#133 — The year of the subscription (again)

#133 — The year of the subscription (again)

Newsflash, it is the year of the subscription. Wait, wasn't that last year too? Either way, that's what everyone is talking about this week after Reuter's published their latest report. Plus: Find out how to get 10k subscribers in a month, how to use exclusive stories to drive growth and the answer to a burning question: do email subscription pop-ups actually work?

💯 Top picks

[Podcast] Growing a newsletter to 100k+ subscribers with Codie Sanchez

Wanna know how to go from 0 to 10k subscribers in 30 days? Newsletter Crew chat with Codie, a successful newsletter creator, about growing Contrarian Thinking to 100k subscribers.

💸 Business models

2021 is the year of subscriptions

But also: publishers need to further diversify revenue streams. Read this roundup of the latest Reuter's report from Twipe. Here's another summary of the same report from WNIP.

Are free subscription trials more effective than paid ones?

"Der Spiegel’s experience suggests freebies are less effective"

Having an email marketing list is better than any social media

"Most entrepreneurs neglect their email marketing strategies. Here's why that's a mistake" 🤔 We're not sure if that's still true — but this article makes a point about having an email list you own vs relying on social platforms.

How used subscriber-exclusive stories to drive digital subscriptions

"Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Prioritize digital subscribers over page views, and provide subscriber-only stories on topics that are vital and unique to your community."

✍️ Modern journalism

Re-imagining what it means to build a direct relationship with an audience

Serial media entrepreneur Lakshmi Chaudhry is testing a space for constructive and empathetic journalism in the middle of a pandemic.

Google launch open fund for debunking vaccine misinformation

"The global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is exacerbating a perennial problem of misinformation about immunization. To support additional debunking efforts, the Google News Initiative is launching a COVID-19 Vaccine Counter-Misinformation Open Fund worth up to $3 million."

💻 Technology

Flip subscriptions you no longer use

A new launch on Product Hunt that caught our eye — Flipp allows you to sell pre-owned subscriptions you no longer use, which can be bought on

Do email subscription pop-ups actually work?

"Why do organizations still utilize pop-ups when clearly anyone you ask hates them?"

Facebook: Prioritising original news reporting

"Update on January 12, 2021 at 10:00AM PT: News articles that do not contain new original reporting or analysis will now receive less distribution in News Feed. The more extensive original reporting an article contains, the more distribution it will receive in News Feed."

🤷 WTF?

Wikipedia is 20, and its reputation has never been higher

"The crowdsourced encyclopedia is a welcome oddity on the modern internet."

#132 — New models for media in 2021

#132 — New models for media in 2021

Happy New Year! We're kicking off your regularly scheduled curation of publishing news today. It's the first working week of the year, so in this round-up you can expect lots of 2021 predictions and strategy highlights. Plus: useful tips for SEO & affiliate marketing. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

10 things public media should forget and consider in 2021

"To think that life after 2020 will follow a linear path, you’d be kidding yourself. And the ripples of 2020 will continue long past this year."

💸 Business models

Your reading list to start 2021 off right

Learn from these media strategies to kick the year off.

New models for media

"In 2020, many media outlets saw record traffic due to the pandemic. It’s only natural to assume readership numbers will fall in 2021 as life (hopefully) returns to some version of normal."

"This will also be a year of economic reshaping, with publishers leaning into subscription and e-commerce – two future-facing business models that have been supercharged by the pandemic."

Twenty years of TPM — and a shift to memberships

"From 2016 until now, our focus has been almost exclusively on membership growth and everything that goes with it. We still sell direct ads, and we still drive programmatic revenue, but it was clear that memberships were the core of our company."

Newsletter internships = the new foot in the door?

"If I were starting out in media right now in 2021 (or graduating from J-school this spring), I would probably be looking at this growing class of newsletter jobs and betting on them as a more realistic way to get a foot in the door."

✍️ Modern journalism

Is Substack the media future we want?

"Substack, like Facebook, insists that it is not a media company; it is, instead, “a platform that enables writers and readers.” But other newsletter platforms, such as Revue, Lede, or TinyLetter (a service owned by Mailchimp, the e-mail-marketing company), have never offered incentives to attract writers."

Our old models of journalistic impact need to change

"Plus: How newsrooms “pressured from the top” cover their corporate bosses, studies of the “Serial effect” in podcasting, and Facebook’s role as an infrastructure for local political information."

💻 Technology

How to rank well on Google this year

Google published what they look for when ranking websites, here's a quick reference list.

What you need to know about affiliate marketing

Find out how to boost your revenue strategy, increase traffic, and get started with affiliate marketing as a publisher in these short interviews with affiliate experts.

🤷 WTF?

[Podcast] The World, Remade

"How the pandemic has shaped our future: from the built environment, to the way we work, to the way we learn."

#131 — The movement for open subscription platforms

#131 — The movement for open subscription platforms

The final newsletter of 2020 includes a new movement for open subscription platforms, Rafat Ali writes about the importance owning your stack — plus, more roundup articles about 2020 and predictions for next year!

We're taking a short break for a few weeks and we'll return in 2021 for your regular Sunday reading list. Thanks so much for supporting Publisher Weekly!

💯 Top picks

A shared movement for open subscription data

With so many publishers launching paid subscriptions, it’s never been more important to be in control of your own customer data. Open Subscription Platforms is a new movement promoting subscription data portability between products, something which is likely to be a hot topic in the next years.

💸 Business models

On breaking away: 18 years of lessons on journalist-as-an-entrepreneur life

20 tips about becoming a media entrepreneur from Rafat Ali, founder of paidContent (now owned by UK’s Guardian News and Media) and Skift.

Year 2020 in subscriptions and memberships

The Fix shares an end-of-the-year review of what happened in 2020 in podcasting, subscriptions, memberships, newsletters and social media.

Go niche

In 2021, niche media will be the go-to, predicts Tshepo Tshabalala. "The future resilience of the world’s media lies in focusing on niche audiences and verticals. Its success lies in organisations that speak to very specific interests and the need for credible content."

Blogging is back, but better

“The primary difference is that these blogs, these magazines, these whatevers, will be built and guided by the individual creators for their audience, not by the executives they once reported to.”

[Report] Media Moments 2020

What's New in Publishing have released the annual Media Moments report, covering trends in advertising, reader revenue, data, diversity and more.

✍️ Modern journalism

The real reason local newspapers are dying

"I left daily newspaper journalism in 2005. But it’s only gotten worse, because now there is the internet to scapegoat for all of the incompetence and thievery."

Five things you need to know about new EU rules

"The European Union on Tuesday proposed a sweeping set of rules to rein in the power of Big Tech, amounting to the most aggressive legislative effort against the industry to date."

Collaborative between journalism groups seeks to start 500 local newsrooms in three years

The Tiny News Collective says it will provide participants the tools and resources they need to start their own local newsroom.

💻 Technology

Social embeds drive 20% more pageviews for publishers (and Twitter accounts for almost half of that)

"The mobile advertising company Kargo analyzed over two billion pages across Comscore top 250 publishers as well as Kargo’s 700+ premium publisher properties for social embeds, and found them on more than 30% of all article pages, with Twitter making up 46% of the total."

Lessons on growing your list via pop-ups, Instagram, and great landing pages

The December issue of Not A Newsletter includes tips for growing your list, pricing paid newsletters and more.

Don’t expect breaking up Google and Facebook to solve our information woes

“More options are great in theory, but new platforms could also provide a haven for misinformation and hate speech and further prevent us from engaging with opinions that challenge our existing beliefs.”

🤷 WTF?

