The Business of Content

The Business of Content

medium.com/the-business-of-content
The podcast how publishers create, distribute, and monetize their digital content.


Minute Media’s plan to dominate sports coverage
Dec 4 • 39 min
I recently sat down with Minute Media President and CRO Rich Routman to discuss why he thinks his company is different from many of the other venture funded digital media sites out there. We talked about the company’s video strategy, how it approaches…
Do podcasts sell books? Yes
Nov 20 • 26 min
For this episode, I interviewed Kathy Doyle, vice president of podcasting at Macmillan, about where the company has seen the most success and how podcasting allowed it to diversify its revenue.
The next frontier in self-publishing: audiobooks
Nov 14 • 32 min
I recently interviewed publishing industry writer Jane Friedman about her work. We discussed how she grew her newsletter into a sustainable business, and then we talked about the current state of book publishing. One aspect of this world that’s long…
What it takes to build a bootstrapped podcast network
Nov 6 • 44 min
I spoke to Jeff Umbro, the founder of the Podglomerate. We talked about his early mistakes in trying to partner with shows for his network and why it can be incredibly difficult to monetize a show with a small audience.
Why an online polling platform hired a seasoned journalist to run it
Oct 27 • 42 min
A few years ago, Advance Publications launched the Alpha Group, a tech incubator that would launch small startups and try to grow them into thriving, standalone businesses. One of those startups was called The Tylt, a platform that allows its users to…
This startup wants to solve podcasting’s monetization problem
Oct 8 • 33 min
This year, Kozera and that same co-founder are launching Podcorn, a platform designed to help podcasters monetize their shows. Like Famebit, it will serve as an online marketplace where brands can post RFPs for projects and be matched with participating…
How Clive Thompson became one of the most influential tech journalists
Sep 4 • 64 min
Clive Thompson has the kind of career that most writers would envy. He’s written two books for major publishing houses. He has a monthly column at Wired magazine. And he writes regular features for The New York Times Magazine and other glossy magazines. I…
He founded one of the earliest tech blogs. Now he edits a newsletter
Jul 2 • 40 min
I recently interviewed Richard MacManus about the early days of tech blogging and why, for his latest writing project, he decided to eschew blogging entirely and launch a newsletter instead.
Why Techmeme launched a daily podcast
Jun 17 • 53 min
I recently sat down with Techmeme podcast host Brian McCullough to talk about how he came up with the idea for a daily tech podcast and what he’s doing to expand it into an entire podcast network.
This Canadian media company has launched 11 local news sites
Jun 12 • 42 min
I recently interviewed Jeff Elgie, Village Media’s CEO, about the company’s history and how it’s succeeded where so many legacy newspapers have struggled or failed.
Inside Vox Media’s podcast strategy
Jun 5 • 52 min
I recently sat down with Marty Moe, the head of Vox Media Studios, to talk about how the company is monetizing these podcasts, what he thinks about Spotify’s entry into podcasting, and why he thinks he can grow Vox’s podcast revenue from eight to nine…
Why LinkedIn hired the world’s top business journalists
May 29 • 34 min
I recently sat down with Linkedin senior editor at large Isabelle Roughol. I asked her about how LinkedIn editors go about curating content, how they distribute this content on LinkedIn, and how they approach original reporting projects.
Facebook decimated this publisher’s business. So it became a paid newsletter.
May 20 • 35 min
For a few years, Ben Cohen was living the dream. His political opinion site, The Daily Banter, was growing in leaps and bounds, generating enough traffic and ad revenue to support several full-time writers. But you probably know what happened next. In…
This indie newsletter generated over 10,000 paying subscribers
May 14 • 41 min
Ten years ago, Robert Cottrell founded a website called The Browser. He would comb through thousands of articles a day and pick the five he found most interesting, adding a dash of commentary to go along with each pick. As time wore on, he began to notice…
Why Business Insider launched a hard paywall
May 5 • 31 min
To get insights into Business Insider’s paywall strategy, I interviewed Claudius Senst, its head of consumer subscriptions. I asked him how editors decide whether to place an article behind the paywall, what converts readers into paying subscribers, and…
This media company has launched 81 local news sites and is expanding
Apr 28 • 32 min
A New Jersey based media company called TAPinto has launched 81 local news sites and is still growing. While most of those sites are located in New Jersey, the company has recently branched out into Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Florida. I recently…
The 2019 state of Instagram influencer fraud
Apr 7 • 20 min
Brands now often use software like HypeAuditor, which scans an influencer’s account in search of automated and fraudulent activity. HypeAuditor recently leveraged its data to generate a report on the current state of Instagram influencer fraud. I…
This B2B media company covers a $7.5 trillion industry and is profitable
Mar 24 • 33 min
In 2012, John Yedinak officially launched the Aging Media Network, a constellation of sites that cover the businesses that service the aging population, from hospice care to senior housing. I recently sat down with Yedinak to talk about how his team built…
Inside The New York Times’s video strategy
Mar 16 • 24 min
Overseeing much of the video production at The New York Times is Nancy Gauss, executive director of video. I recently interviewed Gauss about her team’s approach to video creation and how it fits in with The Times’s larger goals in driving brand loyalty…
Why Advance Publications launched a tech incubator to build new products
Mar 2 • 36 min
A few years ago, Advance Publications launched Alpha Group, an incubator meant to launch brand new tech products and grow them into fully functional companies. Rather than acting like a traditional media company, Alpha Group takes a much more expansive…
Inside MoveOn’s video strategy
Feb 23 • 25 min
I recently sat down with Sara Kenigsberg, MoveOn’s senior video producer. I asked about why MoveOn’s videos aren’t designed well for YouTube, how she chooses her video topics, and which social platform is best for broadcasting live video.
How Pop-Up Magazine grew into a nationwide events series
Feb 6 • 45 min
I recently sat down with Chas Edwards, co-founder and president of Pop-Up Magazine. I asked him about the logistics of creating a live magazine from scratch, how the company makes money, and what the future holds for it now that it’s been purchased by the…
Inside The Atlantic’s in-house creative agency
Jan 20 • 32 min
Since 2012, The Atlantic has been running an in-house creative agency called Atlantic 57. The idea is simple: let’s take the editorial insights we’ve gleaned from running a magazine for 160 years and use that to launch online publications for major brands…
This blogger generated $80,000 last year selling online courses
Jan 13 • 29 min
I Ben Collins interviewed Collins about how he designed his course, how he marketed it, and how he decided on how to price it.
Should publishers be allowed to collectively bargain with Facebook and Google?
Jan 6 • 28 min
“The only way publishers can address this inexorable threat is by banding together. If they open a unified front to negotiate with Google and Facebook—pushing for stronger intellectual-property protections, better support for subscription models and a…
Can this betting app replace the Nate Silvers of the world?
Dec 13, 2018 • 31 min
Many studies have shown that a crowd of everyday people will, on average, make better predictions than the experts who work in that particular field. That’s why a lot of attention has been paid lately to betting markets, which can provide real-time odds…
A new study on why we pay for online news
Dec 5, 2018 • 27 min
Researcher Mary-Katharine Phillips surveyed 4,000 news consumers across Europe and the U.S. to gain a better understanding of how they consume the news and what drives their news diet. I interviewed Phillips about what percentage of news consumers are…
He sold his blog network to AOL for $25 million. And that was just the beginning
Nov 27, 2018 • 61 min
I interviewed Brian Alvey about what it was like to run a blog network in Web 2.0’s early days, how he ended up in a 45 minute meeting with Jeff Bezos, and why the iPad failed to save the media industry.
This editorial newsletter platform has 25,000 paying subscribers
Nov 20, 2018 • 29 min
I interviewed Substack’s cofounder Hamish McKenzie about the rise of paid newsletters, how to convert readers of a free newsletter into paying subscribers, and why his service is preferable to other membership platforms like Patreon.
This nutritionist generated 35 million downloads of her podcast. Here’s how she did it
Nov 13, 2018 • 32 min
Monica Reinagel had no background in broadcasting or radio when she launched a podcast called Nutrition Diva in 2008, but she was a trained nutritionist, had published several books, and was writing a regular column at a popular health website, and this…
Most people don’t click on social media links. Here’s why that’s bad
Nov 5, 2018 • 30 min
York College political science professor Nick Anspach devised an experiment to find out what information is retained when social media users see a post but don’t click through to the source article. I interviewed Anspach about his results and whether…
How The Hustle reached 1 million email subscribers
Oct 24, 2018 • 35 min
I interviewed Sam Parr about what strategies he used to grow the Hustle’s subscriber base, how his editorial team goes about picking daily topics, and what kind of companies like to advertise on a newsletter.
How Slate built a live events business around its most popular podcasts
Oct 17, 2018 • 33 min
I recently sat down with Faith Smith, the executive producer for Slate Live. We discussed how her team selects which cities to tour in, how she negotiates with event venues, and what podcast fans are willing to pay in order to watch a live podcast…
This webcomic artist has 1 million fans on Facebook. Here’s how he got them
Oct 10, 2018 • 24 min
I interviewed webcomic artist Chris Grady about what it takes to maintain a successful webcomic, how he grew his audience, and why popular webcomics often make much more money from merchandise than they do from ads.
Why Quartz launched a newsletter that dives into obscure trivia
Sep 27, 2018 • 32 min
Why did Quartz launch a product that steered clear of the editorial topics it usually covers on its website? And how does it pick each day’s topics? To answer these questions, I turned to Jessanne Collins, who edits the newsletter.
Inside the social media strategy for The Financial Times
Sep 20, 2018 • 30 min
To get an overview of The Financial Times’ social media strategy, I interviewed Jake Grovum, its head of social. He told me about how the Times’ has leveraged Instagram stories, what metrics his team is judged by, and why the newspaper hasn’t invested…
He pioneered early online advertising. Now he’s doing the same for AR
Sep 12, 2018 • 33 min
We haven’t even hit the tipping point that will make AR ubiquitous, woven into the fabric of our daily lives. What will that world look like? And what technologies still need to be invented before we can reach that point? I asked Henry Copeland about…
This Boston business publication charges subscribers $695 a year and is sustainable
Aug 22, 2018 • 34 min
Innovation Leader, a small business-focused publication, launched in 2013. It carries no advertising, has a hard paywall, and charges subscribers $695 a year. I recently sat down with one of its cofounders, Scott Kirsner, and asked him about why he…
It started as a one-man personal finance blog. Now it generates millions in revenue.
Aug 12, 2018 • 28 min
The Penny Hoarder has a huge audience, dozens of full-time staffers, and millions in annual revenue. To get a better understanding of how the site grew this big, I interviewed John Schlander, The Penny Hoarder’s managing editor. I asked him about how his…
How unemployed college students launched a thriving tech news site
Jul 30, 2018 • 37 min
I interviewed Christopher Wink about the early days of running an unknown tech blog, what it takes to launch a site in a new city, and why he’s never been all that interested in building out an advertising business.
How Facebook’s Newsfeed changes are affecting European publishers
Jul 22, 2018 • 29 min
I interviewed Steve El-Sharawy, head of innovation at EzyInsights, a platform that tracks Facebook engagement for publishers. I asked El-Sharawy about how European publishers reacted to the announced algorithm changes and whether there are any clear…
Why Fortune 100 companies are launching their own podcasts
Jul 12, 2018 • 31 min
What makes a branded podcast good? How do you avoid making it sound like just another ad? And how does a successful podcast help a company’s bottom line? To answer these questions, I interviewed Rachael King, founder of the podcast consulting company Pod…
How an obsession with right wing media spawned a booming newsletter
Jun 18, 2018 • 32 min
Will Sommer was one of the first reporters to write about Pizzagate, the conspiracy theory that a DC pizza parlor was the home of a child sex ring. After a man was arrested for firing a gun inside the restaurant, his reporting gained national relevance.…
How this web designer became the Nate Silver of healthcare reporting
Jun 12, 2018 • 43 min
At the time, Charles Gaba was running a freelance web designer business in Michigan and writing for the liberal blog Daily Kos during his free time. Frustrated by the botched rollout and the amount of misinformation floating around about how many people…
This guy built a $1 million business on top of the Gmail API
May 28, 2018 • 33 min
Ajay Goel was on the lookout for an opportunity to launch a new business. It was while he was looking around for a tool that would send mass emails that he came up with the idea for Gmass, an add-on that allows users to schedule and send mass emails…
How publishers monetize their newsletters with paid subscriptions
May 20, 2018 • 27 min
Given the rise of paid newsletters, we’ve seen a number of new platforms spring up to service this type of publisher. One of those platforms is Revue, a newsletter distribution platform that was designed with content publishers in mind. I interviewed its…
How artists illegally pay their way onto Spotify’s playlists
May 7, 2018 • 30 min
With individual users wielding that much power, it shouldn’t be surprising that some have succumbed to illicit backroom deals in which artists pay the playlist owners to include their songs, a practice that’s been illegal since the payola scandals in the…
Influencer marketing has a huge fraud problem
May 1, 2018 • 33 min
SYLO is a tech platform that can scan social media accounts and detect fraudulent activity. I interviewed Schwab about the state of social media influencer fraud and how his platform is able to tell when an Instagram account is propped up by an army of…
How Think Progress generated $500,000 in donations after Trump was elected
Apr 23, 2018 • 39 min
I recently sat down with Judd Legum, Think Progress’s founding editor, and asked him about how the site operates, why it decided to leave the Medium platform, and how it managed to generate $500,000 from its readers after Trump was elected.
Remembering the blogosphere before the rise of Facebook and Twitter
Apr 16, 2018 • 69 min
Tune in while we reminisce about a bygone era when we didn’t live or die by the Facebook algorithm and the internet was a Wild West composed of various ideological fiefdoms.
What’s behind the explosion in fiction podcasts?
Apr 9, 2018 • 31 min
Podcasting has led to a resurgence in audio fiction, and a whole new generation of fans are tuning in to new episodes, attending live events, and ordering merchandise online. Why are we seeing this resurgence in what was thought to be a bygone medium? To…
Why podcast apps are developing their own original content
Apr 2, 2018 • 31 min
Add Castbox to the list of podcast apps that are producing their own shows. An app with 15 million downloads, Castbox has recently launched “Off Track with Hinch and Rossi,” a show about auto racing, and it has several other podcasts in development.
Should famous music and Hollywood artists have their own media outlet?
Mar 27, 2018 • 30 min
Several years ago, a record label owner named Ian Wheeler launched a publication called Talkhouse, and it’s essentially The Players’ Tribune, but for artists instead of athletes I recently interviewed Wheeler about Talkhouse and whether famous Hollywood…
How the iTunes podcast rankings work
Mar 18, 2018 • 36 min
How does Apple rank its podcasts? And what’s the best way to make it onto one of its lists? To answer this question, I interviewed Dan Misener, the head of audience development at a company called Pacific Content, which specializes in helping brands…
Meet the guy who wants to slow down the internet
Mar 6, 2018 • 40 min
Ernie Smith has run both a Tumblr with 160,000 followers and an independent newsletter with 10,000+ subscribers. We talk about how he built his audience.
Inside Macmillan’s 2018 podcast strategy
Feb 26, 2018 • 20 min
How the publisher uses podcasts to promote its books and diversify revenue
While Facebook stumbles, Twitter’s making a comeback
Feb 19, 2018 • 26 min
Is Twitter’s recent profitability a sign of a company turnaround? Or just a temporary blip at an otherwise struggling company? I recently discussed these questions with Jonathan Rick, a digital media consultant based in Washington, DC.
This former lawyer launched a thriving local news network in New Jersey
Feb 14, 2018 • 35 min
Mike Shapiro was working as a lawyer when, in a bid to spend more time with his kids, he launched a news site for his New Jersey town. That site soon spawned two new sites, and then blossomed from there. The TAPInto network now boasts dozens of sites all…
Want to create your own Wikipedia page? Call this guy
Feb 6, 2018 • 44 min
What’s a company to do if it wants to edit its Wikipedia page without running afoul of Wikipedia’s rules? You’ll want to call a guy like Bill Beutler. Beutler, founder of a company called Beutler Ink, has been conducting Wikipedia consulting for almost a…
What it takes to run a podcast consulting company
Jan 31, 2018 • 32 min
Ernesto Gluecksmann is the co-founder of Human Factor Media, a podcast consulting company that works with associations to launch and produce podcasts. I recently interviewed Ernesto about how he launched the company and what makes for a successful branded…
What kind of content should you put behind your paywall?
Jan 23, 2018 • 18 min
I interviewed Adam Rowe, a journalist for Tech.Co. Rowe recently wrote about subscription services and argued that publishers should put their best content in front of the paywall.