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The Business of Content

Feb 25, 2021

Over the past year, thousands of journalists have announced the launch of their paid newsletters, which are often hosted on platforms like Substack. Writers with already-existing large audiences have seen immense success with this strategy, pulling in six figures incomes within weeks of debuting their new newsletters.

But the vast majority of writers don’t have huge Twitter followings to promote their newsletters to. For them, growing a sustainable media business can take years of work, and many don’t have enough savings in the bank to hold out for that long.

That’s why we’re seeing a new trend in which writers team up to launch bundled subscriptions. This approach allows writers to cross pollinate their audience growth and ramp up content production to make a subscription much more worthwhile. Publications that include Defector, the Discourse Blog, Brickhouse, and Every have seen tremendous success with this model.

To understand how these writer cooperatives work, I spoke to Mark Stenberg. Stenberg runs his own Substack newsletter and has spent the last few months reporting on the creator economy for Business Insider. He recently moved over to Adweek to cover the media beat.