💸 Make time for revenue work this year


Make time for revenue work in 2023

With stories to edit, websites to update, and social media accounts to maintain, it’s easy for revenue work to fall by the wayside, unless it’s part of your daily routine. 

The guests on this month’s News Guest episode have ideas for how to keep you focused on getting dollars in the door in 2023 and beyond:

  • Kyle Constable is the director of membership and digital innovation at The Connecticut Mirror.
  • Lizzy Hazeltine is a business growth consultant who has worked with LION members across North America.

Listen to our latest News Guest episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your audio

Inspired to make revenue growth a bigger priority this year? Here are a few first steps (and related resources) we recommend to help you get started.

1. Learn your options: The GNI Startups Playbook features a detailed overview of the most common ways news publishers make money, including reader revenue, digital advertising, sponsorships and client services.

2. Make a plan: Revenue growth starts with a lot of research and planning to figure out the best opportunities for your business and how to capitalize on them. 

LION members can take a course on planning for revenue growth in our News Entrepreneur Academy, and everyone can learn from this presentation delivered by Alison Go and Mary Walter-Brown at the Independent News Sustainability Summit

3. Go deeper: No matter what revenue stream you decide to prioritize, there’s a lot to learn about strategy, execution and growth. Here are a few guides and resources we recommend once you’re ready to go deep:  

P.S. There’s a ton of great revenue inspiration in our first two seasons of News Guest, and you can catch it all in a podcast feed near you.  

– Ben DeJarnette, communications manager, and the LION team

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9 opportunities for independent news publishers

1. Grow your reader revenue and reader engagement. Register for a two-month News Consumer Insights Shift program offered by the Google News Initiative, and use “LION” as your program code. (Sponsored)

2. Make a plan for tax season. Learn how to choose the best tax payment plan for your small business and avoid penalties from the IRS. (TODAY) 

3. Learn a new skill or tool to start the year at one of these low-cost virtual workshops offered by the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. (January 4-24)

4. Get help identifying your newsroom’s blind spots at a one-hour webinar with Joy Mayer from Trusting News and Eve Pearlman from Spaceship Media. (January 12)

5. Take a research sabbatical by applying for a JSK Fellowship (Deadline: January 25) or Nieman Fellowship (Deadline: January 31). 

6. Earn more revenue from philanthropy. Register for the virtual 2023 Lenfest News Philanthropy Summit. (January 31–February 1). 

7. Create a resource for journalists and newsrooms. The RJI Fellowship is an eight-month program that offers fellows funding and support to build a resource that’s free, accessible and open-source for everyone to utilize. (Deadline: February 3)

8. Get funding to launch a nonprofit newsroom. The American Journalism Project’s Local News Incubator will offer four founders 18 months of support and $400,000 in seed funding. (Deadline: February 15) 

9. Join a leadership program for BIPOC journalists. The Leadership Academy for Diversity in Media is a one-week, in-person program at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Deadline: February 17)


What we’re reading

Founder files. Why more independent creators are deciding to keep their day jobs even as their side gigs succeed. (Simon Owens’s Media Newsletter)

Personal touch. How to make your email newsletters look and feel more personal. (Indie Publisher)

Better metrics. How a new partnership is trying to develop metrics that better capture the unique impact of BIPOC-led media. (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

Library lessons. What librarians can teach the rest of us about engaging young audiences on platforms like TikTok. (The New York Times)

Support local. How a small independent newspaper tried to sound the alarm about Rep.-elect George Santos’s dubious resume before Election Day. (The Washington Post)


LIONs in the news

Scott Brodbeck was a broadcast journalist in his twenties when he decided to launch ARLNow, a local news site that focused on serving younger audiences in Arlington, Virginia. 

Thirteen years later, Scott joined The Rebooting Show podcast to share what he’s learned building a network of suburban news sites that now earn a combined $1.25 million in annual revenue.

Audience-first local news
How Local News Now approaches sustainable local journalism
Audience-first local news
How Local News Now approaches sustainable local journalism

In other LION member news…

  • The JOLT earned media coverage from a local podcast and TV show last month, and it was the beneficiary of a New Year’s Eve fundraiser at the Olympia Ballroom. 

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