Monday 22nd April: Podnews’ James Cridland on running a profitable newsletter-first publication

Good morning! Today’s newsletter is brought to you by Chris. This is our final episode of the Spring season! We’ll be back in September, but in the meantime we're looking forward to speaking to you all via this newsletter and our upcoming events

Author, screenwriter, columnist and podcaster Terri White joins the line up for Magazine Mayday, talking about the good the bad and the ugly in magazines.

On this week's episode - the last of the season - we hear from James Cridland, Podnews editor and radio futurologist. Podnews is a daily email newsletter about everything podcasting, and Esther believes it is "honestly is one of the smartest setups I’ve seen in terms of its supporter structure, monetisation and automations". He tells us how he’s found the sweet spot between his technical, editorial and audio skills, why classifieds were a surprising success story for him, and the balance between newsletter growth and revenue.

James says: “We talk a lot in podcasting about how our statistics are rubbish, and how we've hardly got any numbers… wake up to the world of newsletters, Goodness me. I've read something recently that says that 60% of email opens are actually robots: I'm not sure that I necessarily believe that that number, but there's certainly an amount of robots who are both opening the email and clicking some of those links.”

In the news roundup the team discusses the launch of the Guardian's dedicated cooking app Feast, and asks what adjacent apps like cooking or crosswords platforms offer to the parent brand. This is our final episode of the season, so it’s only appropriate that we go wildly off-piste during the discussion to talk about tamagotchies, the three-ring system, and our own Wordle scores.

I either never knew or have forgotten about Post News. In the wake of Twitter’s demise (RIP) a number of platforms emerged that sought to capture the bird site’s audience, but with a number of tweaks. Post News is/was a social platform that “also offers users ad-free access to paywalled content from publishers such as Fortune, Business Insider, Wired, The Boston Globe, and others” in exchange for a few measly cents. Well, that business model doesn’t appear to have worked.

I feel like the headline misses the best part of this news, which is that the tax credits on offer are solely for independent news organisations, not publicly traded ones. That, to me, seems carefully chosen to ensure that the credits are going to the right organisations — specifically local newsroom. New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman says as much in the announcement.

Climate coverage is becoming ever more important — not just for the public who are ever more affected by climate change, but for the pocketbooks of the news organisations who cover it. Climate coverage is no longer a vertical but a horizontal that touches all areas of the news, so it’s fascinating to hear what The Cool Down is doing to monetise that content.

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