Building a scalable media publishing platform with Saeedreza Abbaspour
Saeedreza Abbaspour discusses proven strategies for optimizing landing pages, maximizing conversions, and safeguarding subscriber integrity when building a high-traffic media publishing platform.
00:25 - Who is Saeedreza Abbaspour?
01:24 - Discussion on optimizing the customer acquisition funnel for a site with 100k subscribers with a goal of reaching 1 million.
03:19 - What typically happens after a user lands on the landing page from an ad click?
04:14 - What do you do to optimize that landing page?
10:23 - How customizable are the landing pages you build?
14:35 - With the free subscriber journey, how long do the campaigns typically last?
18:51 - What should be on an optimized checkout page?
22:51 - Intermission questions
26:40 - Transition to scalability and security of a high-traffic platform.
28:06 - Using WordPress for flexibility, and developer availability.
37:10 - Do you use plugins that are available or build your own?
38:08 - What form plugins do you use?
41:57 - What hosting do you recommend?
42:55 - How do you deal with bot attacks?
46:43 - Double opt-in vs. reCAPTCHA?
53:52 - Using ChatGPT to detect spam subscribers
57:13 - How long of email inactivity triggers subscriber removal?
59:06 - What key mistake do rookies make in building publishing platforms?
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8. Newsletter monetization techniques with Louis Nicholls58:56In this episode, Louis shares how to effectively monetize and scale your newsletter business. He also talks about diversifying revenue streams beyond ads and subscriptions, calculating lifetime subscriber value, and aggressive paid acquisition tactics used by the largest newsletters.Key timestamps:00:27 - Intro to Louis Nicholls and Spark Loop02:45 - Louis talks about the payback period and subscriber lifetime value and how they interplay.06:51 - What are some common ways to decrease the payback period?11:44 - The 2x2 matrix for revenue streams13:12 - How do huge subscriber lists under-monetize?16:30 - Would you encourage having both donations and subscriptions?19:57 - How do you categorize different revenue streams?23:08 - The difference between donations and tips vs subscriptions?25:14 - Intermission questions28:41 - What are some products or services newsletter operators sell that you've seen really take off?37:04 - Do you think publishers should diversify into more products/services?41:41 - How would you monetize the top 1% of a publisher's audience?45:50 - How is newsletter advertising different from website advertising?47:18 - Best practices for optimizing and getting more revenueShow NotesSparkLoopUpscribeChiz MediaJames ClearTechcrunchVoxClearbitWhy We BuySubstackGuestLouis Nicholls - TwitterSparkLoopHostLesley Sim TwitterLesley Sim WebsiteStay in touchApple PodcastsSpotifyTwitterSticky.fm Website
7. The challenges of growing a newsletter in big companies - Naomi West56:58In this episode, Naomi provides insights into Invoice2go's efforts to grow their newsletter program. She shares learnings from experiments with segmenting their audience and testing different approaches, as well as the real-world limitations and challenges in executing tests and getting buy-in.Key timestamps:00:53 - Naomi discusses her role at Invoice2go and the goals of using email to drive activation and monetization02:15 - Inheriting an existing email program and getting a "blank slate" for an overhaul with the rebrand09:17 - Three pillars of the customer life cycle15:18 - Starting a segmented newsletter strategy for different audiences17:40 - Testing content performance but unable to find statistical significance20:32 - Changing no-reply to actual email for a two-way communication channel24:55 - Intermission questions29:33 - The three newsletters Naomi picked for Invoice2go35:07 - Successful testing of personalized outreach from faux personas38:46 - Call to action versus call to value test.43:35 - Doing list hygiene for the Later newsletter45:00 - Steps taken to turn engaged subscribers into paying customers47:13 - Key learning from the time at LaterShow NotesParcelInvoice2GoBrazeCordialAmplitudeCustomer.ioLaterBridget CaseyEcoSendGuestNaomi West - TwitterNaomi West - InstagramNaomi West - Website HostLesley Sim TwitterLesley Sim WebsiteStay in touchApple PodcastsSpotifyTwitterSticky.fm Website