The rise of the messy advice column

"The format triggers a Pavlovian response: I’m anticipating the satisfaction of either experiencing someone’s fragile self-delusion being eloquently, satisfyingly dismantled; a banal human problem being taken seriously [...] or, if nothing else, reading some truly bonkers shit that will serve as a much-needed escape from the present."

#130 — A glance back at the year we will all remember

#130 — A glance back at the year we will all remember

It's here, you knew it was coming — the time of year when everyone does a roundup of the past year and predictions for the year that follows. There's a lot to unpack, so we'll be sharing the highlights in the next couple of newsletters. How has this year impacted your

💯 Top picks

From direct-to-consumer to direct-to-believers

“Your competition isn’t limited to other organizations that also do news. Your competition is what your true believer spends her time doing instead of reading your Very Important Article.” — Rishad Patel

💸 Business models

A guide to brand positioning

Find out how Harry Dry of Marketing Examples approaches brand positioning. "Differentiation is not a dark art. It's something you can learn. Here’s how you can achieve it."

Substack isn’t a new model for journalism — it’s a very old one

"If Substack’s pricing precludes widespread distribution of its news and commentary, its value as a public service won’t be fully realized."

Digital subscriptions were the headline act in 2020, as we experienced several years worth of transformation in the space of months.

How Wired leveraged Cyber Week readers to increase subscription revenue

"Black Friday and Cyber Monday (which has been stretched into a Cyber Week this year) were expected to be bountiful for Wired’s affiliate e-commerce business. But that rising tide has lifted its subscription fortunes as well."

✍️ Modern journalism

Patch digital news company is profitable. Is it the future of local news?

"Perhaps you’ve read that the future of media is in peril. But that’s probably overstating the case. A few big, national publishers, like the New York Times, are doing fine, via some combination of a successful business model and/or a billionaire owner."

9 highlights from Media Moments 2020

"What’s New in Publishing’s annual Media Moments report, sponsored by Permutive and written by the Media Voices team, rounds up all the key events and trends that have shaped the publishing and media landscape this year."

The rise of the journalist-influencer

"Forgive me if this sounds like a case of the hammer seeing everything come up nails, but as someone who covers the creator economy by day, I’ve noticed that the difference between influencers, creators, and journalists seems to shrink every time I look." — Mark Stenberg

Why digital newsrooms should act like e-commerce

"Even though you're a news publisher and your journalism is core to what you do, you are, at the end of the day, selling that journalism," said Adams Harding, Google's director of analytics and revenue optimization for news and publishing, on the Digiday Podcast.

💻 Technology

Email image deliverability & experience: What you need to know

Tips for how to provide a better email experience.

The state of podcasting, in 9 charts

Podcasts are growing in popularity, with predictions that podcast advertising will grow by 14.7% this year.

🤷 WTF?

[Essay] Magic and the Machine — David Abram

Reflecting on our undying urge to recreate a primal experience of intimacy with the surrounding world, David Abram offers notes on technology and animism in an age of ecological wipeout.

#129 — Enter the multi-SKU creator

#129 — Enter the multi-SKU creator

The big question in this issue: Should writers create more than one product? Having multiple revenue streams is definitely attractive, but is it better to double-down your efforts, or create multiple products? Let us know your thoughts.

💯 Top picks

Why a paid newsletter won't be enough money for most writers

Even if your paid newsletter is your beachhead, it's just one SKU, argues Hunter Walk. Writers may choose to create other products too — podcasts, speaking, books, consulting, guest columns and more.

💸 Business models

[Podcast] 'I believe enough in this to try to do it myself': CollegeHumor owner Sam Reich on the brand's future potential

Founded in 1999, comedy site CollegeHumor was acquired by IAC in 2006 and grew into one of the most successful video publishers on YouTube. But where content has thrived, business hasn't always been easy. This year IAC decided to stop financing CollegeHumor and sold to Sam Reich, who shares some insight on the future in this Digiday podcast episode.

All the ways to make money in media without ads

It turns out there are a lot of ways.

A guide to community-led content

"Documented was born in 2018. Since then, we have made four rounds of user research, held more than 50 individual meetings with users, and sent call outs via email and WhatsApp for people to shed some light on that subject we are reporting on."

✍️ Modern journalism

How to restore moral and technical order in a time of misinformation

"In October, the Media Manipulation Casebook, published by the Technology and Social Change (TaSC) team at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Policy, gave us the tools to understand and analyze the origins and motives of some of the most viral misinformation and disinformation campaigns in the past few years."

A crop of startups are trying to make for-profit local news work

"An unlikely trend is developing in the media industry: people think they can make real money from local news."

How can digital media map out a more purposeful future?

"While there aren’t necessarily any quick fixes, leading thinkers from publishers, brands, agencies, and academia have plenty of ideas about where the focus should be to fuel enduring sustainability, fairness, and innovation."

💻 Technology

Google says its News Showcase will have free access to paywalled stories

Google News Showcase visitors will soon be able to read select paywalled articles at no extra charge.

Reddit claims 52 million daily users, revealing a key figure for social-media platforms

The disclosure comes as the tech company pursues new advertisers.

Yes, the adtech bubble is going to burst anytime now

"From the inside, adtech looks exactly like the subprime mortgage industry right before 2008."

🤷 WTF?

Facebook ads could be reaching saturation point

"Facebook platforms are starting to feel like homes with too much furniture. It is getting difficult to move around."

#128 — Optimising the subscription lifecycle

#128 — Optimising the subscription lifecycle

After speaking to people who create content professionally — we kept hearing that it would be beneficial to have a place to share ideas, tips and stories about running email newsletters, and building content-based businesses.

So, we recently launched a brand new community for exactly that and there's already some great conversations taking place. If you'd like to get early access, reply to this email and we'll hook you up.

Enjoy your weekly curation of stories and resources!

💯 Top picks

Building a subscription-first company

This (free) FT strategies report shares the common challenges and learning points from their program with 8 publishers across Europe. The report is broken down into two areas, building a subscription-first company, and optimising the subscription lifecycle.

💸 Business models

Quartz sees record week for member signups, now has more than 25,000 paying members

The publisher enjoyed its best week for membership after announcing it was becoming an independent media company.

Sunnie Huang Newsletters editor at The Economist, discusses the role of newsletters

"Newsletter producers spend a lot of time obsessing over every single pixel in the email but the email itself is only a very small part of the reader’s experience. The relationship with email readers starts long before they actually open the first email and it continues long after they’ve finished reading it."

How to price a paid newsletter

Based on 30 top paid email newsletters, the average price per month is $11.

✍️ Modern journalism

Attention software developers! Media organisations need you

As digital media companies become tech companies, their need for people with technical backgrounds grows, creating opportunities for software developers interested in journalism and media.

How the Seattle Times sold 71,000 digital subscriptions

"People just love to read about bridges and tunnels"

Q&A with Ed Yong: “It’s like staring into the abyss, and the abyss is shouting LOL HOAX into your mentions.”

Deez Links interview The Atlantic’s Ed Yong about the past eight months of nonstop COVID coverage.

💻 Technology

Journey to a first-party data world

"Whether you’re a large publisher with multiple domains and engineering teams, or a small independent title, there are steps you can take to prepare for a cookieless world."

Google will end preferential treatment of AMP pages

“We will prioritize pages with great page experience, whether implemented using AMP or any other web technology, as we rank the results,” Google said in a blog post.

Why it’s easy to hate Facebook but hard to leave

Facebook invested heavily in the one feature it knew people couldn’t leave behind: Their groups.

🤷 WTF?

Is the new Instagram update a new form of dark pattern?

They've moved the camera and notifications icons and replaced them with reels and shopping!

