There is a dominant theme among the publishing community right now – the need to diversify revenue.
It’s a hot topic at industry events this year, including the Digiday Publishing Summit I attended earlier this spring. There was palpable unease from many publishers after a year defined by platform changes drastically affected their revenue.
Instead of relying entirely on advertising revenue and the Facebook/Google duopoly, publishers are exploring revenue earned directly from their readers. Discussion around these potential revenue streams took many forms:
- Membership models
- Premium content
If publishers are to survive, diversification of revenue will be essential moving forward. With Little Things and Render Media both serving as stark reminders of the fate that awaits those who rely too heavily on platforms and digital advertising revenue, reader revenue is a particularly interesting answer.
It is clear that reader revenue could be impactful. It is considerably less clear how publishers can make the shift.
To help, we’ve put together three questions to ask yourself as you discuss reader revenue:
1. What type of reader revenue product would work best for me?
Let your brand and content guide you! Find what feels the most natural as an extension of what you’re already doing. Maybe a premium content offering is a better fit than a metered paywall.
2. How would I support this as an organization?
Make sure you have a team or person who is willing to take point on growing reader revenue. Managing and growing this new relationship with your readers might require new technology investments, the forming of new teams internally, and the creation of new positions.
3. How can I use my own data to fuel my reader revenue program?
The various ways individual readers engage with your content provides a wealth of data that can help you test, learn, and optimize the program. The key is to collect all of this rich data at the individual reader level, segment readers into audiences based on a combination of attributes, preferences, and behaviors, and then deliver relevant and engaging experiences across all touchpoints. For example, you might collect behavioral data such as activity frequency to identify your most loyal readers, and then target them with personalized messaging for premium content offers based on each of their content preferences.
As the year continues, we’ll see more and more publishers begin to focus on reader revenue. Take existing examples as inspiration, use the questions above, and make something great!
Check out our guide to learn more about how publishers are using our customer data platform to drive success and fuel revenue streams.