This week, we held the latest in our Top Tips Webinar series – ‘7 Subscription Trends You Need to Leverage in 2021’, presented by Lineup Systems' Joe Cronin. (You can view a recording here.)
Here are some of my takeaways from Joe’s presentation on what publishers need to do to succeed at subs this year:
- Treat ads and subs as two sides of the same coin. The two revenue streams are often treated in isolation, but first party data is bringing the two together by greatly enhancing the value of our subscribers to our advertisers. Joe’s advice to publishers is to "sync up your advertising and subscription strategies".
- Continually improve the user experience. Publishing success is now all about engagement and the key metric is ‘time on site’. Slow page load times, annoying auto plays, pop ups, poor layout or simply too many ads on the page, will all combine to suppress subscriptions.
- Promote your key journalistic talent. Your star columnists are the main reason many people subscribe. Joe previously worked at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where the sports reporter Bob Smizik garnered an ultra-loyal following over the course of three decades. Identify, nurture and put your star writers, front and centre, because, said Joe, “content will always be king, but creators and curators are like emperors”.
- Make use of Artificial Intelligence: subscriber and visitor data is extensive and highly valuable, but too voluminous for humans to make much sense of. AI is increasingly being used for sophisticated predictive modelling and publishers that are not using it are missing out. But, he warns, when you discuss AI with vendors, make sure you’re talking about the same thing because definitions vary.
- Build trust, always. “Fake news is real”, said Joe. Publishers must focus relentlessly on reader needs and building trust through the provision of trusted high quality journalism.
(Finally, we are putting the finishing touches to the March / April issue of InPublishing magazine. If you’d like to be added to the free mailing list, then please register here. If you want your copy to go to your home address, then simply enter it into the ‘comments’ box which you’ll see when you click on the ‘continue’ button at the bottom of the page.)
This article featured in the 18 March edition of our weekly e-newsletter, InPubWeekly, which you can register to receive here.