Monday Buzz: When a Publisher Tackles Membership
Has Slate's push to turn readers into paying members paid off? Plus: What's going on with Facebook Instant Articles?
A year ago, Slate debuted a premium-membership program, Slate Plus, aimed at rewarding, and monetizing, its most loyal readers. As association professionals know, it’s one thing to debut new membership programs and dangle benefits in front of people, but achieving success is an entirely different challenge. So how has Slate fared?
As DigiDay reporter Lucia Moses observes: “A year in, the numbers are solid if unspectacular: Slate said it has gotten more than 9,000 members, which, it said, has exceeded expectations.”
Throughout the first year, the publisher watched how Slate Plus members reacted to different types of content and adjusted its offerings based on their preferences.
“It saw that podcasts and behind-the-scenes articles and insights from individual writers did especially well, so it added some bonus podcasts,” Moses writes. “But people didn’t love hearing the promo language at the beginning of the podcasts, so Slate axed that.”
That feedback-focused strategy will continue into the second year, according to Slate editor Julia Turner.
“People are happy with it as a product, and they respond particularly to content,” Turner told Moses. “So the strategy for the second year is to do more of the stuff they like already and use Slate Plus as a lab to experiment with different types of products.”
Montage of the Day
Don’t expect a robot rescue anytime soon. IEEE Spectrum, published by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, has a collection of the clumsy robots showcased during the DARPA Robotics Challenge last week. The goal of the competition, run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is to accelerate development of robots that can be used in disaster response. (Apparently, we’re not quite there yet.)
Other Good Reads
As journalists receive guidance on how to properly report on transgender issues, New York magazine reporter Josef Adalian takes a deep dive into the media strategy behind Caitlyn Jenner’s headline-grabbing announcement.
Last week we shared career advice from two association executives on how to move up the ladder. And now, Event Manager Blog contributor Bethany Smith has some tips on how to advance your career in event planning.