Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Reader Revenue Toolkit


Revenue that comes directly from readers in the form of subscriptions, memberships, donations, events and more is crucial for the long-term sustainability of news organizations — especially those serving local communities.

To help create that future, the American Press Institute maintains this Reader Revenue Toolkit — practical guides and resources to help publishers get started or go to the next level with their reader revenue strategies.

What’s inside

The Toolkit contains API’s subscription-related research and in-depth guides. We also are creating collections of posts that address key challenges that we have found most pressing for publishers, starting with potential ways to acquire new subscriptions.

You can sign up here for Reader Revenue Toolkit notifications about new resources.

This Reader Revenue Toolkit will continue to grow over time as more resources are added. Question you need answered? Something missing? Are your own reader revenue initiatives and projects proving successful and you want to share? Reach out to readerrevenue@pressinstitute.org.

What are the keys to an effective subscription offer page?

Well-constructed offer pages are vital to the goal of increasing reader revenue. They can influence a user’s entire perception of your publication and service — for better or worse. Each detail deserves careful thought and planning. Yet just like registration pages, their importance is often overlooked. When readers land on a subscription offer page, they […]

How to understand different reader types and drive each type to subscribe

The path from a casual reader to a paying subscriber isn’t a short one, but by understanding how audiences get from one place to another, publishers can begin to devise strategies to get more readers to complete that journey. A recent study published by the American Press Institute as part of The Media Insight Project […]

How to improve subscription registration and payment forms

Ensuring the best possible user experience is crucial to moving potential subscribers through your digital checkout line. Every step matters. Yet publishers often overlook — and undervalue — the registration and subscription pages they rely on to sign up these readers. That is a costly mistake. The importance of user-friendly registration and subscription pages should […]

Beyond email: Other tactics to drive users to subscription offers

While publishers should seize on the opportunities offered by email marketing, they should not view email — or any single approach — as the magic bullet to gaining subscribers. Wherever possible, news organizations should be using multiple touch points to connect with prospective subscribers, both on and offline. Email campaigns, while effective, rely on having […]

How to get the email addresses you need to drive new subscriptions

Nothing is more important to the brave new world of building subscriptions than the relatively old world of email. An email address gives publishers ways to target and connect with potential subscribers that are much more effective than metrics like “unique visitors,” a potentially misleading number due to the fact that the same person may […]

What it takes to shift a news organization to reader revenue

Launching a paywall is easy. Pivoting a whole business from an advertising-centric mindset to one focused on reader revenue is not. Despite 10 years of experimentation and increasing attention, the news industry still needs to develop some of the attitudes, technology and skills needed to sustain exceptional membership and subscription programs. To succeed with reader […]

Welcome to the Reader Revenue Toolkit

Revenue that comes directly from readers in the form of subscriptions, memberships, donations, events and more is crucial for the long-term sustainability of news organizations — especially those serving local communities. To help create that future, the American Press Institute maintains the Reader Revenue Toolkit — practical guides and resources to help publishers get started […]

Paths to Subscription: Lessons in why recent newspaper subscribers chose to pay

This study may be the largest study ever undertaken of people who have recently subscribed to newspapers. It surveyed people who subscribed in the last three months to 90 local newspapers across the country. The survey of more than 4,100 recent newspaper subscribers captures their motives and mindsets at the time of the decision. The […]

Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

The American Press Institute

Our mission

We help transform news organizations for an audience-centered future.

Our programs for publishers focus on four things:

  • 1. Understand your audience
  • 2. Get your audience to pay
  • 3. Transform your culture
  • 4. Do your best journalism
  • Find out more about API »

API solutions for publishers

What we can do for you

API offers a suite of original tools and services for solving the biggest challenges in news:

  • Decide what beats to cover and how
  • Identify and develop the skills you need
  • Assess and improve your culture
  • Drive more reader revenue
  • Drive loyalty through accountability journalism
  • Make analytics work for you
  • Contact us to find out how »