Creating online subscription content: 5 ideas for niche publishers

As online ad yields decline, and audiences expect industry news to be free, business publishers are increasingly investigating online content subscriptions.  Recent research for the specialist Media Show revealed that 59% of online publishers are already charging for online content, and many are achieving subs rates of over £100pa.  But how can a niche b2b publisher on limited resources create some high value online content for paying subscribers or members?  Here are 5 ideas to spark your creativity when budgets are tight.  

1. Aggregate news  by topic

Aggregate news stories into an easily searchable archive: tag by topic, sector, key companies and turn them into a resource for subscribers.  There’s a value to convenience, and tracking content over time, even if the individual stories are freely available.

2. Turn directories into databases

Many established publishers have paper directories of companies, suppliers and services.  This can be converted into a valuable searchable database that saves subscribers time, if they can find the contacts, addresses, web links they are seeking by searching by category or speciality or territory.  Brad Insight is a great example.

3. Compiling statistics and make export easy

Most publishers produce regular surveys, statistics and trends as part of their articles.  Compiling these into longer term databases and tagging them adds great value to subscribers.  Don’t be restricted to just your own stats; collate them from other reputable sources.  Make it easy for subscribers to export extracts to spreadsheets and create their own charts.

4. Expert Q&As

Run online q and a sessions with experts: writers, columnists, and key opinion formers can be persuaded to answer questions submitted in advance, or take part in live chat sessions.  This creates valuable archive content for subscribers.

5.  Event presentations

If you run workshops, breakfast briefings, round tables, conferences and the like, compile PDFs of presentations, or summaries of the key highlights, and put behind the subscriber wall.  This is highly valuable to those who couldn’t make it to the event and whets the appetite for the next one.  Econsultancy are past masters at creating content from their live events for their subscribers.

I’d be interested to hear your experiences and ideas for creating online subs content from existing resources and activity. Please comment below, or join the Specialist Media Network on Linked-in, where over 600 specialist media professionals swap ideas, ask questions and network.

About the author: Carolyn Morgan runs Penmaen Media, which helps niche publishers develop profitable digital media strategies.  She also runs the Specialist Media Show, a conference and workshop programme for niche publishers. If you’d like some extra inspiration, learning from case studies of successful media businesses, and creating a practical digital plan for your niche publishing business, please contact us for an initial discussion.

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