How Scalawag’s events are widening its membership funnel and leading to its next phase of growth
Scalawag has learned that in-person and virtual events can be a powerful “top of funnel” marketing tool for membership by helping introduce its brand to the kind of progressive, diverse, engaged Southerners who are most likely to become paying supporters. In this episode, Scalawag executive director Cierra Hinton and audience growth and engagement manager Sarah Glen share what they’ve learned about hosting great events as community-building and revenue-growth strategies that will pave the way for their next phase of growth. Related reading: How Scalawag made the growth case for events (Membership Puzzle Project) Here's how the subscriber funnel, or whatever you want to call it, works (Poynter) Journalism needs to connect the dots between audience engagement and making money. The key might be the concept of a marketing funnel (GroundSource) Want to make your journalism more memberful? Find a range of proven practices, including revenue-generating routines (Membership Puzzle Project) Why the South needs movement journalism (Scalawag)
October 20, 2021
How El Tímpano unlocked a new revenue stream by serving “hard-to-reach” communities
Reader revenue often gets talked up as the future of local news, but what about the people who can’t afford to pay? In this episode of News Guest, Candice talks with El Tímpano founder Madeleine Bair about meeting information needs in low-income communities — and how her nonprofit newsroom unlocked a new revenue stream by doing exactly that.
August 23, 2021
How The 19th* learned from early mistakes and revised its growth plan
The 19th* is celebrating its first birthday this month, and there’s a lot to celebrate, from a $12 million fundraising haul to its nearly 11,000 paying members. But co-founder and publisher Amanda Zamora says the high-flying independent news startup has also made a few mistakes along the way, especially when it comes to planning for and managing growth. In this episode of News Guest, our host Candice Fortman talks with Amanda about the idea behind The 19th* and the challenge of launching it during a pandemic, as well as what she'd do differently if she could start again.
August 3, 2021
How The Objective is trying to scale up by slowing down
An all-volunteer passion project grows into a full-fledged news operation, with staff to manage, contractors to pay, and a business to run. Gabe Schneider and The Objective team have spent the last 12 months charging full speed ahead at this transition, but now they’re about to try something different: slowing down. In this episode of News Guest, our host Candice Fortman talks with Gabe and his colleague Janelle Salanga about why they’ve decided to take a break from publishing at The Objective this summer, and how they plan to use this pause to set themselves up for success.
July 7, 2021
How RANGE built a newsletter audience from scratch — and converted 9 percent of readers to paying members
Last summer, Luke Baumgarten was one of 24 aspiring news entrepreneurs selected to participate in the inaugural Startups Boot Camp, a partnership between LION and the Google News Initiative. Today, he’s the publisher of RANGE, a solutions-focused local news organization with nearly 1,000 newsletter readers and 100 paying members. In this episode of News Guest, Outlier Media executive director Candice Fortman talks with Luke about his first six months as an independent news founder, plus the creative growth tactics he used to build his audience from scratch.
June 7, 2021
How Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service built a racially diverse team that reflects the community it serves
Many news organizations across the country have *talked* about diversifying their teams and prioritizing equity and inclusion, especially in the wake of last year's Black Lives Matter protests. The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service has actually done it. Nearly 70 percent of MNNS's paid staff identify as people of color, including its top editor Ron Smith — and it's not by accident. In this episode of News Guest, our host Candice Fortman talks with Ron about the approaches to recruitment, hiring, and training that have helped Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service build one of the most racially diverse news teams in the country, and what the rest of us can learn from it.
May 4, 2021
How Block Club Chicago turned a viral story into a $100,000 campaign
Gator Watch officially began on July 9, 2019, when the nonprofit newsroom Block Club Chicago broke the news of a rare alligator sighting in west Chicago. 30 stories and 4,000 T-shirts later, Gator Watch went down not only as a viral content series, but also as one of Block Club’s most successful fundraising campaigns ever, bringing in more than $100,000 in merchandise sales alone. In this episode, Candice talks with Stephanie Lulay and Maple Walker Lloyd about the story behind Gator Watch, and how Block Club Chicago’s broader merch strategy is creating a new source of revenue.
April 5, 2021