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Own your platform, be different, persist. The formula for successful publishing has been established. The secrets are graduating into standard procedures. The differentiator, now more than ever, will be the action creators take — not the industry keys they carry. In this week's edition, discover the actions you need to prioritize for your publication.
💯 Top picks
Blog formatting is the practice of making the best ideas the most obvious.
Formating content online is equal parts art and science. It can be the difference between an article that gets read or one that's simply ignored. Readers will find five overarching principles of formating that include a dozen actionable tips to make your writing more appealing to visitors.
💸 Business models
A recent study of over 1,400 content entrepreneurs led to the discovery of four trends that can help aspiring creators make more progress towards their growth. Here's a summary of their findings:
- Dedicate a minimum of 30 hours per week to your content business.
- Plan to spend at least 2 years building it up before it can financially support you.
- Make decisions as a business owner, not just a content creator.
- Invest in owned channels rather than social or third-party alternatives.
Getting noticed: The ultimate contrarian guide to standing out and getting noticed in crowded markets
The Creative Hackers team pulled together a list of psychological triggers and biases creators can use to capture the attention of their ideal users. It's an entertaining, albeit contentious, list filled with items such as capitalizing on one's insecurities, starting arguments with industry leaders, and getting banned to drive up demand.
Related: Is your podcast helping you grow your business? — Tradecraft
Honesty is good for business, and now there's data to prove it. A study showed how transparency and trust could bolster financial support for media organizations. Some practical ways publishers can improve their credibility include: publishing "making of" and behind-the-scenes pieces, including photographs to support arguments and display sources, and linking to other trustworthy publishers.
📝 Modern publishing
HubSpot compiled data from a dozen different reports (Statista, Litmus, Bluecore, and more) to present a comprehensive look at trends within the email marketing space. Here are a few numbers worth pointing out:
- Only 64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers.
- 4 out of 5 marketers said they’d rather give up social media than email marketing.
- 74% of Baby Boomers think email is the most personal channel to communicate with brands.
The publishing industry is heading in the right direction thanks to a championing of data and a shift in business models. The report dissects how instrumental subscription products have been in both growing revenue for struggling media companies and providing data on who their customers are and what they want in terms of products and content. One researcher writes of this change, "News publishers are dreaming again, seeing opportunities to become disruptors themselves."
Related: Is the “journalism crisis” just a capitalism crisis? — Popula
Regardless of the type of content one makes, when creators post that content onto third-party platforms, they become beholden to their business models and priorities. As a Media Operator writes, "When you are building your business on someone else’s land, you always run the risk of losing. One day, the landlord decides to get rid of you for whatever reason. ...OnlyFans change is a reminder to own your platform."
📬 Email newsletters
This month's resource from Dan Oshinsky covers a host of topics across the publishing space, including a deeper dive into how subscriber-only newsletter products work (and why, sometimes, they don't). Of special note are the exclusive resources they included for editors and designers, such as a link to the presentation 25 ways to sign someone up for your newsletter.
In this short video, marketing and email expert Ann Handley discusses techniques writers can use to increase their subscriber engagement. For Handley, the goal should be to create content that is both distinct and relatable, regardless of the topic or genre. Higher engagement not only supports one's business goals but can also become a source of future content ideas and partnerships.
At one point, the purpose of email newsletters was to act as a bridge to another product or service. They were the middlemen of digital businesses. But now, consumers and creators alike have discovered this is not the case. They can be stand-alone products when treated as such, as shown by the recent surge of creators entering the space. Now, the competitive advantage is reserved for those who stick with the medium even when the new thing comes into view.
There's been a lot of fuss made about Apple's decision to remove open rates as a data point usable by publishers. However, The Fix argues that this is a beneficial move that will push creators to focus on more telling statistics such as clickthrough rates, conversion rates, and monthly list growth. Flexibility is a core attribute of the newsletter boom, so changes like this will only serve its best interest in the long run.
Bloomberg recently interviewed Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram. In the recorded video, Mosseri talks about Instagram's focus moving forward: helping creators earn more money through the app, making it easier for them to create and publish video content, and doing a better job of moderating content and misinformation so that social media can feel safe again.
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