#127 — How to grow a newsletter & join the rise of the media artisan

#127 — How to grow a newsletter & join the rise of the media artisan

There were lots of great pickings for this week's round up. Hopefully it provides a relaxed and productive way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Penny for your thoughts? Which articles do you find the most useful? We'd love to hear your feedback. Admittedly there won't be an exchange of pennies, but we're always looking for ways to make this newsletter genuinely useful for you, so don't be shy!

💯 Top picks

[Video] How Harry Dry grew a 40k+ newsletter audience

Harry quit a job in design to turn a side-project, Marketing Examples, into a full-time gig. One year later his dedication has produced an impressive email list, sponsorship deals, and plenty of new opportunities on the horizon. In this 1 hour video, Harry talks candidly about everything learnt along the way. Don't miss it!

💸 Business models

Rise of the media artisan

"Some call it the 'passion economy,' others the 'creator economy.' I prefer a different term. (Creating new names for existing concepts is also a thing in the media industry.) I like to call myself a media artisan. Here’s why."

How the Daily Memphian plan to grow paid subscribers without flash sales or gimmicky offers

"Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Focusing on newsletter subscriber acquisition will increase your digital subscriptions and donations to help fund your newsroom and editorial projects."

What is gated content and how to use it in email marketing

Software companies have been using gated content to attract new email subscribers for quite some time, but this article popped up in the publishing news this week and we can't help but wonder if we're going to see publishers and newsletter writers using this tactic?

How to get over ‘never good enough’

One for the people with perfectionism tendencies and imposter syndrome: "Learn to spot unhealthy perfectionism, understand its emotional sources and find a way to silence that self-critical voice"

Stop sending newsletters, start sending emails

"We thought about our own inboxes and what we open. That came down to two criteria: immense utility or personal communication. So we set out to capture those two fundamental requirements in our existing offerings."

✍️ Modern journalism

Why Matthew Yglesias left Vox

He is the latest high-profile writer to abandon traditional media.

The Substackerati

Did a newsletter company create a more equitable media system—or replicate the flaws of the old one?

Apple is reducing the cut it takes from most news publishers’ subscriptions

"Instead of taking 30% of new subscribers’ payments, it’ll take 15%. The money’s welcome, but it’s also a reminder of how little control publishers have over the terms they get from tech giants."

💻 Technology

Instagram cautiously considers paying publishers

"Instagram is mulling plans to pay publishers on its platform as it grows as a news and information source for users, sources tell Axios."

YouTube launches audio ads

"YouTube is now entering uncharted territories, with the company’s first ad format without a video component, aiming to reach music and podcast listeners."

Squarespace launches Member Areas

"Squarespace is making this available as an add-on to the core website building platform"

🤷 WTF?

Quote tweets have turned us all into jerks

Social media design choices help us all to shame each other.

#126 — There's never been a better time to transform publishing

#126 — There's never been a better time to transform publishing

It's Sunday again, which means it's time for your weekly dose of the best reads about publishing. Included: a free ebook, how Morning Brew grow their subscribers, how to create extraordinary podcasts and more. Plese enjoy, feel free to share, and hit reply to chat with us!

💯 Top picks

Publishers can seize opportunities in the pandemic

"This is a reset moment. Organizations are unfrozen. People are expecting change. You have a cover. There will never be a better time to tackle deeper changes that need to happen."

Lucy Kueng, Senior Research Associate at Reuters has published an ebook about transforming publishing in the aftermath of the pandemic. Read it here (it's free): Transformation Manifesto: 9 Priorities for Now.

💸 Business models

Engagement beats scale: Inside Morning Brew’s approach to subscriber growth

"Our newsletter has 2.5 million subscribers, but that’s not the number we actually care about."

News publishers dial up the marketing heat on their subscription products

With ad business shaky, publishers have become more aggressive about promoting their subscription products. (Paid article)

How Marie Claire survived and thrived using affiliate marketing

In 2019, the publisher was losing readers, and print sales were declining at a rate of almost 25% each year. But under new ownership, they immediately pivoted to a digital business model to tap into a new audience on the web, and now has more than 3 million monthly uniques.

✍️ Modern journalism

Adversarial journalism, conspiracies, impact of journalism, and the future

Thomas Baekdal talks about some of the more serious elements of journalism.

8 reasons why email newsletters are a game-changer

"In the early 2000s, we were supposed to write blogs. Then we weren’t."

Can product thinking save journalism?

“News product is an emerging essential skill for the journalism industry because it connects the dots between the editorial content and the business strategies so that you can create both ethical and sustainable models for producing journalism,”

💻 Technology

Creating extraordinary podcasts

Executive Producer of Content and Partnerships at New York Magazine and Vox Media discusses what she took from her time working at Google and Twitter, and what goes into creating truly great podcast material.

Publishers could be missing out on readers by using mixed post formats on Facebook!

Text-to-speech is the audio opportunity no one’s talking about

While offering articles in an audible format is nothing new, this type of content is currently enjoying a massive boom, as time-strapped audiences look for convenient ways to consume online media.

Can Spotify be the one to convince people to pay for podcasts?

"The Swedish music giant is apparently testing out podcast-only subscription offers. But the market for paid premium podcasts is pointedly unproven."

🤷 WTF?

Social media managers are not OK

"They’re on the front lines of a relentless and overwhelming news cycle that is pushing them to the edge."

#125 — How to stand out

#125 — How to stand out

Since many of us have internet and news fatigue this week, this issue is a little shorter than usual. There's some great reads in here though, we hope you find them interesting!

💯 Top picks

[Thread] Lessons from subscribing to 50+ newsletters

This Twitter use signed up for more than 50 newsletters for a side-project and documented some useful findings about how stand out, how to set expectations, and how to make it more personal.

💸 Business models

How eCommerce, memberships and donations are helping diversify revenues

"Given the challenge of current advertising markets, it’s no surprise that many publishers are looking to increase their revenue from subscriptions. However, this isn’t the only way they can generate more reader revenue."

How a Los Angeles punk fanzine discovered its greatest asset: its readers

Whilst many niche publishers often only survive for a limited timespan, Razorcake has managed to ride out twenty years through a unique program that puts its readership at the heart of its content and distribution.

✍️ Modern journalism

For the first time, The New York Times’ digital subscriptions generate more revenue than print

And its total count of subscriptions passed 7 million for the first time last month.

3 publishers that saw business impact with Digital News Innovation projects

Twipe share three examples of news innovation projects that have had a positive impact: Gamification brings in 10x growth, personalisation reduces churn by 49% and adding more value to paid plans brings in 40% more subscribers!

💻 Technology

Do subscription popups really work?

"For how annoying they are and how much they go against UX best practices, it seems like you can’t go to a website these days without getting served an unapologetic pop-up."

In response to an initial coronavirus news bump, many publishers witnessed record traffic to their sites, and growth in subscribers. At the same time, they had to contend with a slump in advertising revenues.

🤷 WTF?

To mend a broken internet, create online parks

"We need public spaces, built in the spirit of Walt Whitman, that allow us to gather, communicate, and share in something bigger than ourselves."

#124 — Developing a better (content) product

#124 — Developing a better (content) product

The top stories this week are about the benefits of treating your content business as a product. Plus: Ads are appearing on Substack, the industry is adjusting to the changes of 2020, and mistakes to avoid in mobile publishing. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

Content is product and product is content: Why deeper alignment is the only way forward

"When you ask your audience, they actually don’t differentiate and tend not to care whether something they consume is content or product. It’s one thing for them - the content and the experience, and many more such things we tend to consider separate due to org structures and silos."

💸 Business models

How we combined churn analytics with customer feedback to develop a better product

Find out how a team used churn analytics from ChartMogul and qualitative customer feedback to improve their product. These are things publishers can implement relatively easily with a few extra tools in their tech stack (Ghost integrates with ChartMogul, for example).  to get an idea of their churn analytics, and by asking subscribers for feedback.

[Podcast] So you want to launch a newsletter?

The a16z podcast interviewed four independent newsletter authors, all at different stages of growth after around one year of publishing.

The curious emergence of the Substack advertisement

Those who have been leaning towards subscriptions have taken a surprising turn towards ads, with sponsorships, collaborations and classified ads turning up in multiple email newsletters.

[Podcast] Retention has been one of our best stories of the year

The new president and managing director at The Economist Group, Bob Cohn, joined just before the pandemic began. Listen to an interview with Bob on the Digiday Podcast to find out how they focused on retention and increased the number of subscribers in "highly engaged" category by 21%.

Digital transformation: Publishers gear up for a better tomorrow

The changes presented to publishing in 2020 have caused upheaval, but they also bring a lot of new opportunities for transformation.

✍️ Modern journalism

How to avoid the common mistakes in mobile publishing

"Mobile traffic is up, but digital publishers see marginal engagement from these users. These common UX and monetization mistakes might be the reason why."

We are not divided

Reasons To Be Cheerful has teamed up with other publishers to launch a collaborative multimedia journalism project dedicated to revealing that we humans are incredibly skilled at overcoming division.

The lasting legacy of the coronavirus — Reshaping publishing

"Majority of the respondents (55%) believe that remote working has made them more efficient. However, 77% say that it is harder to build and maintain relationships in a team while working remotely."

💻 Technology

"Pinpoint, which uses AI and machine learning to help reporters sift through investigative materials, is part of the recently-released Journalist Studio."

The Brown Institute’s Local News Lab is developing “smart paywalls” for local newsrooms

"The new project helps small- and medium-sized news organizations take advantage of machine learning to deepen engagement and improve subscription conversions."

🤷 WTF?

Netflix is testing an audio-only mode to compete with podcasts and audiobooks

Netflix is testing a new audio-only mode with some Android users to allow users stream just the audio track of a show or movie in the background.

#123 — Paid is the new normal

#123 — Paid is the new normal

This week's issue has so many interesting ideas, podcasts and tools that we're excited to share with you. We don't even want to ruin the surprise with a summary. Enjoy and see you at the same time next week!

Enjoying this newsletter? Share with a friend, on Twitter or hit reply to chat with us — we always reply

💯 Top picks

[Podcast] The realities of running a paid newsletter

The Media Voices podcast interviewed Casey Newton, Thomas Baekdal, Simon Owens, Anne Helen Petersen and Josh Sternberg about their experiences of launching and running an independent paid newsletter. Here's some of our top takeaways:

  • Like any business, it's hard work, but it's also very rewarding
  • You really need to define what your value proposition is
  • It's possible to run a completely independent business for years to come, but many are looking forward to seeing a new wave of media companies being born from successful newsletters

(This podcast is 42 minutes)

💸 Business models

What’s new with email newsletters? Insights from The Economist

"Sunnie Huang has been Newsletters Editor at The Economist UK for three years and, in that time, the role newsletters play for both prospective customers and subscribers has developed radically."

What tactics should independent journalists focus on

As a follow-on from this week's top pick, Thomas Baekdal wrote some additional thoughts on Thomas argues: "I believe it is vital that you focus on paid from the start. You need to move yourself into a different mindset."

The future of B2B subscriptions: 5 success hacks

"Those with subscriptions are more confident in this part of their business, and, there is an intention to shift the ratio of recurring revenues versus non-recurring revenues by an average of 34% (from 47% to 63%)."

“People, especially now, want to feel that they “belong” to a community. The trick is to get the members of that community talking with one another.”

Stir raises $4 million to help online collaborators split revenue

"The company, backed by heavy hitters in the creator economy, helps individual creators and journalists share revenue when they collaborate. This type of service could incentivize more creators to branch out on their own, expanding the creator economy as a whole."

✍️ Modern journalism

Inside the mind of Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton

HONY grew from a Facebook group of 64k people to a worldwide community of more than 20million people. The Profile spoke to the creator, Brandon Stanton, for an hour long interview. (You can read or watch the interview)

How to use events to grow a diverse audience

Even in these times, virtual events can be a useful method to build a loyal audience.

💻 Technology

Need a new favicon? This tool has got you covered

Quickly create letter or emoji favicons and export as an SVG.

The Pandemic's digital shadow

"The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating a dramatic decline in global internet freedom."

🤷 WTF?

Why social media is so good at polarising us

Mathematicians are teaming up with political scientists to create models of how social media divides us, and results suggest at least one popular solution might actually make the problem worse.

#122 — Making a living from a newsletter

#122 — Making a living from a newsletter

In this week's issue you can read about why the rise of content is upon us and how chasing scale at all costs is no longer the way forward.

A little update from us — in the past 10 weeks alone, Ghost has made more than $140,000 for independent publishers and newsletter authors, all while our membership feature is still in beta! We've got some big releases coming up — watch this space 🤫

💯 Top picks

How I (unexpectedly) now make a living writing a newsletter

Lenny Rachitsky (ex Airbnb product manager) writes a newsletter which tackles reader questions about product, growth and people management.

Lenny's Newsletter launched in June 2019, adding paid subscriptions in April 2020, and now has more than 35k subscribers, of which 2k are on a paid plan, earning a six-figure income. We think it's safe to say you're not going to want to miss this slide deck about everything Lenny learnt on this journey!

💸 Business models

The rise of content, a path to sustainable growth

"In 2017, Forbes told us that content will always be king and three years later, its reign has only gotten stronger."

How The Correspondent drives interaction between members and its journalists

"...rather than looking just at reader revenue and membership numbers, it judges triumphs by more amorphous measures like member collaboration that contribute to its goals of being a diverse, progressive, accessible and transnational media outlet. Of course, members that interact more are less likely to churn, too."

✍️ Modern journalism

Membership 101 program

Apply for this program led by The Texas Tribune’s RevLab, in coordination with The Membership Puzzle Project to access a 5-week course for newsrooms who are thinking about developing membership programs.

How publisher data can define the “next web”

"The Telegraph’s subscription business has overtaken its advertising revenues as the publisher says it has stopped chasing scale at all costs."

💻 Technology

Writing is a matter of showing up, day after day, with the right tools and materials

Ann Handley's latest newsletter issue includes some cool recommendations for writing tools that can help you gather inspiration and ideas.

Spotify is leaning on influencers to win the podcasting wars

"Spotify has made its intentions clear: It wants to be the largest audio platform in the world—not just music, audio."

Google launches a suite of tech tools for reporters

"Google is putting AI and machine learning technologies into the hands of journalists."

Google Analytics 4: What content strategists need to know

Things are changing in Google Analytics — here's what you should know.  Thanks to subscriber Deborah for recommending this article.

🤷 WTF?

Is everybody doing OK? Let’s ask social media

"Researchers are looking at online behavior to gauge public mental health. The results aren’t pretty."

#121 — Making money on YouTube

#121 — Making money on YouTube

Your weekly curated publishing news this week includes a breakdown of how the top tech channel on YouTube makes money, tips for running newsletters of any kind, and find out how a publisher has reduced their churn rate to 1%.

Enjoy, feel free share with your friends, and see you next week!

💯 Top picks

How does Linus make money?

Ever wondered how YouTube stars make money? Linus Tech Tips, one of the largest and most successful tech channels on YouTube recently posted a video illustrating their revenue sources. It's a really good example of how modern-day publishers are diversifying revenue streams.

💸 Business models

How I run a revenue-generating newsletter without burning out

Umar Hansa, creator of Dev Tips, discusses how running a newsletter on the side is possible in an IndieHackers interview.

