Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, wrote recently about that magazine’s one-year-old paywall experiment and whether it was working to drive subscribers and revenue.
Longer answer: the factors driving digital subscriptions for WIRED are 1) excellent content at volume and 2) newsletters. Thompson:
People will subscribe after reading all kinds of stories if they’re done well…They’ll particularly pay, we also learned, if you send them newsletters. The propensity to subscribe by people who enter WIRED.com on a mobile device is rather low—unless they come in via a newsletter. (To give one data point, a visitor who reaches us via search is 1/19th as likely to subscribe as one who comes in from a newsletter; a reader coming in from Facebook is 1/12th; and a reader coming in from Twitter is 1/6th.) That’s one reason why we’re launching all kinds of new newsletters, tied to specific sections of the site.
No, your research-driven organization probably doesn’t have a magazine (or a visible paywall).
However: it wants new audiences, just like WIRED.
And — just like WIRED — social is part of that equation for your organization. A smaller part.
Great content — drip published to audiences in newsletters, segmented if possible — is and will continue to be the foundation.
Takeaway: People pay for your content — if not in money now, then later…in attention, time, follow-on funding and ambassadorship for your ideas and impact.
Knowing that: what will you publish? And how will you serve it to them?
Nick Thompson + data = a pretty smart model.