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Build your tech stack

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Find the best technology to publish, monetize, and more

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What technology do I need?

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Every day, you might use several tools, platforms, and technology solutions to:

  • Publish articles using a CMS, or content management system
  • Send newsletters using an ESP, or email service provider
  • Manage subscriptions using a subscription management system
  • Collect donations using donor management software
  • Understand your audience using audience analytics

These technology solutions, when combined, are called a “tech stack.”

How do I decide which technology to add?

Many news organizations start with a content management system (CMS) and audience analytics. If you’re starting with a newsletter, you might use an email service provider (ESP) as your CMS.

💡Best practice: Start publishing right away with an all-in-one publishing platform like Ghost or Substack.

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Which CMS is the best for me?

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Publish your articles onto a website with a CMS, or content management system.

Content management systems vary by:

  • Price: Are there free options with paid upgrades, like Wordpress and Ghost?
  • Support: Who can you ask if you have questions or issues?
  • Technical skills: Is it easy to manage for someone non-technical?

Many news organizations use:

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Which ESP is best for me?

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Sends newsletters and emails using an ESP, or email service provider.

On Mailchimp, media and publishing emails average 22% for open rates - but have a 4.6% clickthrough rate, nearly double the average for all emails (2022).

ESPs vary by:

  • Goals: Are you sending newsletters, subscription offers, or donation campaigns?
  • Audience size: How many people are you emailing?
  • Technical skills: Is it easy to manage for someone non-technical?

Many news organizations use:

💡Best practice: Request a demo to learn more about an ESP before buying in.

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Which subscription or donor management software is best for me?

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Collect payments and information about subscribers and donors with subscription management software or donor management software.

Subscription or donor management software varies by:

  • Fees: Do they charge a transaction fee or percentage of the transaction?
  • Customization: How does it help you build a relationship with your subscriber or donor, like accessing certain benefits?
  • User Experience: How easy is it to subscribe or donate?

Many news organizations use:

Subscriptions

Donations

💡Best practice: Choose a platform that lets you offer free trials to your subscribers.

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Which analytics is best for me?

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Understand your audience, track site traffic, and see how effective your ads and search engine optimization are, using an analytics platform.

Analytics platforms vary by:

  • Price: How many users do you have?
  • Other Tech: What other tools and platforms do you use?
  • User Interface: Is your team familiar with code?

Some popular examples of these platforms include:

💡Best practice: Choose an analytics platform that works with your email service provider if you send email newsletters.

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What other technology do I need?

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Additionally, you might also want to:

  • Manage communications with potential advertisers and other business leads with a customer relationship manager (CRM) like Salesforce or HubSpot
  • Automate ad operations with a centralized advertising management solution such as Broadstreet or Letterhead
  • Set deadlines and manage your work with team members with collaborative project management software, like Google Workspace or Slack

💡Best practice: Learn what technology others use by asking in the LION News Entrepreneur Slack or Planet Splice.

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Build or buy?

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When deciding to build or buy, ask:

  • What is my budget?
  • How soon do I need the technology?
  • Do I have the staff or know someone with technical expertise?
  • Do I need additional features or security that current options don’t provide?

💡Best practice: Test how your technology solutions work together whenever you add something new.

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