The biggest stories in digital publishing this week include behind-the-scenes insights from independent publishers, understanding the unit economics of content and a toolkit for keeping your digital presence safe and sane, plus much more!
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💯 Top picks
Data scientist and author of Normcore Tech Vicki Boykis shares a transparent insight of revenue from running a paid newsletter on the side, how many subscribers the newsletter has right now, how many it would need to grow into a full-time income and some worries about VC funded tech.
💸 Business models
“Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., created cross-disciplinary teams across the company — spanning the newsroom and the sales/marketing side — to launch new products in specific content areas like food, politics and real estate. The initiative resulted in nearly $900,000 in new product revenue and, in the past two years, an increase in digital subscriptions by 250 percent.”
Norwegian publisher Stavanger Aftenblad experienced growth, followed by churn! They decided to launch a campaign to emphasis the comments feature to their existing customers, and encourage them to share their views about the content.
✍️ Modern journalism
What’s New In Publishing share a tip from their own playbook and explain how and why you should consider gathering data to fuel your content strategy. The great thing about data driven content is that you can create a completely unique data set that can’t be copied in the same way a “10 best practices” article can. But it can be referenced and linked to, which is great for SEO (and your ego).
“If we’re going to have news that is paid for by audiences, we have to talk about the news that should never be behind paywalls.”
One subscriber or 48,000 pageviews: Why every journalist should know the “unit economics” of their content
“With the advertising people looking at the ad metrics, the subscription people looking at subscription metrics, and journalists looking at outdated metrics…nobody was looking at these metrics together to get a clear view of the business as a whole.”
Simon Owens explores an emergence of a new hybrid ad format that combines native advertising with ecommerce, reducing the barrier to entry for smaller advertisers who are not normally able to spend thousands at a time on traditional custom native ads.
Here’s some wholesome advice from the TrustingNews project that is easy to forget when you’re working tirelessly to build something that people value, only to see negativity in the comments.
“Since Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million in 2013, the Amazon CEO has been carefully in distancing himself from the editorial operation of the fabled newspaper. But behind the newsroom, he has been diligently involved in the development of the publishing software powering the Post‘s digital content.”
Tech platforms are where public life is increasingly constructed, and their motivations are far from neutral
“Instead of thinking about platform companies as the next generation of newspapers, radio stations, or TV channels, we should see them as entirely new entities that shapeshift constantly. Sometimes they are like cities, newsrooms, post offices, libraries, or utilities — but they are always like advertising firms.”
Reports are showing a boost in social media ad spend for 2019, which will take over print ad spend for the first time.“Social (13% of spend) sits behind TV (29%) and paid search (17%) – which breaches $100bn for the first time.”
This resource from Tactical Tech and Mozilla will take up 30 minutes of your day for 8-days in return for being more in-control of your digital presence. There’s lots of tips in here about controlling your data and being savvy about consuming digital content.
As the creator of Comic Sans said: “If you love Comic Sans you don’t know much about typography. And if you hate Comic Sans you need a new hobby.”
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