We’ve talked about this before, but there is an undeniable truth that deserves some time in the spotlight:
Your digital publication has a ton of content that is either being overlooked or underutilized.
Think about it. You’ve spent years putting out article after article of solid, brilliant, valuable content. There’s no way that each piece has reached all of its potential readership.
Fortunately, it can be relatively painless to repurpose, repackage, and reframe the content that you already have to draw in more revenue from your audience.
The simplest of these is, of course, the special issue. A few clicks on some checkboxes and you can highlight and feature related topics as either a free promotional issue or a premium source of revenue.
But special issues aren’t the only way to monetize your existing content. Managing your subscription levels is the key.
Don’t Mess With Texas
The first trick is to create a hierarchy of content. A metered paywall like Leaky Paywall allows you to decide who gets access to what, and for how long. Restrict specific content – videos, premium articles, issues – to premium subscribers and offer your archives at a premium.
One of the best examples of this tactic can be found in the Austin Monitor. A prolific local online news source, the Austin Monitor has published a ton of content over the years.
Their paywall allows readers five free articles every month, after that, they are offered the option of purchasing individual articles or choosing a subscription.
Then they created three different subscription levels.
The first gets more monthly articles and unlimited access to a feature called Whispers.
The second gets unlimited articles and Whispers.
The final (and most expensive) gets unlimited articles, unlimited Whispers, unlimited premium content, and access to their archive (goldmine of past content).
Every article they create is automatically archived after 90 days.
The Austin Monitor dives deep on the civic issues of Austin, Texas. It is a fantastic resource for those who want to track the political landscape of the city or a specific topic in its history. The archive is a big draw for citizens, politicians, educators, and institutions.
So without doing more than changing a setting in the back-end of their site, the Austin Monitor has created a new source of revenue out of content they already have.
Net The Early Birds
The Canadian news source iPolitics has found another way to encourage readers to upgrade their subscriptions: by repackaging their content in a different way – an early email edition.
Many intrepid publishers put out a newsletter to entice their readers – after all, members of the email list are 10x more likely to subscribe.
But iPolitics has gone a step farther with their emails.
Casual readers get an email around 10 am with excerpts that highlight the news of the day and links back to the site for the full article.
Subscribers get the Morning Brief.
The iPolitics Morning Brief, which hits the inbox at 6 am, contains full-text versions of the most important articles of the day. This allows busy morning people to get all the news in one place, in a single scroll, without having to click away or around.
It’s the same content from the site, which subscribers have already paid for, just repurposed for a specific subsection of iPolitics readers.
It’s also not a hard product to create, given all the automation that email services have made available.
The Austin Monitor and iPolitics are just scratching the surface with ways to repackage or meter their content to encourage subscriptions.
iPolitics also publishes a weekly round-up called the Weekender.
The Practice, a publication of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, likes to pull an older issue out of the archive at every publication, just to remind casual readers of the riches hidden behind their paywall.
Looking for other ways to find value in your existing content? Let’s talk!