Inbound Marketing Techniques

Seven Ways For Online News Organizations to Increase Subscribers

We recently examined how news organizations such as CNN, the NY Times, and the Guardian utilize popovers to get people to pay for news content online. Each news organization could improve their popover by making simple changes. In this blog post, we layout a seven prong strategy any news organization could integrate into their Popover strategy to increase subscribers.

  1. Reinforce the Offer. Make sure the offer appears multiple times on the page.
  2. Demonstrate How Money Is Used. Show readers how the money is used. What stories captivated readers worldwide thanks to financial support from subscribers? Explain the story behind the story. Who are the reporters, what lengths did they have to go through to get the story, and how do subscribers make their work possible?
  3. A “Small Ask”. Asking non-subscribers to make a year long commitment is asking for a lot. Is there a way to get non-subscribers to pay a small amount at first? Perhaps a single/one-time contribution for limited access, with an opportunity to upgrade later on.
  4. Required Reading. Require non-subscribers to read and acknowledge the cost of the news and (like The Guardian does) appeal to the readers’ sense of fairness. Instead of a simple “Close” button, why not ask free loaders work harder to at least acknowledge that high quality reporting is expensive.
  5. Public Recognition. People love to see their name in print. Capitalize on that fact. The Washington Post recently changed it’s slogan to “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. Who are the people that are fighting to keep democracy alive by supporting the Washington Post? We believe that many people want proof/recognition that they are standing up for what’s right. Imagine if news organizations could showcase subscribers in a manner similar to the Million Dollar Homepage.
  6. Badge of Honor. Subscribers should receive a trinket for their mantel and/or or a digital emblem to signify their support.
  7. Random, Unpredictable Rewards. Variable rewards are addictive. For many years, newspapers relied on advertising inserts and circulars to cover costs and reward subscribers. Is there a modern method to duplicate the interesting, random deals one reads in newspaper ads? Perhaps a daily or weekly email ONLY for subscribers that combines elements of Groupon/Living Social with traditional newspaper ads.