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Lesson 2 of 6
Build your tech stack
Start building your revenue model
Determine your revenue model (10:37)
Build a fundraising strategy (9:10)
Build news products (5:05)
Select a CMS for your news organization (4:56)
Evaluate your financial sustainability (7:05)
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Build your tech stack


Find the best technology to publish, monetize, and more


What technology do I need?

GNI_Data_Presentation (1)

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.

GNI_Data_Presentation (1)

Which CMS is the best for me?


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:


Which ESP is best for me?


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.


Which subscription or donor management software is best for me?


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:



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


Which analytics is best for me?


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.


What other technology do I need?


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.


Build or buy?


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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