By: Elizabeth Coffey, Marketing G2 Digital Marketing Specialist

Revenue diversification is the name of the game for publishers in 2018. No longer can quality journalism survive on advertising revenue alone.

Many publishers are looking to add audience revenue into the fold to fund their content and improve sustainability. Is driving audience-backed reader revenue a part of your 2018 roadmap?

Below are some important factors to consider when coming up with a plan for your publication.

  1. There are differentn kinds of direct audience revenue

    • The donation model - A model that encourages a charitable relationship between a publication and its audience. People give you their time or their money because they support your cause or your values.

    • The subscription model – A model that supports a transactional relationship between a publication and its audience. Publications require payment in order for people to receive access to content.

    • The membership model – A model that creates a two-way value / knowledge exchange between journalists at a publication and audience members. People give their money, time, professional expertise, connections, ideas, and access to their networks to support a publication’s cause. This model is similar to the donation model but the relationship between the publication and its audience is much deeper.

  2. How niche is your publication? – Does your publication focus around a highly-specific and specialized subject area or cater to a very specific region? If so, a subscription revenue model may work best for you and your news organization. For this strategy to work, your audience has to value your content, analysis, etc.

  3. Make your publication more interactive if going for memberships – Find activities and events that are interesting to your members and are beneficial to your publication and then make them happen. With a membership model it’s important to create a community around your unique brand.

  4. Your publication needs a story too – You need a mission, values, and a purpose for your publication. Your brand is what will inspire your audience to subscribe, donate, or become a member of your carefully-crafted community.

  5. Use newsletters to drive engagement – Every good relationship relies heavily on communication. Carefully plan out your publication’s newsletters to cultivate and cater to the different subsets of your audience.

  6. You may have to change your newsroom’s culture – Going after audience-funded revenue is a significant paradigm shift. Trying something new can be scary but its better to innovate than to allow yourself to stagnate.

What are your plans to drive revenue in 2018?

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