I Won’t Take Money From You, I’ll Try.

9 Mar 2024

I Won’t Take Money From You, I’ll Try.

Many publications rely on ads or subscriptions, but writer.sh trying to challenge the traditional media models and proposes a unique approach that prioritizes quality content and audience connection over chasing clicks and building paywalls.

Publications, or in more broad terms, "media sites," have a straightforward monetization strategy, including ads, sponsorship, and affiliation, to name a few.

From what I’ve witnessed and experienced, three major factors make a publication work:

Quality content

You need quality yet engaging content in order to captivate the reader.

Solid promotion channel

You need two or three effective promotion channels to spread the word and gain visibility.

The specific number is not the point, but rather, the emphasis is to pick a few and focus on leveraging them as much as possible.

Reminder Channel

In this era, we, the people, are overwhelmed by the plethora of content and uncountable distractions. So, you need something that reminds the user you exist and continuously brings them value.

A newsletter is a great example. It’s opt-in, so the real user who wants to hear from you will be reminded.

no Views, no Money

The majority of publications that have professionals working to produce quality content use either a lifetime deal (LTD) or a subscription-based model. However, for me, these models aren't suitable, and I hope to avoid them since I'm of the opinion that content ought to be accessible at no charge or for the very minimum alternate profit stream without having to block the user from reading.

Almost all the alternative traditional monetization methods rely heavily on high viewership in order to generate substantial profit. Therefore, exploring diversified revenue streams, even donations and patronage models, becomes critical. That and all, you might still want to get creative at how to generate revenue to provide financial sustenance.

Go classic

For writer.sh, I’m seeking out monetization methods within the publication. One intriguing approach I've considered is inspired by the traditional newspaper practice of featuring property and services in a full-page section at the end of each issue. However, instead, I'd establish posting boards for startups, freelancers, and co-founders, and for this, a monthly fee would be charged.

In addition, I intend to introduce a premium curated newsletter option. This will allow users to customize the frequency at which they receive the newsletter, all while benefiting from an advanced filter system, potentially powered by AI technology.

That being said, those are subject to change depending on users’ reciprocation and feedback.

Look around you and distract yourself a bit; perhaps you can innovate something used in other models that may work for you.

The less, The more

More content is not a factor for better results and engagement; consistency is. If you publish too often but with content that lacks quality and is not targeted at your users, you encounter the law of diminishing returns. Each additional piece of subpar content contributes less to your goals and may even detract from user experience and trust.

Instead, make it your goal to regularly provide content that is good quality and relates to your audience. This way, every piece you put out will be valuable, keeping your audience interested without giving them too much to handle.

The value here should work both ways for you and your users. From your perspective, this approach maximizes the return on investment for your content creation efforts. For your users, it ensures that every interaction with your platform is meaningful and enriching. By aligning your content strategy with the needs and interests of your audience, you foster a loyal and engaged community, which is far more beneficial in the long run than a larger but disengaged user base.

Beware of the numbers - small advice.

You’ve got to keep an eye on two things: churn and bounce rates. Use some analytics collection tool that keeps track of these measures and tests them for each piece of published content and the publication as a whole. If you notice a high bounce rate on specific content, then it needs refinement. If you’re seeing a recurring churn rate, then it is time to reassess your platform to identify and address underlying issues.

High bounce rates don’t necessarily mean bad content; maybe the flow of the website is inherently bad for users, thus making it difficult for them to attain.

But it could be a sign... that your content isn't effectively targeted to your audience. In such cases, a deeper analysis of user demographics, interests, and behaviors is vital. This will help in tailoring content to the needs and expectations of your audience, thereby potentially reducing bounce rates and improving overall engagement.

It is important to mention that you should look at these numbers in relation to user demographics and other attributes. You might find that the content resonates well with certain user segments, but not with everyone. This insight offers a more targeted direction for your assessment.

On a final note, I highly recommend the following books

1. Monetizing Innovation: How Smart Companies Design the Product Around the Price

2. Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster