Use your archives and partnerships with cultural institutions to retell your community’s most fascinating stories through audio — engaging new audiences and opening doors to new sponsorship opportunities.
Diversify and grow the ways you earn revenue from the audiences you buildSubscribe to Updates Innovate, test and develop as many ways as possible to gain revenue from the audiences you build, and the relationships you develop. Avoid the search for silver bullets – for the answer to the new business. Do this by collaborating across all functions of your enterprise with a focus on innovating to growing consumer revenue and advertising and creating, testing and growing a range of new products, services and businesses of value to your target audiences and community.
Big Picture A primer on why news organizations must diversify and grow revenue
No business can survive without revenue and cash to pay for the work – an urgent challenge for metro news enterprises whose revenues and cash are declining.
Plan Understand the gaps in your news organization and how to close them
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Facing a hit to advertising, The Day in New London, Conn., partnered with the Local Media Foundation to launch a crowdfunding campaign to support its COVID-19 coverage.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Rethink how you’re delivering content. Scalawag is discovering new audiences and building new relationships through its virtual events.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Indianapolis Star created a playbook that helps journalists build a business plan for multimedia projects, including how to engage target audiences, acquire subscribers and increase advertising and sponsorships.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Inspired by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Detroit Free Press published its first community impact report to show its readers — and funders — how its journalism drives social change and makes Detroit a better place to live.
What gaps do you have in diversifying and growing revenue? Use these tools to find out.
In order to overcome them, first understand the barriers to succeeding at diversifying and growing revenue.
A quick grid showing the FROM > TO view of success in maximizing revenue from the audiences you build
This section describes ways to track progress and measure success at diversifying and growing your revenue.
Do Actions to close the gap
These two newsrooms used innovative approaches to food and nostalgia to drive paid subscribers and secure newsroom funding.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Henrico (Va.) Citizen added 9,000+ email subscribers and generated $34,000 in reader revenue in one year.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: How to create a regional keepsake that drives revenue toward your newsroom.
Here are 10 ideas to steal and adapt: From developing audience personas to building trust, these original case studies are the most-viewed in 2023 on BetterNews.org.
In the digital subscription cohort for alumni of the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program, five teams were challenged to think creatively about growing and retaining digital audiences through experimentation. In this Better News piece, each team shares the challenge it took on over the four months and highlights its biggest lessons.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: You have a large list of engaged subscribers for your flagship newsletter. Reader revenue is the next challenge. Here’s an example of how a focused, personalized case for support can drive results.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Create an online subscription-based platform that produces editorial content focused on amplifying positive stories within the Black community, raising awareness regarding relevant issues that affect the community at the local, state and national level.
Here are 10 ideas to steal and adapt: From audience-focused initiatives to changing internal systems, these original case studies are the most-viewed in 2022 on BetterNews.org.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Consider reaching a national audience that cares about a topic your newsroom covers well. The national audience may not subscribe because the rest of your reporting isn’t as relevant to them. How could you get them to read, interact with, and most importantly, financially support your coverage?
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As an independent nonprofit newsroom, move beyond philanthropy as a core strategy and begin reader revenue and community membership experiments in order to move toward sustainability.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: What does your target audience like…to drink? When the Vermont brewery Lawson’s Finest Liquids approached Vermont Public Radio about a craft beer in honor of the station’s award-winning narrative podcast, VPR saw an opportunity to reach new listeners.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Develop a program that bundles locally produced goods from local businesses with subscription offers. For example, you can work with a local coffee roaster, purchasing 1-pound bags of coffee, at half-price, to combine with an online-only subscription or weekend print delivery and full online access.
Build a program of philanthropy to fund journalism. Digital subscriptions can pay for our daily journalism, but the deep investigative work is expensive and needs another funding source to be sustainable under our changing business model.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Use your newsroom talent and expertise to put on live events that show off your depth as an organization and offer new ways for audiences to engage with your work.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As the COVID-19 pandemic hit advertising, The Keene Sentinel of New Hampshire used its email database to generate additional revenue through a “grocery giveaway” sweepstakes and several other initiatives that served the public.
This one-stop guide to membership offers on ramps for organizations beginning to develop these modes of relating with audiences while digging deep into the strategies and tactics that organizations need to cultivate vibrant membership and keep members for the long haul. Staffing, product thinking, trust, revenue, it’s all in here.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: You have great reporting and writing skills. Use them to get grants and other funding for your newsroom.
The Correspondent reveals how more than a year of relationship building and foundational work led to their successful $2.5 million crowdfunding campaign.
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.
You must dedicate a pool of financial and human resources for innovation and name a cross-functional team to guide innovation across the enterprise.
Continuous improvement efforts must be pervasive; everyone has to find better, more effective ways to respond to today’s digital realities. But you also have to pursue fundamental innovation.
Force yourself to explore and consider the full range of revenue possibilities for the products, services and businesses you’re in or might begin.
Drive both continuous improvement and fundamental innovation efforts from a customer-first perspective.
You must manage distinct products/services/businesses from the whole enterprise perspective, including building and monitoring economic performance with ‘whole P&Ls.’