Media Voices co-host Peter Houston sends out a weekly newsletter called The Magazine Diaries. Each edition shares the best magazine publishing ideas he comes across for you to steal, adapt or reuse. 

If you’ve heard me speak any time in the last 10 years you’ve probably listened to me bang on about ‘the Mix of Six’ or some variation thereof. The idea behind it, like everything good in this newsletter, was stolen. The first person I heard talking about publishers needing to diversify into five or six revenue streams for survival was David Carey. I’ve been quoting the onetime boss of Hearst Magazines ever since.

Recently I’ve seen both James Hewes at FIPP and Brian Morrissey at The Rebooting bring up revenue diversification again and I thought, you know what, it’s time to wheel out ‘The Mix of Six’ mantra again.

If a things worth saying, it’s worth saying over and over and over again.

Mix it up like Quartz

You might have seen the Netflix news recently. If you didn’t, the streaming platform lost a load of subscribers and almost $40 billion off its value. The story was a warning shot across the bows of any publishers sinking everything they’ve got into reader revenue. The subscription economy cannot expand forever.

As if to underline the point, business news and culture site Quartz dropped its paywall, I’m guessing so that it can restart its premium ad business to bolster the membership revenue it still wants to collect from email subscribers.

Responding to the Quartz paywall pivot, and the news that CNN+ blew up after just a month, Brian Morrissey was reminding his readers that:

The best way to make money in publishing remains many ways.

And firmly on the same page, James Hewes told a publishing audience in Portugal that swapping one dying revenue stream for a single alternative, is not a safe bet.

Publishers must diversify into multiple revenue streams, not simply changing one revenue stream for another.

So whether its three, four, five or six, get yourself a revenue mix and protect yourself against one area of your business falling off the edge.

BONUS READ: Here’s a thing I wrote about why a revenue mix matters this from three years ago

Keep it brief like Axios

US news outlet Axios has made a name for itself delivering super-concise politics, tech and business briefings. In this TEDx talk, co-founder and CEO of Axios, Jim VandeHei, explains the thinking behind the company’s ‘Smart Brevity’ approach to content creation. If a 15-minute TED talk isn’t enough brevity for you…

  1. Don’t be selfish, respect your audience’s time
  2. Be clear, stick to your message
  3. Keep it simple, don’t show off


Get your podcast featured on Spotify

We put out a couple of Lessons episodes ahead of our Publisher Podcast Awards. In these, I’m interviewing previous award winners about what made their podcasts successful and it struck me that, more than once, a host or producer has credited a Spotify featured-podcast spot for boosting their success.

When I hear this I always ask ‘How do you get featured?’. But no one ever has a definitive answer beyond, get in touch, tell them what you do and keep your finger crossed. But just last month, Spotify published a BTS blog post lifting the lid on how its team selects the podcasts they feature and what you can do to be considered.

With the number of submissions the team gets, you’ll still be lucky to be featured, but at least now you’re not crossing your fingers in the dark.

Republished with kind permission. Subscribe to The Magazine Diaries to get three steal-able ideas in your inbox every Friday.

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