“There is not a country on Earth where this model is not working”: Digital subscriptions are helping publishers build a stronger future

It's not just about the big players going from strength-to-strength. Independent, regional, new and specialist brands have also registered impressive growth.

Your monthly guide to sending better newsletters

Get all of the latest news, ideas and stories about sending great emails in one place in this month's issue of Not a Newsletter [Google Docs].

[Podcast] The state of bundles in 2020

Ben Thompson (Stratechery) and James Allworth (Harvard Business Review) chat about the state of bundles in 2020 on the Exponent podcast.

✍️ Modern journalism

This local news publisher has the lowest churn rate in the industry!

"A churn rate of 1% means that you expect your customers to be around for 100 months, which is over eight years, which is phenomenal" — Ed Malthouse, Research Director, Spiegel Research Center

What books by journalists are you reading?

Some reading recommendations from Kristen Hare: "though each book came out just before the pandemic, for me, they offer something necessary right now — a reminder of the real change local journalism creates."

💻 Technology

Open Sourced: The hidden consequences of tech

"Recode’s new multi platform journalism project explains and exposes the hidden consequences of tech — the good, the bad, and the complicated."

Publishers are using Reddit to brand build and drive awareness

"Reddit has both baffled and bemused publishers over the years, but growing evidence shows that the two parties are working together more closely."

Data visualisation made easy

Flourish allows you to create data visualisations for better storytelling without needing to code or install anything — with free (public) plans, as well as personal and business plans.

🤷 WTF?

The news site was bogus. Facebook still let it build a real audience.

"In early August, the Globe Independent launched a website filled with news stories plagiarized from NBC News, the Washington Post, and other outlets."

#120 — Should newsletters offer more?

#120 — Should newsletters offer more?

While one podcast publication is having success with increasing their newsletter frequency, other critics are arguing less is more. Plus: Thoughts on what business model you should use, the 2020 digital news report has landed, some tips for how to make your content easier to read and more. Enjoy 🤗

💯 Top picks

7 things we’ve learned from launching a daily newsletter

Media Voices have a longstanding weekly newsletter called The Media Roundup, but 4 months ago they decided to start experimenting with a daily cadence. Here's what they learnt so far!

💸 Business models

Do most paid newsletters fail because they offer "more instead of different"

Josh Spector argues yes! While we fully agree that offering something unique that your biggest fans can't find anywhere else should be the top priority, we also think that offering more once you find this niche may not always be a bad thing. So long as quantity doesn't get in the way of quality!

Publish less, but publish better

Following on from the above — this Reuters study takes a look at how more but better has been working for local news publishers as they pivot to paid.

Passion economy is now worth over $38bn globally

"The passion economy, in which people monetise their skills and hobbies to earn income, is worth more than $38bn globally according to new research."

What business model should independent journalists and creators use?

"There is something absolutely wonderful happening in the world of media right now [...] we are seeing an incredibly strong trend among new and independent journalists starting their publications, their own newsletters, and their own podcasts ... and they are winning." [Premium article]

Brand New: Subscription model progress after 4 weeks

Four weeks since introducing a subscription model, Brand New, a division of UnderConsideration, has gained 7,500 paid subscribers and growing. Read all about their transition to subscriptions in this honest update, including what their goals are and how this transition has increased morale!

✍️ Modern journalism

What's next for tech and democracy

The Knight Foundation asked leading researchers and policy thinkers to share their views on how significantly technology and social media is shaping our understanding of this 2020 moment!

The 2020 Digital News Report

This year's Reuters Institute DNR report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a YouGov survey of over 80,000 online news consumers in 40 markets including Kenya and the Philippines for the first time.

💻 Technology

Read Me! Tips to make digital content more readable

"Some studies suggest that on-screen text might be inherently more difficult to read than printed. That implies that there is no way creators can raise the bar for read-through above a certain level, pre-determined by the properties of a human eye and a human brain." — Make sure you check out the tips at the end of this piece too!

Examples of the best retention/reactivation emails

Learn from the best with these retention email examples curated by Really Good Emails.

Facebook is secretly penalising publishers, new research reveals

"Publishers are routinely being penalized by Facebook algorithms for posting at the 'wrong' frequency. And most publishers are completely unaware."

🤷 WTF?

Oil leads to global warming... and data leads to social cooling

A thought-provoking piece about how our data is used, and how our behaviour is changing as a result of this.

#119 — The high privacy cost of free websites & notes on membership

#119 — The high privacy cost of free websites & notes on membership

This week: More ideas about membership, more journalists carving their own path and more tips about building community and growing your newsletter. Enjoy this weeks reading/listening and feel free to forward to a friend!

💯 Top picks

Notes on membership

Last week the Membership Puzzle Project shared a new guide on memberships. This short collection of notes from the director of that project, Jay Rosen, is a great insight into the differences between subsidy systems (like advertising and government funded journalism) and direct payments via subscriptions.

💸 Business models

Casey Newton on leaving The Verge and the future of tech journalism

Sarah Jeong talks to Newton about the details of his deal, subscription journalism, and what makes email such a good media format

The art of retention through community building

"It’s time for publishers to take their brands off the page and screen, and integrate them into people’s lives to keep the subscribers they’ve attracted during the pandemic and build long-term loyalty, says Hayley James, Vice President at Sense New York."

How I ran an NPR-style pledge drive to grow my newsletter

"The specific strategies can vary, but in most cases the publisher, for some period of time ranging anywhere from a week to a month, will cut its subscription prices while simultaneously bombarding the audience with a large volume of messages encouraging them to subscribe."

In reader revenue, it’s all about who you know

"For news organizations betting the future on consumer revenue, there might not be a more important key performance indicator than known readers."

✍️ Modern journalism

Media collective gal-dem survived losing 75% of its revenue

"Personal essays, wellbeing content and the launch of its membership programme allowed gal-dem to overcome the loss of three-quarters of its revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

News about politics bums you out and can make you feel ill — but it also makes you take action

"Who would buy a product that reliably makes them sad, or anxious, or worried, or overwhelmed?"

💻 Technology

The high privacy cost of a “free” website

"Trackers piggybacking on website tools leave some site operators in the dark about who is watching or what marketers do with the data."

Audio articles help Zetland gain 2,000 new members

"Four in five features by the Danish slow journalism outlet are consumed as reporter-narrated audio stories that 'have that campfire feel to them' rather than as written content, fuelling success of its membership programme."

Should publishers focus on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram?

Some large publishers like The Economist and The Evening Standard have very successful strategies for these platforms.

[Video] AMP for email: Everything you need to know

April Mullen and Jen Capstraw share everything you need to know about the next "big thing" in email.

🤷 WTF?

How work became an inescapable hellhole

"Instead of optimizing work, technology has created a nonstop barrage of notifications and interactions. Six months into a pandemic, it's worse than ever."

#118 — 3 years of membership research in one place

#118 — 3 years of membership research in one place

In this week's roundup you'll find examples of publishers exceeding subscriber numbers, a podcast about growing your newsletter as well as tips for how to write almost anything and how to setup successful paid campaigns. Enjoy your Sunday reading!

💯 Top picks

The Membership Handbook is here

The Membership Puzzle Project have released a guide, which includes everything they know after three years of studying and supporting membership models in news. It has everything from getting started, to launching and beyond. Bookmark this one!

💸 Business models

[Podcast] Newsletter growth tips with Brandon Zhang of Weekly Wisdom

Newsletter Crew chat with with Brandon Zhang about reaching 1,000 subscribers and whether Gen Z are even reading newsletters.

Membership, revenue and subscriptions: Insights from TU Media and Die Zeit

"TU Media and Die Zeit might be worlds apart in terms of focus but they share one common success story – extremely effective subscriber strategies."

