

👩‍💻 Technology

Europe’s “right to be forgotten” doesn’t apply worldwide

A European court has ruled the controversial EU “right to be forgotten” rule which allows EU citizens to ask for information about them to be removed from Google, does not need to apply worldwide.

Useful tool: Support tables for HTML and CSS in emails

Can I Email is a great resource if you’re sending email newsletters. Type in a HTML element or CSS property into the search box and it will show you whether it’s supported by all of the major email clients. Bookmark for later, and don’t forget to check out our curated resources for publishers for other neat tools!

Media Voices Live: How publishers are innovating with podcast

“Publishers are in a unique position to take advantage of the rise in podcasting thanks to their storytelling expertise and ready-made audiences. With listener numbers growing and discoverability improving, there has never been a better time for publishers to create something unique.”

Who could have predicted that Podcoin, an app that promised to pay you to listen to podcasts, didn’t work out

The latest issue of Hot Pod explores the latest news in podcasting technology, including the shut down of Podcoin.

🤷 WTF?

Source hacking: How trolls manipulate the media

A new report published by the digital think tank Data & Society, written by Joan Donovan, Director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, and senior researcher Brian Friedberg, aims to create a taxonomy of trolling tactics.

There's more to this story

Sign in to view the members-only discussion of this week's newsletter, or subscribe to join the community and receive next Sunday's edition direct to your mailbox!

Sign up now