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Beyond the Paywall: Tips from INN Days, Bridge Michigan case study

Last week the Hub attended INN Days for three days of deep learning and connection.

Hub Director of Consulting Services Abbey Gingras, alongside Tina Xiao of the Google News Initiative, presented on how newsrooms can leverage existing data to hone their membership and audience strategy to increase traffic, revenue and reader loyalty.

If you weren’t able to make it to the session, here are a few key takeaways:

  • On social media: Are you talking with your readers, or just at them? Make your content engaging and tailor it to the platform you’re on, its latest trends and priorities.
  • On search: Focus on accuracy and transparency on your site and within your articles (clear, direct headlines) to boost your search traffic. And don’t forget: always be learning! Use Google Search Console to check how a story performed after publication and to see if you picked the right keywords.
  • On newsletters: Your email list is the best place to foster engagement and loyalty from your readers – but you need to get folks to subscribe. Make sure you’re prominently promoting your newsletters on your site, following best practices (clear descriptions, one-click sign-ups, eye-catching design), and regularly updating your calls to action in order to maintain reader attention.

We hosted office hours for INN Days participants, if you want to learn more or set up a time to meet with our team, fill out this form.

And now on to our latest case study!


Stacy Fernández
Marketing & Communications Manager

"Always be fundraising": How Bridge Michigan built a million-dollar membership program

Written by Katie Hawkins-Gaar 

In 2018, John Bebow, president and CEO of the Center for Michigan and Bridge Michigan, set an ambitious goal: He wanted to create a membership program for Bridge that would earn $1 million in reader revenue.

At the time, Bridge Michigan—a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization focused on the state’s people, politics, and economy—didn’t have a membership program or strategy. But that would soon change.

By January 2019, Bridge Michigan joined the News Revenue Hub and Amber DeLind, formerly the engagement strategy director at the Center for Michigan, joined Bridge as its membership director. By the end of 2021, Bridge Michigan exceeded $900,000 from nearly 9,000 members.

They’re on track to hit that $1 million goal later this year.

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