How Money-Media Converted Free Subscriptions to Paid Newsletters

There are countless free newsletters in B2B publishing, as well there should be. Newsletters do great things. They are the number one traffic builder for most niche verticals, since social media and search only go so far in bringing hydrocarbon experts or facility managers to your site repeatedly.

Sending daily – or at least weekly – newsletters keep people clicking through to your website, where hopefully you have effective contextual content and offers to get them to stick around. Each one also provides desirable advertising sales opportunities. You can’t have enough sub-niche newsletters in my book. This also keeps your brand vital in your market. If you send less frequently than weekly, your content remains an afterthought.

The idea of converting a free newsletter to paid is so unusual, it would never occur to most publishers. If I had a nickel for everyone who has told me, “our market will never pay for content,” I would have a lot of nickles indeed. But the biggest hurdle to selling content is mustering the belief that you can. When I moved from a career primarily in ad-supported media to a large business information publisher long ago, I was endlessly amazed at the content we were able to sell.

The next hurdle in selling content is investing in editorial. You need a newsroom trained to recognize and report on industry-essential news, research, and trends. That was no problem for Dan Fink, managing director of Money-Media, a New York-based subsidiary of UK’s Financial Times. Money-Media had built a successful group of high-priced content products for the investment management industry. They saw continued growth but did not see room for a new, breakthrough product on the immediate horizon. That is when they revived an idea they had kicked around two years prior, “half on the back burner and half dead,” according to Fink.

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