6. A peek inside Litmus’ newsletter building process with Carin Slater01:13:34In this episode, Carin Slater provides behind the scenes at Litmus as she and her team plan, design, develop, test, and analyze the company's 4 newsletters. She outlines their Agile Marketing process, creative freedom, and focus on engagement and accessibility in each newsletter they produce. Carin also discusses the extensive research and work that went into fully redesigning their flagship newsletter, Litmus News.Key Timestamp00:42 - Overview of the 4 newsletters Carin produces at Litmus01:11 - Carin's role in building Litmus' newsletters02:08 - Process for planning the Litmus News newsletter03:08 - How the team collaborates on newsletter copy and content10:35 - Using Jira for project management and tasks11:03 - The Litmus team's agile marketing process16:24 - Process of building the Litmus weekly email25:04 - Adding UTM codes for tracking26:23 - Using the Litmus and Marketo tracking pixel27:53 - Using checklist for auditing30:35 - Optimizing QA testing for top email clients35:14 - Tracking and analyzing link click rates40:17 - Having fun with newsletter production43:24 - Intermission questions49:34 - Reason for redesigning the Litmus newsletter53:18 - Incorporating user feedback into design57:45 - Challenges with personalization1:05:28 - What determines if the redesign was a success?1:13:16 - Where to find Carin and subscribe to her newsletterShow NotesLitmusJIRAAgile MarketingSlackAsanaGoogle DocFigmaMarketoUTM CodesApple MPP- Apple Mail Privacy ProtectionLitmus ScopeLinktreeGuestCarin Slater/@carinslaterCarin Slater LinktreeHostLesley Sim TwitterLesley Sim WebsiteStay in touchApple PodcastsSpotifyTwitterSticky.fm Website
5. Skyrocket your newsletter growth with Dan Oshinsky01:06:16In this episode, Dan Oshinsky shares his insights on proven growth tactics for publishers and content creators. He breaks down strategies that work at different stages, from just starting out to having over 1 million subscribers. Dan provides tips on optimizing signup forms, using lead magnets, referral programs, contests, earned media, paid acquisition, and more.Key Timestamps01:41 - Dan's epic guide of 52 ways to grow your email list02:09 - What are some foundational principles of growth?05:46 - Creating a compelling "why subscribe" message.06:37 - Create a newsletter landing page.07:30 - Publishers need signup forms in multiple places11:41 - Adding signup form at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% for long articles15:24 - What are some of the best growth tips for a list with 10K people?17:47 - Contests and giveaways to get signups and engagement from readers.23:42 - Lead magnets work well for publishers of any size.28:04 - Referral programs work best above 10-25k subscribers.39:25 - Are there growth tactics that you’d like to share for publishers in the 10K to 100K range?41:44 - How does using brackets work to grow your list?48:39 - Let's go to one million subscribers. What tactics work at this stage?55:53 - What's one uncommon growth tip you like that you wish you'd see more often?58:15 - What's your favorite ESP and why?01:01:20 - What's your favorite must-read newsletter?01:02:09 - What's your favorite piece of advice for a new set of publishers?Show NotesInbox CollectiveThe New YorkerBuzzFeed52 Ways to Grow Your Email ListNathan BarryBeehiiv SubstackCarrdOptinMonsterPoptinWPFormsSpark LoopsUpscribeMadison MinutesTone MadisonCharlotte LedgerBerkshire EagleAWeberConvertKitSecond StreetGoogle FormsTypeform
3. How Tyler Channell helps local publishers generate $$$$45:51In this episode, Tyler Channell reveals how his company Paywall Project helps small town news sites build subscription funnels that convert readers into paying subscribers. With real examples and data, he provides an actionable blueprint to implement key strategies like metered paywalls, free to paid content upgrades, and sponsorships.Key timestamps1:41 - The problem small local news publishers come to Tyler to solve2:10 - Publishers moving from platforms like Pico/Hype which lack flexibility5:00 - Migrating off limiting SaaS platforms like Substack7:18 - Services that Paywall Project offers9:04 - Example of a client earning $5k/month in a small town of 5,000 people10:46 - Public notice revenue at risk, need for a subscription model17:45 - Focusing on free signups over paid at first21:01 - Typical subscription conversion rates Tyler sees22:27 - Intermission questions23:00 - Pricing strategy and how to determine subscription cost31:45 - Newsletter sponsorships as an additional revenue source33:43 - Range of rates that publishers charge for their ads39:15 - How much should a publisher charge for a subscription?44:50 - Tyler's recommendations for email service providersShow notesPaywall ProjectHypeSubstackNewsletter GlueWordPressStripeSan Francisco ChronicleSendyAmazon SESSlackMailchimpChatGPTGuestTyler Channell Twitter/@TylerChannellPaywall Project Twitter/@paywallprojectPaywall ProjectHostLesley Sim TwitterLesley Sim WebsiteStay in touchApple PodcastsSpotifyTwitterSticky.fm Website
2. Going viral with thought leadership - Cedric Chin01:00:19In this episode, Cedric Chin shares how “earned secrets” are at the core of creating viral, thought leadership content. He shares his process for writing long-form articles and stresses how consistently publishing on a schedule can help build readership.Key timestamps:0:30 – Who is Cedric Chin?1:45 – What is Commoncog about?9:59 – Definition of “going viral” and thought leadership11:07 - Four types of thought leadership according to Ryan Law12:25 – Example of a viral “Yes, and” article Cedric wrote 15:14 – Example of a viral article challenging a truism21:48 – The “ripple effect” of viral content 26:27 – Cedric’s most viral articles and how he identifies viral potential36:08 – Cedric on why he aims to always share his “earned secrets” 39:38 – Intermission questions44:30 – Cedric explains his process for writing long-form articles52:09 – What beginners get wrong about writing high-quality thought leadership content 57:44 – Cedric recommending the Poynter writing tools courseShow notesCommoncog blogAnimalz blog post on thought leadershipHacker NewsGoodhart’s Law articlePoynter 50 writing tools courseConvertKitMoney Stuff newsletter by Matt LevineGuestCedric Chin Twitter/@ejames_cCommoncog websiteHostLesley Sim TwitterLesley Sim WebsiteStay in touchApple PodcastsSpotifyTwitterSticky.fm Website
1. Mastering deliverability with Alyssa Dulin46:34In this episode, Alyssa provides valuable insights into various deliverability challenges faced by email senders and offers practical strategies to ensure successful email campaigns and maintain a positive sending reputation.Key timestamps00:18 - Who is Alyssa Dulin?01:38 - How to prevent email deliverability issues after a long break from sending newsletters.04:23 - Tips for warming up your email list gradually to maintain a good sending reputation.08:02 - Understanding the promotions tab in Gmail and dealing with emails going to spam.10:40 - Steps to take if an ESP gets blacklisted.18:49 - Intermission questions20:58 - Challenges with business email addresses bouncing.26:38 - Understanding email spoofing.26:55 - DMARCIAN.com is recommended as a resource for information and guidance on setting up DMARC records.31:16 - Addressing automatic opens and clicks.35:33 - Handling open rate drops and spam issues after switching ESPs.43:05 - Kickbox, a helpful email validation tool for checking email healthKey linksEmailTooltesterMxToolboxM3AAWGDmarcianKickboxAlyssa Dulin WebsiteAlyssa Dulin Twitter/@alyssa_dulinAlyssa Dulin Podcast - Deliverability DefinedHost:Lesley Sim TwitterLesley Sim WebsiteStay in touch:Apple PodcastsSpotifyTwitterSticky.fm Website
Sticky.fm Launch Trailer01:04This is a trailer for the launch of our new podcast called Sticky from Newsletter Glue. Sticky will feature interviews with newsletter experts on topics like growth, paywalls, and deliverability. The goal is to provide actionable advice to help media companies and newsrooms build successful newsletters. New episodes will be released weekly every Tuesday wherever you get your podcasts.