Issue #91 — Subscription strategies for publishers

Welcome back to your weekly roundup of the most important stories in independent publishing!

As you know, the media is understandably consumed with Covid-19 in these uncertain times. Most IRL events have been cancelled too - which makes continuing conversations and sharing knowledge remotely even more important. There’s still plenty of great stories out there, so in an effort to retain some normal routine and share useful insights, we’ll be sending your curated news as scheduled.Take care of yourself and each other!

💯 Top picks

Is climate change coverage worth it? And the problem with covering COVID-19

“Climate change coverage should be a main focus area for publishers, and we need to be smarter about COVID-19”.

💸 Business models

Digital subscription strategies: the seven questions you need to ask

A really succinct list of strategic questions publishers need to be asking when pivoting to subscriptions, or building subscriptions from the beginning.

Case study: How "members getting members" brought Zetland financial sustainability

Danish news organisation Zetland grew to over 10,000 subscribers, but had to face a difficult truth in 2019: they were still not profitable. So they decided to combat this with a new ambassador program.

The Washington Post's homepage redesign is designed to fight subscriber churn

“The Washington Post knows that people who visit its site homepage are more likely to become subscribers, and that subscribers who visit the homepage are less likely to churn, so it overhauled the homepage in an attempt to lure more readers to it.”

How the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel drove subscriptions by asking journalists to promote the value of their work

“Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Ask the journalists in your newsroom to tell readers about the value of their work and be ambassadors for digital subscriptions on social media.”

At Slate Plus, behind-the-scenes content wasn’t a big draw for members — but bonus podcast episodes are

“The other thing that surprised us in the beginning was the extent to which people would sign up just to support our journalism,” not for a specific member benefit.

✍️ Modern journalism

Twitter: Brand communications in time of crisis

A blog post from Twitter full of tips about how to handle your brand communications appropriately during an unprecedented global crisis.“Let’s be clear. This is not a ‘marketing opportunity’ to capitalise on, and we do not recommend brands opportunistically linking themselves to a health scare. However, we want to recognise that this is a new reality and requires thoughtful navigation, from all of us.”

Six ways publishers can develop successful digital products

“Digital product development is an increasingly important part of a publisher’s everyday processes, especially as the emphasis grows on creating value for readers over and above the competition. But it can be a challenging area, especially for businesses who may not be au fait with development methodologies outside of the publishing world.”

3 key ways to reduce news product friction

Focus on clarity, use registration walls and make it easier for users to cancel… read more about these methods of reducing friction.

Why avoiding the news is a social habit

And other highlights from news research published in February 2020.

👩‍💻 Technology

Not a Newsletter: March Edition – A guide to sending better emails

“Inside this edition, you’ll find key questions to ask before launching that coronavirus pop-up newsletter; lessons from Gannett and The Daily Beast about the importance of email in your subscription strategy; thoughts about the Gmail algorithm; and more!”

UK scraps tax on digital editions

“In an unexpected bonus for publishers in the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the current 20% tax on ebooks, online newspapers and digital magazine editions will be abolished on 1st December.”

🤷 WTF?

Don’t let your obsession with productivity kill your creativity

How can we create opportunities for true creativity when we’re laser focused on getting our to-do lists done?

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