How The Atlantic amassed over 300,000 paying subscribers

The Atlantic launched a new paywall last September and now has more than 300,00 paying subscribers.

The Economist has tripled the number of subscribers driven by LinkedIn

Over the last two years, The Economist has grown its followers on LinkedIn by almost 40%, implemented a new LinkedIn strategy, and turned many of those visitors into subscribers.

✍️ Modern journalism

How to write (almost) anything, from a great joke to a killer cover letter

"There’s an old saying attributed to legendary sports journalist Red Smith: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” The technology may have changed since the 1940s; the painful parts, unfortunately, haven’t."

Journalists can help people tell their own stories by talking less, listening more

“Our role is facilitator instead of interpreter, catalyst instead of judge”

💻 Technology

Setting up paid campaign creatives for success

"When it comes to running successful paid campaigns, your creatives are the primary driver of success or failure."

A more intimate way of consuming journalism: An audio-only app

"The Correspondent, famous for their 2018 ‘unbreak the news’ crowdfunding campaign, are branching out into audio to bring their journalism to members in new ways."

🤷 WTF?
We're numb to the coronavirus

We're over COVID even if it isn't over us.

#117 — Don't forget about community

#117 — Don't forget about community

The latest stories, updates, and ideas for independent publishers, delivered every Sunday 📫     ‌

Happy weekend and thanks for stopping by. In this week's issue, you can discover how to harness social media for your publication, how to build a community to sustain recurring revenue, and find out why the publishing industry is buzzing after a period of uncertainty.

Feel free to forward to a friend who might like to subscribe — or share Publisher Weekly on Twitter. We really appreciate your support ❤️

💯 Top picks

Subscriptions are fine, but a community can give you more

"Getting people to pay for content is good enough, but building a deeper relationship can be so much better."

Jacob Cohen Donnelly writes about the benefits of subscriptions as a recurring revenue stream, and makes a case for community being the method you should use to keep those subscribers around.

💸 Business models

The business model that was broken is being re-made through technology

More people are consuming news more frequently, Australian media report finds.

With 64,000 digital subscribers, El País accounts for a quarter of news subscriptions in Spain

El País announced on Monday that it has nearly 110,000 subscribers. Of those, 64,200 are digital-only, 37,923 are print and digital, and 7,842 are to Kiosko y Más, the digital version of the print newspaper. About 20% of those subscribers are from outside of Spain.

How the i newspaper doubled its Instagram following in a year

In light of Instagram usage doubling since 2018, publishers are trying to figure out how to utilise the platform to reach their goals. interviews the social media editor of the online newspaper i to find out how they distribute news on Instagram.

✍️ Modern journalism

Limited Podcast series: Original reporting

The Nieman Foundation recently launched Original Reporting, a limited podcast series looking at the creation and business of journalism.

The buzz is back in the publishing industry

"Publications are bouncing back, eCommerce is surging, ad spend is looking up, and there’s a sense of optimism in the air."

The Code – The most important document that defines the heart and soul of your publication

Tommy Walker was put in charge of running the Shopify Plus blog and wanted to give all authors who were hired to write for the publication a solid set of guidelines. The result of this—The Code—has now been shared in full on Tommy's website, and it's packed with useful inspiration for all types of publishers.

💻 Technology

59% of Google users only visit a single page, and other surprising search insights for publishers

"Two recent studies on how people use Google search have thrown up some surprising findings for publishers."

We haven't seen an infographic for a hot minute, but here's a new one about the latest trends in Facebook and Instagram advertising.

🤷 WTF?

A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?

The Guardian asked GPT-3, OpenAI’s powerful new language generator, to write an essay from scratch.

#116 — Solo writers share their secrets

#116 — Solo writers share their secrets

Happy Sunday everyone — if you're new here, welcome!

This week we've got a new article on the Ghost blog, insights about pricing strategies and building a business, as well as this week's top tech tips and more! Don't forget, you can always revisit past issues on the website, and you can also hit reply to chat with us. Let us know what brings you to Publisher Weekly!

💯 Top picks

After the paycheque is gone: Successful solo writers share their secrets

Robert Andrews wrote this insightful article for the Ghost blog this week. It's full of real examples of successful solo writers, and takes this topic one step further by outlining all the things that have contributed to their success after launching an independent business. Don't miss this one if you really want to know what it's like to be a solopreneur writer!

💸 Business models

[Podcast] Pricing strategies for uncertain times

We're probably going to be looking back and learning things from our collective experience of a pandemic for some time. In this podcast Rafi Mohammed, founder of the consulting firm Culture of Profit, says a crisis or recession is not the time to panic and slash prices. (Transcript available, if that's more your thing).

111% more article clicks: Facebook’s new feature can help publishers build engagement

"Facebook is testing a new feature that allows paying news subscribers to link their Facebook accounts to their subscriptions. Once they have done that, such users will not be required to log in to their news subscription account in order to view articles from those publishers."

Building a media business for the future

"We may be calling this the new normal but the only thing that is new and normal now is that change of all kinds, in all areas of our business, is accelerating."

Quartz explains how it doubled subscriber numbers in a year

"Quartz recently breached 21,000 paying members, almost doubling its subscriber base in less than a year. Katie Weber, president of Quartz, explains how the publisher has been growing its paid proposition at an accelerated rate during a pandemic."

✍️ Modern journalism

The urgency of growth for nonprofit news

"Consider this an invitation and a permission slip to nonprofit news leaders to start thinking bigger, whether it’s expanding to serve new communities or scaling coverage of a state or a region."

Listen up: Lessons from award-winning publisher podcasts

The Media Voices podcast got together with 250 publishing and media professionals to celebrate their podcasts, and had a panel of judges pick 12 category winners to feature in this series about how they've found success and sustainable revenue streams.

💻 Technology

Google Images is making it easier to license photos

Google says it’ll help users find images more “responsibly”

Chrome's new heavy ads ad-blocker catches some people by surprise

"Google Chrome this week began rolling out a new feature designed to block ads that use an “egregious” amount of network bandwidth or battery power — an update that has caught some publishers on the back foot."

10 ways for newsrooms to get the most out of their SaaS products

"If you are a product manager, digital managing editor, corporate staff member, or audience development director, these tips will definitely improve the quality of the products you use."

🤷 WTF?

Google wants to remix news radio just for you

"The company’s latest news product is an ever-replenishing playlist of audio stories—curated, in part, by the wealth of data it has on you."

#115 — How to improve your email newsletters

#115 — How to improve your email newsletters

This week you're in for a treat with tons of stories, advice and free tools about email newsletters. Plus: How to deal with trolls and what makes fake news feel true? Enjoy your weekly curated articles!

We'd love to hear from you! If you're new around here (or even if you're not) hit reply and let us know what brings to you publisher weekly 💌

💯 Top picks

17 non-negotiable things your email newsletter needs right now

Really useful, actionable tips for better newslettering from Ann Handley.

"If your newsletter feels like you’re writing with a taser aimed at your sensitive nibs… you’re doing it wrong."

💸 Business models

‘The second wave’: Publishers see the value of providing education through newsletter courses

"As publishers look for pockets of audience engagement wherever they can find them, limited-run educational newsletters are a gambit gaining some traction."

When one door closes, another opens

In a newsletter from NewStart, we learn how Amy Duncan, who previously worked for Gannett as a vice president, launched a local news site that has attracted more than 1,200 digital subscribers in under 2 years.

Premium tier subscriptions for local news: Ad-free and beyond

"People are paying for ad-free website access, and engaging well with other exclusive features"

Why betting on eCommerce is a good idea for publishers

"eCommerce continues to expand rapidly. It rose by 54% in the UK in July and accounted for 28% of sales, according to a recent GroupM report."

