This guide captures the dynamics and practicalities of pursuing a chunk of the growing pool of grant funding for news. One part how-to, one part roadmap, one part reference, the sum of the parts is an efficient and application-ready toolkit for news organizations who are beginning to explore grants.
How do I diversity my revenue by testing new ideas?How do I diversity my revenue by testing new ideas?
Explore this question
As revenue models change, so too are the ways funders assess the fit between a news organization and its audiences’ needs, including factoring in reader revenue as an indication of health and impact.
Subscriber retention efforts can start as soon as a subscription begins, as outlined in this guide to onboarding tactics from API’s Reader Revenue Toolkit. Examples from a range of news organizations are ready for testing and adaptation, from video to thank you notes and email newsletters.
Newsrooms need relevant metrics that connect their work with the business’s bottom line, which often requires pulling data from various nooks and crannies in the organization. Sharing data regularly, with routines to guide that sharing, makes it clear how editorial decisions can contribute to the financial performance of the overall team. This primer on what to measure and how to socialize those metrics with the newsroom demonstrates tactics for bridging functional roles within a news organization.
Paid acquisition can juice revenue for publishers, the question remains as to predicting ROI on various paid channels. Phillip Smith pulls together a primer on the theory behind these strategies and tactics for a predictable, membership-driving revenue playbook in the first of a series of pieces for The Membership Puzzle Project.
This research from the Lenfest Institute and The Shorenstein Center illustrates best practices in digital subscription, focusing on the finer points of applying funnel discipline and implementing tools like paywalls and pay meters. The result is a playbook full of tactics to adapt, regardless of a news organization’s size or familiarity with reader revenue.
With the revenue strategies of news organizations evolving, so are the structures and demands on the people creating new ways of sustaining news. This report from The American Journalism Project in partnership with Impact Architects and The News Revenue Hub details how a handful are accomplishing their revenue work and rounds up resources for operations and hiring.
Updates from the News Revenue Hub show that member and donor-driven news organizations are missing money when they set low fundraising goals or restrict their communication with audiences about the necessity and purposes of their fundraising.
Matches are a powerful incentive for news orgs to recruit donors and engage existing supporters. These case studies show how local news organizations capitalized on the ground-breaking NewsMatch campaigns to fund their work with donor dollars.
Retaining subscribers and members after they join is a complex business. This list of tactics is a quick and concise primer on where to start keeping people on your books, regardless of the sophistication of your marketing operation or engagement technology stack.
Partnerships with trusted community philanthropic bodies can boost foundation and donor fundraising, as The Seattle Times proves with its latest project-specific fund in partnership with the Seattle Community Fund. The structure and tactics they use are adaptable to funding other local reporting efforts.
When, and how, should members be consulted about decisions, and how does that fit with membership as a revenue strategy? The balance of expectations, transparency, communication, and shared ownership can be a delicate one that requires careful tending. Emily Goligoski of The Membership Puzzle Project rounds up advice about building and reinforcing member relationships from an international complement of news organizations who are building the membership playbook.
These detailed case studies from Digital Content Next and the Lenfest Institute explore the finer points of successful metering and revenue-driving calls to action for Tribune Media, Slate, and The Guardian.
Gwen Vargo from API rounds up examples of well-converting offer pages to demonstrate how their design influences trust and encourages conversion. Design choices at this important stage in the funnel can make or break subscription rates.
This study by the Medill Center at Northwestern University re-centers the importance of local content in encouraging daily news consumption, which the massive data project shows is the most likely predictor of subscription and retention. As simple as it seems, this change represents a dramatic reorientation of the KPI’s for news organizations pivoting from ad-based to reader-supported models.
Reporters can apply a mini-publisher perspective to drive subscription growth, as demonstrated by The Seattle Times as they roll their audience-focused experiments across the newsroom.
The Correspondent reveals how more than a year of relationship building and foundational work led to their successful $2.5 million crowdfunding campaign.
Based on his work transforming news organizations, Tim Griggs distills the essential elements of successful membership-driven news organizations. He adds a simple outline for the all-important gaps-assessment meeting for those just getting started. This outline is a good starting point for understanding the table stakes for membership-driven news organizations.
Examples from major news orgs and regional outlets fill this primer on the different dimensions on designing user flows that convert, gather reader data, and generate revenue.
No single approach, even email marketing, can be the sole source of subscriber growth and consumer revenue. News organizations should connect with prospective subscribers, both on and offline with a diversified strategy. Gwen Vargo unpacks a portfolio of techniques through mini-case studies.
Peter Gray, The Wall Street Journal’s VP of Optimization, reminds publishers and mini-publishers about the simplest things that boost reader revenue. This quick read includes an outline of the WSJ’s iterative, testing process.
Email is key to reaching individual readers and measuring the success of subscription marketing. This primer from API’s Reader Revenue Toolkit covers technical and programmatic approaches to email capture.
End-of-year fundraising campaigns with foundation matches are both an art and a science, as an examination of ProPublica’s strategy reveals. Email, direct asks, and a campaign mindset helped the organization bring in more than one-third of its small dollar revenue during its December campaign.
An in-depth, quantitative study of messages, mediums, images, and subscription types demonstrates low ROI for Facebook ad spend and glimmers of promise in email subscription appeals.
This roundup of resources offers practical, step-by-step guidance and case studies for how to beef up your digital subscription business.
Kunle Campbell shared key points to encourage potential subscribers to finish the checkout process, or at the bare minimum, fork over their email address. This technical and tactical guide comes complete with screenshots outlining UX best-practices from his Facebook Local News Subscription Accelerator session.
This example shows how membership perks can make engagement an opportunity for community and conversion.
A benchmarks study by M+R that shows trends in nonprofit digital engagement and fundraising.
This quick case study unpacks how The Star Tribune used middle of the funnel tactics to achieve 30 percent growth in digital subscriptions with Facebook distribution.
Pricing is more science than art. This study shares some industry data about common pricing tactics.
This multi-section report unpacks reader motivations to subscribe.
This case study outlines how a nonprofit news organization serving Vermont grew its audience, diversified its revenue base, and secured a game-changing financial investment with an entrepreneurial approach.