This story explains what Medium was, became, and may never be: profitable. Paid leave layoffs were announced last week and question marks loom in the air.
Paid newsletters seem to be a trend these days, and it's really piqued my interest. I'm wondering how many of you feel the same way.
Financial Times chief executive John Ridding has said news publishers “can have your cake and eat it” but only if they have a “robust reader revenue foundation.”
“Not Boring has bucked the trend of subscription everything and instead is designed to be supported by ads. In an ironic twist, Substack—ostensibly Not Boring’s publisher—will receive exactly $0 from Packy’s work so long as he resists the temptation to turn on the paywall.”
Scroll down to the Business Model heading to get into the nitty gritty.
Yaro Bagriy from Newsletter Crew has created a list of ways to help your sponsors achieve more ROI. It’s a solid list, but I’d like to add two more here that I think are actually more effective than those he’s listed:
Make sure the audience you’ve cultivated is a good fit for the sponsor.
Sponsors will see the best results when their offering is highly aligned with the interests of the people who have subscribed to your content. Misalignment can both undermine the credibility of your newsletter (“Why am I seeing an ad for this?”) and result in low click-throughs for the advertiser.
Consider encouraging ads that read and are formatted similarly to your content.
This approach (sometimes called native or advertorial) plays into the idea that people read copy that interests them, and sometimes that copy is and advertisement. You’ll find great examples of this in iOS Dev Weekly.
While many media companies experienced massive layoffs due to the pandemic, Insider Inc. managed to hire 130 new employees and will be increasing their minimum salary to $60,000 annually for U.S. employees.
It varies. But there are a few ways of establishing your magic number, and part of that includes understanding your metrics and why they’re important for anyone buying space in your newsletter.
This article will give you a good sense of the types of sponsorships you might be able to sell and the pricing models you might consider (flat rate vs cpm).
As always, don’t rush. The audience always comes first, right?
Kayleigh Barber asked Dan Oshinsky to weigh in on the likelihood of Bustle Digital Group achieving its ambitious income goals with the 14 (soon to be 15) newsletters it publishes.
“Based on what Oshinsky has seen with the publishers he works with, a ‘best-in-class’ unique open rate is 30% or above. A 20% average open rate is not bad, he added, but he said that while BDG focuses on growing its total list size, it will be important to monitor that engagement does not drop off as a side effect of new subscriptions.”
Psst! Dan is also slated to lead a workshop for Newsletter Fest. We’re discussing a presentation on different newsletter business models. Stay tuned.
Related: Check out how The NY Times aims to convert newsletter readers into paid subscribers.
Looking For Sponsors? 3 Resources To Help
Newsletters are hot right now. So is advertising in them. But finding the next good-fit sponsor isn’t always easy. I’ve heard from three sponsor matching programs that could be worth checking out.
Note, at Curated we have always promoted building an engaged audience before you begin selling so that you can attract sponsors who align well with your editorial content but do not heavily influence it.
If you use one of these successfully, please let me know:
Psst! It looks like Ryan Sager of Who Sponsors Stuff will be joining us as a speaker for Newsletter Fest.