A greater amount of digital publications have started to rely on using subscriptions and memberships to generate revenue.

This is because more people are seeking their news from online sources and brands are using Google and social media platforms to advertise online instead of these publications. However, the acquisition of subscribers is no simple task for these platforms.

Online publications unfortunately must face the challenge of readers simply not wanting to pay for online news. This is because readers:
  • believe that they can find news for free on other news sites
  • weren't tempted enough by their free trial
  • do not want to be limited to one publication
  • aren't willing to commit to a long-term payment
  • think that subscriptions aren't affordable, and
  • want more from their subscriptions than what's on offer.
So, how do we address all of this and persuade readers to click that "subscribe" button?

media update’s Lara Smit is giving you all the tips to sway them to sign up right here.

Let's raise that reader revenue:

1. Give them what they want

One of the best ways for a publication to ensure that they get subscriptions is by giving readers content that they will want to subscribe to.

Although the content that you are creating may be of high quality, it may not appeal to the needs of your readers. That's why it is essential for publications to find out what their readers want and value from a publication.

But how do they do that?

One of the best ways to get to know your audiences is by using media monitoring tools to understand which content people gravitate towards and what they are saying about it.

It is also essential to keep an eye on engagement that you receive on your website — like shares, reads and comments — by using an analytics tool.

By tracking these types of conversations and engagement, you are able to paint a portrait of your readers that gives you an understanding of who they are and insight into what they like.

From here, you need to create stories that align with your reader’s interests and values, as well as eliminate the stories that don't. This way, readers will feel as though their needs will be met by subscribing to your content.

Addressing the type of information your audience wants with your content will also allow them to feel as though your content makes an essential contribution to their daily lives. Therefore, they will see it as a necessity to subscribe to your platform.

Publications can take this a step further by offering personalised subscriptions. This way, your readers can filter and refine the content that they receive themselves, ensuring that their exact needs will be met.

2. Create a strong brand

A prominent reason why many readers subscribe to a particular platform is because they know that they will not be able to receive the same sort of content from any other platform. Therefore, it is essential for any online platform to place focus on what sets them apart from its competitors.

Whether it's your voice, beat, insights on topics or analysis of subjects and events, understanding what your brand is and how you can develop it further is key to attracting the right people to subscribe.

Take the Financial Times, for example. This newspaper has created a strong brand for itself as one of the leading financial newspapers by reporting on economic and business news. By keeping to these beats, readers know exactly what they are subscribing to when they subscribe to this publication.

Additionally, this newspaper has created a brand that is seen as unbiased and reputable through its neutral and factual reporting. Therefore, those who are working in the financial and business sector will be more willing to subscribe to them.

The proof is in the pudding, as this platform boasts one million paying online subscribers. Wow. 

What's more is once you know exactly what your brand is, you can tell potential subscribers precisely what you have to offer them. This will help you to position your marketing better and help you to better inform your readers on what significance a subscription to your publication could have for them. 

3. Give them an offer they can't refuse

Every subscriber is looking for a good deal when signing up to a platform. At the end of the day, readers paying for a subscription has a lot to do with them gaining something and having a better user experience than people who aren’t subscribed to your platform. 

So, how can you ensure that subscribers get the most out of their money?

Make their subscription advantageous by
  • giving them an improved reader experience and eliminating ads from the content that they read
  • creating convenience through tailoring their content according to their requirements
  • making them feel elite by giving them member-exclusive access to high-quality content
  • creating bundle offers that allow them to get more bang for their buck
  • offering family discounts, and
  • gifting them vouchers, products, invitations and tickets. 
Providing these types of benefits will make your subscriptions more desirable to readers as you will have more to offer them and it will help persuade them to choose you over your competitors. 

Lastly, by spoiling your subscribers you will guarantee their satisfaction, which will make them more inclined to tell their friends about your publication and incentivise them to renew their subscription. 

What do you think online publications can do to get more subscriptions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to find out how you can draw more subscribers to your site? Then be sure to read about these Five ways that infographics drive traffic to online publications.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy