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The principal parts of your publishing business are the ones no one will ever see. The technology running your publication, the values guiding your marketing, the private decisions dictating your public content — these are your foundations. Ultimately, they will decide how high you can scale. In today's issue, learn the moves you can make today to ensure your foundations will carry you into tomorrow.
💯 Top picks
The latest article on the Ghost blog breaks down what a tech stack is, how it works, and what creators should look for when choosing their own. Aside from the core components (CMS, ESP, payment processor), the post also recommends a collection of supplementary tools related to analytics, community, and more. The goal with these tools is to build a business you own, from the inside out.
💸 Business models
The four components of the model are product (what you sell), price (how much you sell it for), place (where you sell it), and promotion (how you get customers).
The team at AHREFs shares how businesses and creators alike can use the 4-p framework to uniquely position themselves in competitive markets. Many solo makers spend the majority of their time thinking about what they will publish (i.e., product) but fail to spend adequate time defining the other three areas.
Related: How to build a personal brand — Shopify
Karolin Wanner presents an insightful deconstruction of James Clear's social media strategy. Clear does a few things other writers would benefit from: link straight to your newsletter subscription instead of a page with multiple links, fill your feed with repurposed newsletter content, and include a CTA with every post.
📝 Modern publishing
One study showed that PR can convert at 10 to 50 times higher than advertising.
James Fleischmann outlines 5 ways independent creators and entrepreneurs can tap into the power of traditional media. The post contains a library of useful links, along with tips that are both affordable and doable by already busy creators. If you have a product with a newsworthy angle, this may be a feasible path to growth.
NiemanLab offers a brief look at the novel Defector, a sports and culture site that has exploded in growth over the last 12 months. A few unique points are that 95%+ of their revenue comes directly from subscriptions; that revenue then goes to helping grow the team, while equitably benefiting the community-owned enterprise.
Is there a different way for news outlets to cover humanitarian crises?
The New Humanitarian, a non-profit newsroom, is challenging the way conflicts and disasters are covered, especially those in developing nations. Usually, foreign correspondents are sent in with incomplete context to the larger narratives at play. One solution is to rely more heavily on local voices and empower them to tell their stories in new ways.
Related: What attitudes toward news tell us about building trust — WNIP
📬 Email newsletters
Subscribers to one Substack are more likely to subscribe to another.
Alex Kantrowitz, writer of the Big Technology newsletter, explains their theory that subscription fatigue is the wrong way to interpret recent newsletter growth. Instead, as more of the population develops the habit of reading things in their inboxes (e.g., news, entertainment, analysis, etc.), the practice will only continue to spread — similar to how social networks increase in value as more people join. Kantrowitz concludes that what we see in the newsletter space is only the beginning.
Dr. Fio Dossetto explores the challenge of content fatigue for creators. The condition is similar to burnout but more specific to the topic or content that the work is related to. The author offers 3 solutions, crowdsourced by other industry officials, to help creators break out of their ruts.
To some degree, most newsletters are based on the perception of expertise: the writer either has more information than the reader or access to someone who does. However, expertise as a concept is being redefined by technology, changing values, and the speed at which information now moves. This contribution piece features several interesting viewpoints on the subject, along with guidance on how to position your own expertise.
Twitter recently launched an invite-only community solution on their platform meant to offer users a viable alternative to Reddit's subreddits and Facebook groups. Community members will be able to tweet directly to a members-only feed, rather than to all of their followers. This is the latest in a collection of new products rolled out by Twitter aiming to make it a more complete social networking tool.
Related: 5 Twitter updates publishers should be aware of — The Fix
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