As a journalist, you might have felt that being a part of orthodox media channels would curb your freedom to choose or work on the subject matters of your liking. You might have opted for independent journalism with the intention to keep your work free of external influences – be it organisational or monetary. But to give it your all, you must have a steady revenue stream to keep up with the demands of creating and posting your content. Your projects could either take the form of articles, podcasts, or videos, and each type has its own sets of expenses associated with it. This is where your audience comes in.
If you have a loyal fan base which you have built and nurtured over some time, one part of the problem is already taken care of. To urge them to contribute to your efforts, you could offer some sweet rewards. At Help Me Try, we have prepared a series of reward systems that you could try with your supporters and see which ones work best.
Reward Ideas for Independent Journalists to Offer Their Audience
1. Access to your group
One of the easiest deals that you could offer your fans would be the opportunity to be a part of a community. With your work being the central point around which your audience rally, the discussions that it would generate could bring about a lot of new ideas. The supporters could come up with new events, new activities that they can do together as a community, or could even help you out with some novel concepts that could be assimilated into your daily grind.
You could start a group on any platform of your choice. Moreover, based on the amount that the fans are paying, you could give the higher paying fans the chance to choose the topics you could work on next by asking them to vote. Another reward that you could give could be access to bonus or behind-the-scenes content from your investigations.
2. Provide Ad-Free Content
For those of you that have ads running on your websites, you could consider giving an ad-free experience for those supporters whose pay exceeds a certain threshold.
3. Private Newsletter
Based on the type of news niche that you handle, you could decide to send out newsletters to your fans at regular intervals. You may have to check what would be informative for your audience before you send these out.
4. Tweets & Follow backs on Social Media
For those of you that are social media savvy and have quite a large following could consider following back some of your fans. This should most likely be restricted to the higher paying brackets. You don’t have to limit yourself to a follow – you could also consider giving a shout out or tagging them on your post.
5. Personalised Merchandise
If your brand name has a strong presence amongst your audience, giving out personalised merchandise, or giving out huge discounts on purchases from your store is an interesting route that you can take. For those of you who may not necessarily have products to sell, a handwritten letter to a select few from your supporters could go a long way to strengthen your rapport with them.
If you don’t want to give out any tangible goods, you could give away some digital rewards. Personalised wallpapers, bonus content, audio recordings, or even ebooks you authored are a few of the infinite possibilities available to you.
6. Live Events
Starting live events could also be included as a reward for your supporters. This could be a one-time event or something that you as a community could do frequently. It could include live chats, video hangouts, or a question and answer session. You could choose to give out this reward in two ways – you could either reserve it for a small group of your highest paying supporters. On the other hand, if you feel that the live chats could be of benefit to a wider audience, you could offer this to the lower tier payers as well.
A few of your fans would love a little bit of recognition from your end – so give it to them! Depending on the type of platform you are using, there are a variety of ways to acknowledge your supporters.
For those of you that have websites or blogs, have a monthly hall of fame with the names of your supporters from a mid-level range. Moreover, you can give a shout-out to a few of your fans in your video or podcast or add their name in the video’s description.
If you have a video or a podcast show, and want to go all out for a handful of your supporters, you could consider having them be a part of your show – either as a guest, or maybe help out in the making. You could keep this exclusively for your highest paying supporter from amongst the audience.
If your fans are not particularly into being a part of your show, you could offer to speak with them directly. Bear in mind that this might be something you could do on an annual basis.
Most of you would shudder at the idea of having promoters – that would be the antithesis of being an independent journalist. However, in certain instances, sponsors could be one of the easiest ways to generate revenue and also be impartial. If you decide on this method, you would have to make arrangements with the company/companies that wish to back you.
This was just a short list of reward ideas that you can either assimilate into your system, or gain inspiration from.