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How Paywalled Content Attracts More Readers

Updated: Jan 29

During the golden era of newspapers in the mid-20th century, publishers relied on a more transactional approach to sell their information. Take the penny press, for instance, the idea was that you pass around as many papers as possible for a penny, and that would be enough to cover all of the necessary running costs. Readers enjoyed the convenience of having newspapers delivered to their doorstep, mainly because they could not simply turn to Instagram or Twitter for news. Back then, most people were already signed up for a paperboy service and paid a set amount per week or month to receive their preferred local paper. Nowadays, anyone with access to the internet can publish news or other content which can be monetized through ads, paywalls, or even donations. The ease at which anyone anywhere can publish anything makes this incredibly challenging and competitive for publishers. This is why most publishers in the US now turn to paywalls, to maintain stable, sustainable, and forecastable profits. However, many publishers have shied away from implementing paywalls, fearing that it will reduce readership, but that could not be further away from reality.

3 Reasons Why Paywalls Bring In More Readers

Improves Quality of Service

Content generated by online magazines, newspapers, and digital publishers is a provided service. As with all services, a predictable income is required for organizations to compete in today’s competitive markets. The more money generated by a newsroom would allow for growth and in turn, attract better editors, leading to ultimately better stories and improved content all around. Publications know that in order to attract new subscribers and retain the current subscriber base, the quality of the content they produce has to be top-notch and only get better over time.

Earns Reader Loyalty

Humans are social creatures by nature, we are always looking to identify ourselves by belonging to groups that represent our core values and beliefs. This is why subscriptions have been proven to increase reader loyalty. Studies have shown that people generally enjoy things a lot more when they are regularly exposed to them as they process a strong sense of affiliation towards that thing. In this case, the strong sense of belonging will be towards the brand itself and the ongoing engagement with it (the subscription). If someone has a yearly subscription with The NY Times, for instance, chances are, they’re going to continue with them rather than switch to CNN the following year. Subscriptions give you the feeling that you are a part of a community of your choosing, and who doesn’t want that? The psychology that is happening here is that people now will associate themselves with the values of that community or brand and what it means to be a part of that, hence driving loyalty.

Boosts Credibility and Trust

Subscriber-funded publications that lack interference from influential donating parties will always be more trustworthy in the eyes of the public. Putting up paywalls and having your publication subscription funded by its own readers will build that trust and vouch for the notion that your motives are influenced by the desire to create neutral, unbiased content that people can trust.

Get Started With Paywalls or Improve Your Paywalls Today

Here at Pelcro, our goal is to transform your business into a profitable subscription business that keeps readers coming back for more. To learn more about how you can improve your subscriber experience with paywalls, book a demo for an exclusive one-on-one product tour, or get started with your free trial right away and see for yourself.


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