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If you had to simplify what it takes to succeed in the creator economy down to only two words, they would be "consistency wins." In this edition of Publisher Weekly, you'll discover tools like checklists and frameworks to help you achieve the consistency needed, across any of the modern platforms vying for your attention.
💯 Top picks
The latest post on the Ghost blog offers creators a user-friendly 15-point checklist that helps them publish and promote their newsletter. The list is a modified version of exactly what our team uses to consistently publish both the Ghost blog and Publisher Weekly. Subscribers can access a downloadable template of the checklist near the bottom of the post.
💸 Business models
Mark Stenberg of Medialyte questions whether the subscription model meets the needs of every potential customer. As an alternative, Stenberg suggests publications offer the digital equivalent a newstand, where visitors can pay a single fee for limited or time-restricted access (like buying a single newspaper issue). They use the acronym MAP which means "monthly access payment." It's an interesting theory, although the economics seem unclear. At least one large publisher, TheBrowser, has begun experimenting with this model.
The team at Castos shares how publishers can run a subscription-based podcast. They note there are additional challenges that come with putting all of your audio content behind a paywall. But, when done correctly, it can become a very profitable revenue stream. Furthermore, many publishers find that complimenting their written content with other types of media boosts their main channel's growth as well.
📝 Modern publishing
The recipe for starting a new media venture in 2021 seems to be straightforward: blog, newsletter, podcast.
Independent media companies have transformed the industry they fought so hard to be a part of. Established media and technology organizations now look to their example of how to produce simple value propositions readers love, and to do so in a scalable, economically-mindful way.
Substack recently announced the twelve winners of their local news initiative. The writers span seven different countries, and each brings a unique blend of professional and independent experience to the mix. The winners receive an assortment of benefits, including professional mentorship and a cash advance. Now, their goal will be to build sustainable publications with the runway they've received.
A Media Operator explains why this particular acquisition could be one of the smartest moves for helping The New York Times achieve its ten million subscriber goal. "Sports is inherently local and The Times isn’t really a local newspaper. Therefore, users that subscribe to The Times are likely getting their sports news elsewhere; perhaps even The Athletic." By merging the two publications, NYT would fill a clear gap in their offering and The Athletic would significantly increase their audience. It's a win-win, on paper at least.
📬 Email newsletters
Dan Hockenmaier and Lenny Rachitsky share a growth strategy they've used to build successful products that can also be used to accelerate your newsletter's growth. If you're at all familiar with how cars operate, you'll appreciate how their four-part framework (engine, turbo, lubricants, fuel) fits together to form a clear strategy.
IndieHackers hosted an AMA ("ask me anything" session) with Janel, creator of a Notion dashboard that helps newsletter writers organize their early days of creation and promotion. The comments contain a number of useful conversations, such as how Janel gained their first 100 subscribers and advice on partnering with fellow newsletter writers.
Your career depends on your ability to build a system.
Josh Spector breaks down the system they've used to build multiple successful newsletters. Each system contains three distinct "mechanisms": discovery, connection, and monetization. The steps work similarly to the content funnel previously highlighted in this newsletter.
As Twitter rolls out its new paid subscription offering, the reviews have been mixed. Benefits such as the edit button and reader mode seem significantly less useful than advertised (e.g., the edit function only works within the first 30 seconds of a tweet's publishing). Other features, like custom folders, will help super users gain a better experience on the platform. For now, this seems like one tool most publishers can skip.
The ad revenue sharing model has proven to be extremely profitable for YouTube while helping thousands of creators take part in the new economy along the way. This article dives into Google's tremendous growth, in large part due to YouTube, and how new platforms are challenging the behemoth by implementing the same revenue sharing models that made them the go-to platform for professional creators.
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