“Every strategy must be underpinned by a rich understanding of your audience—who they are, why they are here, what content they value, what platforms and channels they like to use to consume that content,” Tara Lajumoke, managing director at FT Strategies, said earlier this year at Journalism.co.uk’s Newsrewired event.
Of course, revenue diversification is a goal for all publishers. And Lajumoke advised media leaders that long-term success required “multiple resilient revenue streams.” But she also added that diversifying channels of revenue can be important as well—in other words, creating products or events for different audiences that you have.
The Financial Times realized that not all of their readers want to pay a lot for content, so they launched FT Edit, a specially curated app that gives readers access to 8 articles of in-depth news content, every weekday. The FT has around 1.2 million digital subscribers. The new app targets the 20-plus million readers who have signed up to any of the FT’s social media feeds.
Lajumoke also pointed to their ‘free to read’ day in November 2021 which gave free site-wide access for 40 hours. “The best way to sell journalism is through your best journalism,” she said. “So, the philosophy behind paywall relaxations is to expose readers to the journalism that the newsroom produces in a strategic way.”
An article last year about Allrecipes listed five diverse ways they were using to bring in revenue, including: charging grocery stores to place coupons and information about free samples on their site; affiliate marketing of recipe ingredients; food-related sponsors.; syndicated content; and selling products to users.
Here are four other publisher examples for streams and channels of revenue:
Podcasts. “Over the past couple of years, we’ve been busy building a portfolio of weekly and fortnightly podcasts across our business media brands as a critical element of our ‘deep engagement’ strategy—concentrating efforts on known, niche and highly-committed audiences,” deputy managing director of Haymarket Business Media, Donna Murphy, told the Press Gazette. They’ve now added a podcast awards program to their fold and grown their own podcast audience—and sponsorships—300%. “We see podcasts as a key audience engagement tool, and as we continue to move away from print in some areas, it’s a perfect medium to build personality and tone. Like magazines, podcasts are episodic and have clear structures.”
Events. “[By] thinking, ‘How do I take the show that we were running and allow people to access it on their tablet and let them try?’ you’re forcing it,” Brian Cuthbert, group vice president of Diversified, told me earlier in the year. “We are looking at all the shows individually—so in some markets we’re beefing up and certainly continuing to invest in the content that we’re producing, the types of demand generation offerings that we have for our exhibitors and sponsors… We want people to consume the content in the way that’s most comfortable for them. You want to come to an in-person event, you want to go listen to something on-demand, you want to engage with people online in networking chats. I’ll give you all of those options, but I don’t think it just exists tied to a single show anymore. It’s really around how you build it out over the course of a year.”
Native advertising… is not just for magazine or newsletter content anymore. An article on Journalism.co.uk presented three of the latest trends:
- Interactive: “A New York Times article, Women Inmates, written as part of a partnership with Netflix for the launch of Orange Is the New Black, [serves] as one of the best examples of native advertising, and this was a long-read with plenty of interactive imagery to grab the reader’s attention.”
- Audio and video: Instead of pre- or mid-rolls—where we get a separate message from a sponsor—look for podcast content done in collaboration with a sponsor. As with print, it could still be just as valuable to that audience.
- New platforms: TikTok has been mentioned as a new place for sponsored content. I’ve also seen sponsored content in many places on Instagram.
Webinars. “We created a new virtual experience,” Haley Berling, senior manager, digital programs and events, GovExec, told us in one of our early Editorial Training sessions this year. “We incorporated things like virtual and customer sponsor resource pages with interactive chat features in downloadable assets for our clients. We created a virtual press room and editorial resource library for our editorial staff. And then we built a simple theater digitally where users can easily consume the content within very intuitive, easy login experience and [more] chat… As a living resource hub of content of all types, and then a place where our VIP community could come and interact with us and each other, it was more of a digital experience. Over the course of the next six months we partnered with some fabulous partners and actually built and developed that event site into our own internal virtual event platform that we could easily deploy for multiple events.”