Context > Cadence

"You need to think strategically and empathetically when deciding how often to email your customers."

✍️ Modern journalism

What makes fake news feel true when it isn’t? For one thing, hearing it over and over again

NiemanLab take a look at a new collection of articles about fake news and misinformation by ainer Greifeneder, Mariela Jaffe, Eryn Newman, and Norbert Schwarz. "The book, published by Routledge, is available as a free download or online read (and here it is on Kindle), and it includes a lot of research on why and how people believe false information."

Predominance of toxic comments can damage publishers’ credibility: How to identify and deal with trolls effectively

"Trolls can ruin the way consumers relate to a brand. A 2019 study found that almost 50% of the people would remove themselves from a situation where they have experienced incivility."

💻 Technology

[Free tool] Find your email's Spam Assassin score

This handy tool from Taxi For Email allows you to check your emails before you send them for any words, images or code snippets that might impact your spam score. You can use it as much as you like, for free!

[Free tool] Bulletproof email buttons

Use this quick button builder by Campaign Monitor to grab some code to embed buttons in your emails. Here's one now:

🤷 WTF?

New study: Has ad blocking peaked?

"Despite the majority still having a negative attitude towards online ads, fewer people are annoyed with the ads they are exposed to. At the same time, fewer people are using ad blockers."

#114 — Launching memberships without a large audience

#114 — Launching memberships without a large audience

This week's issue includes a brand new post on the Ghost blog, growth stories from two publishers, a free report that you'll definitely want to check out, and the inevitable eclipse of print!

💯 Top picks

You don't need a huge audience to start a membership business

"For as long as you have the curiosity, the innate stubbornness to push through, and a couple hundred ‘true fans,’ you have everything you need to start a successful paid membership business."

How to start a successful membership business without a huge audience
You can gain serious momentum with your membership business—even with a smaller audience. Find your first 100 true fans, cultivate them, and build a fulfilling and thriving premium community.

💸 Business models

From 6k to 93k YouTube subscribers in 8 months: Inside the Evening Standard’s growth strategy

"At the start of the year, Chris Stone, the Evening Standard’s Executive Producer of Video and Audio challenged his team to grow the newsbrand’s YouTube channel from 6,000 subscribers to 100,000 by October."

Quartz passes 20,000 paid members

Quartz publish exclusive content for professionals to help them understand the forces reshaping the world, and provides research pieces about the economy. Their premium offering has now attracted more than 21,000 paying members!

It's that time of year when we all start thinking about next year. Or maybe that feeling has come early this year, for obvious reasons. Here's 5 publishing product trends to consider!

✍️ Modern journalism

[Free report] The State of Publishing in 2020

Want to feel optimistic? This report from Keewee outlines trends and growth opportunities on every page of this free report about digital publishing in 2020!

The digital juggernaut, and the eventual, inevitable eclipse of print

"When the Financial Times’ digital subscribers surpassed print for the first time, it was an outlier event. Within about half a decade, the exception is becoming the norm."

Successful Pitches shows freelancers the way

"If you’ve been a journalist for long enough, you’ve probably gotten at least a few requests from aspiring writers asking to pick your brain about how you’ve made your living in the industry."

9 remote interviewing tips for journalists

"At many journalism schools we tend to drill into our students the importance of conducting interviews in person, but that’s just not possible right now, and it might not be for some time."

💻 Technology

Chrome will begin to highlight high-quality user experiences to users, starting with labels on pages which have high page speeds.

Publishers are using audio stories to fuel engagement and generate revenue

We're big fans of The Economist and their audio versions of articles, which are great to listen to during your morning routine. According to this article, these audio editions have been a great success for growth, engagement and retention.

🤷 WTF?

Spotify has a counterfeit podcast problem

Spotify has been caught off-guard by counterfeit shows distributed by its hosting platform, Anchor.

#113 — The passion economy enables a new kind of entrepreneurship

#113 — The passion economy enables a new kind of entrepreneurship

Make sure you don't miss this week's top pick about how to write data-driven stories, and the following article about the passion economy. Also included: Instagram as a search engine, the New York Times has more digital revenue than ever — and Cosmopolitan liken their pricing model to chicken nuggets...

💯 Top picks

Continue, pivot, or put it down!

"Making conscious decisions for when to continue in one direction, when to pivot, and when to leave an idea behind make my published stories so much better."

Get an inside look at The Pudding's writing process for writing data-driven stories.

💸 Business models

The Passion Economy: Why now?

"The Passion Economy is an ever-growing ecosystem of platforms, tools, and systems that enable a new kind of creation-based entrepreneurship on the internet"

Martin Anquetil just started a series of posts on the passion economy, starting with what it is... and why it is important right now. Dive in and find out more about the rise of creators and how new monetisation options are allowing creators to leverage the Passion Economy.

Digital revenue exceeds print for the first time at the NYT

"As much of its staff worked remotely, The Times brought in $185.5 million in revenue for digital subscriptions and ads during the second quarter of 2020, the company announced on Wednesday. The number for print revenue was $175.4 million."

Cosmo, paywalls, and chicken nugget math: The shift toward paid strategies for digital content

"Positioning your price relative to chickens nuggets doesn’t hurt either, especially now that we are getting used to the subscription model for so many of the things we use every day, from grocery deliveries to TV."

How Lenny Rachitsky earned $65,000 in his first year of writing

"I write Lenny's Newsletter. It’s a weekly newsletter that's an advice column for product and growth people, and people dealing with working and stress at the office. I launched about a year ago. I launched paid a few months ago. I'm at about 15,000 free subscribers, 500 paid, and it's making me about $65K a year before fees."

✍️ Modern journalism

How the Rivard Report generates 3x revenue than the average nonprofit newsroom

Here are the five things you should know about why The Rivard Report has been so successful at generating earned revenue.

Q&A: Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, CEO of Grist

CEO of non-profit climate news site Grist shaires their growth story of a 51% increase in revenue after a site relaunch.

💻 Technology

People are using Facebook and Instagram as search engines

"Data voids on social networks are spreading misinformation and causing real world harm. Here are some ideas on how to fix the problem."

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark on why he's donating millions to journalism

"A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy."

Newmark has gone on to donate millions to journalistic programs and schools via Craig Newmark Philanthropies. His beneficiaries include the Poynter Institute, NPR, Consumer Reports and two journalism schools in New York City.

🤷 WTF?

‘There’s no revenue on it’: Why publishers aren’t prioritizing Instagram Reels

Instagram’s TikTok copycat Reels has now been available in the U.S. and 50 other markets for just over a week, but so far many publishers appear to have been reticent to dive in with both feet.

#112 — How publishers can make digital media pay

#112 — How publishers can make digital media pay

Last week everyone was compiling lists of the best independently run newsletters, this week it's lists of ways publishers can make money! We've included the most comprehensive list as this weeks top pick, along with all the other stories we've been reading this week. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

231 ways publishers can make media pay

A huge list of ways to make money from publishing split into areas such as advertising, memberships, partnerships and eCommerce.

💸 Business models

Monetising the 95% of readers that won’t subscribe

"Back when the World Wide Web was first being created, Tim Berners-Lee and his team were responsible for listing the error codes for when things would go wrong, such as error code 404 when a page was not found. Back then it seemed logical that it would be common to require payment for digital content, so they also created error 402: payment required. Nearly 30 years have passed since then and it seems we have only just recently made progress in convincing people to pay for digital content."

Fundamentals of building a reader revenue business model

Many publishers are finding themselves facing challenging questions around building a subscription based business model.

