I’m looking for more media entrepreneurs to feature in this newsletter

Do you run a cool niche newsletter, a podcast network, or an awesome YouTube channel?

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I’m looking for more media entrepreneurs to feature in this newsletter

If I had to name the one thing that differentiates my newsletter from other outlets that cover the media industry, it’s that I go out of my way to feature successful media entrepreneurs you haven’t heard of.

Yes, it’s important to keep tabs on what VC-funded companies like Vox and Buzzfeed are up to, but the vast majority of news outlets and creators don’t have access to that kind of capital, so the insights that can be derived from those companies’ successes are limited. Your average media startup doesn’t have the resources to launch their own product line or produce a show for Netflix. With my newsletter and podcast, my hope is to always deliver strategy ideas that can actually be copied by a bootstrapped media business.

In the early days of this newsletter, I had to actively go out and find media outlets to feature, but over the last few months I’ve been lucky enough to receive a large influx of incoming pitches. Typically, a content creator will encounter a podcast or newsletter interview I’ve published and then will reach out with their own story. I love when this happens, because it allows me to spotlight successful creators I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

I’ve been so encouraged by this trend that I want to open the pipeline even more. If you’re reading this and you’re run a successful digital media business, I want you to reach out. If you know of someone who runs a successful media business, I hope you forward this to them.

What kind of outlets and creators do I like to feature? Well, I’d like for your business to be mature enough to at least support yourself or a small team. I get lots of emails from folks who recently launched a newsletter or podcast within the last few months, and while I’m rooting for them to succeed, I don’t think they qualify yet for a case study. 

Other than that, I want to feature any business that monetizes online content, whether it’s through advertising, merch, subscriptions, events, or any number of other ways. Here are some categories and examples that I’m particularly interested in.

Newsletters

Yes, the newsletter space is exploding right now, with a mixture of platforms, media companies, and indie writers getting in on the action. Here are some recent examples of my case studies in this category:

VC investor Codie Sanchez grew her newsletter to 100,000 subscribers. Here’s how

How Josh Spector monetizes his 25,000 newsletter subscribers

Video creators

This sector of the creator economy is massive, and there are so many filmmakers building highly engaged audiences on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook Watch. Here are some recent examples of my case studies in this category:

How Newsflare monetizes video from over 60,000 contributors

This YouTuber built a massive following with pop music guitar lessons

How gadget reviewer Lon Seidman amassed 290,000 subscribers and 89 million views on YouTube

Local news startups

This is a category I’ve been really excited about lately. After so many years of depressing stories about the retrenchment of legacy newspapers, there are now lots of lean, digital startups launching in the local space. Here are some recent examples of my case studies in this category:

How 6AM City is scaling crowdsourced local journalism

How a daily newsletter saved this Hell’s Kitchen print magazine

B2B media companies

B2B sounds boring, but some of the most interesting companies I’ve profiled are in this space. Here are some recent examples of my case studies in this category:

How Law Insider monetized a massive database of legal documents

How to build a virtual tradeshow around a popular newsletter

Niche websites

“The riches are in the niches,” as they say. Here are some recent examples of my case studies in this category:

Rick Ellis's entertainment news site generates millions of views a month. Here's how he built it.

How Finimize grew to over 1 million email subscribers

Podcast companies

There’s so much growth ahead in this industry, especially now that Apple and Spotify are opening their platforms to monetization. Here are some recent examples of my case studies in this category:

This sports podcaster's listeners pay him for text messages

This podcast about a reality TV show generates $4,000 per month on Patreon

How to reach out

Want to be featured in my newsletter or podcast? Here’s my contact information. In your email, make sure to include any relevant info about your work, including audience size and business model. I look forward to chatting with you!

The Verge: Slate is selling audiobooks that you can listen to through your podcast app

From the article:

Slate is getting into the audiobooks business. The online magazine and podcast subscription seller is launching its own audiobook store today in partnership with multiple publishing companies. The store will list and sell popular titles but with the added benefit of making the audio accessible through listeners’ preferred podcast app instead of a separate audiobook-only platform …

… The store and its functionality are powered through Slate’s Supporting Cast, its technology that powers recurring revenue audio services, like subscription podcasts. This means that on the back end, Slate is hosting publishers’ audiobooks on its servers and creating private RSS feeds for them, which can then be inserted into any podcasting app that supports them, like Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Overcast.

This will be an interesting experiment to watch, especially once Spotify opens itself up to private RSS feeds.

Slate isn’t the first to try this model. Malcolm Gladwell’s Pushkin Industries has published multiple audiobooks sold as podcasts.

Business Insider: Air Mail is looking to raise another $15 million

It costs $50k to sponsor the Saturday edition of Air Mail. It also has about 100,000 subscribers, though not all of those are actually paying.

The Verge: YouTube will pay $100 million to creators using its TikTok competitor

From the article:

YouTube plans to pay $100 million to creators who use YouTube Shorts, its TikTok competitor, throughout the next year. The goal is to encourage creators to pick up and continually post to its new service, which doesn’t otherwise give creators a built-in way to make money.

Exactly how much creators can earn is still up in the air. YouTube says that it’ll reach out to creators on a monthly basis, looking for people with the most engagement and views. “Thousands” of creators could get paid each month, YouTube says, and basically anyone who posts to Shorts is eligible.

The platforms are just throwing money hand-over-fist at creators right now. It's no longer enough to just do a revenue share; advance and guaranteed payments are becoming more common. All just so the platforms can compete with each other for talent.

Traditional media companies have been complaining for years that the platforms don’t share enough revenue with them, so it’s interesting to see that those same platforms are now acknowledging that they should pay for premium content. It’s worth noting, however, that the vast majority of these lump payments have been targeted to indie creators and small news startups. A decade ago, it was pretty much unheard of for a platform to a pay for user generated content — it was assumed that creators would continue to publish for the exposure — so we’re certainly in the midst of a paradigm shift.

Medialyte: Power to the writers

This is a good essay on the massive power shift that’s currently underway within media. From the piece:

The [media] industry has brow-beaten so many talented writers into believing that they have spent years of their life honing unmarketable skills, when in fact the opposite was true.

Want to enjoy my exclusive private club?

Ok, it’s really only a private Facebook group, but I only promote it in this newsletter, which means it’s full of media entrepreneurs just like you. The quality of discussion is really high. You can join here: [Facebook]

Mobile Dev Memo: Apple robbed the mob’s bank

You’ve probably heard about Apple’s “privacy” updates that make it difficult for apps to share data with each other in order to target ads. What you may not know is that Apple plans to harvest this very same data for its own advertising products. Apple routinely places restrictions on app developers and then doesn't apply those restrictions to its own products, thereby giving Apple products an unfair advantage.

YouTube: Why Do People Watch Rhett & Link? (A Theory)

This is a fantastic mini-documentary that reverse engineers the success of one of YouTube's most popular channels.

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Simon Owens is a tech and media journalist living in Washington, DC. Follow him on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn. Email him at simonowens@gmail.com. For a full bio, go here.