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Office Hours video archive
This is where I pull together recording for all of my previous Office Hours Zoom calls so that new subscribers can watch them at their leisure:
How Starter Story ditched recurring payments and built a $1.5 million information product
Patrick Walls is the founder of Starter Story, an outlet that’s published thousands of case studies on how entrepreneurs built successful businesses. At one point, he was selling upward of $50k a month in sponsorships.
But earlier this year, he not only stopped selling advertising, he also switched from recurring subscriptions to a one-time payment that gave customers permanent access to his content archives. The move helped him grow to $1.5 million in annual revenue.
In a recent interview, he talked about why he got tired of chasing sponsors and his motivations for switching from subscriptions to one-time payments.
I also spoke to Bradley Hope, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and co-author of the New York Times bestselling book Billion Dollar Whale. In 2021, he co-founded Project Brazen, a production studio that creates narrative nonfiction across podcasts, books, newsletters, TV, and film.
He answered questions about how he chooses narrative projects to fund and the process for adapting a single piece of IP into multiple formats.
How to drive paid subscriptions without a paywall
I hosted a live Zoom call with two incredibly smart media executives.
The first was Carla Zanoni, who ran audience development teams for places like The Wall Street Journal and TED. Here are some of the things she spoke to:
How her team leveraged The Wall Street Journal’s massive social channels to drive paid subscriptions
How to utilize “gift” links to allow your paid subscribers to share your content with their friends and colleagues
How TED drove paid memberships without locking any of its content behind a paywall
How TED created live Q&As as a member benefit
The other operator was Ryan Sager, the co-founder of Who Sponsors Stuff, a massive database that tracks which brands are sponsoring newsletters. Here are some of the things he spoke to:
How newsletters can leverage their first party data to lure advertisers
How super niche B2B newsletters can convince companies within their niche to become sponsors
Why too many newsletters are charging too little
Why newsletters should convince their sponsors to set up a dedicated landing page so they get full credit for all the traffic they send to the sponsor
Whether you should accept multiple sponsorships in a single issue of a newsletter or limit it exclusively to one sponsor
Why direct response ads are still much more prevalent in newsletters than brand advertising
The session was jam packed with actionable insights, many of which I plan to steal and use in my own media business. You can watch our discussion in the video embedded below:
What the most successful local news startups have in common
How to launch a successful events business
How to grow your sponsorship revenue
How Richard Rushfield built The Ankler into a thriving industry newsletter
How to take your subscription business to the next level
How Taegan Goddard and Steve Hayes built thriving political news outlets
How to monetize with online courses
The low-hanging fruit for newsletter publishers
How to build a career as a professional ghostwriter
How to supercharge your newsletter
Let's talk to Sean Griffey, CEO of Industry Dive
How to build a successful B2B media company
How to sell a content business
If you run your own media business, then it’s probably crossed your mind that one day you might want to sell it off for a tidy sum. But who actually buys media businesses, and how do you find those people?
For a recent Zoom call, I gathered together a group of experts who have sold their media businesses. They included:
Alexis Grant, founder of They Got Acquired, a media outlet that covers acquisitions of small-to-medium-sized businesses
Terrell Johnson, who sold HalfMarathons.net, a running website with a huge following
Joe Pulizzi, who sold the Content Marketing Institute in 2016
Farhan Mohamed, CEO of Overstory Media, which has acquired several local news sites in Canada.
During the call, we covered every aspect of selling a media business, from prepping your company for sale to settling on an asking price to finding buyers. The session was jam-packed with tips for anyone who is thinking about selling a content company.
You can watch the discussion in the video embedded below:
How local news startups are building sustainable business models
Over the last few years we’ve seen a veritable boom in local news startups, with media entrepreneurs launching incredibly lean news operations in regions that lost coverage from legacy newspapers.
In a recent Zoom call, I invited on some of the top local news entrepreneurs to discuss the best ways to build and monetize a local newsletter, podcast, or blog. Panelists included:
Mike Shapiro, founder of TAPinto News
Peri Strathearn, found of Murray Bridge News
Ben DeJarnette, former communications member for LION, an association for local news publishers
Scott Brodbeck, founder of Arlington Now
Sam Hoisington, the membership director at City Cast
Charlie Meyerson, publisher of Chicago Public Square
This session was jam packed with insights that any local news publisher can incorporate into their own strategy. Watch the recording of the call in the video embedded below: