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The New Statesman’s newsletter strategy
Plus, Meta is planning to shut down Facebook News in the UK, France, and Germany.
Good morning! And welcome to Business Side.
Last month, we learned that The New Statesman is hosting all of its newsletters on Substack. It’s apparently the largest legacy publisher to do so.
The move is unconventional, especially for a UK political magazine founded in 1913. But the platform shift is only one part of a larger evolution in the publisher’s newsletter strategy.
Let’s look at their approach.
Streamlining the portfolio
This past May, The New Statesman made the decision to trim its newsletter portfolio down to two flagship products:
Morning Call (46k+ free subs): A daily, late-morning read on news and politics, featuring a mix of original New Statesman journalism and curated articles.
The Saturday Read (155k+ free subs): A weekly roundup of the best political & cultural writing, also featuring a mix of original and curated pieces.
The Morning Call has been around since 2016, but The Saturday Read was launched earlier this year, as a way to consolidate readership. The magazine’s head of newsletters Harry Lambert explained: “Instead of having a whole buffet of different newsletters and cutting the brilliance up into little segments, we just decided to give [the audience] one that we thought they’d like on Saturday and have the power of a big audience through one newsletter.”
Lambert sees this focused approach as a throwback to the constraints of print newspapers, with Morning Call serving as “your daily paper” and The Saturday Read as “your big Saturday paper.”
Converting free registrants to regular readers
Readers who want access to New Statesman journalism can either purchase a subscription or register to read three free articles per month. Here’s a screenshot from their article page:
Earlier this year, the outlet updated the flow so that all free registrants are auto-subscribed to The Saturday Read. The move has driven “a lot of the [newsletter’s] growth” and exposes new registrants to the Statesman’s best journalism without being “too intrusive.”
Driving paid subscriptions
The New Statesman monetizes its newsletters directly with advertising, but the outlet also wants to use the products to convert more paying subscribers.
Today, both The Saturday Read and Morning Call feature a red “Subscribe to the New Statesman” button that redirects to The New Statesman’s subscription landing page, which makes four interwoven appeals to potential subscribers:
Join a “community of free thinkers”
Support “110 years of independent journalism”
“Save money” compared to the newsstand price
Get “unlimited access to our progressive writing and analysis”
Going forward, the magazine is considering other ways to more tightly integrate newsletters into its subscription funnel. One idea is to launch a paid version of The Saturday Read, with the goal of attracting new readers at a price point below a full New Statesman subscription. According to Lambert, “The whole point of the newsletter was to engage people, and then hopefully encourage them to subscribe.”
To go deeper, read The Press Gazette profile.
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