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Come for the newsletter, stay for the Discord

Building a community through Discord or Slack could be a way to deepen engagement with readers and drive additional revenue. But it comes with a lot of work — and some potential headaches.


We clearly care about community – that’s why we started our forum – but I have to say it’s nice to hear someone else say it. Writing on Inbox Collective, Claire Zulkey is explaining why community building, although a lot of work for niche newsletters, can deepen engagement with readers and drive additional revenue.

For solopreneurs, Zulkey says writing a newsletter can be a solitary operation, but even newsletter readers lack a connection to their fellow subscribers. Online communities, from Slack to Discord to old-school bulletin boards, create connections for readers to communicate with each other as well as with newsletter publishers.

She writes: “If a reader’s inbox is their digital living room, then a private online community is more like the bar where your readers have all agreed to meet up.” For creators of free newsletters or podcasts, membership of a niche community might also be something their audience is willing to pay for. We can but dream. ☺️


Moving past ZIRP

Plus: The privacy boogeyman

I was today years old when I learned about ZIRP. It means Zero Interest-Rate Policy and, thanks to Brian Morrissey, I also now know how the cost of borrowing being zero led to some insane valuations (online events business Hopin valued at $5.7 billion) and how, now that the ZIRP era is over, companies will be judged by their ability to create cash flow. What that means, of course, is that publishers will have to do more with less… again.


How to create an engaging AI generated podcast (in 3 easy steps)

Globally, podcasting will be worth $23.5 billion in 2023 and this is expected to increase at a compound growth rate of 28%.

My first reaction to this headline was, ‘Yeah right’. My second was ‘God, no’. But writer Eric Shanfelt is a smart man and I’m glad I read on. His point is to replace seldom listened to text-to-speech applications with an AI generated podcast script that summarises your recent published content and then feed it to an AI text-to speech generator. Will it be as informative and fun as Media Voices? Absolutely not. Will it get you in the game without much investment? Yes it will.

Does using AI to create a podcast sound like a good idea? Is it useful as a way to get speech content into your distribution channels without a huge investment, or is it an audio accident waiting to happen? Tell us what you think in the community.


LinkedIn announces more job cuts as ad revenue growth declines

The impacted roles are primarily within its engineering department.

Just in case you though X was the only social platform with revenue issues, here’s an insight into what’s going on at LinkedIn. With ad growth slowing over the last two years, everyone’s favourite professional network is planning to cut 668 roles,c500 of those in its engineering teams. I guess we’ll all just need to wait a little longer for them to make LinkedIn groups worth any kind of effort.

More from Media Voices


The New Statesman’s Chris Stone on podcast and platform experiments

Chris Stone takes us through some of his boldest experiments with podcasts at the New Statesman, from consolidation to YouTube publishing.


Four big themes from the Magazine Street conference

Four of the big themes from the presentations and workshops held throughout the day at the Magazine Street conference in Edinburgh.


Report: Practical AI for Local Media

Find out how AI can help publishers take care of work that humans can’t so they can use the time saved to creating valuable commentary and analysis.

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