Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

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 or go to the next level with their reader revenue strategies.

Are you considering a reader revenue program and want to know how to get started? API’s Reader Revenue Toolkit is inspired by questions and challenges we are gathering from publishers and news organizations, as well as more than a year of deep research on subscribers. For news organizations embarking on their path toward reader revenue, these resources are a starting place to find strategies and practical, how-to content that can be applied directly.

Our subscriber research studies including The Paths to Subscription have informed local news organizations about not just who their subscribers are but why are they subscribing. We use this research as a foundation for this Toolkit, which can be considered a bridge from research to implementation. It is also a place to gather and share successes from other publishers who are facing the same challenges.

Do you have a reader revenue program already in place? Even the most seasoned, experienced news and media professionals can learn something new or find additional insights and success stories. That is why we go to conferences and read blogs, newsletters and books to find what other people are doing, so we can draw inspiration from their work.

What’s inside

The Toolkit contains API’s subscription-related research and in-depth guides, such as “What it takes to shift your news organization to reader revenue.”

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. Each of those posts contains the following:

  • Context about the challenge or issue publishers are facing — from our research, interactions and feedback from publishers.
  • Possible approaches or potential solutions to these issues. As with so many things, there are multiple ways to approach each problem and they are usually not mutually exclusive.
  • Examples from a variety of publishers that exemplify the approach to the challenges listed above.
  • Case studies will take deeper dives into a publisher’s specific program or test project. We will share their “wins” (and sometimes “losses”).
  • Resources including links to other articles or research to do a deeper dive to to further explore the topic.

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. As organizations continue to find innovative ways to get more and more of their revenue directly from readers, we will be surfacing their examples.  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.

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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 »

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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 »