“We must be ruthlessly focused on our readership”: How publishers are growing subscribers with audience-focused strategies

After discovering that 80% of its readers were only reading 26% of its content, Spanish publisher ARA they started working toward understanding their audience better — and have since grown unique users by 38% and page views by 42%.

"So I started Deez Links. It was on TinyLetter. I made the logo in three seconds in MS Paint. It was an extremely lo-fi situation."

✍️ Modern journalism

A running list of when, how —and if — publishers return to the office

"Regardless of when companies are able to reopen their offices, the way shared workspaces will look and operate is likely going to be very different."

Gossip, jobs, freelancing tips and more. Here are some independent media newsletters to follow

A list of the most popular and most fun media newsletters filled with need-to-know info for the journalism industry.

How The Conversation is turning 100 million pageviews into trust in experts

"Of the 100 million views of The Conversation stories in March, a third of those came from other publications who had republished the content, from the BBC to Le Monde, The Washington Post, El Pais, and more."

Newsrooms can prosper with remote work — but they have to make the right adjustments first

A new report  by the International News Media Association offers some insight into how some newsrooms have adapted to remote works and tips for others to make the best of the situation that could become permanent for some media companies."

[Podcast] Lottie Gross, freelance writer, on how to make travel writing work when you cannot travel

"Finding freelance work in a lockdown has been a nightmare for many but travel writing was especially badly hit. Here is how the pandemic forced the industry to reinvent itself"

💻 Technology

Tech in 2023: What will and won’t have changed

"The coronavirus will have a lasting impact on business. But from where we sit today, it is difficult to tell which of the changes sparked by the pandemic will be temporary and which permanent. Will we return to office buildings? Very likely yes. Will we shop in stores as often? Probably not."

Publishers are testing their own versions of Prime Day

"Prime Day has become, for many brands, a significant manufactured shopping holiday, on par with the sales seen during the holiday season."

🤷 WTF?

Get out of your Twitter bubble and into someone else's

Create Twitter lists based on the follows of other uses and get out of your bubble.

#111 — The ad industry keeps losing traction & dozens of journalists build their own newsletters

#111 — The ad industry keeps losing traction & dozens of journalists build their own newsletters

This issue is packed full of interesting articles and podcast episodes. The TL:DR is, the ad industry continues to lose traction, more journalists than ever are choosing an independent path and publishers are finding new ways to drive revenue using free registration walls and first-party data. Enjoy this weeks top reads, we'll see you next time 👋

💯 Top picks

Publishers can use registration walls to drive revenue. This is how.

"A registration wall will quickly identify a publisher’s most loyal and engaged visitors. These super users are much more likely to convert to long term subscribers."

💸 Business models

How media collective Are We Europe launched a membership program while in lockdown

"Revenue from memberships at the pan-European non-for-profit is still small but its financials have never been stronger."

How The FT improved reader habit by 39%

"Three key tips for creating habit forming features, from understanding the problem to using movement and change at the right time and in the right way"

How publishers can drive effective results using their own on-site behavioral data

"Using first-party behavioral data can help identify people who are already familiar with the brand, and then hone in on behaviors that indicate affinity, and finally target those behaviors to drive ROI."

‘A big correction’: Pandemic brings change to ‘bloated’ ad industry

"The marketing business is going through a period of innovation as it sheds workers and tries to hold on to clients."

✍️ Modern journalism

A financially secure career path for journalists as newsroom jobs become scarce

"As newsroom jobs grow scarcer, journalists are building their own platforms via email newsletter"

Digital start-ups: Great local news hope or disappointment?

"As many legacy news outlets struggle to survive, industry analysts are looking to digital start-ups as a promising way to revive coverage of local news. After all, digital-only means you don’t need massive presses or barrels of ink or fleets of trucks. The barriers to publication are low, so there’s great growth potential."

The aftermath of the biggest rebellion in online media

All of the journalists working at the sports-centric website Deadspin resigned as a protest after clashing with bosses. Now, 18 of the 20 who quit have started their own media company, that they will own and operate themselves. It's called Defactor Media and has attracted more than 10,000 subscribers on day one.

[Podcast] Building community around expertise

Chris Waiting, chief executive of The Conversation UK, chats on the Media Voices podcast about the lessons learned from their record-breaking corona coverage.

💻 Technology

How we’re using AI to scale up global fact checking

"With much of the world adapting to a new normal, it is more important than ever that the public is aware of the dangers of false or misleading information on the coronavirus pandemic.

How The New York Times thinks about your privacy

Online privacy is complex, but it doesn’t have to be.

🤷 WTF?

Journalists are quitting Twitter!

"Journalists view Twitter as a valuable platform for finding and sharing information, but many say they wish they used it less."

#110 — The best newsletters on the internet

#110 — The best newsletters on the internet

This week's issue includes articles about how diversified revenue streams are benefitting publishers, membership success stories, Spotify's new video podcast feature, why Google has donated almost $40million to more than 5,600 publishers worldwide.

Thanks for supporting Publisher Weekly. See you next week!

💯 Top picks

80 of the best single-operator newsletters on the internet

There's lots of great reads and inspiration in this post - with 80 of the most popular newsletters (free and paid) ran by individual creators.

💸 Business models

70% experimenting with new sources of revenue: Publishers are trying out new campaign types and revenue streams

"...publishers with diversified monetization strategies are doing much better on average. Across the industry, we’re seeing more and more publishers experimenting with new campaign types and revenue streams, and there are few signs that this trend will slow down anytime soon."

BoiseDev has attracted 800 members in 2 years

Find out how this local news site avoided paywalls, ads and clickbait and attracted 800 paid members by delivering community news for community members.

9% increase in subscriptions during lockdown for Dennis Publishing

"...subscription rates across all titles have increased by 9% overall during the lockdown and ongoing pandemic."

✍️ Modern journalism

As journalism jobs decrease, the future of the discipline might depend on general education

Without a robust news industry monitoring government and investigating the corporate elite, our only hope may be in the hands of the people.

Stop drowning alone, start sailing together

"16 steps for innovative newsrooms to navigate a better future for themselves and their communities"

💻 Technology

Publishers can now determine exactly how much traffic is generated from Google’s News tab

A new feature allows publishers to see precisely how much traffic they're gaining from the news tab. According to Google, it sends visitors to news sites more than 24BN times per month!

Spotify launches video podcasts

The global launch of video podcasts is available to select creators. Unlike YouTube, they're allowing all users to watch podcasts, and the ability to switch between the video and audio when using other apps or when your phone is locked.

Twitter might turn to subscriptions as ad revenue drops sharply

Since seeing a sharp decline in its core advertising business, Jack Dorsey suggests they may be actively looking at additional ways to make money.

“Hurting people  at scale” Facebook’s employees reckon with the social network they’ve built

“We are failing, and what’s worse, we have enshrined that failure in our policies.”

🤷 WTF?

Google has handed out $39.5 million in coronavirus relief to 5,600 publishers across 115 countries

"The money is being applied in diverse and creative ways, from ensuring basic reporting needs and giving emergency stipends to allow reporters to cover the crisis, to driving audience engagement and generating subscriptions."

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Anders Norén
Received a good first issue of the Publisher Weekly newsletter from @TryGhost to read with my morning coffee. I recommend you give it a try:
5:07 AM - 4 Jun 2018
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Andy McIlwain
Publisher Weekly - Issue #29… via @revue (Further props to @TryGhost for the newsletter. 90% of the curated stories make their way into my Pocket list. 👍)
5:42 PM - 16 Dec 2018 from Toronto, Ontario
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Jijo Sunny
Thanks for the votes! I recommend this newsletter by @TryGhost (@JohnONolan) for thoughtful takes on publishing, subscription biz and future of creators:
4:38 PM - 8 Jul 2018
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